By straining ones eyes on a clear day it is possible to discern from the coast a solitary giant immersed in the greenery of the territory of the Malatesta Seignory: this is the Malatesta Castle of Montefiore, the defensive bastion and summer home of the noble family.
Once the mediaeval capital of the Conca valley, this remains one of the best-preserved towns in the Seignory. It has a special atmosphere; perhaps it is the mighty fortress with its severe outline, sisible even from the coast, or perhaps it is the woods and countryside around the town, or the craftsmen in their workshops, or the ancient rituals, or the splendid view of the Apennines and the Romagna coast: or perhaps it is a combination of all these which give the town its charm. Here history and nature have made a perfect marriage.
Within the old walls the Church of San Paolo can be admired. Pleasant night time events are organised on summer evenings. Excellent restaurants in the town with traditional dishes.
The mightiest symbol of Malatesta power in all the Conca valley, and perhaps the most unusual; its geometric lines are incomparable. It stands on a high promontory; on a clear day you can see the whole sweep of the coast from Ravenna to Fano. The highest terraces give views to the Apennine hills, and San Marino seems almost close enough to touch.
Montefiore parish church. Exterior and doorway date from the 14th century. Inside is a fine wooden crucifix of the 14th-century Rimini School,a fresco of the Virgin and Child by Bernardino Dolci (15th century) and the splendid altarpiece showing Our Lady of Mercy, by Luzio Dolci (16th century).
The entrance to the original fortified village.
Town walls walk and Park
The walls surrounding the town have recently been restored and the road running by them makes a short but rewarding walk in outstanding natural scenery. Near the attractive Porta Nova gateway, also restored, you can walk up to the park (accessible also from near the Fortress): this is one of the most spectacular green spaces in Romagna.
Montefiore is proud of its olive oil; the olive groves are in an ideal position and the oil is excellent. There are two oil mills producing a fair quantity of oil, using mostly locally-grown olives. Excellent cheese is made here, scrupulously following organic methods.
Local chestnuts can be bought in season from the village shops.
A number of attractive tracks for walkers and mountain bikes start from Montefiore, crossing the surrounding countryside, an exceptional mix of wild land and cultivated land. Fascinating and spectacular signposted paths lead to the Ventena valley and Gemmano.
Good Friday Procession - Good Friday
Centuries-old religious ritual. Participants are always in costume, and roles are handed down in families. All the figures of the Passion of Our Lord appear: Christ, the Apostles, the Cyrenean, Pilate and the Roman soldiers, angels and the devout women who followed Christ to Calvary. The town band also takes part, as do the religious confraternities wearing their robes.
“Rocca di Luna” (Fortress by Moonlight) July
Three days, or rather nights, around the full moon: entertainment, exhibitions, market, good things to taste, in honour of the Moon, inspiration of madness and romance. Moonlight and shadows combined create a very special atmosphere.
Chestnut Fair every Sunday in October
A fair dedicated to the autumn fruit which grows in quantity in the woods around Montefiore. Some chestnut woods are centuries old. Unusually, many grow low in the valley next to olive groves; for this reason Montefiore is mentioned in many studies of Italian vegetation.
Nativity Pageant Christmas time
The town’s historic core becomes the setting for a re-enactment of the birth of Jesus. The ancient walls, torchlight and firelight, and figures in costume together create an enthralling atmosphere.
Just outside the centre is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Bonora.
One of the most important and best-known places of worship in the Rimini area. The image of the Virgin suckling her Child dates from the 1400s; for centuries the moving simplicity of the image has been admired and venerated by thousands.
The church dominates the Ventena valley and is surrounded by green woods.