Gradara Castle, Italy: can you imagine centuries of history surrounded by majestic walls in a stunning medieval castle at the peak? Welcome to one of the most beautiful Italian villages, located in in the province of Pesaro Urbino, in Le Marche.
Gradara Italy offers some picturesque attractions located among the village surrounded by a lovely landscape, which is suitable for people who love both art and history.
This magical hamlet will transport you into a real fairy tale: are you ready to see the must-do list I’ve prepared for you?
Top things to do at Gradara
You’ll find that there are a lot options for Gradara things to do, but I’m happy to show you some of the best options out there for travelers of all kinds. Just check it out!
1.Visit the Gradara’s Castle and discover its history
First of all, Gradara is identified by its fortress, famous as one of the best-preserved monuments inItaly.
This impressive castle is one of the most visited places in the Marche region: passing through the main gate, you can will be able to feel the real medieval atmosphere that is still present.
This is an ideal place to get a glimpse of the local history and discover many fascinating facts at the same time. For adventurers, the Gradara Castle is certainly a must-see.
The construction of this monumental castle began in the 12th century when two brothers, Pietro and Ridolfo del Grifo, took possession of the area, usurping it from the Municipality of Pesaro. So, they built the imposing tower to affirm ownership.
After that, many noble Italian families dominated the fortress until the 15the century including Malatesta, Sforza, Borgia, and della Rovere. After the end of the latter’s dynasty, the city was administrated directly by the Popes.
Passion, sacrifices, gentleness and cruelty: here you recall, with some fantasy, known figures of legends and history. This extraordinary building is much more than a medieval castle: this enchanted environment will bring you back in time to the Middle Ages in aspects. It left me enthralled!
The Fortress is open Mondays from 8:30 AM til 1:00 PM; Tuesday through Sunday from 8:30 AM til 6:30 PM (last entrance is 6:30 PM). Paid Admission.
2.Listen the story of Paolo and Francesca
You can’t visit Gradara without listening the love story of Paolo and Francesca, protagonists of Dante’s Divine Comedy and inspiration for many passionate Italian artists, painters and writers alike throughout time. Here, history and legend come mixed together. Paolo and Francesca are two people who really existed and not just romantic figures like Romeo and Juliet. The tale illustrates their tragic love which meets its end in the castle. As such, this castle became the “it spot” for romantic stories in the world. To feel the emotions of this fascinating story, plenty of secrets, betrayals, and mystery.
I invite you to visit the castle with a guided tour. It will leave you feeling as though you’ve lived it yourself!
Enjoy the breathtaking story of Paolo and Francesca and live it at the same time by being in those iconic spots while you hear about it.
To have a tour in English or in other languages, you need to book it in advance.
3. Take part in a special event or historical reenactment
There are so many interesting events at the Gradara Castle all year long, but here you can find my personal selection of the events I think can be more relevant to you! Just be alert because some events should be booked early to save a spot.
Gradara to love – February
Seeking for a special atmosphere to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
During Valentine’s Day, the Gradara Castle turns into an evocative and romantic scenery. The castle offers a complete experience between music, theater, and gastronomy, for a romantic day in the wake of the greatest love stories of all time. During the sunset, the whole hamlet turns the lights off and just candles illuminate this romantic landscape! I also recommend you booking the romantic dinner.
Gradara to Love ph. Proloco Gradara
Thursday in the Gradara Fortress- mid-June/mid-September
Be back into the 15th century, when the gates of the Gradara village were closed and the peasants returned from the fields to find shelter inside the walls. You will be able to admire ancient dances, typical performances and a local chorus, amongst other attractions. Entrance is free.
Siege in the Gradara Castle – A specific day of July, just on EVEN years
This is an incredible historic reenactment with 200 actors in armor, antique arms and horses, 1,000 kg of fireworks and a soundtrack played by an orchestra of 50 musicians. An incredible medieval experience that is a must-see for anyone who wants to get in on the experience from an intimate point of view! Paid admission.
Halloween – October/beginning of November
Are you brave enough to explore a haunted castle during the Halloween? In this famous event, you can chance upon scary characters in an ironic occasion! I took part in this event and I was surprised with the evocative atmosphere and the fantastic theater actors! You can also book a frightful guided tour in the Castle that discusses betrayals, battles and the tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca.
Magic Castle- August
This is a perfect event for those aged 0 to 100 years. In other words, it’s perfect for children, or those with an inner-child. Over the course of a few days, this wonderful castle will be invaded by jugglers, wizards, elfs, and street artists, becoming a real enchanted scene!
4. Admire the landscape on the pathway on top of the walls of Gradara Castle
There is a pathway on top of the walls, interrupted by the watch towers, where you can see the fascinating building and take in the breathtaking panoramas. These patrol walkways were used in the past by the soldiers to oversee the entire territory and protect the fortress. You can enjoy it fully, from one side the splendid panorama with the Marche green hills, as well as on the other side with its view of the Romagna coast to the Adriatic Sea horizon.
5. Visit the Museum
Don’t miss the Historical Museum, a private museum that encloses a rare collection of antique objects and historical documents. Inside you’ll find armor, to-scale reproductions of armies, torture and rustic objects and more. All of which illustrates the Gradara’s past. At the end of the stone pathway, is possible to admire the only visible part of the caves, which undergoes the village in an underground maze of tunnels.
6. Taste the typical food
In the Marche region, as all over Italy, food is an essential part of its culture. Every single town in Le Marche will be able to amaze you with a typical dish and a unique story.
At Gradara, the most typical dish is the “tagliolini con la bomba” (“pasta with the bomb”), a kind of homemade pasta in soup served with a sauté of lard and onions. In addition, this delicious meal is a result of a historical farming culture and still made from simple ingredients. The effect of the hot oil in the water creates a steam effect, which is the origin of the famous dish’s name.
Gradara Italy Map
Click on the map to see the map details
If you’re planning a trip to Gradara, you can find here a selection of the best hotels:
Have you ever tried to imagine how life was in Medieval periods?
At Gradara Castle you don’t have to imagine it anymore: this enchanted hamlet that has remained unchanged for centuries will bewitch you in a truly magical way!
When looking for opportunities in Le Marche Italy, you’ll find uplifting and adventurous times waiting aplenty!
Thanks to Silvia Tinti and Gradara Proloco for all the information and support.
- 10 Places to visit in Le Marche
- Le Marche Travel Guide
- 12 things to do Le Marche Italy
- All about Le Marche
- Loreto Marche, the Holy City
Did you like this post? If so, like the Wonderful Marche Facebook Page: I will bring you with me in my local adventures! Share it with your friends and let’s keep in contact!