Cattolica and the Conca Valley
From Rimini and from Cattolica, an itinerary documented in written sources went to Urbino crossing through the Conca Valley. The fact that Cattolica – where the sea meets the Conca Valley – was a stop along the medieval pilgrimages is explicitly stated in the “Descriptio Romandiole”, put together by the Cardinal Anglic de Grimoard in 1371, where it is depicted as a village on the Adriatic along the pilgrims’ route and the main road towards the Marche Region.
But the whole history of this town, since antiquity, has been linked to the economy of “passing by”. The archeological finds dug up in the ancient historic center, dated between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD, document the quality of a town located on the Flaminia halfway to the cities of “Ariminum” and “Pisaurum”, which was already very well-prepared to welcome people who were just passing through.
Even after the establishment, by request of the archbishops of Ravenna, of this medieval town (1271) to which the name Cattolica was given and which is situated on the ancient Roman nucleus, the center of town has maintained its hospitable vocation: almost all of the houses are outfitted with inns-hotels for travelers.
From here, the Romei could go down the ancient consular via Flaminia or go up the valley of the Conca River, a more direct route beginning immediately in the Apennines. The inland route that they took is made up of rolling hills, frequently dominated by forts which, beginning in the 1400s, marked the rule of the Montefeltro family.
Of the ancient buildings from the age of the pilgrims, not much is left. On the outskirts of Morciano there is still – but now in ruins – the Benedictine monastery of S. Gregorio in Conca that already after the year 1000 was richly adorned by a distinguished family from Rimini.
The farther away Saludecio, Mondaino and Montegridolfo are very picturesque, but the best place to get a real medieval feel is Montefiore Conca, where the beautiful landscape is complimented by a very well preserved ancient urban layout. The houses in the little historic center are spaced out along the main road leading to the fort on a plateau, Malatestian even if it was damaged in the mid-1900s.
After Montefiore, from the Conca Valley, you could choose between the route to Tavoleto and the one for Castel Durante, in the Marche Region, which was renamed only in 1636 as Urbania.
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