If you come to Fano along the highway, you cannot fail to notice a magnificent fortified town overlooking the valley below. It is Gradara , a village with its castle dating back to the XII century, which is located about 20 km from Fano. This is exactly what I want to talk to you about today, because we are in February, the month in which Valentine's Day is celebrated, and Gradara is considered the Capital of Love.
Even those who have never heard of Gradara, will certainly have read or heard this verse: Love that loved nothing forgives love, took so much pleasure from him that, as you can see, he still does not abandon me ( Divine Comedy of Dante , Inferno v I sing). This famous love phrase refers to the story of Paolo and Francesca that took place right in the Gradara castle which is one of the most visited in Italy .
Francesca's room is an incurable romantic, the environment where I spend more time when I visit the castle, because I find all the details told by Dante: the "convict" book, the chairs where the two lovers were sitting, the trap door which Paul tried to flee to death. I imagine it that evening when Paolo and Francesca, while ecstatic reading the story of Lancelot and Ginevra, gave each other a chaste kiss, they see Francesca's husband, GianciottoMalatesta , who must have left for Pesaro , fall, who opens the door and surprises them . Paolo tries to escape the blows of the sword by escaping through the trap door but the dress gets caught in a nail. Francesca tries to defend him with her body but both are killed. Here, once again as every time I tell this story, as well as that of Romeo and Juliet, I imagine a happy ending, that Paolo manages to escape or that Juliet wakes up before Romeo's suicide. But I cannot pretend to ignore Gabriela who, while I read what I write, listens to me and, who with her critical look of a lived woman, brings me back to the raw reality ...
And back to Gradara, to the Rocca that always makes me take a dip in the past and that makes me live sensations of the past, because equally exciting is for me to see the Sala del Mastio , della Passione, the dressing room of Lucrezia Borgia , the Sala torture and others.
Once out of this magical place, if you are in love, but even if you are not, I recommend walking along the Path of lovers which is a path of just over a kilometer surrounded by greenery where it is said that Paolo and Francesca, always when the husband was in Pesaro, they went to admire the wonders of the forest which is located at the foot of the Rocca.
But it is all Gradara that deserves a visit with its perfectly preserved medieval structure.
Traveling along the walkways of Ronda, that is part of the walls that surround the village, allows you to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view.
After walking along the streets and alleys of the village with its craft shops and well-kept houses with flowered balconies you can taste the local specialties in a wide choice of piadinerias , where you can taste the famous Romagna piadina with cold cuts, field grass and cheeses, taverns , pizzerias, appetizers and restaurants offering traditional peasant dishes. All this immersed in the beauty of a medieval village.