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Forlì-Cesena. History, art, nature and good food in Romagna 

Monday, 27 June 2022 09:35
Saffi Square - Forlì Saffi Square - Forlì Andrea Bonavita

To embrace Forlì-Cesena and its history, art, nature and good food in Italy’s Romagna region, you turn your back on the sea and the white beaches of the Riviera Romagnola.  

And you discover, old cities, ancient castles, fortresses and architectural gems of incalculable historical significance, and an Apennine setting with gentle hills, thermal waters and ancient pilgrim routes.   

San Domenico Museum San Domenico Museum - Ph credits Luca Massari


Forlì is best explored on foot or by bike

Like all towns in Romagna, Forlì - the Forum Livii of the Romans - is best explored on foot or by bicycle. Not far from the central Piazza Aurelio Saffi, with the Town Hall, the Abbey of San Mercuriale and the 15th-century bell tower, the San Domenico Museums hosts exhibitions, concerts and conferences. Running up to 10 July is an exhibition not to be missed: Magdalene. The Mystery and the Image, with 200 paintings of great historical and iconographic significance.  

Sleep and dine in an ancient Renaissance city 

In the Middle Ages the area of Tuscan Romagna was geographically and linguistically part of Romagna and subject to Florentine rule. Its jewels include the spa town of Castrocaro Terme and Terra del Sole, which today are a single municipality.  Terra del Sole is an 'ideal city' built by Cosimo De' Medici in the 1400s. It is a rare example of a fortified Renaissance city and its original walls, as massive today as when they were built, are 13 metres high and two kilometres long. On top of the ramparts the Castello del Capitano delle Artigliere (www.castellocapitano.com) is a private home that welcomes guests in its splendid rooms (with Jacuzzis and even a grand piano) while in the Osteria del Castello (https://osteria-del-castello.business.site) you can dine, lulled by history, under the towering castle walls.  

Rocca di Ravaldino - ForlìRocca di Ravaldino - Forlì

Curative thermal waters and a Memory of the World

The massive Rocca di Castrocaro fortress boasts views all the way to the Adriatic Sea, and for those who prefer a less onerous climb up to it, there are electric bicycles and the company of cycling guide Luigi Barillari (www.biketo.it). Equally fascinating is the Art Deco-style Grand Hotel in Castrocaro’s Spa Park. Famous for its annual song festival, it has thermal pools and health and beauty-farm facilities. In the historical centre of Cesena, which is less than twenty kilometres from the Adriatic coast, must-sees are the elegant façade of Palazzo del Ridotto, the handsome Piazza del Popolo and the extraordinary Malatesta Library. This has survived unscathed and untouched, exactly as it was five centuries ago, and in 2005 was listed as a UNESCO Memory of the World.   

   

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