Gradara - a marvellous castle full of history, legends and charm, since always one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and the proclaimed the most beautiful Italian Village in 2018! Find out more!
Gradara - you have probably heard of the Rock of Gradara or the Gradara Castle but did you have any idea that Gradara was also a village? It has been always considered one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Le Marche and Italy and yet in 2018, it was officially declared the most beautiful village in whole Italy (Il Borgo dei Borghi)!
Find out what makes this place so unique and enchanting and why not start planning your next visit! Gradara promises history, culture, charm, romance, good food and much more: an itinerary ideal for every age, interest and background.
You will recognize it from afar ...
Travelling along the Adriatic motorway, coming from the north, a few kilometres after Cattolica and as soon as you enter the Marche region, you will suddenly spot a high hill on your right-hand side, where142 meters above the sea level, proudly dominates an imposing fortress. Welcome to Gradara!
The village of the villages
In 2018, the travel television broadcast in Italy - Kilimanjaro, elected Gradara in Le Marche as the "Borgo dei Borghi' ( The most beautiful historic village) for 2018, after visiting a total of 20 of the most beautiful historic villages in Italy.
Gradara is small, but a real castle: the fortress, which is located on the highest point, with its 30 meter-high tower, is surrounded by houses enclosed by crenellated walls for almost 1 kilometre and are among the best preserved medieval structures in Italy.
The story behind it…
The history of this medieval castle dating back to the 12th century is linked to the powerful aristocratic families of the area, from the Sforza to the Malatesta to the Della Rovere, and today it is possible to take guided tours of the Fortress to get to know the amazing and fascinating history in detail.
Gradara of Dante: The story of Paolo and Francesca
If history made Gradara famous, Dante and the Divine Comedy have made it immortal: this castle is the background of the tragic love story and betrayal told in the fifth song of Hell: Francesca, married to Granciotto Malatesta, falls in love with her brother-in-law Paolo, who in his turn is also married; the two lovers are killed by Granciotto, who discovers them together.
Dante, while condemning them to Hell among the Lustful, gets emotional to the stage that he faints in front of the confession of Francesca and the tears of Paolo, making this song of the Divine Comedy one of the most known and loved in the world.
Why should you visit Gradara?
Not just for its beautiful 'appearance'; but above all for the magic that is perceived the moment you enter from the entrance arch. Going up towards the Fortress you can clearly perceive the atmosphere of a small medieval village, you almost kind of expect to see people in thematic costumes, maybe a knight on horseback, or to hear the music of a lute. The memory of Paolo and Francesca, then, brings down a halo of romanticism unforgettable: Amor, there is no love loved to forgive (Amor, c’ha nullo amato amar perdona, cit).
Lose yourself in the small streets of the village, visit the souvenir shops, have lunch in one of the typical restaurants or eat a local piadina; then stroll in the surrounding gardens, come up and climb the walls: from here you will have spectacular 360° views across the Montefeltro area on one side and the Adriatic coast on the other.
And if you are just a little lucky, you will probably make it attend at least one of the dozens of events, historical re-enactments and festivals held throughout the year.
When to visit Gradara?
Coming back to Gradara is always a pleasure as it is beautiful in every season, because every time you can notice some new detail, as there is always that desire inside us for a bit of 'magic'... but also because there is always organised some different event, well-combined with the atmosphere of the castle and its unique history.
Visit the Castle to fully discover its history, atmosphere, charm and magic (Hours of entry: Monday: from 8.30 to 13.00, from Tuesday to Sunday: from 8.30 to 18.30). Find all the information here.
From Gradara d'amare (February) and Gradara Armonia e Benessere (March) ... to the Siege of the Castle (July) and the great event dedicated to children - Gradara Magic Castle (August) and then again from Halloween in Gradara (October-November) to Castello di Natale (December-January) ... at any time of the year, whenever you happen to be in Marche or nearby, Gradara will have something special to offer you (check out all the events of the year here).
If you are passionate about photography or if you would simply like to take a shot that everyone will envy you about, here is our tip for you: take your car and drive a few minutes until you reach these GPS points (43.935800, 12.783996; 43.915556, 12.764225), from here you can take some amazing photos of the castle and its surroundings from different distances and perspective. Believe us it's worth it!
Check also some of the nearest holiday homes: Il Casale del Boncio, Montelupo, La Luna, La Foglia, Il Tondo, Il Mare, Il Podere, Casa Terramare, Casa Celeste, Casale Verbena and plan now your next visit to Gradara!
Photos: Gradara- Veduta autore: Santista1982 - Opera propria Cidade medieval de Gradara. Foto de Siloé Mascolo.
Gradara castle - panoramio.jpg Source https://www.panoramio.com/photo/93878558 autore: Pier B.