Pennabilli is in Emilia-Romagna, in Rimini provinceand is part of the Montefeltro area.
Pennabilli from Roccione
Pennabilli is a medieval town, capital of the southernmost municipality of Emilia Romagna. Its territory is partly covered by the Regional Park of Sasso Simone and Simoncello. Despite its small size, the town has had various important people, who have enriched the city’s culture. Particularly important are Matteo da Bascio (born Matteo Serafini), founder of the Frati Minori Cappuccini clerical order; Orazio Olivieri, a priest who went on a clerical mission to Lhasa and contributed to the first Italian-to-Tibetan dictionary (which was then used as based for the first English-to-Tibetan); and Tonino Guerra, a poet who has lived in Pennabilli since 1989.
Metallic installation holding a bell and three Tibetan manikorlos
Thanks to the travel of Orazio Olivieri in the 18th century, Pennabilli is today tightly bound with Tibet. In 1994, Tenzin Gyatso, XIV Dalai Lama, visited the city to celebrate the 250th anniversary since the death of the missionary. In 2005 the Dalai Lama came again, and a metallic structure holding a bell (a reproduction of the original bell in Olivieri’s mission) and three Tibetan manikorlos (rotating prayer mills) was installed on the hilltop of the city. The bell and the manikorlos (each with the Buddhist Oṃ Maṇi Padme Hūṃ printed on it) can be freely operated by visitors.
Tonino Guerra, during his stay, enriched the city with a number of permanent artistic installations, which were named “I luoghi dell’anima” (places of the soul).
History of Pennabilli
Archaeological evidences suggest that the area started to get populated during the initial Roman age. At the time of barbarian invasions, around the half of the first millennium AD, the two hills upon which the city is situated (now called “Roccione” and “Rupe”) were serving as shelter for the locals, living in the proximity of the Marecchia River. This gave rise to the two communities of “Penna” and “Billi”, named after their particular topology: the former comes from pinna (top, summit, pinnacle), the latter from bilia (pinnacle among the trees). Some sources suggest instead that “Billi” was named after “Bel”, the Etruscan god of fire, whose former temple become during the Christian age a church dedicated to the worship of Saint Lorenz (the martyr of fire).
In 1004, a member of the powerful Carpegna family, known behind his back as “Malatesta” (bad head), probably because he was stubborn and hardheaded, started to build a stronghold on Roccione. This is the origin of one of the most famous and important medieval lineages in Italy, whose members later conquered Verucchio, Rimini and most of the Romagna.
The union of Penna and Billi took place in 1350, when the “stone of peace” was placed on the market place between the two towns. The newborn municipality was consecutively conquered by Malatesta and the Montefeltro and Medici families, ending up being absorbed by the Papal State. In 1572 the bishop’s residence was transferred to Pennabilli from San Leo, and Pope Gregor XIII gave the municipality the status of “Città” (City). Today, Pennabilli is still the capital of the San Marino-Montefeltro diocese.
Until August 15, 2009, the commune belonged to the Marche (Pesaro-Urbino province) from which it was detached, together with six other municipalities of the Alta Valmarecchia area, following a referendum held on December 17 and 18, 2006.
The closest airports are “Marconi” airport of Bologna, around 170 km away from Novafeltria; the “Ridolfi” of Forlì, at 70 km from Novafeltria; and “Federico Fellini” International Airport of Rimini.
The nearest train station is in Rimini.
From Rimini, there are buses connecting to Novafeltria, and from there to Pennabilli. Lines 160 and 161 connect the fraction of Ponte Messa to Rimini through Pennabilli and Novafeltria. It is possible to buy the ticket at the office in front of the Rimini train station, at some bars and in news-stands. Once bought, the ticket must be validated when on board.
From the Tuscan side, there are buses connecting Arezzo to Rimini through Sansepolcro, Pennabilli and Novafeltria.
