A few weeks ago I was invited by Emilia Romagna Tourism Board to participate on their BlogVille project. What is BlogVille, you might ask? Basically it is a bunch of bloggers living together –in Rimini in this case– and exploring the region with a more local perspective.
I’ve gone backpacking in Italy a few times by now, but never I thought I’d set foot in Rimini, until now.
By the time I got to Rimini, I had already spent some time in Italy. I had visited the uber famous cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. So, what about Rimini?
Quite honestly, I had not heard about Rimini before I got to know about the BlogVille project, so to me this city was a complete new Italian experience.
But, was it an “Italian experience”?
As soon as I arrived in Rimini the only essence I had of Italy was just the Italian language. As I walked down the main street, it literally felt like I was walking down Fort Lauderdale or Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.
Rimini felt purely like a beach town. I admit that I loved the vibe. But wait!, was I still in Italy? This is not the Italy I know, that I’ve studied in countless history books, and that I’ve read so much on other travel blogs. Well, it is a new Italy for me, and a very cool and vibrant Italy indeed.
Like I mentioned, aside from the Italian language (oh, and the piadinas, gelatos, and granitas that I later discovered are so popular in Rimini), this town presented a different side of Italian tourism. In fact, the beach front side of Rimini is a sunbather’s haven.
Colored umbrellas grid the entire beach as far as your eyes can see and little cafes and shops keep the waterfront active all day long.
What took me a few days to realize was that there is indeed an “Italian experience” in Rimini. This is one of those cities that doesn’t necessarily scream “traditional Italy”, but once you go deep, you’ll find a lot of Italian tradition and the essence of what makes Rimini so unique.
Hidden behind all this beach glory, there is actually a bit of the traditional Italy. Yes! There is an old town. While it does not compare with Rome or Florence, architecturally wise, the old town in Rimini offers a broad look to history in a condensed space.
In fact, the old town does not look that old today, since it was the second most destroyed city in Italy after Montecassino, but it still conserves a few historical pieces that date the city well back to the medieval times and even farther back to the Roman times.
I promise I’ll go into more detail on the architecture not to miss in the old town in a following post, but one thing I want to mention now is that the Tiberius Bridge cannot be missed.
This one was by far my favorite architectural piece in Rimini and one that speaks loudly about the engineering capacity of the Romans. It is one of the oldest bridges in all Italy. It was started by Caesar Augustus in 14AD and finished by Tiberius in 21AD. This is pure Roman architecture still in action!
On the opposite side of the old town there is the Augustus Arch, which is the oldest triumphal arch still surviving in northern Italy. It was built in 220BC to mark the entrance to Rimini from the Flaminian Way that linked Rimini with Rome.
These two historical pieces, as well as many others in Rimini, might go unnoticed between the high-pitched fanfare that famous structures in Rome and other major cities have. But certainly, these little pieces are important in the puzzling of the whole Roman history.
Now, back to the beach!
I can’t finish talking about Rimini without mentioning one of the best things you have to do there. Watch the sunrise!
Following the BlogVille tradition, my very first night in the apartment was an all-nighter with my roomies Erin of Our Tasty Travels and Emma of Emma’s Travel Tales. In the end, we watched the sunrise while making jokes along the beach.
The sunrise… a beautiful experience that cannot be missed. This is part of the essence of Rimini.
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