Relish Rimini

Founded 2000 years ago, Rimini's location at the crossing of 3 major roads as well as proximity to the Adriatic sea made it a valuable point of commerce and trade. Today nothing has changed, and in fact, Rimini is now one of Italy's hippest hotspots, boasting no less than 15 kilometers of fabulous beach and over 1000 different hotels, as well as such claims to fame as being the birthplace of Fellini. Ways to enjoy oneself, especially decadently, are numerous, making this Adriatic gem quite the draw for natives and foreigners alike.

Now full of posh shops, designer boutiques, and an entire slew of nightclubs and discos, Rimini is the place for the young and beautiful to be May-September. Though Rimini itself has more waterfront chalets and bars than real clubs, many shuttle busses run frequently to Riccione and the hills west of town where the real nightlife almost never quits. Bar/club hopping from dusk 'til dawn is more convenient than ever, and attracts tourists in droves from all over Europe during the warm months. Sunbathing and relaxing on a pristine beach or at the Rimini Terme Thermal Spa with a cocktail before or after a night on the town, it's not hard to see why this city is as popular as it is.

That's not to say that off-season it turns into the ghost town one might think it is; rather the contrary. From about October through March the Rimini Fair is on, offering a variety of conventions that attract flocks of tourists of a different nature. Ever the business center, Rimini offers all from hospitality industry conventions, to seafood equipment and processing shows, to olive oil expos, and the Pianoforte Festival that runs free piano concerts March through May. Perhaps the most popular and widely sought after convention is the International Convention for Baking, Gelato, Pastries, and Confections. Deliciously inviting, this and other conventions definitely draw quite the crowd and amass a fair deal of revenue.

With all these conventions centered around eating, and the fact that Rimini is in Emilia Romagna (Italy's bread basket so to speak), it comes as no surprise that this area offers some exquisite dining options. Aside from the normal delectable tastes this region is noted for, the strategic position on the sea makes seafood a must during any stay here, and don't forget to try the local piadina, or flatbread. During tourist season the San Giuliano A Mare district is a nice place to dine, being full of life and laughter, as well as fantastic food at unbelievably low prices. And unlike Roman counterparts to touristy locales like this, the food is actually great.

Though it may not be Rimini's main touristic attraction, the city does boast some really lovely art and architecture that definitely shouldn't be missed. Starting with Piazza Cavour, the town's main square, one can take in the ancient structures and compare and contrast the different epochs they represent. Castel Sismondo, built in the 15th century, is especially interesting. Once a fortress, it's now the home of many cultural events, while Piazza Cavour itself remains a popular meeting point and also houses the Wednesday market, where one is sure to find bargains.

The ruins of the Roman settlement are another fascinating must-see-sight, dating back to 268 B.C. Highlights include a Roman amphitheater that once seated up to 10,000 eager spectators, the old town gate, and Ponte di Tiberio, a 62 meter long impressive feat of a bridge built in 21 A.D. More art and Roman artifacts can be found in the City Museum, home to a treasure trove of archaeological interests.

Piazza Tre Martiri, once the sight of the Roman Forum, is now home to a clock tower built in 1547 and a few other structures, while still being a popular meeting point and a lovely photo op. The Malatesta Temple is also particularly stunning, being a medieval church revamped and revitalized with Renaissance flavor. Though condemned as a Satanist Temple by Pope Pious II, the Malatesta is home to such treasures as sculptures by Duccio, frescoes by Piero Della Francesca, and a priceless Giotto painting dating back to 1312.

City of culture, cuisine, style, design, and decadence, this posh Romagna paradise is made perfect by the variety of hotels available. A stand out amongst the vast selection would definitely be the Duomo Design Hotel. Opened just a short while ago in 2006, the Duomo Design Hotel was conceived by Ron Arad, an internationally acclaimed architect, designer, and all around visionary. Keeping in tune with functionalism and of course always putting comfort first, the idea was to present a different aspect of a design hotel with a futuristic feel and an ambiance of clear simplicity, while still being jaw-droppingly different. Unconventional materials are fused with bright colors that pop out and inspire, as well as interesting shapes, like the stainless steel ring of a reception desk.

Different is good, and the Duomo Design Hotel definitely pushes boundaries and explores creativity. Nomi club encompasses these philosophies to a T, being popular not only with the hotel's clientele, but also popular with locals who want a fresh, stylish, modern place to hang, or people who want to impress their guests with lavish private parties. Keeping in line with the design concept of the hotel, the atmosphere really is one like no other, and is kept alive by pulsing beats spun by DJ's flown in from all over the globe to entertain you.

Aesthetically pleasing and streamlined, yes, but the Duomo hasn't lost its human feel either. Staffed with friendly, multilingual employees, the customer service is just as warm as the steel can be cold and the contrast works beautifully. A rare find as it's a dog friendly hotel, this is also a great place for those who want to give reign to their wanderlust without leaving any furry family members behind. Shuttle buses to the beach and proximity to the central station make for an ideally convenient location and leaves you more time to relax, enjoy, absorb, and relish the magic that is Rimini.

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