art and nature
One of the most fascinating cities in the world
Venice is one of the most charming, characteristic Italian cities and a particular favourite with foreign tourists: at less than 300 kilometres from Cattolica it makes a great choice for a day out.
The city is built on water and is criss-crossed by numerous canals with picturesque little bridges.
The city is a maze of narrow little alleyways and backstreets that lead to Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice, and the stunning Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Bell Tower. Other important places of interest include the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, and the island of Murano, which is famous for its glasswork.
Venice is a great place to visit at any time of year (when the weather is not at its best you can always experience the high waters), but the Christmas period is particularly special as it is the period from the end of January to the beginning of February when the world famousVenice Carnival takes place.
Venice is easy to get to by car but because parking can be a bit tricky in the city we suggest going by coach instead.
is the city of the Renaissance
Florenceis the city of the Renaissance and is known the world over for its abundance of art and architecture, second only to Rome.
It boasts an artistic heritage of priceless worth, including numerous monuments and museums such as the Duomo, Santa Croce, the Uffizi galleries, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti, where visitors can admire the work of Cimabue, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
There are plenty of public transport connections to the city, but if you are only going there for a day then we suggest you to book a coach trip.
The capital of Italy
Rome is the Eternal City.
The capital of Italy includes the Vatican City, the cradle of the Christian-Catholic world and home to the Pope.
No words are ever enough to fully describe the beauty of one of the most wonderful places in the world, with countless artistic treasures, monuments, archaeological sites and natural areas right across the area.
And how could we fail to mention the Colosseum, the Campidoglio, the Trevi fountain, Saint Peter’s Basilica (in the Vatican), Piazza di Spagna, the Roman Forum, and the Caracalla Baths.
Beautiful city of art
Urbino is a beautiful city of art in the province of Pesaro-Urbino in the Marche region and is 37 kilometres from Cattolica.
Famous for both its artistic and literary importance, it owes its reputation to the ruler Duke Federico of Montefeltro who was a huge fan of art and literature and called to his court important artists and writers of the time such as Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, the notable architect Donato Bramante and many others.
These created a model of the harmonious city par excellence, in complete accordance with the Renaissance artistic trend of the time. The most remarkable monuments include the Ducal Palace, the Marche National Gallery, the Church of San Domenico, the University of Urbino (one of the oldest in Italy) and, of course, the home of Raffaello Sanzio.
Urbino is also a very green place and this makes it a great city to visit all year round. In spring and in summer its green paths and lush woodland mean it is a lovely place to go cycling or walking (Nordic walking) whereas in autumn there are lots of village food festivals all over the region.
City of art
Ravenna is a city of art in Emilia Romagna and about 80 kilometres from Cattolica. It is easy to get to by car and by coach and coach trips can be booked at hotel reception.
In the past the city was famous for being the capital of the Western Roman Empire and traces of this can still be found today in the structure of the city and its many monuments and churches. These buildings contain some of the most beautiful mosaics in the world and Ravenna was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996.
Ravenna does not just offer art and history however; it is also very green. With plenty of cycle paths around the city, every area is easy to get to: from Parco Teodorico to the Planetarium, from the Garden of the Forgotten Herbs to the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. Nature trips to other incredibly beautiful places can also be booked.
Ravenna is an absolute must-see, particularly if you are staying in Cattolica.
Religious and cultural centre
Situated on top of a hill and surrounded by lush green countryside, the city of Loreto is an important religious and cultural centre famousthe world over. Its basilica contains the Sanctuary of the Holy House, the remains of the house where Jesus once lived
According to an ancient Catholic legend, in order to save the city of Nazareth from a Muslim invasion, a multitude of angels lifted up the Holy House and carried it away to Loreto (stopping off first in Trsat in Croatia and in other places).
Over the years, studies have revealed that the walls preserved in Loreto are made up of the same cement as that which was used in Palestine two thousand years ago and was unknown of in Italy at the time.
