Explore the medieval streets of the historic center, visit a hilltop fortress, spot colorful marine life at an aquarium and bask along the Adriatic coastline.
Set between the sparkling Adriatic Sea and the foothills of the Apennine Mountains is Cattolica. This lively coastal city started life as a Roman settlement on the Via Flaminia, which connected Rome with Rimini. It developed into an important maritime center and was referenced in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Today Cattolica attracts national and international tourists alike, who come to experience the Queen of the Adriatic.
During the summer months, do as the locals do and hit the pristine sands of Cattolica Beach. Admire its spectacular setting, with Monti di Gabicce looming above the southern end of the bay. Cool off in the mild, calm water and dabble in watersports such as Jet Skiing and windsurfing. The private beach clubs come equipped with sun loungers, umbrellas, changing facilities and bars, among other facilities.
See and be seen by strolling along the waterfront promenade Lungomare Rasi Spinelli. Here, the ornamental Fontana delle Sirene fountain stands in a square framed by bars, cafés and restaurants. Fish and seafood dominate the menus, with chefs creating dishes from the day’s fresh catch. If visiting at Christmas then try miacetto, a cake made from dried fruits, honey, citrus zest and cinnamon.
Make your way inland to the atmospheric Cattolica Historic Center. Cutting through its heart are Via Cattaneo and Via Pascoli, which are part of the old Via Flaminia. Discover underground tunnels and take time out at quaint squares.
Chiesa di Sant’Apollinare a Cattolica and Chiesa di San Pio V are two of the district’s finest churches.
See displays of archaeological and maritime artifacts at Museo della Regina, housed in the Oratory of Santa Croce.
At Cattolica Aquarium you can get up close with penguins, sharks and other aquatic creatures. A 15-minute drive from the town center is Castello di Gradara, a hilltop castle and history museum.
Stay overnight at Cattolica’s seafront and old town hotels or visit on a daytrip from Rimini, located 15 miles (25 kilometers) to the north. Trains operate regularly between the Cattolica San Giovanni Gabbice and Stazione Rimini stations.