Bellaria Igea Marina
In 1956, following its separation from Rimini, the Municipality of Bellaria Igea Marina was founded, the result of the unification of the two seaside resorts of the same name. After the Second World War, the great influx of tourists completely changed the old fishing and farming villages, which had already begun to host holidaymakers seeking peace and quiet and fresh air at the end of the 19th century, many of whom built their “ville al mare” (seaside villas) here.
Today, Bellaria Igea Marina is a modern and attractive seaside town, which stretches along 7 kilometres of coastline. It preserves the memory of the historical places that continue to shape its various affiliations, characteristics and identity.
It is recognised as an ideal holiday destination due to the beauty of its surroundings, its services and the friendly hospitality of its tourist industry and citizens. The golden beach, authentic gastronomy, green parks, sports facilities, cultural events and shows, shopping in the pedestrian areas and modern accommodation facilities make holidays and life in the town extremely pleasant.
Bellaria Igea Marina boasts a sea that has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag for many years. The city is a true open-air gymnasium, with modern sports facilities, green spaces, water activities and sports events. The Sentieri per l’Uso, with around 10 km of cycle and walking paths along the river, and the Parco del Gelso (Mulberry Park), with its 25 hectares of greenery, offer the opportunity for walks along nature trails. Amidst numerous fashionable shops, unique and stylish bars, restaurants, pastry shops, bars and artisan ice cream parlours, you can rediscover the pleasure of strolling through large, safe pedestrian areas, which have become truly natural shopping centres, full of flowerbeds and greenery
Bellaria Igea Marina, overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches on the entire Adriatic coast, is situated just a few kilometres inland: just go up the hill towards the Marecchia Valley to relive the magical atmosphere and the former glory of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Santarcangelo di Romagna, Torriana, Montebello, Verucchio, San Leo, Novafeltria, Pennabilli and the Republic of San Marino are located in these valleys and look out over the Adriatic Sea and the hills on the border between Romagna and Marche from their elevated positions.
Bellaria Igea Marina’s strategic location in the centre of the Adriatic Riviera means that world-famous art cities such as Ravenna and Urbino can be reached quickly.
The Sentieri per l’Uso route
The “Sentieri per l’Uso” route covers the course of the river Uso in the Municipalities of Bellaria Igea Marina and San Mauro Pascoli, which has been redeveloped with the construction of a cycle and pedestrian trail and nine rest areas equipped with with benches, picnic tables and information panels.
The route is about 6 km long, running along the Uso river on dirt roads and marked paths. Those who undertake the trip will get a chance to observe the local flora and fauna.
The cycle and pedestrian trail starts in Bellaria on Via Ravenna at the intersection of the Uso river on the right bank and continues for the first 1,500 meters up to a footbridge called “Castrum Lusi”, which allows people to cross the river and move onto the left bank. It then continues for about 2 and a half kilometres until it flows into the Rio Salto, mentioned in the famous “Cavallina Storna” by the poet Giovanni Pascoli.
From this point on, the trails continues along the old, abandoned Uso and Rio Salto embankments to the Podere Isola bridge for another 700 metres. The last stretch of the track, just over a kilometre long, ends at Podere Buda and Villa Torlonia.
Those who wish can continue for another 2 km to the crossroads with San Mauro Pascoli and turn back from Villa Torlonia, crossing a wooden “Ca ‘Uso” footbridge that leads directly to Igea Marina, leaving the cycle and pedestrian trail and taking the dirt and tarmac roads.
Places of interest along the route include the church of Santa Margherita (18th century), the former Donegallia Abbey and Benelli Castle, both from the 13th century, and the Furnace of Bellaria Igea Marina, a fine example of industrial archaeology , which is now the target of various improvement projects and initiatives.
Typical food and wine products
Bellaria Igea Marina is well known for its authentic cuisine and flavours, based on the products of the sea and the land.
Most notorious are the mussels, which are bred in farms and even sold abroad, and the fish. These, prepared in a brodetto (stew), constituted the main meal on the fishing boats, which was eaten at around nine o’clock in the morning, when the crew had finished fishing. Today, in addition to being eaten in the home, it can be enjoyed in the city’s numerous restaurants.
The products of the earth, both cultivated and wild, have always been treated with a great respect for their natural properties and therefore without excessive alteration, as was the custom in peasant society.
These include a particular tuber, the appetising yellow “patata da sabbia” (sand potato). This is mostly grown in the northernmost part of the municipality, the “Cagnona”, which has been famous since the first half of the 20th century for its farming and vegetables. Baked or boiled, it is distinguished by its sweet and delicious flavour.
The piadina is a local tradition and in Bellaria Igea Marina it has its own festival in September. It can be eaten in countless combinations: pairing it with sardines and onion is traditional, a recipe which has its roots in the city’s gastronomic heritage.
Small museums only make use of their vast potential to the extent that they are able to create meaningful connections between each other. It was therefore necessary to build a network of relationships and synergisms in order to create a dialogue and to make the museums of Bellaria Igea Marina accessible to the public through similar institutions outside the municipality.
This gave rise to the idea of creating ReMus, a network of museums along the two rivers, Marecchia and Uso, which the museums of Bellaria Igea Marina belong to.
Casa Rossa – The Red House
“Unshakable in his faith, he suffered misery, exile and persecution, but never betrayed his reverence for his country, the dignity of his soul and his belief in his principles.”
