Rimini

With 15 kilometres of beaches and the warm waters of the Adriatic, Rimini is one of the most frequented summer holiday destinations, favored both by the tourists and the locals. The Rimini Riviera consists of 10 beaches: Marina Centro Pedrera, Viserba, Rivabella, Viserbella, San Giuliano Mare, Bellariva, Marebello, Rivazzurra and Miramare. Most of the resorts are kept clean and allow a wide range of water sports, such as sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing. Keep in mind, however, that the Rimini Riviera tends to be crowded from July to August, so if you value a calm and relaxing atmosphere, you should consider scheduling your stay in Rimini for September, when the hordes of tourists are already heading home.

In case you've had enough of the golden beaches and the burning heat, stroll along to the town centre, where there are numerous historical sights and tourist attractions, providing a treat for history lovers and a shelter for the sun-struck. Undoubtedly, Rimini's best-known landmark is Tiberius Bridge. Erected over the Marecchia River by decree of Emperor Augustus, the bridge was brought to completion by Augustus' successor Tiberius in the 1st Century AD. The five-arch bridge made of Istria stone is one of the most remarkable Roman bridges, evidencing the virtuosity of ancient engineers.

Another important monument in Rimini is Sismondo Castle. Unfortunately, little has been preserved of this once-majestic palace, which was built in the 15th Century by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta to manifest his power and prestige. Equipped with 160 windows and six tall towers, the castle covered about 3,000 square metres and was surrounded by a moat with four drawbridges. The depictions of the original palace and its environs can be read upon a historic bronze medallion made by the artist Matteo de' Pasti, and on a famous fresco by Piero della Francesca, painted on the walls of the Malatesta Temple. Having undergone a major restoration process, the castle is now a venue for various cultural events.

Apart form Sismondo Castle, the most important monument in Rimini is the 18th-Century church called Chiesa del Suffragio, built by the Jesuits following the Jesus Church of Roman design. Adjacent to the chapel is a monastery that once severed as a hospital, and which nowadays houses the City Museum with its valuable collections of Renaissance and Baroque paintings by such notable artists as Giovanni Bellini, Ghirlandaio, Giovanni da Rimini and Mastelletta. The museum also boasts a rich display of prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman artefacts.

Near Chiesa del Suffragio stands the oldest surviving Roman archway. Built in the year 27 BC in honour of Octavian Augustus, the Arch of Augustus is adorned by the images of four deities: the supreme Roman god Jupiter, Neptune, god of the sea, Apollo, the son of Jupiter and protector of health, and Minerva, protector of the city of Rome, arts and trades. Initially, the arch functioned as a gateway into the city. There are speculations that prior to the Middle Ages, the arch was overlooked by a monument presenting Augustus in his chariot.

The ancient city of Ariminium had four gates: Porta Montanara, Porta Romana, Porta Gallica and Porta Marina. One of them, Porta Montanara, can now be seen in its original location -  it was half-destroyed during World War II, later rebuilt and placed in Rimini Diocese's courtyard, and finally dismantled and pieced back together on via Garibaldi.

If you're up for a shopping spree, Rimini's countless fashion boutiques, full of designer brands such as Gucci, Armani and Prada, are likely to satisfy your needs. The best places to spend a couple of Euro can be found on Corso d'Augusto Street, connecting the Piazza Cavour and Piazza Tri Martiri Squares. Other than that, in the western part of the city there is a huge mall, Le Befane, providing everything from eyeliner to sport cars. In you're looking for souvenirs and handicrafts, don't forget to browse through the displays of the beachfront shops and open-air markets organised every weekend during the summer.