Guide to Cesena: information and itineraries for a visit to Cesena
Area: 249 Km2
Maximum altitude: 44 m a.s.l.
>A bit of history
Cesena was founded as a settlement in Roman times and suffered the consequences of the Empire’s decline and fall. It was looted by the Barbarians, conquered by the Goths and then by the Byzantines, to end up in the 8th
century under the rule of the Papal State. In 1200 a turbulent period begins with the small town passing from the control of the Church to that of the powerful local Signorie (Lordships) with just a few brief periods of freedom. Thanks to the Malatesta, in the 15th
century, Cesena lives through a flourishing period of growth which leads to the construction of the Fortress and of the Malatesta Library. It falls in the hands of the Borgia for a very brief period, in which it becomes the capital of the Duchy of Romagna, to then return under the rule of the Pontifical State up to the foundation of the Italian Kingdom. The town is the birthplace of Pope Pius VI in 1775 and Pope Pius VII in 1800. From 1861 it had a liberal and then a republican government until the advent of Fascism. During the World War and the resistance, Cesena contributed to the liberation of the country at a very high cost of human lives which earned it the Medal for Military Valour.
>What to visit
Without a doubt one of the most famous features of Cesena, from a historical and a cultural point of view, is the Malatesta Library, included by Unesco in the Register of the World Memory. The library is the only example of medieval monastic library preserved exactly as it was in the 15th
century and the first public library. Worth a visit is also the Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte that rises on the Colle Spaziano that dominates the town. A building that dates back to the year 1000 and that keeps the most important collection of religious offerings in the world. There are also many churches and historic buildings as also theatres. Amongst these the Alessandro Bonci theatre, inaugurated in 1846, the Giuseppe Verdi theatre which was built in the beginning of the 20th
>Feasts and Folklore
The most famous feats is undoubtedly the Fiera di San Giovanni, that every year lives the streets of the historic centre in June. A popular event with tourists and residents, a great moment to taste the specialties of the territory, but also of other Italian regions and to buy crafts from all over the world. The origins of the feast combine sacred and profane elements. If at the beginning it was to celebrate the end of the winter season, and the passage to the summer one with the Summer Solstice on June 21, subsequently this pagan custom was replaced in the Christian era with the feast of St. John (San Giovanni). But there is also a secret interpretation of the event, it appears in fact that on this night, considered the shortest of the year, witches and ghosts would roam the streets because, according to the legend the boundary between life and death on this night fades . And this is the reason why the symbol of the feast is still a garlic, considered to bring good luck and to keep away bad luck and bad encounters.