RIMINI | EMILIA ROMAGNA REGION
Rimini is a very lively and popular coastal town and seaside resort on the Adriatic sea to the east of the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy. Rimini is known as a beach and seaside holiday destination. More than 15 kilometres of beautifully maintained sandy beaches are close to hand and Rimini is said to be the largest beach resort anywhere in Europe. This is something of a transformation over the last 100 years since Rimini first became popular because it was such a small and traditional seaside town!
It is not just during the summer that Rimini is crowded - even out of season you will find a lot of people travel from afar for the famous nightlife in the town, and in the summer it is more or less a 24 hour party and beach town. A substantial part of the coast is lined with hotels, restaurants and nightclubs catering to pretty much any type of late night activity you can think of - and probably a few you haven't yet thought of!
Despite the general liveliness, Rimini is still popular with families just as much as the 18-30 type crowd. The resort is especially popular with Italian holidaymakers, but you will hear many other nationalities as you walk along the seafront. Note that many parts of the beach do charge for access and you can easily pay 20 euros a day for a space with two loungers and an umbrella. There are also plenty of related amusements along the coast, especially amusement parks and aquariums, wildlife and water parks. This all means that the town and coast is very crowded during the summer holidays, and pretty quiet the rest of the time.
Rimini was almost destroyed during the Second World War. It does however retain an attractive old town centre with a few notable sights that is well worth exploring as a break from the hedonism along the seafront. In particular explore the narrow, cobbled streets around the two main squares - Piazza Cavour and Piazza Tre Martiri - to see the best of the original buildings, including some Roman remains - the Arch of Augustus and the bridge, Ponte Tiberio - and the grand townhouses around Piazza Cavour.
The most interesting building in Rimini, and the one with the most fascinating history, is the Tempio Malatestiano. Originally a church, it was transformed in the 15th century into a monument to Sigismondo Malatesta. The converted monument is finely decorated, especially with the intertwined initials of Sigismondo and his fourth wife, and exotic pictures of elephants. Pope Pius II didn't take kindly to all this, since Malestata was best know as a particularly despicable person - incest, rape, murder, adultery and pillaging were his specialities - and promptly burned an effigy of him and consigned him to hell. The temple contains some fine artwork, including a fresco of Malestata himself.