Rimini could not exist without the sea. The permanent bond between the Adriatic and the city – the only one to have a port and a river by the same name, as pointed out by Stabo (early first century A.D.) – dates back to the dawn of time. The coast near the mouth of the Marecchia/Ariminus river, a natural harbour for ships and maritime trade, had already been settled by humans many centuries before the establishment of a Roman colony in 268 B.C.
The sea, rich in fish and other marine life, and the modern, functional, and well-equipped port are some of the recurring subjects in the mosaics of wealthy Rimini homes during the Imperial era.
The most noteworthy of all is the so-called “mosaic of the boats”, the mosaic border to a sumptuous floor in the formal triclinium of Palazzo Diotallevi. The scene that shows a convoy of mercantile ships symbolizes the occupation of the homeowner, who owed his wealth to maritime trade.
The wealth of the hinterland and the development of agriculture to support the city and its needs are well documented by numerous archaeological finds: one such example is the mosaic from the home at Palazzo Gioia, which dates back to late antiquity. It depicts a procession with two baskets heaving with bread and fruit.