Verucchio boasts an ancient history that goes hand in glove with the fate of the Malatesta Seignory. However, hundreds of years before the Middle Ages, in the Iron Age, between the 9th and 6th centuries BC, Verucchio was an important settlement of the Villanovan civilization and a number of extraordinary remains from that period are still housed in the Municipal Museum.
However, the structure of the town is clearly medieval. In fact, between the end of the 12th century and 1462, Verucchio’s invincible fortress or Rocca was the feud from which the Malatesta family controlled the entire coast and the neighbouring Marche region. On 31st October 1462 a siege, resolved thanks to an act of deception by Federico of Montefeltro, decreed the end of the Malatesta reign over the fortress.
After this period, Pope Leo X assigned Verucchio the title of “city” and it was in turn ruled members of the Medici (a branch of the powerful Florentine family) and the Pio Comneno families. After the mid-16th century, Verucchio returned to the Church.
Rocca Malatestiana or Rocca del Sasso
The monumental complex of the Rocca Malatestiana consists of a number of buildings constructed in different periods, between the 12th and 16th century. They cover a large area situated on the highest part of Verucchio, the “sasso” or “rock”, which affords truly unique and breathtaking views. By the end of the 12th century, the Rocca already belonged to the Malatesta family. In fact, this is where “Mastin Vecchio” Malatesta was born. He was the head Guelph who conquered Rimini in 1295 and founded the Malatesta Seignory. The remains of the 13th-century fortress and its ancient tower can still be admired inside the 15th-century structure, the result of work commissioned by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in 1449. Inside the fortress, it is possible to visit several interesting and well-furnished rooms, including the imposing Grand Hall, and even to descend into the dungeons or climb to the top of the keep that also offers spectacular views.
Starting from the Church of Sant’Agostino, it is possible to walk around the moat walls. They have been entirely renovated and offer views that sweep across the entire Marecchia Valley. A walk along the walls will astound visitors, not only because of the spectacular panoramic views but also for the glimpses of an ancient past. In fact, a walk along the path, which climbs and descends past a number of towers, is a truly unforgettable experience.
Convent of the Sisters of Saint Claire
At the very top of the village, opposite the Rocca del Sasso, stands the Convent of the Benedictine Nuns, rebuilt in 1610 on the existing Rocca del Passerello. This vast and imposing fortress was also once a residence of the Malatesta family. It is not possible to visit the convent as it is still home to a number of enclosed nuns.
Municipal Archaeological Museum
Housed in the Monastery of the Augustinian Fathers, which was founded in the 7th century, this is an internationally renowned museum and one of the biggest art treasures in the hinterland of Rimini. Not only are the exhibits unique but they are also extremely precious (they were found in hundreds of Villanovan-Etruscan tombs dating from the 9th to the 7th century BC), making the museum well worth visiting.
The necropolis in Verucchio, which are on a par to the Etruscan ones found in the Lazio and Tuscany regions, brought to light a number of items and pieces of furniture that are unique in both style and state of preservation. These include wooden objects, containers made from vegetable fibres and precious cloths. One of the most important exhibits is a wooden throne inlaid with human figures. Even the building that houses the museum, the Augustinian Monastery, represents a more than fitting backdrop thanks to its spectacular architecture (including the church of Sant’Agostino).
This is one of the Marecchia Valley’s cathedrals and was built in 1863 by Tondini, a skilled architect from Verucchio. It houses a number of interesting works of art including:
*A 14th-century wooden Crucifix: by an unknown artist from the fourteenth-century Rimini school.
*A 15th-century wooden Crucifix: a Venetian Crucifix on a shaped tablet by Nicolò di Pietro (1404).
*A canvas by Centino (Francesco Nagli) dating from the mid-17th century and depicting Saint Martin giving his cape to a pauper.
Ancient spring and Malatesta Well
At the entrance to the town there is a spring that has supplied Verucchio with water for centuries. Recent excavations have highlighted the existence of two cisterns, with a vaulted cover, and a well dating from the 15th century.
This is the town’s main square and is overlooked by the Municipal Hall and other buildings dating from the late 19th century.
13th century Franciscan Monastery
The monastery is in Villa Verucchio. The church of Santa Croce houses a masterpiece of the 14th-century Rimini school of art depicting the Crucifixion whilst outside the church there is a 23-metre tall tree that is believed to be about 700 years old. According to local legend, it was planted by Saint Francis. The monastery is thought to be the oldest Franciscan building in Romagna and allegedly dates from 1215.
Town Hall: 27, Piazza Malatesta Tel. 0541/670154
Pro Loco Association/Tourist Information: 21, Piazza Malatesta Tel. 0541/670222 Fax 0541/673266
Culture Office: 27, Piazza Malatesta Tel. 0541/670154 Fax 0541/679570
Rocca Malatestiana Fortress: Tel. 0541/670552
Municipal Archaeological Museum: Via S.Agostino Tel. 0541/670280
Opening times for the museum and fortress:
From 1st October to 31st March
Saturdays from 14.30 to 19.00
Sundays and bank holidays from 10.00 to 12.30 - 14.30 to 19.00
From 1st April to 30th September
Every day from 9.30 to 12.30 - 14.30 to 19.30
For school groups or group visits on other days, kindly telephone the Pro Loco Association.