This picturesque city has been included in the list of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy and it has gained the Bandiera Arancione, a certification of quality and beauty assessed by the Italian Touring Club. It lies on a majestic rock on the Valmarecchia valley and not only was it the theater of important military and historical events, but it also hosts plenty of outstanding works of art.
The city was originally called Monte Feltro after a Roman settlement which was located nearby the Jupiter temple. In the IV century, the Christian religion was brought into this area by the hermit Leone, who was a guest in San Leo, and his friend Marino, who instead chose Mount Titano. In 1.000 it became a bishop city and took the name of San Leo. It was the Italian capital city for 2 years under the rule of Berengario II.
During the Middle Ages the Montefeltro family made San Leo the seat of their reign.
Nowadays the city centre still maintains its former beauty and the visitors’ eyes are drawn to magnificent ancient Romanic buildings such as the Pieve, the Cathedral and the Tower, or to majestic Renaissance palaces as the Palazzo Mediceo, now seat of the Museo di Arte Sacra, the Conti Severini-Nardini residence and the Palazzo della Rovere, now converted into the Town Hall. While strolling along the streets of the town centre, visitors can explore the square created in honor of Dante, who visited the city in 1306 and included it in his Divina Commedia.
Another well-known visitor of San Leo was San Francesco, who was gave the Monte della Verna as a gift by the Chiusi duke.
Not to be missed is The Fort designed by Giorgio Martini, turn into a prison by the once dominating Papal State. It hosts a fine collection of ancient armors and weapons and it became famous for having among its inmates the legendary Conte di Cagliostro.