The most famous town of the Adriatic Romagna Riviera: the place with the most famous discotheques, street bar, pubs and the place where every summer thousands of people go to enjoy, meet people, dance and drink.
My idea of Rimini has always been different: a nice historical center with the Roman remains of the August arch and the Tiberio bridge, the House of the Surgery, the Castel Sismondo, built by the Malatesta Family, and many beautiful corners to discover.
That is why I decided to take part to a special visit this summer, together with my fellow blogger, Maria Arruda of ViagemItalia.
Rimini by night: best time to visit
A few months ago, I discovered a union of cultural association, composed by archeologists, working in Rimini to promote the ancient Rimini itineraries. Booking a visit was quite simple. Every Friday evening they gather a group of people and take them around the town. Meeting at 9 pm in front of the House of the surgeon, our little version of the house recently restored in Piazza Armerina (Sicily).
Our guide is an archeologist, a lovely lady (Cristina Giovagnetti) and a true story teller. Seen from the outside, the House of the Surgery seems like a modern building. The excavations were covered by a modern buiding, surrounded by glasses, so that you can turn around and see the archeological site even if you do not enter.
Surprise, the group is made of 15 people, with children, too, which is quite weird considering that it’s still summer.
Who was this Surgeon
The question was not this, but rather why Romans decided to establish a town here. Rimini was a no man’s land with a very unhealthy climate and a lot of barbarians riots and assaults. But it was free land and Rome needed to defend this area. Their idea was to call 6000 men, rewarding them with this land and asking them to cultivate and defend the area. So Rimini was born. Let’s not enter in the details of the name because you probably will know, but the thing is that Rimini became soon a very important town, even if not so well built: hay roof and poor bricks were the main material.
And, of course the walls. The house of the surgeon was built against them: outside the beach and the sea. Now the house is in the center town, very far from the sea!
The surgeon came from another country, he was Greek and he had a very interesting name, Eutyches, the good Fortune. His house was very big, with rooms dedicated to the visits of the patients and also a receiving hall, on the other side of the house. The Calidarium (the Roman Bath) was used for healing aims and right beside, a little room to host people who needed to stay for a treatment. An ancient version of our day hospital. Everything was decorated with black and white mosaics which are exactly in the original place.
In 402 a.c. the town of Ravenna becomes the capital of the Eastern Empire: noble and administrative families come to town: luxury becomes the new style and also the mosaics change. Colors like blue and gold start to appear, giving the town a new light.
The archeologists found a lot of material and also some of the instruments he used, which now are in the Archeological museum in the center of Rimini.
From the house, you can reach Piazza Cavour, turn right and go towards the famous Tiberio Bridge. Which was one of the main entrance of the town. If you stay in the middle of the bride (trying not to be invested by a car!) and look on the other side you will see the Arch of August. 80% of the street in Rimini are the original Roman’s ones. The Decumano, the main street was a straight line going from one point to another one, connecting the Via Emilia (North direction) and the Via Flaminia (Rome direction).
The bridge was built on the Marecchia River posing in the mud a lot of wooden trees, as the Venetian did in Venice. Marecchia, the big sea. And as a matter of fact, if you take the Marecchiese Street towards the hills of Rimini, you will see e wide river bed, now completely empty, that makes you understand how this river was important. Following his itinerary, barbarians could pass the mountains, go to Tuscany and then directly to Rome. And this is one of the reason why the Romans sent a bunch of people to colonize the area.
By the way, do not imagine a no man’s land: the area was lived by the Gallic population. Romans, settled a colony just inside an enemy area.
The water that is running under the bridge is not the one of Marecchia: the river direction was changed to clean the area, full of mosquitos and very unhealthy for the people. The Marecchia now flows much more northerly. Just pass the bridge and go down towards the natural park, following the urban trekking itinerary until the new bridge. There you will see the real Marecchia.
Walking on the Tiberio bridge is like living 2000 years of history. 2014 is its foundation anniversary and it is still the symbol of the town. The interesting thing is that the Goths destroyed a part of it in the VI century a.c. and the Byzantines rebuilt it in the wrong way.
The last point of our nightly itinerary is the Arch of August. Built in the Roma direction because this was the main entrance of the Emperor. What you see now is not exactly what people of Rimini saw at that time. The upper part was decorated with gold and the statues of the arch were much bigger. Some of them were taken away during times.
It’s time to say goodbye to Cristina but I’m leaving Rimini with a new story to tell and with a new vision.
If you want to live the real Rimini by night, please contact tel. 347 4110474 or write at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thanks Fabiana Succi for helping me in being on this trip and all the people of the societies caring for these events in Rimini.