San Giovanni in Marignano is situated in the flat area of the Valconca, a few kilometres from Cattolica and the coast and with the first of the gentle hills behind. Mentioned in the guide of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy), San Giovanni in Marignano has been a centre of agricultural production since ancient times. It was called “the granary of the Malatesta” on account of its abundance of wheat and high quality wine. It is still worthy of this title and is in fact also known as the “Città del vino” (Town of Wine) and has a mention in the “Strada dei vini e dei sapori dei Colli di Rimini” (Road of wines and tastes of the Hills of Rimini).

There are various historical sites near San Giovanni in Marignano and the Marignano Castle with the Church of San Giovanni Battista stood on the Fodus Mariniani, no longer in existence and associated with Castelvecchio, the origin of the centre which was to be called San Giovanni in Marignano.  Due to the geophysical changes of the land, the population of San Giovanni in Marignano eventually moved from the hill of Castelvecchio down to the plain and built a new castle known as Castelnuovo where San Giovanni in Marignano is now situated. Under the rule of the Malatesta, the town was fortified to defend the precious reserves of grain. In all of San Giovanni in Marignano there are about 300 subterranean chambers that were used for storing large quantities of grain. These chambers have recently been restored and some are open to visitors. It was on account of these chambers, too, that the town was called the “granary of the Malatesta”. The Malatesta fortifications included many of the surrounding walls and the Tower at the old urban entrance to the castle through which passes the central thoroughfare, Via XX Settembre also known as the Via di Mezzo (literally, the half-way street) that divides the town neatly into two districts. On this street, the Church of San Pietro was erected in the 14th century and then rebuilt in the 18th century; beyond the gate, Via XX Settembre continues to Piazza Silvagni, the main square of the town off which lead streets and alleyways that enter and lose themselves in the heart of the old villages, forming a magical network.

The magic of these streets and of this fortified village have helped keep alive stories and legends relating to the night of San Giovanni between the 23rd and 24th of June – the Notte delle Streghe, or Night of the Witches. This age-old tradition is relived during a week of celebrations that bring alive the mystery and allure of witches with games, atmospheric shows and much fun and excitement. In addition to the events and festivals, there are many sports centres worth a visit. At San Giovanni in Marignano is one of the finest golf courses in the province of Rimini: the Riviera Golf Resort (Via Conca Nuova 1236, tel. +39 0541 956499).

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