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Gradara is one of the best medieval villages of Italy and is located along the border of Le Marche and Emilia Romagna. It is a popular destination for day-trippers and offers some interesting historical attractions, including the imposing fortress, known to be one of the best-preserved monuments. You can catch some breathtaking views of this village, that has a castle perched up on the hill and overlooking the waters of the Adriatic Sea. Just on the opposite side, you can view olive groves and farms along with fields and vineyards that catch your attention. The whole village evokes a feeling of calm and tranquility with rows of cypress trees and farm cottages neatly lined up along the hillside.


Walls of Gradara

History of Gradara

During the Middle Ages around the year 1150, the nobles Pietro and Ridolfo De Grifo started building the major part of the castle. Over the years, the ownership of this land was transferred to the Malatesta family. As per ancient belief, Francesca da Rimini and her lover, Paulo were killed in the year 1289. Thus, the Malatesta family ruled over Gradara for almost two centuries and defended it for 42 days at the time when their rival, the Sforza family, made all efforts to capture this fortress. However, they lost this castle to the Sforza family in 1464 when Duke Federico of Montefeltro, The Duke of Urbino, was the ruler. In 1493, Giovanni Sforza decorated this castle for his own bride, Lucrezia Borgia who was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI and sister of the lesser-known Caesar. The chapel comprises of a majestically done terracotta altarpiece, which forms the chief attraction in addition to the torture room and the armory found in this castle.


The Main Street in Gradara. Ph. flickr/Anguskirk


Attractions in Gradara

This medieval village boasts natural beauty amidst pristine surroundings and a visit around this village offers lot of peace and tranquility. Castello Malatestiano is definitely worth a visit and the best attraction of this place where one can get a glimpse of the history of this region and learn lots of fascinating facts. Apart from the visit to the Rocca, The Church of Saint Giovanni comprising the lovely wooden crucifix is also recommended. You can see the historical museum and the Olive Trees Garden in this place. If you want to enjoy a spectacular view of the region, then make sure to visit the rounds walkway.


Gradara by night


Gradara is also one of the prime art centers, which had a theater in 1289 that recounted one of the heart wrenching stories of the ill-fated love between Paolo Malatesta and Francesca Polenta. In addition, you can also go on a guided tour of the Granada castle, where you will be taken on a historic journey beginning from the heart of the village to some of the historical attractions of this place. Besides, you can also see some of the best paintings and lovely architecture and get a glimpse of the interior design and the furnishings used here. Listen to the narration of the tragic story of the lovers on the guided tour.


Entrance to Gradara Castle


To people who are keen on recalling some of the stories from the past, this is a great place to visit where the internal rooms of the castle reminds of the powerful families who ruled here in the past. The construction of this lovely castle was started around the 11th Century under the command of Peter and Rudolph De Grifo. You can see the brillance of the architecture design in the castle and find some intricate details, including the three polygonal tower blankets. Besides, you can also see the double wall and the drawbridges that define this majestic fortress.

A small café in Gradara. Ph. flickr/Alberto Cabas Vidani


Getting to Gradara

Gradara is located at a distance of 15 kms from Pesaro and around 5 kms from across the beach of Gabbice. There are many low cost carriers that fly to and fro from the closer airports located across Rimini, Ancona, Forli and Bologna. Also, many railway stations such as Station of Cattolica, S. Giovanni, Gabicce Pesaro station are located close to Gradara.


Life in Gradara. Ph. flickr/Giorgio Minguzzi


Hotels and Accomodation

There are plenty of good options for lodging across Gradara ranging from hotels providing all the possible amenities to the visitors. In addition, you may also come across Bed & Breakfast inns around Gradara along with inns and villas for staying on a vacation. You may be able to avail of some discounts on hotels, if you book them in advance or during the off-season when there are fewer tourists.


The walled town of Gradara. Ph. flickr/Anguskirk

Eating in Gradara

You can find some tasty and delicious Italian food along with the local flavor of this region in most of the dishes offered in the restaurants of the village. Besides, fast food and pizzas are also available in lots of restaurants that cater to the preferences of the travelers. For those who are fond of pizza, there are many Pizzeria outlets where you can enjoy your meal. In addition, you can also try some of the tasty wines of this region and enjoy the distinct flavor of this Italian region.


Gradara, Marche. Ph. flickr/Anguskirk


Gradara offers some picturesque attractions located amidst the village surrounded by a lovely landscape, which is suitable for people who love art and history. The beautiful architecture of the Gradara castle along with the artistic works seen inside are worth admiring. Those who wish to view the countryside can get a glimpse of the scenic and natural surroundings of this ancient village surrounded by tales of romance, poetry, history with some cultural influences from the past.


Gradara, Marche. Ph. flickr/federica intorcia


If you want to take a break on your vacation and visit a calm place, then you will surely enjoy taking a trip around Gradara for its peace and tranquility. You can see some of its attractions by making a day trip and capture some of the best historical moments of this region. In addition, you can also enjoy some of the exotic wines and tasty food served in some of the local restaurants.


Gradara at sunset. Ph. flickr/Luca Argalia
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