Getting there by car is the easiest way. If you come from the Adriatic side, get off the A14 highway at Rimini Nord and follow the signs for Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna and San Leo, or Rimini Sud and follow the directions towards Montefeltro and San Leo. The goal is to reach the strada provinciale 258 R Marecchia (SP 258). Leave SP 258 after about 8km, following the signs for Pennabilli.
From the Tirrenian side, from Arezzo go to Sansepolcro and follow SP 258 towards Rimini, across Passo di Viamaggio. When in Ponte Messa turn right towards Pennabilli.
The city is small enough to be walked. Fractions are a bit distant (on average 3-6km from the capital), and not connected by public transport: if you want to get there, a car is recommended.
For getting outside the center, for instance to Scavolino or Maciano, the easiest way is by car. Roads can be tight, but the traffic is very loose.
A bicycle can be a viable alternative if you are a sporty person, and will allow you to enjoy the panoramas. Distances are not prohibitive, the biggest hazards will be the long rises, sometimes rather steep.
Tower in Maciano
- L’orto dei Frutti Dimenticati (Garden of Forgotten Fruits), Via Salita Valentini, 1 , ✉ email@example.com. It’s the first installation made by Tonino Guerra, created on a former vegetables garden belonging to monks. It hosts several plants once part of the local flora but nowadays almost disappeared, and several artistic installations, shown below. Free.
- Meridiana dell’Incontro (Sundial of the Meeting). During the afternoon, the shadows of the two bronze doves composing the sundial shape like the profiles of Federico Fellini and Giulietta Masina.
- Meridiana Umana (Human Sundial). The visitor is the pole of the sundial: if you stand in the correct position, your shadow will project the current time.
- Porta delle Lumache (Door of the Snails). In a chapel built using stones taken from the ruins of old churches of Montefeltro, are hosted some ceramic-made snails by Aldo Rontini.
- Bosco Incantato (Enchanted Wood). A “Labirinto dell’anima” (Soul labyrinth), made of stone stems carved with stone pine cones and acorns, with a bronze snail in the centre (symbol of calm and reflection). According to the author, if you enter the Bosco Incantato you will lose your memory and remember only the most beautiful day of your life.
- Il Gelso della Pace (The Mulberry of Peace). A tree left by the Dalai Lama on June 15, 1994.
- La Voce della Foglia (The Leaf’s Voice). A three-meter-tall leaf-shaped fountain, whose base is a former watermill part.
- Il Vecchio Lavatoio (The Old Laundry). Once the place where the women of the village went to wash their clothes, today hosts a twelve plates with “Le parole dei mesi” (the months’ words).
- Il Rifugio delle Madonne Abbandonate (The Shelter of Forsaken Madonnas). Traditionally, in this part of Italy many small sanctuaries to the Virgin Mary were raised along the most important streets as protection and prayer posts for travellers. Many of those small temples got abandoned and ruined by time and climate. Il rifugio delle Madonne hosts a collection of Virgin Mary iconography inspired by those places. Most of the works are ceramic-made portraits made by potter masters of Faenza. The collection is constantly expanding, due to various donations.
- La Strada delle Meridiane (The Road of the Sundials), Via Salita Valentini, 1 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Except for Meridiana Umana, located within L’orto dei frutti dimenticati, all the others can be seen during the whole day.. Pennabilli hosts, spread around the medieval town, seven sundials. The first one is “Meridiana Umana” in “L’orto dei frutti dimenticati”, the other six are painted on the faces of various building. Their images were made by painter Mario Arnaldi, who worked along with Prof. Giovanni Paltrinieri to make every painting a sundial. Free.
- Il Santuario dei Pensieri (The Sanctuary of the Thoughts), Via Canavina (From Roccione Basso, turn right on the rise. Just before Porta Malatesta, turn right (there are few steps).) , ✉ email@example.com. Always open. Il Santuario dei Pensieri is built within a former Malatesta’s castle room, whose ruins of wall survived to modern days. In here, seven sculptures from Tonino Guerra are stored, he defined them “seven opaque mirrors for the mind”. Each of the seven sculpture is an invite to meditation and introspection, favorited by the isolation and silence of the area. Free.
