The fortress of Paolo and Francesca
Six kilometers from Gabicce Mare and Cattolica, 18 from Pesaro, 20 from Rimini and 35 from Urbino: close distances to reach the village of magic and love called Gradara, in the province of Pesaro-Urbino. Love, above all, because this is the scenario of the historical myth of Dante's memory between Paolo and Francesca. Between sea and hills, the town is one of the main tourist destinations of Italy, in the Riviera Marche-Romagna. The fortified village of Gradara, with its castle and its two walls that protect the whole fortress, represents a medieval complex among the best preserved throughout the Belpaese: it rises on the entire valley in a hill of 142 meters above sea level, a strategic and dominant position over the surrounding territory, kissed by a mild climate, generous with sweetness in every season of the year, mitigated by the inland hills and by the humidity of the sea in front of it. So, a privileged place, to build a fortress and have control of men and businesses, between 'fights' of various kinds between the houses of the Marches and Romagna and the Papal States. It all began in 1150: it is when the noble and powerful De Griffo family builds the keep that is fortified with a couple of mighty walls between 1200 and 1300, by the Malatesta family who, in spite of the fact that the town then moves from hand to hand, they left their massive footprint, so much so that Gradara is often referred to as Rocca Malatestiana. The domain of this family lasted until the middle of 1400, exactly in 1463, when the Pope's soldiers, led by Federico da Montefeltro, took possession of it. It is the historical moment of the Sforza of Pesaro, faithful to the papacy: in particular we remember Giovanni, the (almost) anonymous husband of the decidedly more famous Lucrezia. Among the families that later take care of the Fortress are also included Della Rovere and the Medici, in a real swirl of infighting and not that for many centuries has characterized these territories between Marche and Emilia Romagna. This did not do much good for the whole so much so that at the beginning of the twentieth century its state of conservation was not the best: luckily the last owner of this enchanted place intervenes, the engineer Umberto Zanvettori who, around the twenties, brings it back to its ancient beauty for our ecstatic eyes. The area is famous for certain craftsmanship, such as ceramics and majolica, important both in the building sector and in the craft sector, as well as for the presence of vineyards and olive groves. But the Gradara site literally calamita for its medieval atmosphere, 'bristling with stories, weapons and passions ... And there is to be considered a certain congressional tourism, through the company Gradara Innova which has several facilities in the historic center , a few steps from the famous Rocca, ideal for meetings, events, conventions, conferences, presentations, seminars.