Faenza, city of art that developed the Art of Ceramics - Bellarome

Faenza, city of art that developed the Art of Ceramics

Faenza is an Italian town of 58.787 inhabitants in the province of Ravenna in Emilia-Romagna.

Faenza

An international synonym of ceramic – faiance is in fact still the name of majolica in many European languages – whose ancient artisan tradition dates back to the twelfth century, Faenza reached its splendour in the Renaissance period. Here, the art of ceramics has combined the new to the ancient and a lively artistic sense is found in the artisan workshops as in the splendid buildings, in the fine urban furnishings, in the art schools as in the cultural events that take place during the year. Elegant shops provide shopping opportunities, while the pleasures of food and wine are offered in the cosy restaurants and wine bars of the historic center.

The origins of the city are uncertain. Some historical chroniclers, such as Agostino Tolosano or Giulio Cesare Tonduzzi, trace its foundation back to mythology: the Attic settlers who would have founded Ravenna on the Adriatic would have also gone inland to found the settlement of Foentia. More recent studies show that, especially in the foothills of the Faenza territory, there are traces of both Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements.

There are no certainties about which peoples inhabited the territory before the Roman conquest in the second century BC. Archaeological findings indicate that, also thanks to the favourable position offered by the crossing between the Lamone river, the salary route that brought salt through the Apennines Etruria and Campania, and the foothills road that then the Romans would have paved and called Aemilia, the inhabitants of the area had contact with Umbrian tribes, with the Etruscans and perhaps also with the Sabines, before the invasion of the Celts.

Since 1300, Faenza was an important political and cultural meeting point thanks to the ties that the local lordship of the Manfredi family was able to establish with the Florence of the Medici. For centuries, the city has been embellished with monuments that still retain their charm today.

The urban spaces themselves are masterpieces with the imposing Piazza del Popolo, delimited by two arcaded wings overlooked by the Palazzo del Podestà and the Municipal Palace, formerly the home of the Manfredi, Piazza della Libertà with the Cathedral of the late fifteenth century which houses numerous works of art from the Renaissance period and the monumental fountain, whose bronzes date back to the 17th century.

Faenza is worth a visit all year round, also for the numerous cultural initiatives, events, exhibitions and markets related to the ceramic world, including the “Mondial Tornianti” which elects the best potter on the lathe, and the “100 km del Passatore”, a super marathon that connects Florence to Faenza, an important event in the spring of Faenza.

Let’s begin our tour in this enchanting city!

 

International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza

The International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza is one of the most important ceramic art museums in the world, and is located in Faenza.

The exhibition rooms house the works of Italian ceramic workshops from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century; of the Ancient Near East; Mediterranean area in the Hellenistic period; pre-Columbian and Islamic. A large section is dedicated to modern and contemporary ceramics.

Since 1963, the museum has been promoting an international competition on artistic ceramics every two years, which has allowed it to expand its collections with works from all over the world.

Since 2011, the museum has been honoured with the recognition of “Monument witness of a culture of peace”, awarded by UNESCO.

During the Second World War the Museum was heavily bombed and it was then that Gaetano Ballardini, creator and great promoter of the museum, managed to sensitize the world of art and institutions so that since 1949 he was able to reopen the first exhibition rooms and enrich them with precious works of art such as those donated by many artists from all over the world, including great brands such as Picasso, Leger, Matisse and Chagall.

The Museum is unique in the national and international panorama, as demonstrated by the incomparable Italian Renaissance masterpieces and the works of great artists from all corners of the world.

The Museum is a true ceramic cultural center, it houses a historical library, open to the public, containing over 60,000 texts on ceramics, a restoration laboratory, photographic and documentary archives and since 1913 it publishes the specialized ceramic magazine Faenza.

In the exhibition rooms of the International Museum of Ceramics, you can observe over 60 thousand works that embrace the ceramic cultures of every time and place.

 

Palazzo Milzetti

Palazzo Milzetti is a historic building located in Faenza. Count Nicola Milzetti from Faenza entrusted the architect Giuseppe Pistocchi with the task of building a palace in 1792, unifying the old family houses that had been damaged by the strong earthquake of 1781. Pistocchi’s intervention concerned the facade, adorned with ashlar mannerist who frames the windows, and the main structures of the Palace.

