The town of Gradara, situated in the province of Pesaro Urbino in the Marche region, charms the visitor even from a distance. It can be spotted from the motorway by anyone looking up through the greenery of the surrounding countryside rich in olive trees and vineyards. There it is: intact and elegant, with its castle and city walls showing no signs of wear. La Rocca with its Borgo fortificato is one of the best-preserved mediaeval structures in Italy and the two walls which protect the Fort, one of which – the outside one- is almost 800 m. long, also make the town one of Italy’s most imposing.
The privileged position of the town, which made it easy to protect but is at the same time only a stone’s throw away from the sea, has made it a hub for traffic and people since ancient times. In the Middle Ages it was the scene of battles between the two Lordships, Malatesta and Montefeltro, who were forever grinding axes to conquer land and fortifications. And it was the Malatesti themselves who made the town look as it does today, building the fort and the double city walls between 1200 and 1300 on an old keep which had been there since 1100. But their reign terminated in 1463 when Federico da Montefeltro took La Rocca following orders from the papal militia.
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