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Montescudo, 15km south of Rimini, is a charming little town in the hills with magnificent views of the Adriatic coastline, the interior of the Romagna region and San Marino, and also a good stretch of the Marche region; On a fine day it’s said that you can even see across the adriatic to the mountains of Istria.

Montescudo clock tower - from the 14th century

Montescudo (MuntscĂądli or Mont Scud in romagnolo dialect) is probably of Etruscan origin, and because of its strategic position it has had a long and chequered history. During the Roman period the town was used as an important changing post for military couriers riding from Rome to Rimini and vice versa. In 1233 the town swore fealty to Rimini, moving away from the control of the Duke of Urbino. For the next two hundred years it would be on the battle-lines in the continuos conflict between Rimini and Urbino, and in particular in the conflict between Sigismondo Malatesta and Federico da Montefeltro. Control of the town allowed the Malatestas to control much of the Conca river valley, and the smaller Marano valley. In 1460 Sigismondo Malatesta built the massive defensive walls that can still be seen today, making the town a shield for Rimini.

With the decline of the Malatestas fortunes the town was ceded to the Papal States, until the Napoleonic invasions and the creation of the Cisalpine Republic and the Kingdom of Italy. Montescudo pledged allegiance to Napoleon, sending a delegation to Rimini, and in return the town flourished. The prosperity enjoyed during this period is reflected in the town’s coat of arms, which has the colors of the French tricolor.

Where to stay in Montescudo

There are various options if you want to stay in / around Montescudo – keeping in mind that it’s a small town and quite a few of the options are agriturismo style farmhouses in the hinterland. For our full list of hotels / b&B’s and agriturismi take a look here

For example, the Agriturismo Freelandia, about 5km outside the town, comes recommended, with swimming pools, tennis courts, and individual bungalows. Alternatively, in the town itself is the guesthouse Emma with an outdoor pool and sun terrace.

Sights to see and things to do in Montescudo

Sights to see in the town include the splendid 14th Century clocktower, the impressive walls of the Malatesta fortress, the secret passageways that connect the tower and the castle grounds, plus the icehouse (Ghiacciaia). This is particularly interesting – most towns like Montescudo had, at some point, a Ghiacciaia, a communal space for storing ice and acting in a way like the town’s freezer.

Montescudo also has some beautiful walks in the surrounding Bosco di Alberetto, a downy oak forest.

Nearby and well worth a visit is also the castle of Alberetto.

The town nowadays has a population of about 3,200 and is well known for its production of high quality wine, olive oil, cheeses and honey, and perhaps most significantly of all potatoes. Every year the town holds the Sagra delle Patate, or potato festival (with some very fine gnocchi, for example).