The friezes above the windows of the main floor, which reflect the alternation of metopes and triglyphs of the Doric order, help to enliven the facade together with cornices and balustrades. Pistocchi had just begun the interior arrangement when, in 1796, he was arrested and imprisoned in San Leo as a Jacobin. After the death of Count Nicola, his son Count Francesco Milzetti, Napoleonic Knight of the Iron Crown and Colonel commanding the 4th company of the Honor Guard of the Viceroy of Italy, in 1799 commissioned the architect Giovanni Antonio Antolini for the resumption of works,  who was already at work in other buildings in Faenza under the protection of the Counts Laderchi.

Antolini planned the completion of the staircase and the large octagonal hall on the main floor, the “Temple of Apollo”, opening the large serliana on the garden (1800-1801). In 1802, the interior decoration began by Felice Giani and his organized workshop led by Gaetano Bertolani. The construction of the stuccos was entrusted to the plasticizers Francesco and Giovan Battista Ballanti Graziani and to Antonio Trentanove.

The decoration of the palace lasted from 1802 to 1805 and it was a great undertaking. The paintings and stuccos in fact, through refined mythological and historical references, refer to the specific function of each environment and characterize each room as a separate nucleus, the result of a design entirely focused on the unity of the arts.

 

Bucci Park

Bucci Park is an oasis of artificial green, suitable for children, students, couples and families. The address to reach the park is Via Guglielmo Oberdan Faenza (Ra) near the city center.

Built in the 70s, it stands on what was once the parade ground, the place where traditional military exercises took place until the early 1900s. Later the area, before becoming the Bucci Park, was used as a pasture for horses.

Today’s space, which is the main green lung of the city, is due to the project of the Municipality of Faenza, implemented in collaboration with the industrialist from Faenza Roberto Bucci, to whom the park itself is dedicated, and the naturalist Cesare Gallegati.

The love for nature and animals, combined with an innovative vision, has allowed them to transform a beautiful dream into a concrete reality: a place where nature, men and animals could coexist in mutual harmony.

A green refuge, close at hand, in which to restore body and mind.

In addition to the wealth of vegetation, there are two other elements that characterize the Bucci Park and make it worthy of a visit.

The first of these is water. Between meadows and underbrush, there are also two beautiful lakes, communicating with each other via a stream. You can fully enjoy their beauty thanks to the apparatus of bridges, streets and islets, which contribute to creating romantic and suggestive corners.

In addition to the wealth of vegetation, there are two other elements that characterize the Bucci Park and make it worthy of a visit.

The first of these is water. Between meadows and underbrush, there are also two beautiful lakes, communicating with each other via a stream. You can fully enjoy their beauty thanks to the apparatus of bridges, streets and islets, which contribute to creating romantic and suggestive corners.

The final highlight of the Bucci Park is the presence of a real period locomotive, renovated a few years ago by the volunteers of the Railway Dopolavoro Ferroviario.

Historical symbol of the park, the children of an abundant decade ago could climb on it, thanks to special ladders. For safety reasons and given the poor conditions in which the poor locomotive lay, it was decided to restore it and to place fences around it.

 

Piazza del Popolo

It is the most important and significant point of the city, for its attributes of the administrative-political power and for its symbolic meanings. The square is obviously of very ancient origin but began to take on the physiognomy that still characterizes it in the fifteenth century, with the construction of the loggia of Palazzo Manfredi, construction started precisely after the transformation into lordship of the ancient city government and with the transfer of the Manfredi themselves in the town hall.

On that occasion, the palace was renovated and enriched on the upper floor with mullioned windows in white Istrian stone (only one remains) and a large two-storey loggia with seven arches. This was the first nucleus of the loggia, later enlarged in the seventeenth century with the intention of standardizing the whole side of the square giving it a highly characterized architectural definition. The entire loggia was then rebuilt in neoclassical forms, similar to the original ones, in 1859 by the municipal engineer Ignazio Bosi.

On the other side, there is the Palazzo del Podestà, to which a two-storey loggia was added, at the expense of the shopkeepers with shop in the square, in 1760. The initial project, which was the year before, involved the construction of a floor only but the Council of Elders wanted it on two floors for symmetry with the porch in front, that is of the town hall.

It is at this moment that the idea of ​​transforming an urban space that is not yet well defined into a regular square is realized, architecturally marked by specular loggias as a scenography backdrop, according to a typically eighteenth-century concept.

