A brief history.
In Roman times, the town had the name of Forum Livii and was founded around the 2nd century BC. The central position of the town on the Via Emilia between the hills and the plains and near the sea has marked its history, transforming it into a lively trade centre. It was also strongly fought over for its position. It suffered the rule of Barbarians and was ruled by the brave Guido da Montefeltro, captain of the people of Forlì, who defeated the French army sent by Pope Martin IV in 1282. The town prospered under the Ordelaffis in the second half of the 15th century and later under Caterina Sforza, who left a unique heritage. The town was then dominated by Cesare Borgia and later by the Papal States with a brief yet turbulent period under Napoleon. In the 19th century it lived the events linked to the Carbonari and Mazzini and was destroyed during the Second World War. The town was rapidly rebuilt and today treasures its history.
Streets and Buildings.
A fascinating old town with an irregular shape in which the main streets radiate from the central Piazza Saffi and become wide communication and connection routes. The winding Corso Diaz, the elegant Corso Garibaldi, the long Corso della Repubblica and the wide Corso Mazzini, each one with its own characteristics and style, in a structural balance of shape and form. It is worth walking down the streets and stopping in front of the magnificent buildings: Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo Albertini, Palazzo Gaddi, these are just a few of the many buildings which deserve more than merely being part of a list.
Places of culture.
This town has always dedicated a lot of space to culture, history and traditions. Forlì is the seat of an important university and distinguishes itself for the high number of museums, all very different yet equally interesting: Museo Civico Archeologico Antonio Santarelli, Pinacoteca Civica, Museo Etnografico Romagnolo Benedetto Pergoli, Museo Ornitologico Ferrante Foschi, Villa Saffi, Museo del Risorgimento Aurelio Saffi, Armeria Albicini, Museo Storico Dante Foschi, Museo Romagnolo del Teatro.
A wide square in a very central position which represents the cultural history of the town with symbols and architectural styles of different periods. In the centre there is the monument to Aurelio Saffi, triumvir during the Roman Republic in 1849.
Basilica of San Mercuriale.
An architectural jewel with a 75.58 m high square-based bell tower in Lombard style. Inside the old abbey there are various works of art including the tomb of Barbara Manfredi, a 15th century work by Francesco di Simone Ferrucci.
It is difficult to find another town where everyone is so serene: walking down the streets of Forlì you will enjoy the slow, relaxed and pleasant rhythm of life. At the same time it is a lively and open town, with a vocation for communication also thanks to its geographical position. The town revolves around its inhabitants and tourists giving them the importance they deserve. Here everything is on a human scale.
The Via Emilia crosses this lively town with a beautiful centre restored to its ancient splendour, which is the meeting place for tourists and local people.
A brief history.
Cesena has ancient origins, probably Umbrian-Etruscan judging by its name; under the rule of the Malatesta family, first Galeotto and then Novello, the town prospered and enjoyed a period of great cultural activity.
The Malatestian Library.
This jewel was commissioned by Novello Malatesta and was built on an old factory of the convent of S. Francesco dei Frati Minori. It was opened in 1452, and it contains 340 manuscripts, some of which are illuminated, which are still today fixed to the reading tables with the original chains (who stole a book was excommunicated); the role of this very big room with three aisles is underlined by the Venetian type windows strategically positioned to give light to the "plutei" for reading.
The Bonci theatre.
Cesena prides itself with the Teatro Comunale Alessandro Bonci, one of the most prestigious theatres in Romagna; it has been dedicated to the bold tenor from Cesena who loved bel canto and left his little shop to challenge Caruso at the Metropolitan in New York.
Piazza del Popolo and Fontana Masini.
Coming from the typical arcades of Via Zeffirino Re, you reach Piazza del Popolo, made of river pebbles, which is the heart of the town and was built at the beginning of the 15th century by order of the Malatesta family. In the centre the elegant shape of the Fountain stands out. The fountain made of Istria stone was built in 1590 and today it is the true symbol of the town.
The Malatestian Fortress.
It is one of the most beautiful and imposing in Romagna with its fortifications and restored walkways; it is located on the top of the Garampo hill and is surrounded by the Parco della Rimembranza, with walks surrounded by nature. You can reach the fortress by going up the steps of the Palazzo Comunale in P.zza del Popolo, or through the entrance to the park in Viale Mazzoni.
Santa Maria del Monte.
This century-old basilica can be reached by a pleasant walk. It is located on the hill of Spaziano to the south-east of the town and it dominates Cesena. Inside there are magnificent frescoes and works of art, including the famous Collection of votive tablets for "favours received", typical of the devotion to the Madonna, which show a cross-section of society from the 15th century up to today.
Places of culture.
A town rich in spaces dedicated to art, history and tradition, waiting to be discovered and admired: Museo Archeologico, Pinacoteca Civica, Galleria dei dipinti della Cassa di Risparmio, Museo di Storia dell'Agricoltura, Museo di Scienze Naturali.
Cesena draws its strength from its land and origins. A land of hospitality and lively people that has combined agricultural tradition with modernity. The beauty of this town can also be found outside the old town, where in spring you can admire the hills dotted with blossoming peach and cherry trees.
Texts and images are published with courtesy of Province of Forlì-Cesena Tourist Office www.turismo-fc.it