Cattolica---much better than Riccione and Rimini
Cattolica is right on the border between Emilia Romagna and The Marches and so is ideal as a base for visiting both regions.A friendly coastal resort which has grown from a tired little fishing harbour into a busy and important coastal resort and has undergone major facelifts over the last 10 years.Cattolica is now envied by its larger and more renowned neighbours such as Riccione and Rimini.Should anyone wish to disagree then please tell me why every weekend there are more and more people from Riccione and Rimini strolling around our streets?
O.K. Political exchanges over,let's look at what Cattolica can offer people of all ages.
Very easy to get around and pleasant to stroll along many of it's traffic free (well almost) streets.The various fountains which are dotted around the resort add to the cool,airy feel of the place.The fountain development infront of the local town hall is one of the nicest modern squares in Italy with the impressive old Palazzo Mancini which houses the town hall and the wonderful modern structure of Stacoli's cafe sitting side by side each giving a touch of class to the other in this wonderful mixture of architectural styles.
The focal point of the resort is Piazza 1° Maggio or "Fountain Square" as it has become fondly known. Lying at the bottom end of the main street, Viale Bovio, and looking onto the sea, this is an area where children large and small, from all over the world, have been photographed sitting on the stone turtles backs as they spout water into the fountain. The area is covered by shady trees and ablaze with colourful plants and shrubs.The central point is where the dancing fountains are located and which at various times during the day, dance to the strains of Rossini, Verdi and other well known popular melodies.
Moving down to the harbour end of the resort we can watch as the daily catches of fresh fish ,later to become tonights dinner, are unloaded from the colourful fishing boats.The footbridge crossing the canal, takes as over the border and into Gabicce Mare and the Marche Region.The harbour area is the stage for many local festivals during the Summer months including the famous Rustidas where fish, wine and music are enjoyed courtesy of the local town council.
Also the setting for the annual blessing of the sea when the Madonna is taken out to sea on the local boats and a blessing held for the local fishermen. Followed by a fabulous firework display, this event is a highlight in Cattolica's annual callender and takes place usually the last Saturday in August.
Moving back towards the centre of town, we have 3 parralel streets which are full of hotels, bars, restuarants and shops.The main thoroughfare is Viale Bovio but the pedestrian street Via Dante is full of shops which attract tourists in the Summer evenings as they stroll up and down in the famous Italian pastime of the "Passeggiata"------a leasurely evening stroll and usually a posers paradise accompanied of course by one of the delicious icecreams to be found in the many gelaterias which are dotted all over.
An interesting development is to be found at the far end of the resort where Le Navi is enjoyed by people of all ages. A large aquarium where among the star attractions are the sharks swimming in the glass tunnels above your head and the hands on tank where you can tickle the tummies of various fish. Both educational and fun this is a must for anyone visiting Cattolica.