To the side of the Palazzo del Podestà, in 1872-75, work had to be done, for obvious static problems, and the work was entrusted to the good municipal architect-engineer Achille Ubaldini, who used classical forms in imitation of those of the municipal building, renovated fifteen years earlier from Bosi.

Ubaldini, who generally shied away from neoclassical canons to rather follow an eclectic culture, in this case tried to harmonize the new loggia with the existing one, adapting one to the other so as not to introduce contradictory elements in the more “delicate” and more loaded space of meanings of the whole city.

 

Palio del Niballo

Palio del Niballo is the historical re-enactment characteristic of the city of Faenza. It is a medieval-inspired carousel held among the 5 districts of the city and takes place on the fourth Sunday of June. In modern times the first edition dates back to 1959.

Around the race other events gradually developed that characterize the life of the city of Romagna in the month of June, called the month of the Palio, and on various other occasions throughout the year.

In the following centuries, the demonstration lost vigor until it ceased completely. In contemporary times it was taken up again from 1959.

Knight of the Red district running towards the Niballo.

The modern palio features the five districts of the city: Yellow District (Porta Ponte District), Rione Rosso (District of Porta Imolese), Rione Nero (Rione di Porta Ravegnana), Rione Verde (Rione di Porta Montanara),Borgo Durbecco (formerly Rione Bianco).

The first four districts: Yellow, Red, Black and Green reflect the colors and the ancient administrative division of the municipality, still visible in old city maps preserved in the municipal library.

The local territories are separated by the four city streets, the ancient cardo and decumanus of the Roman era, and reproduce the historical early medieval subdivision of the Faenza city into four districts. The Rione Bianco, whose territory includes Borgo Durbecco, that is the area of ​​the city on the right bank of the Lamone river, which developed in the late Middle Ages, was “invented” in 1959 in order to involve this area of ​​the city in the tender, otherwise excluded from the event. On the same occasion, it was decided to assign the color white to the Rione del Borgo and as a symbol the representation of the ancient bridge over the Lamone river that connected the city with the village.

Palio del Niballo takes place at the municipal stadium of Faenza “Bruno Neri”. The five knights of the respective wards compete in pairs: the representative of the ward last classified in the Palio of the previous year challenges one by one the four knights of the opposing wards, then identical challenge is then launched by all the other contenders, for a total of twenty clashes (called part-sessions).

Knights use spears (‘bigorde’) 2.75 meters long and weighing 3.250 kilograms. At the beginning of the round, the riders settle in the starting stalls, placed side by side. When the magistrate starts, the stalls open and the knights gallop the horses, each covering their own semicircular track for a length of about 200 meters.

The meeting between the riders takes place on the other side of the competition field, where the two tracks become parallel and where the Niballo is placed, a puppet representing a Saracen with his arms outstretched and with each hand a target with a diameter of 8 centimeters.

The first rider who, without having committed irregularities during the approach, hits the target with the spear causes the raising of the affected arm and wins the round. Each victory entitles you to a shield of the defeated ward, which is hoisted onto the tribune of the winning ward.

At the end of the twenty rounds of challenge, the district that has conquered the largest number of shields wins the Palio, that is, a banner in cloth; the second district wins a porchetta; the third a rooster and a garlic braid. At the same number of shields won, for the purposes of victory, play-off rounds are played. For the rest of the ranking in case of a tie, look at the positions of the previous year.

The cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo

The cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo is the main Catholic place of worship in the city of Faenza, in Emilia-Romagna, the mother church of the diocese of Faenza-Modigliana. It has the dignity of a minor basilica.

Splendid expression of Renaissance architecture in Romagna, it has a Tuscan influence. Its construction, designed by Giuliano da Maiano, was started in 1474, and did not end before 1515, however the facade remained unfinished; the consecration to the cult of St. Peter the Apostle took place in 1581. In October 1948, Pope Pius XII raised the cathedral to the dignity of a minor basilica.

It is the third of the cathedrals of Faenza since the origin of the Diocese. The first was Santa Maria foris portam, cathedral until 743. The second, whose construction period is unknown, was built in the place where the present is located, had the facade facing east and was divided into three naves.