Since the arrival of the Holy House in 1294, the Sanctuary of Loreto has been one of the most important places of worship
for the large number of pilgrims that come here from all over the Catholic world.
Just over an hour from Cattolica is the town of Genga, a small municipality in the province of Ancona and home to the Frasassi Caves.
This is a stunning underground system of karst caves dug out deep in the earth within the Gola Rossa and Frasassi Regional Park.
The caves were discovered by chance in 1971 and years and years of cave exploration since then have resulted in the vast underground complex as we know it today. The Caves currently cover over 13 Km and inside visitors can see “halls” containing stalactites and stalagmites that are like real works of art naturally created by water. Two of the most noteworthy are the Madonna and the Sword of Damocles.
Many of the caverns have become famous, including the Hall of Wind, the Hall of Candles, the White Hall (which is white due to calcite deposits), the Hall of the Bear, and the large Hall of Infinity.
The temperature inside the Frasassi caves is at a constant 14 °C with 100% humidity.
A trip to the Frasassi Caves lasts half a day and is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon.
Conca Wildlife Oasis
The Conca Wildlife Oasis covers an area of some 700 hectares in a region where the river Conca flows from Morciano di Romagna to the mouth of the river on the border between Cattolica and Misano Adriatico.
The area is a wonderful place for walks and day trips throughout the year and in recent years regional redevelopment work has been carried out and many areas have been restored that had previously been left wild or completely abandoned for long periods of time.
As part of this recent work, cycle paths and gravel footpaths have been built by the river banks and these are very popular with walkers and lovers of mountain biking and Nordic Walking.
Inside the Oasis there is the Ornithological Observatory, where visitors can see various species of birds including herons, seagulls and storks. The Observatory is well signposted along the footpaths and cycle paths.
The area also has plenty of species found nearby rivers, such as geese, cormorants, grebes, and ducks.
Hotel Negresco is just over 300 metres from the mouth of the River Conca and from here it is possible to take the path to Montalbano Park (San Giovanni in Marignano) and then carry on to Misano Adriatico (where the racing track is).
Monte San Bartolo Wildlife Park
Gabicce Mare Gabicce Mare is a little seaside town right next to Cattolica (heading south) and is the start or, depending on your direction, the end of the Monte San Bartolo Regional Park, a protected wildlife oasis that covers several kilometres between Gabicce and Pesaro.
The Monte San Bartolo area is knownby locals simply as “Panoramica” because of the panoramic road that takes you to Pesaro and offers incredible views of the sea and hills. The scenery here is indeed stunning and one part is made up of a series of cliffs (which are quite rare on the otherwise sandy Adriatic coastline) with rocky spurs and cliff walls that can be as much as 200 metres high, such as Monte Castellaro (with the Great Iron Cross towering above) or Monte Brisighella.
Further inland, the region is typically rural with stretches of green farmland, rows of trees and hedges, grapevines and the odd spot of wild vegetation. All this wildlife creates an overall sense of harmony that culminates in spring when everything comes to life and bursts into colour.
The panoramic road is very popular with locals who know these beautiful places like the back of their hand but still manage to find time to enjoy the breathtaking views from one of the many look-out points that can be reached by car too.
Cyclists and motorcyclists also love the area (the latter particularly love the curvy road) and in spring-time they flock here on Sundays and on Bank Holiday weekends (1st May and 25th April).
Summer is obviously the busiest period for Monte San Bartolo, when day trippers escape to the park’s cool woods. The Park has different types of landscape and so is suitable for hiking, mountain biking, Nordic walking, or just easy strolls.
Picturesque little paths surrounded by lush vegetation take you down to the beach in less than half an hour while more daring, expert walkers can choose between five paths that run right from the very heart of the Park to the sea: Bocca del Lupo; Strada della Marina; Sentiero Vincolungo; Sentiero Vallugola and Sentiero delle Chiese.
The little villages on the panoramic road that crosses the park are also worth a visit. These include Fiorenzuola di Focara, Casteldimezzo and Santa Marina Alta.