The village’s history boasts a number of leading figures such as the Blessed Amato Ronconi, a Franciscan monk of the third order, who in the 13th century founded the Hospital of Santa Maria di Monte Orciale, a hospice for pilgrims who used to pass through here on their way to Rome, defying constant perils and unknown dangers. The period from the 13th to the 15th century was marked by battles and conflicts for control of the Laudeciano hills. The Malatesta and Montefeltro families alternately ruled the area before surrendering to Cesare Borgia, the Della Rovere family (the legitimate heirs of the Montefeltro family) and for a short period of time, the Venetians. In 1524, the Papal States extended their control over Saludecio and this remained firm until 1859 (with a brief interruption in 1797 when the town became part of the Cisalpine Republic).
The intense literary and political work that has come out of Saludecio has left its mark on the cultural panorama of the Conca Valley, of which for many years it was considered to be the capital. Nowadays, Saludecio is one of the leading agricultural towns in the Rimini area. It also has a flourishing handicraft sector (including ceramics, fine felt work and wrought iron) as well as boasting a small manufacturing industry (footwear, woodwork and metalwork) and is also a leading tourist destination.
In the 1980’s, the unspoilt landscape surrounding the town stimulated the development of an interesting nature project called “Saludecio, a centre for officinal herbs and herbal studies” thanks to which, a permanent herbarium and market garden were set up and now have a hundred different species known as the Erbe di Gaetano (or Gaetano’s Herbs).
Entrance to the town is via Marina Gate, part of the boundary wall keep. Opposite it stands Montanara Gate (14th century), which has been carefully restored and marks the end of the medieval village. Also dating from the period of medieval city-republics period is the old Municipal Tower (14th century), which bears the town’s emblem in stone.
The artistic and cultural developments of the Renaissance left a number of interesting aristocratic palaces in this small town in Romagna. Typical examples include Albini Palace (16th century), the former Della Rovere Palace with a splendid colonnaded courtyard that recalls the graceful lines of the Ducal Palace in Urbino, and Riminucci Palace (16th century), which still has an original two-flight, stone staircase. The parish church of San Biagio (close to Marina Gate) is the work of the artist Achilli from Cesena and is also the Sanctuary of the Blessed Amato Ronconi. It is one of the finest examples of 17th-century architecture in the Rimini area and houses canvases by Centino, Guido Cagnacci and other local artists.
The Museum of Sacred Art (housed in the Sanctuary) is also well worth visiting. It contains a collection of ex-voto items (candlesticks, lamps and shrines) and vestments, altar cloths and holy vessels (lanterns, cloaks, standards and vestments) donated over the centuries by devotees of the Blessed Amato Ronconi whose body is kept here in a glass urn. On the small square opposite the sanctuary stands a tiny and extremely unusual chapel called the Chapel of the Elm of the Blessed Amato. It houses an ancient tree that is said to date back to a miracle performed by Amato Ronconi. In fact, according to legend, one day he thrust his walking stick into the ground and it became a thriving and flourishing tree.
In the upper part of the village stands another important religious complex, which includes the church and Monastery of San Girolamo. Founded in 1640, it houses 18th-century paintings and an interesting fresco (in the cloisters) that depicts all those who have guided the monastery over the years.
Visitors who wish to enjoy an evening that is somewhat out of the ordinary can head to the Astronomical Observatory in Santa Maria del Monte. It was founded by the N. Koppernik Group and has an extremely powerful telescope. It is open to visitors on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Another interesting excursion is to the remains of the medieval castles of Cerreto and Meleto.
An event that visitors should not miss is Salus Erbe (around 25th April) an event that mixes conferences, round tables, exhibitions, food stands and street markets all dedicated to the world of herbal and natural medicine, organic farming and the environment. Numerous street markets are held on the same theme throughout the summer, bringing the narrow streets of the town centre to life with the products and flavours of the surrounding countryside (every Saturday evening from June to August).
Another important event is the Ottocento Festival (first week of August) a wonderful mix of music, theatre, exhibitions and street markets that bring back the carefree atmosphere of 19th-century operettas.