- La Madonna del Rettangolo di Neve (The Snowy Rectangle’s Madonna), Via Canavina (Follow SS 258 towards San Sepolcro. You’ll get to Ca’ Romano. You will need to walk in a small dirt patch until you reach a small stone chapel.), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A small chapel built within a wood in 1754, hosting a ceramic work of master potter Muky and a Tonino Guerra’s leaf sculpture on the door. The legend says that the inhabitants of Ca’ Romano were arguing for long to decide where to build a chapel. One day of August, an unexpected (and miraculous, given the month) snowfall covered the whole town but a small rectangle within the wood. This was interpreted as a sign from the Virgin Mary, and the chapel was built within that rectangle. Free.
- Giardino Pietrificato (Petrified Garden), Bascio (Follow SS 258 towards San Sepolcro. You’ll get to Molino di Bascio. Turn left uphill and continue until you don’t see the tower.), ✉ email@example.com. A thousand-years old tower surrounded by seven ceramic carpets from Giovanni Urbinati. Free.
- Il tappeto dell’anatra dal collo azzurro (The Carpet of the blue-neck duck). Dedicated to the countess Fanina dei Borboni di Francia, married to a Carpegna captain. She went crazy for her loneliness, and committed to wind her help requests.
- Il tappeto delle onde quiete (The Carpet of the quiet waves). In honor of Giotto di Bondone, Italian painter: “dal Montefeltro vide lontanissimi i primi bagliori azzurri dell’Adriatico“: “from the Montefeltro he saw from very far the first blue Adriatic Sea’s shines.
- Il tappeto delle piramidi sognate (The Carpet of the dreamt pyramids). In honor of Bonconte da Montefeltro, “may the thirty-five pyramids be graves for his body, swallowed by the river of the battle”.
- Il tappeto delle Cattedrali abbandonate (The Carpet of the abandoned Cathedrals). In honor of Matteo da bascio, founder of the Cappuccini monks.
- Il tappeto delle conchiglie montanare (The Carpet of the shells living on the mountains). In honor of Uguccione della Faggiola.
- Il tappeto dei pensieri chiari (The Carpet of the bright thoughts). In honor of Dante Alighieri, “who seen the tower of Bascio while fleeing from Florence to reach the sea’s noise in Ravenna”.
- Il tappeto dei pensieri oscuri (The Carpet of the dark thoughts). In honor of Ezra Pound, who lived for a short time in Pennabilli.
Naturalistic Museum of Pennabilli
- L’Angelo coi Baffi (The Angel with the Moustache), Via Olivieri, 5 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Always open. Known as the smallest museum in the world. Hosted in a former chapel (“Cappellina dei Caduti”) a single painting by Luigi Poiaghi, inspired by a novel written by Tonino Guerra. Free.
- Naturalistic Museum of Pennabilli, Via dei Tigli 5/a. Collection of dioramas of the specimens populating the Regional Park of Sasso Simone and Simoncello, particularly interesting are the stuffed birds of prey, the feral cat and the wolf.
- Mateureka, Piazza Garibaldi. The museum opens between 8:30 to 18:00 only if a proper reservation is made for a group (call the phone number). In July and August, it is open also without any reservation on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 15:30 to 18:00. Mateureka is a museum of calculus and mathematics. It contains hundreds of historical and traditional objects from around the world: Sumer tablets from 4500 years ago, Roman and Etruscan stones, abacuses, Chinese suan pans, Japanese sorobans, Russian schoties, Incas quipù, Peruvian chimpù, and many others. The museum includes laboratory-rooms, where the visitors can experiment mathematical concepts and ideas: watch zero and infinity, manipulate the Pythagoras’ Theorem, dive into fractals. Normal entry fee is 5€. Guided tour is 6€, for groups of at least 10 people, and includes laboratory activity. It is possible to pay 1€ more to extend the guided tour to cover I Luoghi dell’Anima. Entry is free for professors along with groups of students, disabled people and helpers.
