Montegridolfo is one of "The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy" and of Borghi Viaggio Italiano.
This hamlet is delightful and inviting, a keep whose existence was already mentioned around the year 1000, which shows up in its entirety, completely protected by high walls with a single access, with a tower overlooking the sixteenth-century gate.
The urban layout has remained as it was in medieval times, the embankment is surrounded by strong walls flanked by towers, the entire hamlet is located inside, consisting of narrow streets overlooked by the main buildings and small houses.
The Town Hall building is right next to the entrance gate, the other remarkable building is Palazzo Viviani (now used as a prestigious 4-star hotel and restaurant) which stands on the remains of the Fortress.
The whole historic center provides the exact image of the small castle that has been able to preserve and adapt harmoniously over the course of several centuries.
We also point out the panoramic view of the coast of Pesaro, Rimini and the lower valley of the Foglia River that can be seen from the walls.
With ministerial decree of December 16, 1976, the Castle of Montegridolfo with its surrounding hill, were declared natural, esthetic and traditional beauties of public interest and therefore subjected to landscape protection.
There are so many things you cannot miss seeing once you get to the hamlet.
Built by the Malatesta family, they are very strong and are reinforced by magnificent towers. To access the Castle, you partially skirt it until you reach the only access gate. From there, you can enjoy a wide panoramic view from the marina to the hills.
Gate of the Castle
The elegant opening, topped by the Tower, dates back to the sixteenth century. Proceeding along a raised walkway, one enters the Tower, while if you go through the gate, you enter the square overlooked by the Town hall. In the center, the Viviani Chapel, with a copy of the black Madonna, which has taken the place of the thirteenth-century church which was destroyed.
Historic town center
The urban layout has remained medieval, structured in narrow districts, some covered. Walking through the hamlet, one is enraptured by an ancient harmonious aura. To give a bit of modernity to everything, there are shops and restaurants.
It is an interesting building that stands on the remains of the considerably attractive fortress. Today it is a prestigious hotel and restaurant, with a winter garden and park. It owes its name to an aristocrat from Urbino knighted by Napoleon.
A bit of history
The history of Montegridolfo is also linked to the Malatesta family and is in fact characterized by continuous attacks and conquests by the Malatesta and Montefeltro families, by whom it was to be possessed for several years.
A first castle already existed in the year 1000. In 1148 it belonged to the abbey of Saint Peter of Rimini and was later a Ghibelline municipality.
The Guelphs from Romagna tried several times to take possession of the castle of Montegridolfo, in particular the neighbors of Mondaino and Saludecio who sacked the church of Saint Peter of Montegridolfo and burned its sacred books. For this vile gesture they were called traitors and hated by Montegridolfo inhabitants for many centuries.
The rivalry between the Malatesta family and the Montefeltros made matters worse, because Montegridolfo was right on the border!
In June 1336 Ferrantino Malatesta (rival brother of the Duke of Rimini), allied with the enemies Montefeltros, attacked the castle of Montegridolfo causing a great deal of damage. In order not to succumb to the treacherous attack, the Malatestas hired Florentine militias, forced Ferrantino to retreat to Urbino and so the castle of Montegridolfo remained with the Malatestas who in the following years restored it by building higher walls.
The castle had a rectangular shape, with 4 towers at the corners; today only one remains plus the one transformed into a bell tower with the gate, the other two have been incorporated into Palazzo Viviani, which has now become a hotel.
Malatesta, a quarrelsome family
Montegridolfo, like Saludecio and Mondaino and other villages in the area, were the scenes of internal struggles within the Malatesta family during the first half of the fourteenth century. In particular, the cousins Ferrantino Novello, Galeotto and Malatesta Guastafamiglia were those who fought without restraint.
The first was the son of Ferrantino and nephew of Malatestino, nicknamed “dall’occhio” (with one eye), the second two were sons of Pandolfo I, Malatestino’s brother.
The quarrels, or rather the fights, lasted a long time and were solved with the defeat of Ferrantino, who had even allied with the Montefeltro enemies and had established a sort of personal Seigneury located on the hills of Romagna, near Urbino.
The whole village was the victim of these struggles, to the point that Ferrantino himself had it completely destroyed in 1336. Five years later it had already been rebuilt by Galeotto and Malatesta Guastafamiglia, following a precise urban plan, which made it more powerful thanks to higher walls and the addition of 4 towers, and which is still substantially intact today.
The truly enchanting castle layout, renovated as a whole on the threshold of the new millenium, rests on an embankment, surrounded by high sloping walls, the houses are scrupulously aligned along three parallel streets and the access is through a gate-tower via a drawbridge. The fortress, whose remains are incorporated into Palazzo Viviani, named after the aristocrat from Urbino who was its owner, knighted by Napoleon Bonaparte, was generously donated in 1503 by Cesare Borgia, the Valentino, to his beloved "executioner", Don Micheletto.
Ghost and legends
A differenza degli altri castelli della Riviera di Rimini, Montegridolfo non vanta né fantasmi, né tesori nascosti. La sua storia, le sue curiosità i suoi aneddoti sono tutti splendidamnete reali.
Visitare il Museo della linea dei Goti ad esempio, è un tuffo in un storia relativamente recente, dove si osserva il luogo della battaglia di Montegridolfo e lo sfondamento delle difese tedesche nell'agosto del 1944.
Il Museo è ricco di cimeli bellici che risalgono alla seconda guerra mondiale quando i tedeschi approntarono la linea difensiva gotica per ostacolare l'avanzata delle truppe alleate.