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A weekend in the Rubicone Valley: what to see and where to go

by /// February 2, 2023
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

48 h

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48 h

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48 h

Time
48 h

Family

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Family

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If, as a young person, you happened to be confronted with the world of Latin, you might have heard the word Rubicone.

Rubicone is nothing more than the name of a river, a short torrential watercourse of about 35/40 km that originates and dies out in Romagna, flowing from its spring in the backcountry of Sogliano to its mouth in the Adriatic Sea.

The Rubicone river is not a particularly relevant geographic element in Romagna, but it has always had a role in the local, historical and social geography.

To follow its course means seeing first-hand some of the most characteristic aspects of this territory. You find history and monuments, the traditional good cooking, handcrafted products, music and Casadei-style ballroom dancing, the passion for sports and cycling; and finally nature, with its magnificent hilly landscapes overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

The journey to the discovery of this territory develops in plain, without changes in altitude, until the historical centre of Savignano. The landscape changes as you move towards the backcountry.

The wide valley of the river perfectly integrates with the plain, creating a landscape punctuated by orchards; on the surrounding hills, small medieval towns dominating the territory and enriching it with colours and traditions.

You can easily cover this itinerary by car or motorbike, but it is also very beautiful on a bike. Part of this area is indeed crossed by the famous cycling race Nove Colli, and it is not difficult to find many sportspeople climbing and descending from the slopes of these marvellous hills at weekends.

Gatteo and San Mauro Mare

Gatteo Mare (RM) - Statua in onore di Giulio Cesare sul Rubicione
Gatteo Mare (RM) – Monument in honour of Julius Caesar along the Rubicione river | Ph. © marcobir, via shutterstock

Our tour starts from the Adriatic Sea. Here is the mouth of the Rubicone river, thus separating the towns of Gatteo and San Mauro Mare.

Among fully-equipped hotels, fish restaurants and golden beaches, these two small beach towns stand out for their hospitality and services, and are ideal places for a relaxing, safe and easy-going holiday.

The best time to visit them is undoubtedly summertime, but wintertime can offer interesting views and relaxing strolls by the sea.

Bike lovers can enjoy a loop trail along this stretch of coastline, starting from the skyscraper of Cesenatico to the mouth of the Rubicone river, and back.

San Mauro Pascoli

San Mauro Pascoli (FC) - Villa Torlonia
San Mauro Pascoli (FC) – Villa Torlonia | Ph. © DinoPh, via shutterstock

Lost among plain fields of the Romagna backcountry, the town of San Mauro Pascoli is not far from the mouth of the Rubicone river.

After a long sequence of events throughout history, this town owes the fortune of its recent history on the one hand to poet Giovanni Pascoli, who was born here between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th; on the other to a flourishing footwear industry, that was able to attract some of the most important labels of Italian high fashion.

Worth a visit are: Casa Pascoli, which contains Giovanni Pascoli’s memory, life and poetics; and Villa Torlonia – integral part of Parco Poesia Pascoli – today home to conferences, theatre performances, music, temporary exhibitions and to Museo Multimediale Pascolino.

Savignano sul Rubicone

Savignano sul Rubicone (FC) - Ponte romano
Savignano sul Rubicone (FC) – Roman bridge | Ph. © Sergio bellavista, via Wikimedia

According to the tradition, it was right near Savignano sul Rubicone that Julius Caesar exclaimed his well-known “alea iacta est” in 49 BC (traditionally translated with “the die is cast”), going beyond the course of the river with his troops, thus declaring war to the Roman republic.

Today, Savignano is a small town characterised by a tiny historical centre located along the path of Via Emilia, which ends up in Rimini.

The Roman bridge is undoubtedly the city’s most famous monument, along with the Abbey of San Giovanni in Compìto and Museo archeologico del Compìto, with many artefacts found in the area around the town.

Since 1992, Savignano has also been the capital of international photography thanks to SI-Fest, one of the most important festivals at national level, offering every year a rich programme of exhibitions all around the historical centre and much more.

Sogliano al Rubicone

Sogliano al Rubicone (FC
Sogliano al Rubicone (FC) | Ph. © Archivio Comune_Sogliano al Rubicone

Suspended between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines, Sogliano al Rubicone is a nice town in the heart of Romagna.

Among the many reasons to visit it, his excellent food and wine tradition particularly stands out. Sogliano is famous for its delicious Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano PDO, that is prepared and aged every year in ancient cavities around the historical centre, some of which are also visible.

Walking around town, it is possible to sense the smell of fresh cheese, as well as the one of other specialties that fully draw from the typical Romagna tradition.

Point of reference of the territory, Sogliano is a very active centre from a cultural point of view, with events, fairs and festivals rich in fragrances and taste all year round.

Among the places that are surely worth a visit, we recommend Palazzo della Cultura “Marcosanti-Ripa”, with its five interesting permanent exhibitions: Collezione Veggiani, Museo di Arte Povera (lit. museum of poor art), Museo del Disco d’epoca (lit. museum of vintage records), Museo Linea Christa, Museo Leonardo da Vinci e la Romagna.

Starting from Sogliano, you can get up to the spring of the Rubicone river. Thanks to a loop trail that can be covered on food, mountain bike or on horseback (about 4,5 hours), it is possible to reach Passo dei Meloni, from which you can enjoy a view from the Apennines to the Romagna coastline.

In the surroundings

Montetiffi

Small, actually very small. Montetiffi is a hamlet of Sogliano, developed around the Benedictine abbey, today renovated and visible.

Apart from its characteristic medieval historical centre, this hamlet preserves an ancient art, the production of terracotta trays for the cooking of piadina romagnola!

Borghi e San Giovanni in Galilea

Borghi is a small town on the hills surrounding Sogliano al Rubicone. It offers stunning views on the whole territory, which is rich in castles and strongholds located within a short distance of each other.

Don’t miss the centre of San Giovanni in Galilea with its Museo Renzi and Sagra del Bustrengh in May, a fair dedicated to a traditional Romagna pie

Sorrivoli (FC) - Castello
Sorrivoli (FC) – Castle | Ph. © ermess, via shutterstock

Roncofreddo

Roncofreddo is a small hill town guarding the northern part the valley of the Rubicone river, located just 17 km away from Cesena. We recommend a stroll in its particular historical centre and a stop in the nearby towns of Sorrivoli and Monteleone.

Longiano

Overlooking the valley of the Rubicone river and surrounded by vines, olive and fruit trees, the town of Longiano (which has been awarded the Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club) is characterised by nice alleys, panoramic points and a majestic medieval castle.

If you walk around the town, you feel like time has stopped, giving anyone deciding to visit it interesting cultural and cooking surprises.

Longiano (FC) - Panoramica sul borgo
Longiano (FC) – Panoramic view over the village | Ph. © Vivida Photo, via shutterstock

Montiano

Montiano is a small town on the hills around Cesena, surrounded by vines, olive and fruit trees just as the nearby Longiano. Don’t miss its castle, overlooking and filling up the whole town with its peculiar heart shape.

Author

Davide Marino

Davide Marino was born archaeologist but ended up doing other things. Rational – but not methodic, slow – but passionate. A young enthusiast with grey hair

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