Today the name of Cattolica makes one think of a modern tourist resort, full of life and entertainment. A destination for the young and not so young alike, to spend carefree summer holidays between the pleasures of the beach
and all Cattolica's renown amenities
Today's resort is bright and modern but despite this appearance, hidden behind its modern looks, Cattolica has an incredible past dating back to Roman times. Cattolica is believed to have been founded at around 200 A.D. thanks to the Empire which created the first settlement.
Historical and archaeological remains dating back to the first century, allow us to appreciate how Cattolica must have been. Since its beginning Cattolica has been a city of transit for the numerous travellers going from Bologna to Rome and for pilgrims heading to the sanctuaries of Loreto and San Pietro.
Cattolica's name also has more recent origins, one theory is that in 359 A.D. in the period when there was a religious Council of Rimini, the northern part of the town was called Cattolica, with reference to the controversy, which saw on one hand, bishops faithful to the Arian heresy and on the other, Cattolica bishops, who later took refuge in the area where Cattolica is now and gave it its name.
The town's true date of birth, although in historical terms, is difficult to ascertain the precise time, could be according to popular belief 16th August 1217, the day when the inhabitants of the castles of Focara moved to where Cattolica is now, submitting to Rimini's power. Since then Cattolica has become a continuous object of dispute between the already mentioned Rimini, the state of San Pietro, the church of Ravenna and the Malatesta lords, who succeeded in maintaining control over the town until 1504.
In medieval times Cattolica newly demonstrated the traditions already born during the Roman times, that of hospitality, catering to numerous travellers passing through on trade, travel and pilgrimage.
We can recall that around 1500, in Cattolica, there were more than twenty inns, ancient and picturesque, gathering and meeting places which of course are much more numerous today, a vocation which the town never seemed to lose over the course of the centuries and millenniums. It was not however sufficient enough to attract travellers and tourists, to become what Cattolica is today, a popular, sought after tourist area.
In fact in order to see the number of tourists grow, one has to wait until the XIX century, when the city began to develop its own beach tourism. Since then thanks also to the building in 1861 of the Bologna-Ancona railway link, Cattolica has also become the tourist destination for local and non-local visitors, who began building their summer and holiday homes there.