History and culture

Riccione: a seaside resort, devoted to relax and fun, but with an interesting story to tell...


The history

The evidences stored in the Museum of the Territory testify to the human presence in this area from the Prehistory. In 268 B.C. the Roman colony of Rimini was founded. In 220 B.C. the ancient road Flaminia was traced and the first villages were founded.

In a document of the so-called Codice Bavaro (810/816 B.C.), a code of rules and regulations of the Church of Ravenna, is mentioned a land called Arcioni and in 997. In 810/816 B.C. a land called Arcioni is mentioned in the so-called Codice Bavaro, a code of rules and regulations of the Church of Ravenna. The old Church of San Lorenzo, where a first human settlement was established, was mentioned in 997.

In the Middle Ages Riccione was subjected to the noble family of the Agolantis who, escaping from Florence in 1260, found protection by the Malatestas in Rimini.

According to a census in 1371 there were two human settlements in Riccione with about 150 people. In 1600 the Papal States had two guard towers built in the area of Marano and Fontanelle.

In 1700 Riccione had 1078 inhabitants dedicated to agriculture and fishing.

At the end of the 19th century the benefits of bathing were quite known and the culture of free time was spreading. In 1867 the first group of children, afflicted with a kind of tubercolosis, arrived in Riccione for sea therapies. In that period the first hospices, which represent the beginning of the culture of hospitality and tourism, were built. In 1877 the Hospice Martinelli-Amati was founded in the area of the Grand Hotel.

The train stop, along the line Bologna-Ancona, was in effect from 1865 and was an important step for the social and economic developing of the area.

In 1880 the Count Martinelli designed the first town plan of Riccione, from the current via Battisti to viale Ceccarini, with tree-lined avenues and villas for rich vacationers which became so popular that, from 10 in 1885, became 200 in 1905.

In 1895 the activity of the former bath establishments, those of the Del Biancos, Manzis and Angelinis, were officialised by the first state property grants.

Sebastiano Amati opened the first hotel in Riccione in 1901, the Amati Hotel in viale Ceccarini.

The seashore holidays were becoming a trend, even among the middle and high societies.

In 1922 Riccione became independent from Rimini and the next year the first mayor of the town, Silvio Lombardini, was elected. The Azienda di Soggiorno for the promotion of tourism and events was founded in 1928.

From 1926 to 1943 the Mussolini family chose Riccione as holiday resort. In 1933 there were 1300 villas and 84 hotels and board houses and 12 hospices for children. Facilities for entertainment and sport, culture events and fun, were built.

At the end of the Second World War the seaside holiday was within everyone’s means. In the 50s when stylish nightclubs were becoming famous and the mass tourism was spreading, Riccione become a famous and beloved seaside resort. Till nowadays.

Art Nouveau and Liberty Style villas

Between the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the following century, thanks to the middle and high society families who moved to Riccione or built  here their holiday houses, the town was enriched with beautiful Art Nouvea Liberty style villas.


Villa Franceschi and the Liberty Style Villas

Built in the first years of the 1900s as a seaside house, Villa Franceschi was restored in 1920 with the addition of a turret in the back area. The simplicity of the architectural complex blends in perfectly with the refinement of exterior decorative details, iron and cast iron elements which give rhythm and simplicity to the façade, embellished with the semi hexagonal terrace and the turret overlooking the panorama. The villa is the seat of Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery and hosts paintings, sculptures, pictures, drawings and graphic drawings of the 1900s and temporary exhibitions.

In the downtown, above all in the area between viale Ceccarini and viale Battisti, precious examples of seaside architecture between the 1800s and the 1900s can be admired in the beautiful Liberty Style villas, precious evidences of the style of life and holidays of that period which tell about the beginning of tourism in the town of Riccione. Along viale Milano at street no. 79, you can find Villa Antolini designed by the architect Vucetich in 1923. At the corner with via Baracca, there’s Villa Bella with its chromatic shades and decorations. Along viale Gramsci the façades of Hotel des Bains and Grand Hotel, which were inaugurated in 1908 and in 1928 respectively, stand out embellished with precious details. Not far from them the turret of Villa Martinelli Soleri, dating back to 1877, deserves a visit. Other places not to be missed are Pensione Florenza along viale Trento Trieste at street no. 26, which dates back to the first years of the 1900s, the elegant Hotel de la Ville of the 30s, situated in via Spalato; beyond the railway station you can find Villa Pullè, located in viale Diaz, while in viale Ceccarini two important places that cannot be missed are Villino Graziosi from 1932 and Villa Serafini from the 20s.


Villa Mussolini

The building was bought by Donna Rachele Mussolini in 1934. At first it was composed of two floors and a side turret in the south side. Restored in 1940 it later included other near buildings, a tennis court, the seat of the guard’s post and a large garden. The property extended till the current street via I. Nievo, in the area of the bus station. The building façade consisted in two main blocks joined by a patio with archways. While the bathers were looking with astonishment at the seaplane of the Duce and at she ship Aurora docked in the sea area opposite to the villa the news reports drew their attention to the Mussolini family proud and cheerful during their holidays. The villa hosted many important personalities, politicians, rich middle class and nobles, celebrities. In the postwar period, the housing complex was divided and the stretch of the current street “viale Milano” was replaced, running along the side of the back façade. Restored in 2005, today the villa is property of Riccione Municipality and hosts cultural events and exhibitions.


The name (in local pronunciation Arcaton) comes from the Greek and Byzantine occupation dated back to the sixth century AD: "Archeion" is the name of a plant, the burr, which still grows spontaneously in some areas of the beach now occupied by the bathing establishments but which was once abundant on the desert shore of Riccione.

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