Gradara, in the Marche region, is the place for you if you want to visit a small village far from the chaotic inhabited centers. Let’s find out together…
Why is Gradara so famous? It all starts many years ago:
“Amor, who loved nothing to love forgive, took so much pleasure from him that, as you can see, he still does not abandon me (Dante‘s Divine Comedy, V canto, Inferno).
These are the words of the great poet, Dante, whom we all know about the V canto of Hell. There is talk of Paolo and Francesca and their story took place right inside the Gradara Castle.
The village of Gradara
The city of Gradara is in a fortunate position, it is close to the sea but at the same time it is inland. It has become one of the main tourist destinations on the Marche Riviera. The castle is the main attraction of this small medieval village. Inside the walls we can find few cars, many craftsmen, typical houses and large flowered balconies.
The castle stands out from afar for its grandeur and as you get closer to the village, it makes its way into the landscape with its fortified walls.
A beautiful walk of about 400 meters awaits you around the walls managing to have a beautiful view of the village and the surrounding area.
The castle is one of the best preserved in Italy and was built in 1182. It was owned by the Malatesta family, in 1400 it passed to the Sforza family who ruled the village of Gradara from 1445 to 1512. From 1641 to 1920 the city was under the Papal States. The castle was then purchased by the Zanvettore family who restored the fortress and the walls to the splendor of the past.
There is the drawbridge, which allows you to get to the internal courtyard and the walls. From here begins the visit to the perfectly preserved rooms of the fortress. Inside we travel about a thousand years of Italian history: from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The rooms of the castle
The rooms that can be visited are: the Torture Room, the Mastio, the Passion room, the Camerino di Lucrezia Borgia, the Chapel and many others. But the most visited room, however, is Francesca’s room which was completely rebuilt in the 1920s. Inside are all the details that have been reported by Dante and Boccaccio.
The castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 13:15 and is closed on Mondays. Entrance with mask requirement.
The caves of Gradara
In addition to the castle, a hidden treasure is found in the subsoil of Gradara, full of caves and tunnels that form a large labyrinth. Their origin is still mysterious even if scholars indicate them as a place of worship for the Byzantines. Sixteen are the caves that have been discovered but, at the moment, only one can be visited, together with the Historical Museum of the Caves of Gradara.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 14:00. The ticket office closes at 1.15pm. Monday is the closing day. Entrance with mask requirement.
Other things to see
As in every small village, there are many things to see including the Municipal Theater built in 1800. It is composed of only 70 seats and is the smallest in Italy. Finally the Church of Giovanni Battista: here is preserved the Crucifix created by Frate Innocenzo in 1936 which shows silence, suffering and relief based on the point from which it is observed.
Gradara is therefore a small village in central Italy that still has the characteristics of the past. Another small treasure of our territory.