Santarcangelo is very famous for its gastronomy, offering excellent food and wine. Walking through the town’s lanes, you will find lots of restaurants, trattoria, taverns and piadinerie where you can enjoy truly mouth-watering, delicious cuisine from the local area. There are also many shops where you can buy locally produced food, typical to the area.
One interesting aspect of the local cuisine is the onion; many years ago, Santarcangelo was famous for its onions cultivated “from water”, so much so that the people from Rimini mocked them, calling them “Zvùléun”, “Cipolloni” or “Big Onions”.
This type of onion is still grown and is very tasty when eaten raw with radicchio, seasoned with local extra-virgin olive oil, coarse salt, Sangiovese wine vinegar and a grilled sausage in a steaming hot piadina. This is considered Santarcangelo’s typical ‘street food’ and is popular during the San Martino Fair.
According to an old legend, hundreds of years ago, the town’s Franciscan monks were great produces of red wine.
One day, the convent organised a banquet in honour of a distinguished guest, offering him the best red wine from their cellar, as they were keen to make a good impression. The guest immediately wanted to know the name of this excellent wine.
After a moment of uncertainty, one of the monks suddenly stood up and exclaimed, “Sanguis Jovis” or “Sangue di Giove” (Jupiter’s Blood) thinking of the wine’s intense red colour and the name of Jupiter Hill, where Santarcangelo’s old town and the convent were located.
Over time, the two words joined together to become “Sangiovese” and the name spread throughout Romagna.
To confirm the legend, the Austrian glottologist Friedrich Schürr (1888–1980), Tribune of the Wines of Romagna, a great scholar of the Romagna language, confirmed that, following extensive research, the name “Sangiovese” derived from Jupiter Hill on which the magnificent medieval citadel of Santarcangelo was established.
Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the well-known Archbishop from Ravenna, used to say that the people from Romagna are particularly devoted to only to one saint, San Giovese!
The Caves – Below Santarcangelo lies a network of fascinating and mysterious caves, a truly amazing underground city. There are over 160 underground caves excavated into the eastern part of Jupiter Hill, many used as cellars for the conservation of wine and food, others for cult rituals.
City Museums – The Ethnographic Museum is dedicated to ancient crafts and folk traditions, while the Historical Archaeological Museum contains the town’s artistic heritage. The “World of Tonino Guerra” Museum is dedicated to the famous screenwriter and poet, while the Button Museum houses an amazing collection of thousands of buttons, each one telling a story.
Marchi Family’s Antique Printing Shop – A workshop where fabrics are still printed using special techniques and rust coloured ink, observing a very old and tradition. The extraordinary Mangano (or huge rotary iron), still used for ironing the canvas, dates back to the 17th century.
Malatesta Fortress – Today, this impressive fortress is the residence the noble family, Colonna di Paliano. Since 1447, when Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta rebuilt the Castle to resist attacks and bombing, it has remained more or less the same.
Collegiata Church – The town’s main church was completed in 1758 by architect Buonamici from Rimini. It houses numerous works of art including a crucifix by the 14th century Giotto School in Rimini and an altarpiece by painter Guido Cagnacci, born in Santarcangelo.
Ganganelli Arch – This Triumphal Arch, at the entrance to Ganganelli Square, was built to honour Pope Clement XIV (1705–1774), born in Santarcangelo. Every November, large horns are suspended from the Arch in occasion of the San Martino Fair. Local tradition has it, that if they swing or move as you walk under the Arch, then you have been betrayed in love.
Pieve of San Michele Arcangelo – It is the oldest religious building in town and surrounding area, built by Byzantine masons, and partly inspired by the great contemporary models of Ravenna. The Pieve still contains elements dating back to its origins, some of which remain a mystery.
Bell Tower – Built towards the end of 1800s, the 25metre tall Bell Tower is situated in the heart of the old town and is a symbol of Santarcangelo, known by the locals as the “Big Bell”.
Porta Cervese – This entrance into the town is known as the “Salt Gate” because it connects Santarcangelo to the road leading to Cervia’s salt pans. Now it remains the only access to the second Malatesta wall of the city.
Sferisterium – This rectangular playing field is located beneath the Malatesta walls. Originally, it was used for playing a traditional ball game with a wooden arm-brace (pallone al bracciale). Today, it is still used for another traditional game, tamburello, played with a tambourine-like bat.
Mutonia – The Mutoid Waste Company, a community of English artists, came to Santarcangelo in the 1990 to participate in the International Theatre Festival. They settled near the Marecchia River, where they created a magical place with their unique sculptures made with urban waste.