Situated on the Adriatic Sea coast-line and washed by the rivers Ausa and Marecchia, Rimini is one of the most famous seaside resorts of Italy, thanks to its 15 km of sandy beach, its daytime activities and its nightlife.
Built by the Romans in 268 B.C., when the Senate of Rome sent 6000 settlers to edify a new town, that they called Ariminum, in honour of the nearby river Marecchia, at those times known as Ariminus.
At its early stages, it was just a strategic base. In 90 B.C. it became a municipium and quickly grew o become a rich city of the Roman Empire with its own large Forum (today Piazza Martiri), two large central streets: "the cardo maximus" (the primary north-south road that was the usual main street - today Via Garibaldi and Via IV Novembre) and the "decumanus maximus" (an east-west-oriented road - today Corso d'Augusto), a large Amphitheatre with a lot of triumphal monuments (only the Coliseum is larger), the Bridge of Tiberio and the Arch of Augustus. There is also a rarity which is the domus (house) of a surgeon, the only Worldwide example of a Roman clinic still intact today. Another important example of the works decided by the Roman Senate are the Consular roads: the Via Flaminia and the Via Emilia. The first one connects Rome to Rimini and ends with the Arch of Augustus. The Via Emilia starts from the Bridge of Tiberius and continues for 100 km and reaches Piacenza.
In the XII century Rimini became a city with its own council and in 1204 the heart of the city was moved into Piazza Cavour where the citizens started the building of the new Town Hall, locally known as the "Arengo".
During the Malatesta Family's dominion (Family mentioned for the tragic episode of Paolo and Francesca in the Divina Commedia of Dante), Rimini was embellished with new important monuments. The Sigismondo Castle (1437) is a classic Renaissance stronghold. Commissioned by Sigismondo himself and assisted by consultants such as Brunelleschi, it was built on the ruins of an entire highly-populated district. The fortress was a symbol of strength, but today only the centre building is still standing.
The Malatesta Temple, masterpiece of the Renaissance, is a wonderful unfinished monument that was built to describe the love story between Sigismondo and his young mistress Isotta Degli Atti, who became his third and last wife. Sigismondo had this temple built on the ruins of a church dedicated to the Francescani, with the desire of edify a Mausoleum for Isotta and himself. With a sacred marble façade, firmed by the famous architect Leon Battista Alberti, the Malatesta Temple is
rich of chapels and treasures such as the Giotto's Crucifix, a wall fresco of Piero della Francesca, the precious bas-relief of playing angels on a blue background.
Not to miss is the Church of Sant'Agostino, one of the gems of the old city center, with its wall frescos of artists of '300 from the local art-school. In the apse and in the bell tower chapel, there are scenes that narrate episodes of the life of San Giovanni Evangelista and of the Madonna. They were traced after the earthquake of 1916 and found under the stucco of some other wall frescos of the '700, painted on top of them. Even though they did not seem to be of great value at the time of the retrieval, they were saved as between them a portrait of Dante appeared. The Church's exterior appears in its original Gothic style.