Tempio Malatestiano

sights / Religious

Tempio Malatestiano information

Location
Rimini , Italy
Address
Via IV Novembre 35
Opening hours
8.30am-12.30pm & 3.30-7pm Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm & 3.30-7pm Sun
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Rimini's cathedral is the result of a medieval love story with a rather ambiguous ending. Built originally in Gothic style in the 1200s and dedicated to St Francis, it was transformed in the 15th century into a kind of Renaissance Taj Mahal for the tomb of Isotta degli Atti, the beloved mistress of roguish ruling clansman Sigismondo Malatesta.

Sigismondo, known disparagingly as the 'Wolf of Rimini', gave Leon Battista Alberti, a Florentine architect with grandiose Roman ideas, the job of redesigning the church in 1450, but it was a task he never finished. Sigismondo, thanks to his aggressive military campaigns, had fallen out with the pope, Pius II (himself no angel), who burned his effigy in Rome and condemned him to hell for a litany of sins that included rape, murder, incest, adultery and severe oppression of the people. With his credibility dented, Sigismondo's popularity waned, though some people still superstitiously think he defaced the cathedral with pagan undertones. Judge for yourself. Sigismondo and Isotta's sarcophagi reside inside.