The Marecchia River originates from Monte Zucca (m 1258) – a relief that is part of the Alpe della Luna chain – and flows, after a route of about 90 km. into the Adriatic, in two branches of which one is the port-channel of Rimini. During its course it crosses two provinces, in the highest part the province of Arezzo, in the middle and lower part the province of Rimini. Its course is accompanied by the valley bottom road SS 258 Marecchiese Going down the valley bathes the territories of these municipalities: Badia Tedalda, Casteldelci (on the left tributary Senatello), Sant’Agata Feltria, Pennabilli, Maiolo, Novafeltria, Talamello, San Leo, Verucchio, Torriana, Poggio Berni.
The valley goes up starting from Rimini (follow the signs for Verucchio) or from Santarcangelo di Romagna (follow the signs for San Marino) The Marecchia valley differs considerably from the valleys further north. In the stretch between the Santerno and Savio rivers the valleys are arranged perpendicular to the Apennine ridge forming a homogeneous “comb” structure characterized by narrow ridges that degrade towards the Adriatic Sea. In montefeltro, against the valleys are characterized by steepness interspersed with rocky outcrops strongly shaped by atmospheric agents. The marl arenacee formations here give way to staggered clays from which high and cut cliffs emerge, formed mainly by sandstones and clays. For this different conformation, combined with the bloody medieval history that characterized this territory, the main inhabited nuclei have sprung up and developed on the rocky spikes that line the valley floor. (the only exception is the only “modern Novafeltria” located on the valley floor) If you want to visit the main centers, it will therefore be necessary several times to leave the main director of fondovalle (SS258 Marecchiese).
Coming from Santarcangelo, the road runs flat and away from the riverbed. We quickly pass Poggio Berni, the industrialized Santo Marino, and after about 8 km we find the junction on the right for Torriana. The road begins to climb and in just over three kilometers we are at the foot of a cliff, at the top of which stands the restored castle. From the new city, built at the foot of the cliff, you can admire a fantastic view of the Marecchia valley, and on the high seas beyond the river you can easily recognize Verucchio, our next destination. Before going down it is recommended the short detour to the ancient village and castle of Montebello (detour marked to the right at the end of the town). We leave Torriana, proceeding towards the mountain, and at the crossroads we take to the left (signs Villa Verucchio), a short descent and we are at the bottom of the valley, we cross the bridge over the Marecchia, we pass the hamlet Of Ponte Verucchio and we reach the SS258 Marecchiese. A few kilometers on the same (upstream) and it is necessary to immediately make a ulter We leave Torriana, proceeding towards the mountain, and at the crossroads we take to the left (signs Villa Verucchio), a short descent and we are at the bottom of the valley, we cross the bridge over the Marecchia, we pass the hamlet Of Ponte Verucchio and we reach the SS258 Marecchiese.
A few kilometers on the same (towards the mountain) and it is necessary to immediately make a further detour (left) to reach Verucchio. Ancient village with well-preserved castle, located on a rocky outcrop overlooking Valmarecchia. Go down until you reach the highway to continue upstream, about 6 km and at Pietracuta you need to divert, always to the left. In about 10 km you reach the perhaps most famous center of the entire valley, San Leo, perched on a huge boulder.
Historical homeland of the whole Montefeltro, in ancient times this castle managed to earn the title of very powerful and impregnable fortress. We regain the valley floor, going down the road that passes near S’Igne, and return to the highway at Secchiano. Just under 4 km separate us from Novafeltria, already a feud of the Malatesta with the privilege of producing gunpowder, asylum for smugglers and robbers, today the largest commercial /industrial center in the entire valley. A short detour leads us to the ancient municipality of Talamello, a charming town on the slopes of Mount Pincio, a natural balcony on Novafeltria and Val Marecchia. Beyond the river, on the right bank of the Marecchia, rises the unmistakable cliff of Majolo, ancient and mighty castle destroyed is said by divine justice. The current seat of the municipality is located in Serra di Maiolo, located on the provincial road that connects Novafeltria with Madonna di Pugliano (Urbino indications).
We continue on the highway towards the mountain, and just before reaching the hamlet Ponte Messa, to reach the next municipality of the Sant’Agata Feltria valley, it is necessary to take a detour on the right and, without neglecting a stop at the interesting hamlet of Petrella Guidi, pass Monte Benedetto. We regain the marecchia course to take us to Pennabilli, a town at the foot of Mount Carpegna, full of history, born from the union of the two ancient castles built on two adjacent peaks, Penna sul Roccione and Billi sul Rupe. Soon the Marecchia will receive the important left tributary Senatello, we go up its course for the last detour and in about 10 km we reach Casteldelci.
We return to the Marecchiese highway and now aim decisively upstream, quickly overcoming the hamlets of Ca’ Raffaello and Molino di Bascio, and shortly after we enter Tuscany. A few kilometers divide us from the last municipality of the Badia Tedalda valley (province of Arezzo) mountain tourist center on the slopes of the mountain group of Alpe della Luna, the main Apennine ridge. After Badia, after about 8 kilometers, wanting to follow the marecchia course you have to leave the highway and head towards Balze, reaching the hamlet Pratieghi continue on a path to Monte Zucca (mt. 1258). Alternatively, following the highway you reach (3.5 km from the junction for Balze) the Viamaggio pass (Mt. 983) natural gate that enters the Tuscany Valtiberina. Photos by Gianloris Cresti.
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