Four mysteries on the slopes of San Bartolo

Nature, history, mystery, sea and archeology: these are ingredients that magically merge to create an unusual weekend to discover breathtaking places and fascinating legends. You are ready? You just have to take the panoramic route that leads from Gabicce Mare to Pesaro, zigzagging among the lush nature of Monte San Bartolo, and leave with us!

The green coast of San Bartolo Park


Step 1: Valbruna or “the Atlantis of the Adriatic”

It is said that even the Adriatic Sea has its Atlantis and that this mythical submerged city is located right in front of the coast of Gabicce Mare overlooking Fiorenzuola di Focara and Gabicce Monte. Descending to the valley from the panoramic road, following the signs for Baia Vallugola, let your gaze go free to the horizon and imagine, in the distance, to see the emergence of temples, villas, streets and statues, to create a real Roman city . Here in front of you is the legendary Valbruna, a city that in these parts all know almost as if they had seen it: fishermen who say they have found fragments of statues and vessels entangled between their nets, tourists who swear they found on the strange beach worked pebbles, divers who have taken up stones with strange shapes and locals who suggest to see, on clear days from the top of the mountain, dark lines under water almost forming roads and delimiting houses. Seeing is believing!

Valbruna (fantasy image)


Step 2: Port of Vallugola and Temple dedicated to Jupiter Serene

We remain for a moment still in the beautiful bay of Vallugola. Here there is a small but very picturesque marina, which recalls the ancient commercial port already in use at the time of the Greeks and which had a constant development, thanks to the proximity with the Via Flaminia, during the Roman period and throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance . As a testimony to the ancient splendor of the place, raising our eyes to the top of the hill of Vallugola we close our eyes and imagine seeing a majestic Greek temple appearing dedicated to Jupiter Serenus, which with its ever-burning flame watches over the sailors and accompanies them safe and safe inside the port. It seems almost to see it, right? We leave the sea and take the panoramic road again, not before having read the epigraph, at the top of the hill, which recalls the existence of the temple and stimulates our imagination even more.

The evocative Vallugola Bay and its timeless mysteries


Step 3: the crucifix of Casteldimezzo, coming from the sea

A short distance from Vallugola we come across a small and charming village nestled on Mount San Bartolo: Casteldimezzo. From here the view takes your breath away. On clear days the blue of the sea is so immense that the gaze finds itself circling on the placid surface in a state of complete and total serenity. This castle has become famous throughout the region and even outside of it, due to the story of the miraculous “crucifix came from the sea”. We enter inside the small church of the village, before us a beautiful wooden crucifix of Venetian invoice dating back to the early 1500. In those years had been shipped by sea and transported in a box but, involved in a shipwreck, landed on the coast between Fiorenzuola and Casteldimezzo. The two cities to contend with the object of devotion decided to load it on a cart of oxen and leave the choice to fate. The oxen went without hesitation towards Casteldimezzo and stopped in front of the church. Since then, the crucifix is ​​said to have been the proponent of numerous miracles, including a surviving siege by the Lordship of the Medici to the detriment of the Duchy of Montefeltro. And you, believe in miracles?



Step 4 : the archaeological site of Colombarone

We continue towards our last stage going down again to the valley, towards the Gradara Castle. Just in front of the legendary meeting place of Paolo and Francesca, near the current church of the district, you can admire one of the most interesting archaeological discoveries of recent years: the remains of a Roman villa dating back to the end of the III century AD. over the centuries that followed, the early Christian Basilica of San Cristoforo ad Aquilam was superimposed. The domus had arisen here because of its strategic position at the crossroads of the via Flaminia and the road that, crossing the mountain, led to the port of Vallugola. Walking over a building of almost two thousand years is always a special emotion, admire the beautiful mosaic floors well preserved, recreate with the look rooms, decorations and scenes of everyday life to try to imagine the story is a unique and difficult pleasure to describe, the perfect conclusion for our weekend full of mystery, between history and legend, between myth and tradition.

The popular legends, we know, are not written on the history books, they are not the result of scientific research but sometimes they can reveal authentic experiences even just for the curiosity and suggestions that are able to communicate. We have shared them with you, it is up to you to try them!

Colombarone Archaeological Site
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