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Faenza

The SS 302 Faentiina is a road that from Ravenna goes to Faenza, cutting through the plains to the north of the via Emilia and following the ancient route of the river Lamone. From here, there is the well documented, even in antiquity, street going to Borgo S. Lorenzo in Tuscany.  In the Descriptio Romandiole of 1371, it speaks in fact about the “Stratam magistram qua itur a Faventia Florentiam”.

 

The ancient “Faventia”, already a Roman municipality, developed in the late Republic, along the route taken by the via Emilia, near the river Lamone.

 

The city, known to the world for its production of artistic ceramics, was, for all of the Middle Ages, the capital of a civil and ecclesiastic “territorium” which from the mountains to the borders with Tuscany extended up to the valleys to the north of Lugo and Bagnacavallo. The territory was divided into almost thirty parishes.

 

Faenza Piazza del Popolo

 

The urban layout of the actual historic center follows more or less the old Roman one, even if some of the later modifications in some cases modified the regular primitive grid. From here there were already two streets leading out of the city, one of which – a Roman “cardo” – lead to Bagnacavallo and the other to Ravenna, reachable also by water. The city, with a bishop, became a Municipal in the 12th century, then in the 1300s, it was dominated by the noble Manfredi family.

 

The first stone of today’s cathedral was placed in 1474 upon the request by the bishop Federico Manfredi. The consecration of the religious building came many years later in 1581.     

In the actual urban structure, only a few remains can be seen of the cultural buildings that in the Middle Ages dominated the center of the city. The basilica of Santa Maria foris portam, or Santa Maria Vecchia, by many erroneously believed to be the first cathedral of the city, is the oldest religious building in Faenza of which there is a record. The bell tower, probably built in the 10th-11th centuries, consists of, due to its octagonal shape, a unique specimen that is not similar to anything else in the region, and it has therefore been hypothesized that the structure was built up on an old baptistery.

 

The crypt in the church of Saints Ippolito and Lorenzo is what is left of a medieval church, but the building itself was rebuilt between 1771 and 1774.

 

The church of Santa Maria Maddalena della Commenda, with the Hospice del Santo Sepolcro annex, was probably founded in the early years of the 12th century.

 

Of this primitive complex, created as the Commendam of the Knights of the St. Joseph of Jerusalem Order, then the Malta Knights, there are very few traces.

 

For tourist information:
Local site: Terre di Faenza

Last modified Feb 02, 2017

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