The exterior of the cathedral is characterized by the facade, preceded by a wide staircase. Its unfinished wall face remains with the texture with protruding bricks of the exposed masonry. In the lower part of the facade, in correspondence of the three internal naves, there are the three portals with round arches, while in correspondence of the side chapels two single lancet windows; in the upper part, instead, there are two oculi in correspondence of the lateral naves and two high mullioned windows and a rose window in correspondence of the central nave. The facade ends with a simple triangular pediment surmounted by a wrought iron cross.

Above the right arm of the transept, there is the bell tower. This is of the sailing type and houses three bells, each inside its own archway.

Next to the Duomo, you will find a splendid fountain fountain built in the seventeenth century on a project by Domenico Paganelli. Rampant lions and bronze dragons populate it but without fear: they distribute water; then (and also today) it was a very precious asset.

The soft lights in the square in the evening, expertly distributed, offer a unique show of harmony. The sequences of the architectural elements – partly in shadow and partly in evidence – also make it better to understand the use that the people of Faenza made and continue to make of these spaces. Something to remember and to tell.

 

Torre di Oriolo

The Torre di Oriolo is an almost unique example of a hexagonal mast with double strut. In other words, it is a construction with a plan obtained from a square to which two edges have been cut, in order to obtain a perfect hexagon.

It has undergone recent renovations that have highlighted the beauty of the fifteenth-century wall face. The current construction dates back to 1476, the year of renovation of the fort by the Manfredi, lords of Faenza.

It is traditionally attributed to Giuliano da Maiano, Manfredi’s trusted architect and present in those years in Faenza.

However, the name of Da Maiano has always been made without certain proof, but only on indirect deductions and for affective and traditional reasons.

Of an irregular hexagonal shape, with sides about 8-9 meters long, the building is 17 meters above ground, plus another 11 underground.

This particular planimetric shape is called double strut: two points at right angles with the remaining obtuse angles; so that, turning around the Tower, it appears to us from time to time square or octagonal depending on the point of view.

The walls are brick, with sack filling in stones and lime mortar, and their average thickness is m. 2.80.

Inside there are five floors. The first two basements and basements, the other three connected by a wonderful sandstone spiral staircase, still perfectly preserved.

Currently the monument is managed by the Association for the Oriolo Tower: an association of agricultural entrepreneurs who take care of the opening of the Tower and the organization of cultural, recreational, and gastronomic events.

An international synonym of ceramic – faiance is in fact still the name of majolica in many European languages – whose ancient artisan tradition dates back to the twelfth century, Faenza reached its splendour in the Renaissance period. Here, the art of ceramics has combined the new to the ancient and a lively artistic sense is found in the artisan workshops as in the splendid buildings, in the fine urban furnishings, in the art schools as in the cultural events that take place during the year. Elegant shops provide shopping opportunities, while the pleasures of food and wine are offered in the cosy restaurants and wine bars of the historic center.

The origins of the city are uncertain. Some historical chroniclers, such as Agostino Tolosano or Giulio Cesare Tonduzzi, trace its foundation back to mythology: the Attic settlers who would have founded Ravenna on the Adriatic would have also gone inland to found the settlement of Foentia. More recent studies show that, especially in the foothills of the Faenza territory, there are traces of both Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements.

There are no certainties about which peoples inhabited the territory before the Roman conquest in the second century BC. Archaeological findings indicate that, also thanks to the favourable position offered by the crossing between the Lamone river, the salary route that brought salt through the Apennines Etruria and Campania, and the foothills road that then the Romans would have paved and called Aemilia, the inhabitants of the area had contact with Umbrian tribes, with the Etruscans and perhaps also with the Sabines, before the invasion of the Celts.

Since 1300, Faenza was an important political and cultural meeting point thanks to the ties that the local lordship of the Manfredi family was able to establish with the Florence of the Medici. For centuries, the city has been embellished with monuments that still retain their charm today.

The urban spaces themselves are masterpieces with the imposing Piazza del Popolo, delimited by two arcaded wings overlooked by the Palazzo del Podestà and the Municipal Palace, formerly the home of the Manfredi, Piazza della Libertà with the Cathedral of the late fifteenth century which houses numerous works of art from the Renaissance period and the monumental fountain, whose bronzes date back to the 17th century.

Faenza is worth a visit all year round, also for the numerous cultural initiatives, events, exhibitions and markets related to the ceramic world, including the “Mondial Tornianti” which elects the best potter on the lathe, and the “100 km del Passatore”, a super marathon that connects Florence to Faenza, an important event in the spring of Faenza.

