Albergo Villa Lucia
Via Ovidio, 31
47814 Bellaria Igea Marina (Rimini)
Tel. (+39) 0541 331428
P. iva 03996900407
© 2018 Albergo Villa Lucia. Tutti i diritti riservati.
Tourism since 1977
The medieval fortress and the prison of Cagliostro
Has been awarded the title of one of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” and an Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club.
San Leo, a magnificent art capital mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy, is the heart of the historical region of Montefeltro and the town that gave it its name. Famed for various historical and geopolitical events, it has been the location for documentaries and films, is a popular tourist destination and a jewel of the province of Rimini.
Its extraordinary geological configuration, on a rocky mass with sheer sides, has determined its dual military and religious importance since prehistorical times, testified by precious architectural and artistic artefacts. The town was once called Monte Feltro, from Mons Feretrus, a name linked to the important Roman settlement built around a temple dedicated to Jupiter Feretrius. As early as the 3rd century BC, the Romans built a fortification on its highest point. The early Christian period (2nd century AD) was characterized by its evangelization following the arrival of Leo and Marino, two Dalmatian stonecutters who founded the Christian communities of San Leo and San Marino thus favouring the spread of Christianity throughout the area until the foundation of the diocese of Montefeltro.
Leo is thought to have been the first bishop of the district and built the original memorial on which the parish church was constructed during the Carolingian period, then renovated in the pre-Romanesque period. In the 7th century a cathedral devoted to the cult of San Leo was built next to it. It was renovated in 1173, adopting a Romanesque-Lombard layout and was joined to the imposing Byzantine bell tower. In the 12th century the civitas Sanctis Leonis was an urban area consisting in a Bishop’s Palace and clergymen’s residence, the nucleus of the holy town, with other buildings commissioned by the Montefeltro who had settled here, arriving from nearby Carpegna in the mid-12th century.
They took the name of the ancient city-fortress of Montefeltro-San Leo, a city that for two years from 962 had been the capital of Italy under the reign of Berengario II. To this day, the rigour and beauty of the old town have remained intact and it boasts a number of Romanesque buildings like the parish church, cathedral and tower, along with several Renaissance buildings like the Medici Palace, which houses the elegant Museum of Sacred Art, the residence of the Severini-Nardini Counts and Palazzo Della Rovere, now the town hall.
The heart of San Leo is the square named after Dante who stayed here, as did St. Francis, who was given Mount della Verna as a gift from Count di Chiusi. The fortress designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini is on the highest peak and is where Giuseppe Balsamo, known as Count Cagliostro, was imprisoned in 1791 until his death 4 years later.
Tourist Information Office
piazza Dante Alighieri, 1 tel. 0541 926967 fax 0541 926973