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Gemmano

The beauty and variety of the natural landscape around Gemmano is without a doubt its greatest heritage, and it boasts some of the most fascinating and unspoilt countryside of the whole Rimini area, with features of great interest for botanists, geologists and tourists alike. The Onferno Caves, the Ventana Valley, its ravines, country paths and excellent views make the town a special attraction for visitors who wish to discover the pleasures of a remarkably intact natural environment.

The name of Gemmano appears to be linked to its rather unusual coat of arms, which shows an upraised hand holding a ring set with an enormous gem. A local legend recounts that the name is in fact associated with a beautiful jewel given to a bride of the Malatesta family, lords of the castle in the 14th and 15th centuries. However, it seems equally possible that the name derives from fundus Geminianus, an estate owned by the Geminiana family which lived in the area in Roman times, according to two ancient inscriptions discovered at Montefiore Conca. The present position of the town dates back to the Middle Ages, when many hilltops in the region were taken over and fortified.

Places and events

Gemmano once had an important castle which was the object of of constant strife between the local warlords, but only the ancient walls, recently restored, now remain. The centre of the town was completely destroyed in September 1944, during the Second World War. Fortunately, the destruction spared the countryside around the town, and this natural heritage offers many attractions of unspoilt beauty, such as the Onferno Caves, the only natural grottoes of the Conca Valley, around which many legends sprung up in ancient times, as can be imagined from their rather ominous name.

The caves were hollowed out from the solid chalk on which a castle once stood by the passage of an underground stream. Although they are are of quite limited extension, they hold much of interest from the point of view of speleology and fauna, and have been opened to the public.

The surrounding area was declared a Nature Park on 19th February 1992, and the project also includes the restoration of the ancient castle of Onferno, which will become a Visitors’ Centre, ideal as a starting point for countryside holidays. Places of religious interest around Gemmano in­clude the Santa Maria di Carbognano Church, where there is a 16th-century painting showing the Virgin Mary. The Ventena Valley is another area of great natural beauty, and is perfect for rambles, country cycling and horse-riding.

Useful information

Area: 19.2 sq. kilometres
Height: 404 metres above sea level
Population: 1104
Dialling code: 0541
Postcode: 47040
Town Council: I Piazza Roma – Tel. 0541 854060 – official web site
Tourist Information: 1 Piazza Roma – Tel. 0541 854060
Onferno Caves: Cooperativa Grotte – 83 Via Castello – Tel. 0541 984694 (open June to
September, 9am-12pm/3pm-7pm: April, May and October, Saturday afternoon and
Sunday; other months, Sunday afternoon only)
Post Offices:
Via Torino – Tel. 0541 854040
Via Schierno: Tel. 0541 984166
Municipal Police: 1 Via Roma – Tel. 0541 854060

Sources:
A Guide to Rimini Countryside 1992
Published by
Rimini Area Tourist Authority