Let’s begin our tour in this enchanting city!

 

International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza

The International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza is one of the most important ceramic art museums in the world, and is located in Faenza.

The exhibition rooms house the works of Italian ceramic workshops from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century; of the Ancient Near East; Mediterranean area in the Hellenistic period; pre-Columbian and Islamic. A large section is dedicated to modern and contemporary ceramics.

Since 1963, the museum has been promoting an international competition on artistic ceramics every two years, which has allowed it to expand its collections with works from all over the world.

Since 2011, the museum has been honoured with the recognition of “Monument witness of a culture of peace”, awarded by UNESCO.

During the Second World War the Museum was heavily bombed and it was then that Gaetano Ballardini, creator and great promoter of the museum, managed to sensitize the world of art and institutions so that since 1949 he was able to reopen the first exhibition rooms and enrich them with precious works of art such as those donated by many artists from all over the world, including great brands such as Picasso, Leger, Matisse and Chagall.

The Museum is unique in the national and international panorama, as demonstrated by the incomparable Italian Renaissance masterpieces and the works of great artists from all corners of the world.

The Museum is a true ceramic cultural center, it houses a historical library, open to the public, containing over 60,000 texts on ceramics, a restoration laboratory, photographic and documentary archives and since 1913 it publishes the specialized ceramic magazine Faenza.

In the exhibition rooms of the International Museum of Ceramics, you can observe over 60 thousand works that embrace the ceramic cultures of every time and place.

 

Palazzo Milzetti

Palazzo Milzetti is a historic building located in Faenza. Count Nicola Milzetti from Faenza entrusted the architect Giuseppe Pistocchi with the task of building a palace in 1792, unifying the old family houses that had been damaged by the strong earthquake of 1781. Pistocchi’s intervention concerned the facade, adorned with ashlar mannerist who frames the windows, and the main structures of the Palace.

The friezes above the windows of the main floor, which reflect the alternation of metopes and triglyphs of the Doric order, help to enliven the facade together with cornices and balustrades. Pistocchi had just begun the interior arrangement when, in 1796, he was arrested and imprisoned in San Leo as a Jacobin. After the death of Count Nicola, his son Count Francesco Milzetti, Napoleonic Knight of the Iron Crown and Colonel commanding the 4th company of the Honor Guard of the Viceroy of Italy, in 1799 commissioned the architect Giovanni Antonio Antolini for the resumption of works,  who was already at work in other buildings in Faenza under the protection of the Counts Laderchi.

Antolini planned the completion of the staircase and the large octagonal hall on the main floor, the “Temple of Apollo”, opening the large serliana on the garden (1800-1801). In 1802, the interior decoration began by Felice Giani and his organized workshop led by Gaetano Bertolani. The construction of the stuccos was entrusted to the plasticizers Francesco and Giovan Battista Ballanti Graziani and to Antonio Trentanove.

The decoration of the palace lasted from 1802 to 1805 and it was a great undertaking. The paintings and stuccos in fact, through refined mythological and historical references, refer to the specific function of each environment and characterize each room as a separate nucleus, the result of a design entirely focused on the unity of the arts.

 

Bucci Park

Bucci Park is an oasis of artificial green, suitable for children, students, couples and families. The address to reach the park is Via Guglielmo Oberdan Faenza (Ra) near the city center.

Built in the 70s, it stands on what was once the parade ground, the place where traditional military exercises took place until the early 1900s. Later the area, before becoming the Bucci Park, was used as a pasture for horses.

Today’s space, which is the main green lung of the city, is due to the project of the Municipality of Faenza, implemented in collaboration with the industrialist from Faenza Roberto Bucci, to whom the park itself is dedicated, and the naturalist Cesare Gallegati.

The love for nature and animals, combined with an innovative vision, has allowed them to transform a beautiful dream into a concrete reality: a place where nature, men and animals could coexist in mutual harmony.

A green refuge, close at hand, in which to restore body and mind.

In addition to the wealth of vegetation, there are two other elements that characterize the Bucci Park and make it worthy of a visit.

The first of these is water. Between meadows and underbrush, there are also two beautiful lakes, communicating with each other via a stream. You can fully enjoy their beauty thanks to the apparatus of bridges, streets and islets, which contribute to creating romantic and suggestive corners.

