Visit Gradara, the most beautiful village in Italy in 2018
Gradara is a small town in the Marche region and has about 4,900 inhabitants. In 2018, it was elected the most beautiful village in Italy and, today, that’s where we go. Ready to meet Gradara? So let’s go to our post of the day: Visit Gradara in the Marche region. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
Watch this video about Gradara on Youtube
Gradara is a small town in the Marche region , province of Pesaro and Urbino , and its privileged location made it a perfect intersection for the transit of goods and people. During the Middle Ages, the fortress was one of the main stages of clashes between the papacy and the Marche and Romagna families. Gradara is located inland on the Adriatic coast of Marche-Romagna, and is not far from the sea; in a mountainous area, it is an extreme branch of the Apennines and offers us cinematic panoramas.
It is famous for its historic Malatesta Fortress and for being a fortified city with its typical medieval architecture. One of the most famous love phrases in world literature, by Dante, was inspired by the story of Paolo and Francesca. It took place in the castle of Gradara, the most important monument in the village and one of the most visited in Italy: “Love, which absolves no loved one from loving, seized me for the pleasing of him so strongly that, as thou seest , it does not even now abandon me ”- Divine Comedy.
1) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: VISIT THE CASTLE
It’s impossible to start talking about Gradara without talking about its Castle, on Rocca Malatesta. The city’s castle is one of the best preserved in Italy; its outdoor area extends for nearly 800 meters and it rises on a hill 142 meters above sea level. Built around 1150, by the powerful De Griffo family, it fell out of favor because of the papacy; it was during this period that the castle passed into the hands of the leader of the Guelphs of Romagna, Malatesta da Verucchio (named Mastin Vecchio), progenitor and founder of the Malatesta dynasty, the great lords of Rimini, Cesena and Pesaro. The Italian State bought the castle in 1928 and until 1983 it was used by Zanvettore’s widow, Alberta Porta Natale.
What about the love story that happened in the castle?
Well, according to Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy, the fortress was the stage for the tragic love between Paolo and Francesca. Around 1275 Guido da Polenta, lord of Ravenna, offered the hand of his daughter Francesca in marriage to his faithful ally Giovanni Malatesta, lord of Rimini, also known as Gianne the Lame. At the moment of introducing himself to Francesca, he would have sent in his place his own brother Paolo, a noble knight, of remarkable beauty and very courteous – who was already married to Beatrice Orabile di Ghiaggiuolo, with whom he had two children. Giovanni’s plan didn’t work out very well, as Paolo and Franca fell in love, but were caught together and killed for treason.
The castle tour starts at the incredible drawbridge, which takes you to the main courtyard . Here you start traveling in time through extraordinary and perfectly preserved environments, which offer us a magical and poetic journey through almost a thousand years of Italian history. On the first floor, we can find visits to the Torture Chamber, the Passion Room, Lucrécia Borgia’s dressing room, the Chapel and many others. The most visited area here is Francesca’s bedroom, of course, which was rebuilt during the castle’s restoration in the 1920s. There you will find all the details told by Dante and Boccaccio : the book of the “condemned”, the chairs where the two lovers sat and the trapdoor where Paolo tried to escape. It really is a very interesting and unmissable visit!
Good to know
- Admission costs 6 euros and the Castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30 am to 7:15 pm; and on Mondays, from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.
- When leaving the castle, be sure to walk around its castle walls. The tours around here are beautiful, especially if the weather helps, because from here you have a beautiful panoramic view. The old walkways used for observation by the castle guard are now accessible to the public (some parts) and offer us truly amazing views!
2) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: VISIT THE HISTORICAL CENTER
From the castle, take advantage of the proximity and go to the historic center. The tour there is super calm, delicious and very interesting. There you will find shops, bars, restaurants and a delicious atmosphere. The houses there are a spectacle apart: very well maintained, most of them have flowered balconies full of charm, making the city beautiful.
3) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: VISIT THE MUNICIPAL THEATER
Another unmissable visit is the visit to the Municipal Theater. The venue is small, with a capacity for only 70 people, making it one of the smallest in Italy. The theater is in the beautiful Rubini Vesin Palace, just a few meters from the castle. It was built in 1800, and has very cute mezzanine, armchairs and entrance hall.
4) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: VISIT THE HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF GRADARA
Another worth-visiting place is the Historical Museum of Gradara. There you will find an incredible collection of ancient objects and historical documents that will introduce you to the city in a delicious way. There you will also find the collection of nativity scenes, various works by miniaturist artisans from Gradara and other very interesting exhibitions.
5) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: TAKE A ROMANTIC TOUR
Do you want to take a romantic tour? Then walk through the alleys of Gradara and admire every corner. Don’t miss the path called “Monte delle Bugie” that crosses to the other side of the village. The path is in the middle of a forest and, from there, it is possible to admire a breathtaking view that goes from Gabicce to Cesenatico.
6) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: VISIT THE CHURCHES OF GRADARA
Of course, we cannot leave the city without visiting the churches of Gradara! One of them is the Church of St John and the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. The church of St John is small but very charming. Its construction dates back to the 13th century and has inside a splendid sculpture of the crucified Christ, entirely carved in wood, in addition to various classical religious ornaments such as statues and paintings. The Church of the Most Holy Sacrament, near the Clock Tower, was built in the 16th century and restored in the 18th century. Admire the altarpiece painted by the painter Cimatori, a rare bellows organ and the remains of St. Clement, dating from 200 AD.
7) Visit Gradara in the Marche region: VISIT GARDEN OF OLIVE TREES
Don’t leave the city without visiting the Garden of Olive Trees (Giardino degli Ulivi) on via dei Cappuccini. There you will find the fascinating centenary olive trees of Gradara. The olive trees that grow in this private garden are splendid and deserve some of your time.
Map with attractions in Gradara
Gastronomy in Gradara
Be sure to taste the typical and famous delicacies of the local cuisine. Among the highlights, we can mention the genuine meat and vegetable dishes that are often washed down with Sangiovese DOC wine, in addition to the fantastic high quality extra virgin olive oil. The typical dish of Gradara is “Tagliolini con la Bomba”, a traditionally peasant dish that gets its name for its method of preparation.
The ingredients are simple and the way of making it too: just fry the onion, the lard (or bacon) with a little oil and, meanwhile, cook your pasta. After your pasta is cooked, drain – but leave a little water in the pan and then along with the sauté you made earlier. The name of the dish comes from the effect of the hot oil poured into the water, which causes a huge amount of steam – which can make it look like you threw a ‘bomb’ in the kitchen – and, therefore, the name: ” Tagliolini con la Bomba ”!
How to get to Gradara?
1) How to get to Gradara? BY AIRPLANE
The closest airport to Gradara is Rimini Airport, which is just 12 km away from the city.
Also read our posts about Airports in Italy:
- HOW TO GO FROM THE ROME AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF ROME?
- HOW TO GO FROM THE MALPENSA AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF MILANO?
- HOW TO GO FROM VENICE AIRPORT TO VENICE CENTER
2) How to get to Gradara? BY TRAIN
By train, get off at the Cattolica, S. Giovanni, Gabicce de Cattolica station and take the Adriabus 130 line to Gradara (Pesaro-Gabicce-Cattolica-Gradara line); or get off at Pesaro station and connect by bus using Adriabus n.130 to Gradara (Pesaro-Gabicce-Cattolica-Gradara line).
Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of railway transport? Also find out ” What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.
3) How to get to Gradara? BY CAR
You can go to Gradara by car, using the Cattolica-Gabicce exit on the A14: SS 16 towards Pesaro – and follow signs for Gradara (Gradara Centro, Gradara Castello or Piazza Mancini). You can also use the A14 Pesaro highway exit: SS 16 towards Rimini – in Colombarone, and follow the signs for Gradara (Gradara Centro, Gradara Castello or Piazza Mancini).
Traveling by car in Italy
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Visit Gradara, the most beautiful village in Italy in 2018? The Marche region is one of the least visited regions by the general public, but it is home to several incredible cities, such as Gardara itself, which, without any doubt, deserves a visit!
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