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The Tempio Malatestiano is a cathedral church of Rimini. The church has an imposing wide marble facade decorated by sculptures. The large arcades on the sides are reminiscent of the Roman aqueducts. In each blind arch is a sarcophagus, a gothic tradition of interment under the exterior side arches of a church. The entrance portal has a triangular pediment over the door set within the center arch; geometrical decorations fill the tympanum.

Inside are seven chapels with the tombs of notable Riminese citizens with the likes of the philosopher Gemistus Pletho. The left side has no chapels (outside is a 16th century bell tower).

Immediately the right of the main door is Sigismondo Pandolfo’s sepulchre. The next chapel is dedicated to St. Sigismund, patron of the soldiers and has fine sculptures by Agostino di Duccio. There is also a fresco by Piero della Francesca portraying Malatesta kneeling before the saint (1451). The following chapel (Cappella degli Angeli) houses the tomb of Isotta and the Giotto crucifix, allegedly painted during his sojourn in Rimini of 1308-1312.

The next chapel is the Cappella dei Pianeti (“Chapel of the Planets”), dedicated to St. Jerome. Next lies the Chapel of Liberal Arts, with di Duccio’s portrayal of Philosophy, Rhetoric and Grammar. The subsequent Chapel of the Childhood Games houses the tombs of Sigismondo Pandolfo’s first wives, Ginevra d’Este and Polissena Sforza, encircled by 61 figures of young angels playing and dancing.

The bodies of some Malatesta’s ancestors are housed in the Cappella della Pietà, with two statues of prophets and ten of sibyls. The chapel has a SI sporting a rose, an elephant and three heads. This monogram can be spotted at several other places in the church.

Tempio Malatestiano

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