Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rimini is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, population 134,378 (November 2004). It is located on the Adriatic Sea and after Venice's Lido is probably the most famous seaside resort on the Adriatic Riviera.
Riminiís history begins at the beach. Up to 800,000 years ago, primitive man inhabited the coastal area as far back as the hillside of Covignano. From prehistoric times, the road to civilisation passed through the main evolutionary stages, taking Rimini to the forefront of the Roman era.
In 268 B.C. at the mouth of the Ariminus river, in an area that had previously been inhabited by the Etruscans, the Umbrians , the Greeks and the Gauls, the Romans founded the colony of Ariminum. It was seen as a bastion against invading Gaul and also as a springboard for conquering the Padana plain. Rimini was a road junction connecting central Italy (Via Flaminia) and northern Italy (Via Aemilia and Via Popilia) and it also opened up trade by sea and river.
The city was involved in the civil wars but remained faithful to the popular party and to its leaders, firstly Marius and then Caesar. After crossing the Rubicon, the latter made his legendary appeal to the legions in the Forum of Rimini.
Rimini, which drew the attention of many emperors, Augustus and Hadrian in particular, was experiencing a great period in its history, embodied by the construction of prestigious monuments such as the Arch of Augustus, Tiberius' Bridge and the Amphitheatre.
Crisis in the Roman world was marked by destruction caused by invasions and wars, but also by the testimony of the palaces of the Imperial officers and the first churches, the symbol of the spread of Christianity that held an important Council in Rimini in 359.
The city became a municipality in the fourteenth century and with the arrival of the religious orders, numerous convents and churches were built, providing work for many illustrious artists. In fact, Giotto inspired the fourteenth-century School of Rimini, which was the expression of original cultural ferment.
The Malatesta family, whose most famous member was Sigismondo Pandolfo, (illustration, right) a condottiere and patron (e.g. Alberti's Tempio Malatestiana) who was lord of Rimini between 1432 and 1468, emerged from the struggles between municipal factions.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, once the Malatesta family had been banished, Rimini, now a small town of the Papal States, had a local government under the Apostolic Legate of Ravenna. Towards the end of the same century, the municipal square (Piazza Cavour), which had been closed off on a site where the Poletti Theatre was subsequently built, was redesigned. The statue of Pope Paul V has stood in the centre of the square next to the fountain since 1614.
In the sixteenth century, the 'grand square' (now the 'Piazza Tre Martiri' in honor of three civilians shot by the retreating Nazis at the end of World War II), which was where markets and tournaments were held, underwent various changes. For example, a small temple dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua and the Clock Tower block were built, giving the square its present shape and size.
Until the eighteenth century, raiding armies, earthquakes, famines, floods and pirate attacks ravaged the city. In this gloomy situation and due to a weakened local economy, fishing took on great importance, a fact testified by the construction of functional structures such as the fish market and the lighthouse.
In 1797, Rimini along with the rest of Romagna was influenced by the passage of the Jacobin troops and became part of the Cisalpine Republic. The Napoleonic government suppressed the monastic orders, confiscating their property and thus dispersing a substantial heritage, and demolished many churches including the ancient cathedral of Santa Colomba. On 30th March 1815, Joachim Murat launched his proclamation to the Italian people from Rimini, inciting them to unity and independence.
An idea of what the city was like in the 19th century is provided by the palaces built along Corso díAugusto and in particular by the theatre, which was designed by Luigi Poletti and succeeded in translating into Neoclassical form the ambitions of the ruling classes.
However, the biggest revolutionary element for the city was the foundation in 1843 of the first bathing establishment and the Kursaal, constructed to host sumptuous social events, became the symbol of tourist Rimini. In just a few years, the marina underwent considerable building work making Rimini 'the city of small villas'. At the beginning of the twentieth century, The Grand Hotel, the cityís first important accommodation facility, was built near the coast and soon became the emblem of a new kind of tourism.
During World War II, the city was torn apart by heavy bombardments and by the passage of the front along the Gothic Line but after liberation on September 21, 1944, impressive reconstruction work began, culminating in the explosive development of the tourist economy that created a new urban reality.
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