Rimini - day 2: A Stroll through the Old Town

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August 19th 2020
Published: August 21st 2020
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After a decent night’s sleep, we both woke refreshed after the long day we experienced yesterday. Breakfast, normally a hot and cold buffet, was waitress service only. Menus were placed at each table and orders taken accordingly. It was basic but adequate. At least with this service, one can exercise a certain amount of portion control. Neither of us had any complaint about this new procedure.

This morning we decided to familiarise ourselves with our first time visit to Rimini by visiting the old town. The hotel couldn’t provide a map so on retracing yesterday’s footstep back to the railway station, we called in to the tourist information who duly obliged. While we were here, we enquired about buses to San Marino. During our research, we had learned that the Bonelli Bus, the company that provides public transport to and from this tiny nation, had been suspended in an attempt to supress further infection of Covid. We were pleased to be informed that all services have now resumed so, no time like the present, we purchased two return tickets at €10 each. These were not ‘timed’ tickets and could be used at any time on any day. Our plan is to visit San Marino tomorrow but for now, we had an old town to explore.

On the periphery to the old town stands a roundabout servicing a busy single carriageway road. It’s not what I would call a ‘main’ road. These were much narrower that the modern thoroughfares in the newer end of town. In the middle of the roundabout stood a single olive tree. From its size and shape it could have been easily a few thousand years old. That would date it back to Roman times. Now, according to Stan and Reg, the Romans may have brought us better sanitation, medicine, education, irrigation, public health, roads, a freshwater system, baths and public order, I’m pretty sure they never brought us roundabouts. So, where the roads converged, stood a mighty olive tree. Probably not the best obstacle to encounter in the middle of a road but rather than the travellers having to swerve to avoid a collision only to collide with each other, their forefathers (remember, NOT the Romans!!) build the roundabout around the tree. This gave the Italians structure and a system and having worked with them back in the 90s, structure and systems is not really their forte!!

We continued on through the narrow streets, many of which only had a painted white line to determine the sidewalk from the road. Thankfully most of these roads were one way so we could concentrate on one direction of the traffic. We came to the River Marecchia. This used to be called the Arminius in Latin and it is from this that the resort of Rimini derived its name. A few hundred metres down river, we stopped at the ancient Ponte Tiberio or Tiberius Bridge. This five arched bridge is built of Istria stone, was begun in AD14 under Rome’s first Emperor – Augustus. I’m sure the plan, then, was to call it Ponte Augustus but unfortunately, he died before the bridge was complete so in AD21 when the bridge was finally completed, Rome’s second emperor – Tiberius thought we can either keep the bridge’s original name in honour of Rome’s first Emperor, or, even a better idea….!!! His advisors and those close to him agreed with his ‘better idea’ for fear of becoming the next entertainment at the local coliseum!! And that is how the bridge became known as Ponte Tiberio!! Honest!!

Adjacent to the River Marecchia, we rested up at Parco XXV Aprile. I’ve never known why parks and streets are named after dates. I understand that the dates have a significance, in this case it was the date that commemorates the end of the fascist regime and of the Nazi Germany occupation during World War II and was a final resounding victory for the Residence in Italy, but the dates always seem to be in Roman numerals as well. Surely it would have been easier to call this expanse of greenery, Liberation Park. That rolls off the tongue much better, me thinks!!

Tiberius Bridge marks the beginning of Corso Augusto (which WAS named after Rome’s first Emperor!!), the heart of Rimini’s city centre with its shops, small cafes and historic buildings.

We walked a few hundred metres to the first of 2 main squares. The temperature was a touch over 30°C now. Piazza Cavour which was the seat of the fish and vegetables market during the Middle Ages, is dominated by important historic buildings such as Palazzo dell’Arengo. This Romanesque Palace, like most other building, built in the middle ages was where the council of Rimini met. Two other grand structures, namely the Palazzo Garampi and Palazzo del Podestà made up this lavish trio of facades. At the far end of the square, stands the City’s main theatre, built in a neoclassical style it was, inaugurated in 1857 by Giuseppe Verdi. Nowadays though, I believe the theatre shows all kinds of shite from jazz nobody has ever heard of through to alternative music (if you can call smashing dustbin lids together and stomping wheelie bins music!!) In the centre of the Piazza stands a statue of Pope Paul V, behind which is the Fontana della Pigna. I researched Pope Paul V and cannot connect a reason for a statue erected in his honour as opposed to any other pope. From what I can gather he was just a regular pope going around doing pope-like things. He was in office, during the middle ages so perhaps he had something to do with the founding of the piazza. Maybe he attended the grand opening??! Fontana della Pigna or the Fountain of the Pine Cone actually has a carved pine cone sitting atop the fountain. However, this pine cone was only erected in 1807 replacing a 16th century statue of Pope Paul V that was damaged by the Napoleonic army. So, what was Pope Paul V doing sitting at the centre piece of a fountain known as the fountain of the pine cone. Was he a WWE wrestler in his spare time and like such renown figures as Triple H, Macho Man, the Rock and the Undertaker, perhaps the Pine cone was Pope Paul V tag name (due to the shape of his hat he always wore during a bout)??!! Just a thought!!! The pine cone replaced the Pope because in modern times it is probably a lot easier and cheaper to carve a pine cone out of stone than to carve a Pope!!

After stopping in this historic square for gelato, it was time to head back to the hotel. We had planned on spending the afternoon relaxing on the beach but as it was almost 1pm, we thought we may have left it a little late. Instead we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on the hotel balcony.

We headed out for dinner at 7pm as we didn’t want to be caught out again, although we decided to eat at the same restaurant as last night. On our way there, we crossed over to the beach and walked down the board walk leading to the attendant’s hut at the start of beach 21, the allocated strip of beach for our hotel. In Rimini, the beaches are not public and therefore a charge is applied for the hire of sunbed and parasol. The attendant was very hospitable and explained to us the tariff. It depends on the number of sun beds, the location, (near sea, middle of beach or nearest the promenade) and the number of days. For example: 2 sunbeds and an umbrella at the front of the beach would normally cost €25 euro for the whole day giving you access to the beach bar and (most importantly) toilets. However, being a resident of the hotel, we received a small discount of €5. Every little helps when you’re a poor pensioner!! We reserved the front row, nearest the sea for Friday. The attendant was happy that we pay him on arrival.

Again, it was refreshing to see people sticking to the rules, out and about wearing face coverings in the street.

Wearing a mask was becoming quite uncomfortable in this heat. It had been over 30°C today but this evening, the temperature had cooled to a balmy 22°C. Thankfully our room has fully working air conditioning – a window that opens!!!

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23rd August 2020

Have you been to the local McDonalds yet? As you know I am a very keen bird watcher, anything of interest there? Beat Stutgard 3-0 yesterday. Bob

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