- Museo Diocesano del Montefeltro, Piazza Sant’Agostino , ✉ email@example.com. Thursday and Saturday: 9:30-12:30. Friday and Sunday: 15.00-18.30. Closed on January, February and March.. Religious artworks.
- Artisti in Piazza , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Early June, from Thursday at 20:00 to Sunday at 3:30.. The whole city becomes a distributed stage, for one of the biggest buskers festivals in Italy. Hundreds of performers from all over the world attract every year 40000 visitors. Three days 23€, two days (Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday) 20€, single day (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) 10€, Thursday 8€. Free for under 14..
- Piastrino, Via Parco Begni.
- Al Bel Fico, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.
Where to stay in Pennabilli
- Albergo Lago Verde (Near Lago d’Andreuccio, 7km from the center of Pennabilly).
Pennabilli is a safe place, even for women traveling alone. There are no reported cases of theft or violence against tourists. The Montefeltro area has been targeted by burglars, but no pickpockets have been reported.
- Police. To report theft you should generally go to the Carabinieri station in Viale dei Tigli.
From Pennabilli, your travel may involve other localities of Montefeltro: San Leo and Sant’Agata Feltria are very nice medieval towns. The Republic of San Marino in the surrounding area. Those who prefer the seaside and an intense night life may want to move on to the Rimini (province). Bikers will love the Passo di Viamaggio, connecting Pennabilli to Tuscany.
Already eleven Corona Infections at the Pope’s Swiss Guard
In the Vatican, seven other members of the pope’s Swiss Guard tested positive for the corona virus . This increased the number of demonstrably infected guardsmen to eleven, as the Swiss Guard announced on Thursday. All infected people had been isolated, the message said. The brightly uniformed guards protect Pope Francis and his residence.
A major corona outbreak among the guards could therefore also be dangerous for the Pope, 83 years of age belongs to the risk group. The Argentinean pope had part of his right lung removed at the age of 21 due to severe pneumonia but he is considered relatively healthy for his age.
The Catholic media platform “Vatican News” reported in early October that the guardsmen had been asked to “be careful when dealing with the Pope” because of Corona. Face mask and social distancing are required, however a young man who was interviewed about his recruit swearing in (October 4th) said that Francis had already shaken his hand.
Corona measures in Italy – Italy reacts to the 2nd Wave of Covid-19
Italy introduced a nationwide facemask requirement in the open due to the increase in new infections. If you don’t wear a mask when leaving your apartment, you risk a fine of up to one thousand euros, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recently announced. You do not need to wear a face mask when you are doing sport. The regulations do not apply in private rooms or in places where only one family is staying. Children under six years of age are also exempt from this obligation.
In view of the rising numbers, Italy’s Minister of Health Roberto Speranza also ordered mandatory tests for travelers from Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
Another measure taken by the government shows how deep the shock of the first wave of more than 30,000 deaths still sits: It passed a law that prohibits the Italian regions from adopting measures that are less restrictive than those taken by Rome. However, you have the option of setting even stricter rules. Some regions, such as Lazio and Campania, had already decided that the public must wear a facemask.
Lombardy Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Italy
Lombardy or Lombardia is a northern region of Italy, and with 10 million people is the most populous one. Producing 1/5th of Italy’s GDP, it is also the mightiest economically. Geographically, Lombardy encompasses both Alps and Prealps in the north, and relatively flat plains in the south along the river Po and its tributaries. Between them there are many scenic lakes, and the alpine backdrop makes even the low-lying cities picturesque and the air rather fresh.
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Lombardy is heavily industrialized, although most of the industry is actually not heavy, but rather mid-sized specialized machinery-building and other assembly and engineering firms, as well as consumer industries such as foodstuffs and apparel. The regional capital, Milan, is Italy’s second-largest city and the foremost centre of commerce and a global fashion capital. Smaller cities also have considerable economic might, and have had so for many centuries, hence Lombardy is the region of Italy with the most UNESCO World Heritage List sites – and simply, a lot of history and scenic views to explore and enjoy.