In addition to the wealth of vegetation, there are two other elements that characterize the Bucci Park and make it worthy of a visit.

The first of these is water. Between meadows and underbrush, there are also two beautiful lakes, communicating with each other via a stream. You can fully enjoy their beauty thanks to the apparatus of bridges, streets and islets, which contribute to creating romantic and suggestive corners.

The final highlight of the Bucci Park is the presence of a real period locomotive, renovated a few years ago by the volunteers of the Railway Dopolavoro Ferroviario.

Historical symbol of the park, the children of an abundant decade ago could climb on it, thanks to special ladders. For safety reasons and given the poor conditions in which the poor locomotive lay, it was decided to restore it and to place fences around it.

 

Piazza del Popolo

It is the most important and significant point of the city, for its attributes of the administrative-political power and for its symbolic meanings. The square is obviously of very ancient origin but began to take on the physiognomy that still characterizes it in the fifteenth century, with the construction of the loggia of Palazzo Manfredi, construction started precisely after the transformation into lordship of the ancient city government and with the transfer of the Manfredi themselves in the town hall.

On that occasion, the palace was renovated and enriched on the upper floor with mullioned windows in white Istrian stone (only one remains) and a large two-storey loggia with seven arches. This was the first nucleus of the loggia, later enlarged in the seventeenth century with the intention of standardizing the whole side of the square giving it a highly characterized architectural definition. The entire loggia was then rebuilt in neoclassical forms, similar to the original ones, in 1859 by the municipal engineer Ignazio Bosi.

On the other side, there is the Palazzo del Podestà, to which a two-storey loggia was added, at the expense of the shopkeepers with shop in the square, in 1760. The initial project, which was the year before, involved the construction of a floor only but the Council of Elders wanted it on two floors for symmetry with the porch in front, that is of the town hall.

It is at this moment that the idea of ​​transforming an urban space that is not yet well defined into a regular square is realized, architecturally marked by specular loggias as a scenography backdrop, according to a typically eighteenth-century concept.

To the side of the Palazzo del Podestà, in 1872-75, work had to be done, for obvious static problems, and the work was entrusted to the good municipal architect-engineer Achille Ubaldini, who used classical forms in imitation of those of the municipal building, renovated fifteen years earlier from Bosi.

Ubaldini, who generally shied away from neoclassical canons to rather follow an eclectic culture, in this case tried to harmonize the new loggia with the existing one, adapting one to the other so as not to introduce contradictory elements in the more “delicate” and more loaded space of meanings of the whole city.

 

Palio del Niballo

Palio del Niballo is the historical re-enactment characteristic of the city of Faenza. It is a medieval-inspired carousel held among the 5 districts of the city and takes place on the fourth Sunday of June. In modern times the first edition dates back to 1959.

Around the race other events gradually developed that characterize the life of the city of Romagna in the month of June, called the month of the Palio, and on various other occasions throughout the year.

In the following centuries, the demonstration lost vigor until it ceased completely. In contemporary times it was taken up again from 1959.

Knight of the Red district running towards the Niballo.

The modern palio features the five districts of the city: Yellow District (Porta Ponte District), Rione Rosso (District of Porta Imolese), Rione Nero (Rione di Porta Ravegnana), Rione Verde (Rione di Porta Montanara),Borgo Durbecco (formerly Rione Bianco).

The first four districts: Yellow, Red, Black and Green reflect the colors and the ancient administrative division of the municipality, still visible in old city maps preserved in the municipal library.

The local territories are separated by the four city streets, the ancient cardo and decumanus of the Roman era, and reproduce the historical early medieval subdivision of the Faenza city into four districts. The Rione Bianco, whose territory includes Borgo Durbecco, that is the area of ​​the city on the right bank of the Lamone river, which developed in the late Middle Ages, was “invented” in 1959 in order to involve this area of ​​the city in the tender, otherwise excluded from the event. On the same occasion, it was decided to assign the color white to the Rione del Borgo and as a symbol the representation of the ancient bridge over the Lamone river that connected the city with the village.

Palio del Niballo takes place at the municipal stadium of Faenza “Bruno Neri”. The five knights of the respective wards compete in pairs: the representative of the ward last classified in the Palio of the previous year challenges one by one the four knights of the opposing wards, then identical challenge is then launched by all the other contenders, for a total of twenty clashes (called part-sessions).