This is how Dante Alighieri was described by Alfredo Panzini (1863 – 1939), a writer who was born in Senigallia (by chance) but who was “Romagnolo” by adoption and temperament. He became the cultural symbol of Bellaria Igea Marina. On the sixth centenary of the Supreme Poet’s death, on 14 September 1921, Panzini wanted to remember and celebrate him with a literary meditation, in which he exalted both the figure of the “father” of the country, of that Italy to which he felt proud to belong, and that of a key figure in the blossoming of the Italian language, the most beautiful of all because of its beauty and expressiveness.
In the early years of the 20th century, Alfredo Panzini, a professor in Milan already enjoying his first literary successes, found his ideal refuge in this corner of Romagna, little more than a village of fishermen and farmers.
In Bellaria, in 1909, the writer bought a small villa situated on a sand dune and from whose windows he could look out over the sea and the hills of Romagna. Soon the so-called “Casa Rossa” (Red House) was transformed from a simple summer “buen retiro” (retreat) into a veritable literary coterie, as well as a privileged observatory of the rural world that was so important to Panzini’s fiction. Many of his important works were written here and it was here that he received his friends from Romagna, Marino Moretti, Antonio Baldini and Renato Serra.
The villa remained in disuse for a long time, until the Municipality of Bellaria Igea Marina acquired and restored it. In 2007, after an extraordinary exhibition that brought the rooms where the writer lived back to life, the house was reopened to the public. It was restored in its original colours, with its frescoed walls and ceilings, including the one in the writer’s bedroom where a portrait of Dante can be admired.
Today it is a “House Museum”, set in a splendid garden park with Mediterranean greenery surrounded by the outbuildings that comprised the farm, with the sharecropper Finotti’s farmhouse, the horse stable and the coach house.
The Saracen Tower – Shells Museum
The Torre Saracena (Saracen Tower) is the symbol of Bellaria Igea Marina. It is no coincidence that it features in the municipal coat of arms, next to the rising sun and the anchor. After the attacks and raids by Turkish pirates in the last years of the 16th century, the Papal State decided to build a series of towers along the marina, from the Tavollo river to Bellaria, to defend the inhabitants of the coast. The Bellaria Tower was built in 1673 as part of the coastal fortification plan and is the only one of the six remaining with its original features: three vaulted floors with an internal spiral staircase. Over time, the function of the towers switched to quarantining those “suspected of being contagious” coming from the sea, to commercial traffic and to the surveillance of smuggling. The upper floors of the building house an extremely varied collection of shells, with finds from the Desideri collection in Rome, purchased by the Municipality of Bellaria Igea Marina and ordered by the Institute of Zoology at the University of Bologna. In the green area surrounding the Tower there is an impressive display of lug sails in the colours of maritime families, as well as some “batanicci”, small antique boats used for daily fishing and family subsistence.
“Noi” Museum of History and Memory
The Old Slaughterhouse building, constructed in 1926, houses “Noi”, the Museum of History and Memory of Bellaria Igea Marina. A museum that reveals the city’s history through its traditions, objects, and records, with a focus on historical and cultural forms connected to the sea. It was inaugurated in 2014 and remodelled in 2017, on the occasion of the installation of an archaeological section for artefacts, traces of Roman settlements along the littoral Via Popilia. At the moment it is possible to visit this archaeological section, which is called ‘La Strada, la Villa e la Pieve’ (The Road, the Village and the Parish Church). The exhibition presents Roman artefacts found in Bordonchio, near an ancient parish church (now the church of San Martino) and a post office, including a portion of a valuable mosaic from the 4th century AD and the original-size reproduction of the Roman stele of Egnatia Chila from the 1st century AD, which has unfortunately come down to us without a face, depicting a young freedwoman (i.e. a slave who was later freed).
Antique Radio Museum
This antique radio collection puts the beauty of over 140 radio sets from 1930-35 on display.
In the first decades of the last century, the success of radio was overwhelming. The first specimens were expensive, massive, bulky and initially poorly designed objects. It was not long before the design and aesthetics of the receivers spurred on and inspired new shapes and models, and they also became valuable pieces of furniture. The museum tells this story. There are many rarities, including a Radio Marelli from 1929, a Crosly from 1930, a rural radio from 1933, “La voce del padrone”, gramophones from 1940 and more.
The boat Bragozzo Teresina
This boat, a cultural asset of the first order, has become the symbol of the Bellaria Igea Marina’s former marine which, between the 1940s and 1950s, was one of the most conspicuous in the region.
The Teresina is a bragozzo of about ten metres in length, built in Murano in 1948. For a long time it was used as a fishing boat, then as a vongolara (a clam trawler) in the 1980s. The bragozzo is a boat from Chioggia in origin that was used for coastal fishing in the upper Adriatic and was most popular between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century. With the advent of the engine, the fortunes of the bragozzo rapidly declined and, after the Second World War, it fell into disuse. The drawings painted on the prow are characteristic: the dove and the musician angel (as on the Teresina).
The restoration of the Teresina, one of the last and most beautiful examples of this type of boat, took 5 years and was carried out by the “Barche sull’Adriatico” Association of Bellaria Igea Marina. In 2003, after the restoration was completed, the “Barche sull’Adriatico” Association donated the Teresina to the Municipality of Bellaria Igea Marina, making it part of the town’s cultural heritage. During the summer months it is permanently stationed in the canal port and carries out cultural representation and promotion activities linked to the city.
IAT – Informazione e Accoglienza Turistica Bellaria
Via da Vinci, 2 – Bellaria
tel. +39 0541 343808
UIT – Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche Igea Marina
Via Ovidio, 99 – Igea Marina
tel. +39 0541 333119