The hill of the White Tomb of Riccione from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages


Agolanti’s castle is located in Riccione, on a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the Via Flaminia, in a place also known as the ‘White Tomba. Its first mention in written sources dates back to the late Middle Ages, but some archaeological analyzes show the presence of the site since protohistoric Age. The structures of the brick fortress with towers at the corners and a courtyard in the center are preserved from the medieval settlement. The castle was originally defended by a moat and equipped with basement areas and service workshops to a stately home. The written documentation also mentions the presence of a castle oratory and a library.

During some old archaeological investigations conducted on the south side of the castle, mainly aimed at the restoration and redevelopment of the main Building, traces of masonry with uncertain function and chronology were found, prior to the wall circuit, while two parallel walls were intercepted at the exterior of the perimeter walls. These structures, associated with some usage plans, hearths and drainage channels from different eras, have been dated, on the basis of the ceramic material found, between the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century. It has not been clarified whether these are housing structures of an earlier fortified village or whether they are belonging to the castle. On other occasions, in fact, evidence has been found of the phases subsequent to its medieval attendance, when the fort was used as a noble residence, in the mid-seventeenth century, capable of hosting Queen Christina of Sweden. It was later transformed into a farm, and in the restoration works, structures related to livestock farming were found.

This new archaeological excavation and research project was born thanks to the collaboration between Riccione Territory’s Museum and the Department of History and Cultures, supported by the administration of the Municipality of Riccione. These investigations aim to reconstruct the different phases of frequentation and occupation of the site from the first anthropization with insights outside the castle, on the Adriatic side, where traces of different phases of the walls are clearly visible and in the courtyard area where sections are preserved consisting evidence of archaeological stratification.


Activation date of the campaign and duration

May / June 2022


Archaeological mission coordinator/director

Enrico Cirelli (Disci, Unibo); Andrea Tirincanti (Museo del Territorio di Riccione);


Information for the students

Participants are guests of the project as regards food and accommodation during the duration of the excavation and field research activities.  

Research Area and ERC Panels

Archaeology from pre and proto history to medieval age