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Places and Works of Art


Administrative centre of the new Province, together with Forlì, Cesena has an  ancient history. It was probably an Umbrian centre (the name of the town reveals  an Etruscan influence), prior to the Roman colonization. Situated on the Garampo  hill (where still today, you will find the beautiful and imperious Malatesta  Fortress) the town first developed towards the banks of the Savio river. When  the Romans took possession of the Savio Valley, they probably occupied the  ancient settlement too, where there is a huge curve in the Via Emilia.


There are  several hypotheses about the history of Cesena, but few certainties: this is  because the town was literally reduced to a heap of debris in 1377 by the  mercenary troops paid by Pope Gregory XI. The new Pope Urbano VI gave the ruined  town to Galeotto Malatesta who started reconstructing it with alacrity. Under  the rule of the Malatesta family, the town lived a peaceful period until Novello  Mala¬testa (in the 15 th century) came onto the scene: not only the war exploits  (often adverse to him) but also the beautiful works of art dedicated to the  town, with the "jewel" of the beauti¬ful library (which he himself called  Malatestiana) are evidence and gifts left by this "humanistic-commander".


However, unfortunate military actions followed and this lordship lost its rule.  It was briefly passed over to the Borgia family and then Cesena fell under papal  rule again, whose events weaved the history of the town, right up to modern  times. Cesena is also called the "town of the three Popes", because it gave two  of its sons to the papacy and a third was adopted: namely, Gianangelo Braschi,  Pio VI (1717-1799); Barnaba Chiaramonti, Pio VII (1742-1823); Francesco Saverio  Castiglioni, Pio VIII (1761-1830) who was the bishop of the town before becoming  Pope. The hard conditions suffered by the town under the papal reign did not  completely stifle its interest in literature and art, which had been so alive at  the time of Novello Malatesta. Under his reign, Cesena ran a University, that  was suppressed in the 19 th century.


Against its will, the weight of the papal  dominion made Cesena fertile terrain for the Risorgimento battles and the  passionate political clashes. Today Cesena is a hard-working, hospitable town,  well-known for its liveliness. "Capital" of healthy agricultural products and  their export, the town makes use of a wide-spread group of entrepreneurs which  have ensured its growth in both the sporting (football, trotting races) and  cultural sectors (painting, art and theatre, university), too.


Malatesta Library


Visiting the Malatesta Library is fascinating; this is one of the most beautiful  and best-preserved humanistic-conventual's libraries in Europe. "The joy and  treasure of the town", desired by Novello Malatesta, it was built on an old  "factory" of S. Francesco monastery of the Friars Minor, by Matteo Nuti,  although recent studies have revealed that Leon Battista Alberti contributed to  its design, as well. Officially opened in 1452, it presented itself then as it  presents itself to us today: artistic design and practical functionality are  well-combined in this great hall with one nave and two aisles and Venetian type  Windows, skilfully placed to give light to the reading "tables".


There are  fifty-eight of these "tables" available for consultation purposes and an  inestimable patrimony of 340 manuscripts, still fixed to the tables with the  same chains used at that time; this is only a part of the information that  guides will give to the fascinated visitors. Opposite the Nuti Hall, there is  the Piana Library, or better the extremely rich private library of Pope Pio VII,  who was born in Cesena. In the complex of the library there is the Museum of  inscribed stone slabs and an interesting Museum of antiques. The "coat of arms"  which accompanies us on our visits is the Elephant of the Malatestas with its  inscription: "Elephans indus culices non timet" meaning "the Indian elephant is  not afraid of mosquitoes".


Festivals and events: The Lavender of San Giovanni


In the rich program of shows, exhibitions and engagements which Cesena offers  during the year, a particular mention should be made of the ancient "San  Giovanni's Day" (the patron saint of the town) on 24 th June. This festival  traditionally transforms the centre into a picturesque "kermes" of stalls.  Lavender, sold in perfumed bunches, the red sugar whistles for the youngest  visitors and the first garlic plaits are the peculiarities of this wonderful  fair which buries its roots in popular ancient traditions, when the dawn dew of  San Giovanni's Day was thought to bring beneficial virtues...


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    01-08-2018 .
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    01-07-2015 .
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    01-09-2014 .
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