Remains of the Santa Colomba Cathedral

Although there is no firm evidence, legend has it that this church built near the Roman walls in the heart of the mediaeval city was erected on the ruins of a pagan temple.

Known to date back at least to 1015, it is thought to have had the form of a basilica, based on a model widespread in Ravenna in the 5th and 6th centuries, with a central nave and two side aisles, pointing eastwards, in keeping with customary practice, and also towards the city, an orientation maintained despite radical alterations until the 17th century, when it was changed to face onto the square.

However, excavations in the early 1990's suggest that the oldest parts of the church date back to the early Middle Ages, the period in which a fine marble capital decorated in bas-relief has been dated.

Originally dedicated to the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, when the church was consecrated as a cathedral in 1154, it was also dedicated to St Colomba, the Spanish girl martyred during the reign of the Emperoir Aurelian at Sens in France, whose relics are said to have been carried by French merchant ships to Rimini, where they were long venerated.

The church, where meetings of the Civic Assembly were held until 1204, continued to be Rimini's cathedral until 1798, when the title was transferred first to the church of Sant'Agostino and then in 1809 to the Malatesta Temple.

Santa Colomba was demolished in 1815, leaving only the bell-tower dating back to the 13th or 14th century, and other remains still on the original site or conserved at the Malatesta Temple and the Civic Museum.


Piazza Malatesta