Built on top of Mount Cesubeo, overlooking the entire Romagna valley, the Bertinoro Fortress is one of the most ancient castles in all of Romagna: square blocks of spungone were used for its construction, which pre-dates the 10th century.
In the 12th century it was enlarged by Countess Aldruda Frangipane, a noblewoman with a gentle and intrepid spirit. It was she who brought the rules of courtesy to Bertinoro, and she didn’t hesitate to send her troops to help the city of Ancona when it was under siege by the imperial army. Subsequently the fortress came under the rule of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who, at the end of the 12th century, stayed here for approximately six months with his troops. Another illustrious tenant of the castle, at the start of the 14th century, was Dante Alighieri, a guest of the Ordelaffi family. After a long period of occupation by the Malatesta family, at the end of the 15th century the fortress became the seat of Bertinoro’s bishops and acquired the appearance that it has to this day.
The northern facade was strengthened with an inclined wall in order to withstand attack, while fabricated coverings were added to the guards’ walkways, turning them into the rooms of the bishops’ residences and the offices of the curia.
The rustic and magnificent
entryway, this too build using the spungone rock, also dates back to the era of the bishops.
But the Bertinoro Fortress isn’t just a fascinating monument. In fact, thanks to a meticulous and thorough renovation which took place at the start of this century, it’s still a vibrant and dynamic structure, dedicated to study, reception, and dialogue. Inside are a university residential centre for higher education, which, among other things, collaborates with Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, and the very unique Interfaith Museum, a cultural gem like none other in Italy, dedicated to the three major monotheistic religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.