- Lombardian Alps and Prealps (provinces of Bergamo, Brescia and Sondrio)
- Lake Como (provinces of Como and Lecco)
- Southern Lombardy (provinces of Cremona, Lodi, Mantova and Pavia)
- Grande Milano (provinces of Milan and Monza and Brianza)
- Milan (Milano, the capital of the province) – shares with Paris the title of fashion capital of the world, and is Italy’s second city.
- Bergamo – a fairytale pastel-coloured city perched atop a hillside, and the gate to Bergamo Alps
- Brescia – a major industrial powerhouse since the Ancient Roman times, and a UNESCO World Heritage List
- Como – the city that gave the name to the popular lake
- Cremona – home of Stradivarius violins, but also a wealth of ornate romanesque architecture
- Lecco – a little and charming city situated on Como’s lake.
- Mantua (Italian: Mantova) – the Ducal Palace has a cycle of frescoes by Mantegna that no art lover should miss.
- Sondrio – the northernmost provincial capital situated amidst alpine mountain ranges
- Varese – capital of the namesake province full of lakeside resorts, just 30 minutes from Malpensa airport
- The magnificent lakes of Lake Como – take boat trips in the shadow of the Alps to the picturesque villages of Bellagio, Varenna and Tremezzo – Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda and Lake Lugano.
- The tiny village of Erbusco, home of the award-winning wines of Franciacorta and L’Albereta, the country inn of Gualtiero Marchesi, one of Italy’s premier chefs
- The peninsula of Sirmione, on the south shore of Lake Garda
- The Caves of Catullo, an archaeological site of a former Roman villa situated on the tip of the Sirmione peninsula
- The Sirmione Spa, the largest privately owned thermal treatment centre in Italy
- Val Camonica : UNESCO heritage site, medieval towns, castles, holy art in churches, roman sanctuary and theatre/amphitheatre, ski sports.
- Oltrepò Pavese : Wine region in the utmost southern part of Lombardy, 70km from Milan, part of the Pavia province, medieval towns, castles, stunning views.
The Longobardis occupied the Peninsula in the 6th century, and the territory has been named after them ever since.
Lombardy is a prosperous region with fertile soil and a temperate climate. As in Piedmont, the Po Valley is the site of much heavy industry. High mountains in the north, marking Italy’s frontier with Switzerland, provide excellent skiing and climbing.
Three of Italy’s four busiest airports are in Lombardy:
- Milan Malpensa Airport is an intercontinental airport, and Italy’s second aviation hub after Rome Fiumicino. It has multiple direct connections to Africa, Asia and North America, as well as across Europe, where it is served by both full-service and low-fare carriers.
- Milano Linate is Milan’s city airport, served by business-oriented flights to European major commercial centres, as well as a dense Italian domestic network.
- Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport is served almost exclusively by low-fare carriers, taking advantage of its proximity to both Milan and the Alps.
Despite only Linate being in the city and province of Milan, all three airports are marketed as serving the city. One can easily get to other destinations in the province from them, without necessarily changing in Milan. There is also a small airport in Brescia, which in recent years has seen next to no scheduled traffic.
Travel by train to Lombardy
Road and train links connect the region with Switzerland. As Switzerland is not part of the EU, there is a possibility that you will be delayed by checks at the border, although these are infrequent and usually not rigorous. Remember your passport.
There is a relatively dense railway network connecting cities and towns in Lombardy, although the layout is intricate and getting from one place to another may not be straightforward. You should be able to reach your destination within 1 or 2 hours by train. Otherwise, buses and minibuses link important destinations, especially those popular with tourists. Hubs are usually in regional centres, as well as near major railway stations and airports; you can try to change there if there are no direct connections. Regional train network is entirely managed by Trenord.
Regione Lombardia offers a good travel planner that lets you query the whole public transportation system.