Knights use spears (‘bigorde’) 2.75 meters long and weighing 3.250 kilograms. At the beginning of the round, the riders settle in the starting stalls, placed side by side. When the magistrate starts, the stalls open and the knights gallop the horses, each covering their own semicircular track for a length of about 200 meters.

The meeting between the riders takes place on the other side of the competition field, where the two tracks become parallel and where the Niballo is placed, a puppet representing a Saracen with his arms outstretched and with each hand a target with a diameter of 8 centimeters.

The first rider who, without having committed irregularities during the approach, hits the target with the spear causes the raising of the affected arm and wins the round. Each victory entitles you to a shield of the defeated ward, which is hoisted onto the tribune of the winning ward.

At the end of the twenty rounds of challenge, the district that has conquered the largest number of shields wins the Palio, that is, a banner in cloth; the second district wins a porchetta; the third a rooster and a garlic braid. At the same number of shields won, for the purposes of victory, play-off rounds are played. For the rest of the ranking in case of a tie, look at the positions of the previous year.

The cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo

The cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo is the main Catholic place of worship in the city of Faenza, in Emilia-Romagna, the mother church of the diocese of Faenza-Modigliana. It has the dignity of a minor basilica.

Splendid expression of Renaissance architecture in Romagna, it has a Tuscan influence. Its construction, designed by Giuliano da Maiano, was started in 1474, and did not end before 1515, however the facade remained unfinished; the consecration to the cult of St. Peter the Apostle took place in 1581. In October 1948, Pope Pius XII raised the cathedral to the dignity of a minor basilica.

It is the third of the cathedrals of Faenza since the origin of the Diocese. The first was Santa Maria foris portam, cathedral until 743. The second, whose construction period is unknown, was built in the place where the present is located, had the facade facing east and was divided into three naves.

The exterior of the cathedral is characterized by the facade, preceded by a wide staircase. Its unfinished wall face remains with the texture with protruding bricks of the exposed masonry. In the lower part of the facade, in correspondence of the three internal naves, there are the three portals with round arches, while in correspondence of the side chapels two single lancet windows; in the upper part, instead, there are two oculi in correspondence of the lateral naves and two high mullioned windows and a rose window in correspondence of the central nave. The facade ends with a simple triangular pediment surmounted by a wrought iron cross.

Above the right arm of the transept, there is the bell tower. This is of the sailing type and houses three bells, each inside its own archway.

Next to the Duomo, you will find a splendid fountain fountain built in the seventeenth century on a project by Domenico Paganelli. Rampant lions and bronze dragons populate it but without fear: they distribute water; then (and also today) it was a very precious asset.

The soft lights in the square in the evening, expertly distributed, offer a unique show of harmony. The sequences of the architectural elements – partly in shadow and partly in evidence – also make it better to understand the use that the people of Faenza made and continue to make of these spaces. Something to remember and to tell.

 

Torre di Oriolo

The Torre di Oriolo is an almost unique example of a hexagonal mast with double strut. In other words, it is a construction with a plan obtained from a square to which two edges have been cut, in order to obtain a perfect hexagon.

It has undergone recent renovations that have highlighted the beauty of the fifteenth-century wall face. The current construction dates back to 1476, the year of renovation of the fort by the Manfredi, lords of Faenza.

It is traditionally attributed to Giuliano da Maiano, Manfredi’s trusted architect and present in those years in Faenza.

However, the name of Da Maiano has always been made without certain proof, but only on indirect deductions and for affective and traditional reasons.

Of an irregular hexagonal shape, with sides about 8-9 meters long, the building is 17 meters above ground, plus another 11 underground.

This particular planimetric shape is called double strut: two points at right angles with the remaining obtuse angles; so that, turning around the Tower, it appears to us from time to time square or octagonal depending on the point of view.

The walls are brick, with sack filling in stones and lime mortar, and their average thickness is m. 2.80.

Inside there are five floors. The first two basements and basements, the other three connected by a wonderful sandstone spiral staircase, still perfectly preserved.

Currently the monument is managed by the Association for the Oriolo Tower: an association of agricultural entrepreneurs who take care of the opening of the Tower and the organization of cultural, recreational, and gastronomic events.