The fortunate position of Gradara, in the province of Pesaro-Urbino, in the Marches makes it, since ancient times, a crossroads of traffic and people: between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the fortress was one of the main theaters of the clashes between the Papacy and the Casate Marches and Romagna, while in our days, thanks to the nearby Adriatic coast, is located in the immediate hinterland of one of the main tourist destinations of Italy, the Marche-Romagna riviera.

The keep was built around 1150 by the De Griffo family, but it was the Malatesta who built the Fortress and the double walls between the 13th and 14th centuries, giving Gradara its current appearance. The dominion of the Malatesta on Gradara ended in 1463 when Federico da Montefeltro stormed the fortress to the command of the papal militias. From this moment Gradara will change hands several times and some of the most important houses of the peninsula, such as the Borgias, the Della Rovere and the Medici, will contend for its possession.

Gradara owes, in part, its fame to the oral tradition that indicates the Malatesta fortress as the place where the tragic fate of lovers Paolo and Francesca, told passionately in the Divine Comedy by Dante in the V Canto dell'Inferno.

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