If you plan to travel a lot, it might be worth buying a io viaggio ovunque in Lombardia pass ticket. Those tickets let you travel without limit on the entire public transport system in Lombardy, including regional trains, buses and city public transportation systems, but excluding some ferry boat lines. Although expensive, they can easily be a cheaper option than regular tickets if you travel long distances. Passes are sold at railway stations (at ticket box or automatic vending machines) and at ATM automatic vending machines. You can buy 1, 2, 3 or 7 day passes (16€, 27€, 32.5€, 43€ respectively – February 2020).
The railway company Trenord offers some good travel packages, under the Trenord Free Time name. The package usually includes a ticket to an attraction or a trip proposal and a train ticket to get to the destination. Most of them are really useful only if you depart from Milan. It’s worth to take a look at the offers as they can also suggest you some new or lesser known itinerary that you may like.
As the Autostrada A4 runs across Lombardy, with the road system radiating from its junctions, you can get around by car as well. The A4 frequently gets congested though and traffic jams can be long and excruciating, especially around Milan. Be aware that Italians drive fast and make no allowances for foreigners, so be sure you are OK with keeping up with the traffic and occasional displays of impatience from other drivers.
Milan, Bergamo and Brescia have efficient and extensive public transportation systems.
What to see in
- Milan Fashion Weeks draw crowds of fashionistas to Milan every year.
- La Scala in Milan is a mecca for opera aficionados.
- You can enjoy water sports or more relaxed boating on the lakes.
- The Alps offer opportunities for hiking or skiing.
Lombardy’s most famous culinary inventions are minestrone soup and osso buco (literally “ox knuckles”). To the west of Milan lie miles of rice fields, where the rice for risotto alla milanese is grown. Other typical dishes of the area include salumi (cold cuts) and polenta.
As in many other areas of Northern Italy, the aperitivo (pre-meal drink with appetisers, for which a small supplement might be charged) is very popular.
The wineries in Franciacorta, around Erbusco, produce many excellent wines. The region has been elevated to the status of DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). Other remarkable zones for wine are Oltrepò Pavese (which is the zone around Pavia on the south banks of Po river) and the countrysides around Garda Lake.
Valtellina also produces excellent wines, famous for their strong taste and flavour.
As every big city in the world, Milan has also many high quality restaurants, wine bars and Enoteche (wine store) where you can find high class wines from all over the world.
Where to stay in Lombardy
Large cities, like Milan, Bergamo or Brescia, are important business centres, so they have sizeable bases of business-oriented hotels. They are local hubs with connections to destinations within their provinces, and getting between them is also reasonably quick via a variety of means of transportation (trains, express buses or cars across the A4). Do note that accommodation in Milan is generally expensive, and prices skyrocket during major events or fairs, such as the Milan Fashion Week.
Destinations along the lines of the lakes, as well as those in the Alps, are popular with tourists, so you will find a variety of accommodation options there, from luxurious resort hotels to simple B&Bs.
While Milan features many of the usual tourist traps and con acts, as well as sizeable number of pickpockets due to the number of tourists there, other destinations are generally safe, and you can feel secure and welcome there. Do note, however, that in case you need to contact the police they can have very limited English skills and also may not be able to help foreigners much.
To the east is Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto, to the south is Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont is to the south and west. Switzerland lies to the north.
Current Covid-19 Infections in Italy, Lombardy
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Timeline of Covid-19 Infections in Italy, Lombardy
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Lucca is a city of some 90,000 people in Tuscany. Its long history goes back to Etruscan and Ancient Roman times, and...
Bruneck Brunico Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats South Tyrol Südtirol
Bruneck (Italian: Brunico) is a city in South Tyrol in South Tyrol, Italy. Understand Bruneck was first settled back in the Stone Age. Objects found (such...
Pavia Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Southern Lombardy
Pavia is a city in Lombardy, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe (founded in 1361) and many interesting churches....
Cortina d’Ampezzo Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Veneto Italy
ortina d’Ampezzo, is a ski resort in Italy Understand The most famous, fashionable and expensive Italian ski resort. Even in summer,...