Montebello Hamlet has been kept intact so well that it can give us an environment that is rich in history, charm and mystery. The beauty lies not only in its name, but also in the panorama it offers, dominated by the fifteenth-century Malatesta Fortress of Torriana -which later belonged to the Borgias and the Medicis. The story goes that it was in the basement of this fortress that Gianciotto Malatesta was killed; it was he who made himself sadly famous for the killing of the well-known lovers, his wife Francesca and his brother Paolo, celebrated in Dante's Divine Comedy. Montebello in name and in nature, for the amenity of its hamlet and the thousand-year-old Castle, where the legend of the ghost of Azzurrina dwells. The medieval town is accessed via a single street, going through a fortified gate which, once traversed, allows you to enjoy its pleasant atmosphere.
A bit of history
The village is dominated by the Castle of Montebello, built around the year 1000 for defensive purposes and which became an aristocratic residence, with the adaptation it underwent in the second half of the 15th century.
The keep is part of the original structure while the internal rooms and the beautiful courtyard date back to the 15th century when the counts Guidi of Bagno took over from the Malatestas, enfeoffed by the Pope in 1463, and they are still the owners.
A visit to the Castle holds pleasant surprises thanks to the treasures guarded there, among which some valuable furniture from various periods (14th-18th centuries), a collection of extremely heavy coffers and chests among which one from the 11th century stands out with an Islamic table as a lid which, it is said, was brought back from the Crusades.
Ghost and legends
The Legend of Azzurrina
The legend of Azzurrina is one of the most famous in the hinterland of Romagna and is based on a true story.
Guendalina Malatesta was the daughter of Ugolinuccio da Montebello, lord of a castle on a hilltop near Torriana, in the Rimini area, around the middle of the 1300s.
Guendalina was an albino, but a splendid girl. Who knows what triggered people's fantasies about being albino in those times: evil hand, magic!
Her father always had little Guenda escorted by two guards and did not allow her to leave the house because of the popular prejudice.
For her part, Guendalena’s mother, in the understandable desire to alleviate this diversity, dyed Guenda’s hair with vegetable concoctions that gave it blue reflections, like Guenda’s splendid blue eyes. That's why people liked to call her Azzurrina.
On June 21st, 1375, the summer solstice, Azzurrina, always supervised by her two keepers, was playing in the castle with a roll of rags because the weather outside was nasty. The little girl went after the ball that had fallen down an underground trap door and disappeared.
The guards heard a scream, they rushed to look and search, but they could not find, and would never again find, neither the little girl nor the ball!
However, Azzurrina is in the castle (now called Rocca dei Guidi di Bagno) and makes herself heard on the summer solstice every five years when the year ends in 0 and 5!