Along the central part of the Conca Valley, the oldest towns and villages are situated on pleasant hilltops. Monlecolombo is one of these towns, and many parts of its ancient castle have survived, dominating apanorama that stretches over the valley, down to the coast and inland to San Marino, with all the promise of the tranquillity of the countryside only a short distance from the bustling beaches of the Adriatic Riviera.
Although the ancient site of Castrum Montis Columbi, deriving from the Latin word colombus, meaning ‘dove’, has yielded little that might shed light on its origins, a number of lamps, ornaments and other objects found here show that it was certainly inhabited in Roman times.
Montecolombo was first mentioned in a document in 568 AD, when the town was a part of the Duchy of Rimini, and another document, dated 962, refers to it as a possession of Otto 1. In the period of the German Emperors Frederick Barbarossa and Otto IV, Montecolombo changed hands frequently, being ruled by the neighbouring towns of Montescudo and Rimini, and even by the Abbey of Ravenna.
The Malatesta family obtained control of the town in 1271, and dominated it for some two centuries. In 1504 it was occupied briefly by the Venetians, but it soon returned under the rule of the Papal States, which had owned considerable stretches of Romagna since the first donations made following the conquest of the Franks in the 9th century. Pope P1u5 VII granted the town its independence from nearby Montescudo in 1816.
Places and events
The present town, with its characteristic medieval architecture and streets, is famed for the excellence of its wines and its local craftwork products, such as earthenware. In the past, the whole countryside around was dotted with smaller castles, but the ravages of time and the destruction caused by the last war have left only that of Montecolombo.
The fortitied walls that encircle the town centre are of particular interest, as are the old gateways and the clock tower. In the centre of the town there is also the San Martino Church which has a fine painting showing St Martin, done by G. Soleri Brancaieoni in the late 18th century.
The surrounding countryside, shimmering in its beauty under the midsummer sun, offers a welcome invitation to visit the mineral water springs at San Savino, only a few kilometres away, whose refreshing waters possess notable therapeutic effects. A number of summertime events provide further incentives to discover Montecolombo and enjoy the relaxing serenity of the rural landscape. Two of these, the Tripe Festival and the Pasta Festival (July) present these rather unusual delicacies cooked according to a variety of traditional local recipes.
Area: 11.89 sq. kilometres
Height: 315 metres above sea level
Dialling code: 0541
Town Council: 3 Piazza Malatesta – Tel. 984214
Tourist Information: Town Hall- Tel. 984591
3 Piac:a Malatesta – Tel. 984217
Via Provinciale – Taverna – Tel. 984255
Croce – Tel. 985341
25 Via Roma – San Savino – Tel. 985443
Ragazzi del Lago Community: 4 Via Canepa – Croce – Tel. 985115
Police: Via Borgo – Tel. 984224
Municipal Police: 3 Piazza Malatesta – Tel. 9842/4
A Guide to Rimini Countryside 1992
Rimini Area Tourist Authority