Industrial port and holiday resort in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, at the mouth of the Marecchia River, 45 km/28 mi southeast of Forli; population (2001) 128,700. Pasta, footwear, textiles, and furniture are manufactured.
In the Roman era it was the terminus of the Flaminian Way from Rome. In World War II it formed the eastern strongpoint of the German ‘Gothic’ defence line and was badly damaged in the severe fighting in September 1944, when it was taken by the Allies.
Early history Originally Umbrian, Rimini was taken by the Etruscans and the Senones. In 286 BC it became a Roman colony. Under the Romans it became an important port, and was at the junction of the Flaminian Way, the Aemilian Way, and the Popilian Way (to Venice). It was then claimed successively by the Byzantines, the Goths, the Lombards, and the Franks. In 1239 it came under the rule of the Malatesta family, who held it for three centuries. In 1503 it was sold to the Venetians, and from 1528 to 1860 it was under papal authority.
Features Roman remains in the town are the triumphal Arch of Augustus (27 BC) and Bridge of Tiberius (AD 21). The Renaissance cathedral, Tempio Malatestiano, originally a late 13th-century Franciscan church, was remodelled in 1450 by Leone Battista Alberti for Sigismondo Malatesta; it has many sculptures and frescoes, and tombs of the Malatestas and their courtiers. Rimini also has a 13th-century palace, and the remains of a 15th-century castle, as well as an art gallery, library, and museums.
Tourism and communications The resort is at the centre of a 50-km/31-mi strip of coastline, from Cervia to Cattolica, which attracts millions of tourists every year. Starting in the 19th century, the development of tourism was encouraged by the building of a railway (1861), Miramare airport (1958), and a motorway in the 1960s. The Marrechia River is canalized here.