Where it is
This mediaeval town is on the Via Emilia, 10 km north of Rimini and 20 km south of Cesena. Santarcangelo is 13 km from the coast and the beaches of north Rimini and Bellaria Igea Marina.
Why visit it
There are lots of reasons why it’s worth discovering Santarcangelo: its strong local identity and the atmosphere of a large village where life follows a subdued pace, the architectural beauty of its elegant buildings, village houses, narrow streets and small squares, which have garnered it the title of a "city of art", and the international events and village fetes that bring it to life with their wonderful flavours.
When to go and what to see
Any time of year is a good time to plan a visit to this small town and enjoy all it has to offer. Standing on the gently sloping hillside, Mount Giove, its traditional structure as a mediaeval fortified village is still visible to this day.
Mount Giove is criss-crossed by a dense network of mysterious tufa caves, famed for their architectural beauty and about whose origins and use there is much debate. Some believe they were used as wine cellars and others that they were a place of worship. Today, some are open to visitors.
In central Ganganelli Square, the huge triumphal arch built in 1777 by the citizens in honour of their fellow-citizen Pope Clemente XIV (whose surname was Ganganelli, 1705-1774), can still be seen.
The Bell Tower, Cervese Gate, Piazza delle Monache, the collegiate church, the parish church of St. Michael and the Sferisterio are all characteristic places to visit and give this town its particular charm.
Visitors can’t fail to admire all the important pieces housed in the MUSAS - Historical Archaeological Museum, a rich heritage of art and culture, unique vestiges of the history of the Santarcangelo area and its people. Equally important is the MET - Ethnographical Museum of the Uses and Customs of the People of Romagna dedicated to the popular traditions and cultural identity of the area.
Santarcangelo is the birthplace of numerous great artists including Guido Cagnacci, a maestro of seventeenth-century art, Tonino Guerra, a screenwriter for famous film directors - he was the screenwriter for the film Amarcord directed by Federico Fellini - and dialectal writers Raffaello Baldini and Nino Pedretti.
A tablecloth, an apron or another craft piece made using rust printing blocks are a great souvenir of Santarcangelo: just go to the Stamperia Artigiana Marchi shop that, after many centuries, still uses a mangle dating from the seventeenth-century, the only one of its size and weight in the world.
On the table
You eat well in Santarcangelo and everyone in these parts will vouch for that! Local restaurants serve country-style dishes and homemade pasta, especially tagliatelle, particularly popular here.
Then there’s an inn that, as well as culinary delicacies, also lavishes out “cultural flavours”. It’s La Sangiovesa restaurant; inside, there are various objects that invite visitors to find out more about Tonino Guerra, an internationally-renowned poet and screenwriter who was born in here.
Three appointments put Santarcangelo under the spotlight. In July it hosts the prestigious international festival of theatre on the streets, with a packed programme of outdoor events and international guests; St. Michael’s Fair at the end of September is dedicated to the environment, animals and food and wine; finally, St. Martin’s Fair on 11th November hosts story-tellers, a market selling autumnal products and the curious “Piadina Palio”, open to all non-professionals.
In the surroundings
Starting from Piazza Ganganelli and heading inland, follow the SP 14 for about 6 km to Poggio Torriana where it is possible to see the wonderful outline of Marcosanti Palace, a fortified country residence dating from the 13th century, and where it is possible to visit several oil mills that bear witness to the rich heritage of mills in the Marecchia Valley.
Continuing on the SP 14, 5 km further on is the town of Torriana, which stands on a rock spur. Another 4 km further away is Montebello, which also stands on a peak overlooking the valley and where visitors shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the Guidi di Bagno Fortress, made famous thanks to the legend of the ghost of the a little girl called Azzurrina.