GRADARA – love story hidden in the charming town

There are only few places on earth where I feel like definitely coming back one day. And Gradara is one of them. I have not even entered the gate of the town walls and I already felt positive atmosphere in the air. Warm summer evening gave to this small Italian town a special shine. Let´s together reveal the magic of Gradara.

After entering the gate I already felt positive atmosphere

Two hours in Gradara are sufficient – but why not forever?

Our trip to Gradara was very spontaneous. After all, why not to enrich the evening by visiting a small town near to our holiday destination. But when we parked the car and for the first time saw our destination, it was clear to me that the planned two-hour-long trip will not be enough. The city is really tiny – if it was a common place, a two-hour visit would be quite sufficient. Gradara is however so charming that I can imagine spending there hours, days, or perhaps months.

Gradara is so charming that I can imagine spending there days

Castle like in fairy tale

The most visited monument rises high above the city. A well-preserved castle offers tourists the opportunity to walk around the rooms with medieval furniture, old fortification, torture chamber, or the room where soldiers used to sleep only on wooden planks. Exposition is installed very well. With a little imagination, if you close your eyes, you may pretend to be the owner of the castle and stroll around your chambers bathed in the evening sun.

Gradara castle
Gradara castle – the most visited monument

A tragic love story

The castle and the town became famous thanks to the love story portrayed for the first time by Dante in his Divine Comedy. The story says that the young Paolo falls madly in love with a woman of his brother Francesco. Her husband, Gianciotto, had a job position due to which he could not live with the family. Francesca who reciprocated Paolo´s love often ran behind him to Gradara Castle. One day Gianciotto suddenly appeared in Gradara and caught two lovers in the act. Anger, and jealousy mixed in his soul, nor Paolo neither Francesca could run away from his sword. This is how tragic story of great love ended.

Love is in the air – the castle and the town became famous thanks to the love story

But what are the known facts? Francesca was really the wife of Giovanni who couldn´t attend his own wedding due to work duties, so Francesca married Paolo by proxy of Gianciotto. It is also known that the father Paolo, along with Francesca often visited Paolo in Gradara castle. However no one mentions love. So what is the truth? After all, decide for yourself what you believe in.

Streets full of souvenir shops and restaurants

In Gradara one main street leads from the entrance gate to the castle lined with romantic Italian houses with small shops with souvenirs. Books, postcards, magnets, ceramic products, cups and other small things are being sold by nice people. They try to help you, even if they do not speak your language. In the side streets attract visitors cafes and restaurants with terraces decorated with flowers, overlooking the Italian countryside. If you can´t resist, bon appetit!

Side streets attract visitors with cafes and restaurants with terraces

Museum and the opportunity to walk on the old town walls are just further proof that Gradara lives from tourism. But don´t worry – don´t expect crowds similar to Venice. As I told my boyfriend after a few minutes in the city – Gradara is happy and satisfied town.

9 thoughts on “GRADARA – love story hidden in the charming town

  1. I love little towns like this. This one has a very quaint and cozy feel to it. Would love to swing by there one day.

  2. Another tragic love story. 🙁 We love visiting castles, but sometimes the history can be depressing. We also love visiting small towns for their uniqueness and charm. I will definitely add Gradara to our bucket list.

    • thanks Aubrie, sometimes you find the most special places just randomly, far from touristic goals 🙂

  3. The town looks beautiful, like a hidden gem. And the fort really looks out of fairy tale. But why do all the love stories have to be tragic? That makes me sad..

  4. I really enjoyed the story behind this destination. It looks like such a charming place to visit. I didn’t know where it was however until the end of the post when I was able to zoom out on the map. Loved the photos and would certainly visit if I were even remotely in the area. I especially liked the photo of the side street….so inviting.

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