Suzy moved on down the road to the tiny village of Gradara. We have planned to stop at a car park called the Cypresses but found it firmly shut when we arrived. The gates were locked and although there was a car park next to it there was no space for Suzy or any motorhome of any length.
We thought we might have to miss Gradara and its pretty castle but luckily found another car park a little way down the town and this one catered for motorhomes and was empty. The rain was falling and I got a touch wet walking over to the machine to pay my 5 euros to park. For the 3 euros we could stay until midnight. Not that we intended to do that as our next destination was the small but perfectly formed Republic of San Marino.
The walk up to the castle is steep and shops line either side. We purchase fridge magnets and added another to our collection . Eventually after a bit of a climb we arrived at Gradara Castle very imposing on the landscape. It is a medieval fortress protected by two walls. The outermost of which extends for
almost 800 metres making it both attractive and particularly imposing. As we walked up to it the rain continued to fall lightly but the sky was brightening and it was looking a bit brighter all round. From the castle there is a particular pleasing view over the countryside below.
We paid our 1 euro for an anziano and 5 euro for an adulti to enter the castle. The walkway took you up through a rose garden - the perfume heady in the rain and the sun . The castle was fairy tale like with the usual dungeons and torture chamber in which there were various instruments of torture. On the first floor rooms with a few bits of furniture, tables, chairs and beds and ornate fireplaces.
Rooms were large and roomy with pretty wallpaper and furnishings. All in all it was a lovely castle and worth the visit. There is a legend attached to the castle around the tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca who were caught in each other arms and killed by Gianciotto who was Francescos husband. The love story was immortalised by Dante in his Divine Comedy.
The Castle dates back to the
period between 11th and 15th centuries. Its history is inextricably linked with the infamous feuds between the family of the Malestesta and Montefeltro. This long-standing conflict came to a halt only after the control of the castle fell into the hands of the Sforza family . We came across the Sforza at Forli Castle . It was Dante, however, who intervened with his 'Divine Comedy', making the castle the locale for the heartrending tale of Paolo and Francesca and thus turning the castle forever into a symbol of love.
We completed our tour of the castle and walked back to Suzy for some lunch before we moved on towards San Marino.
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