|City planversione italiana
The walls, started on December 8, 1564 and completed on November 10, 1568, according to the Tuscan Cadastre of 1864, they develop for a total of 2022 linear meters and 13 meters in height.
In July 1568, Giovanni Camerini, the engineer of the fortress, informs Duke Cosimo "that the entire enclosure has been completed."
The layout is that of a rectangle with four bastions at the corners, each dedicated to a Saint (St. Reparata, St. Maria, St. Andrea and St. Martino).
The defense of the citadel was primarily entrusted to the bastions, where firearms were concentrated.
A plinth runs at the base of all the walls, where a stream of water was used for "countermine."
The water canal supplied eight fishponds located in the flanks of the bastions, defending the embrasures, casemates, and the large fishpond in front of Porta Fiorentina, equipped with a drawbridge. Along the entire path of the walls, there was a walkway, interrupted by sixteen watchtowers equipped with small windows for "wall muskets" used by the sentinels on guard duty.
The process of restoring the city walls of Terra del Sole began in the years 1983/84, thanks to the efforts of our Pro Loco Association and the collaboration with the Superintendence of Ravenna. With funding received over the years, extensive restoration work was carried out on the walls of the S. Maria bastion. However, due to the lack of additional funding, the project came to a halt and the company in charge had to dismantle the construction site.
In 1998, with the establishment of the Terra del Sole S.O.S. Working Group and the collaboration of the Municipal Administration, the process of restoring the entire city walls was resumed. A protocol of understanding was signed between our Pro Loco Association, the Municipal Administration, the Superintendence for Environmental and Architectural Heritage of Ravenna, the Institute for Cultural Heritage, the Province of Forlì-Cesena and the Foundation of Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì.
This led the competent Ministry to provide funding in the amount of €645,571.27. The restoration works focused on the section of the walls between Porta Fiorentina and the southern earthenwork of the S. Andrea Bastion, including the reconstruction of one of the original sixteen sentry boxes located at the external corner of the bastion.,
In 2006, we submitted a new project to the competent Ministry for interventions to be carried out using the proceeds from the Gioco del Lotto (in accordance with Law 662/96). This project obtained additional funding of €925,680.00, with the completion deadline set for 2009.
The Settlement and the Villages
Inside the city walls, there is the settlement with streets connected by the large Piazza d'Armi (Arms Square). The organic structure of the urban fabric is represented by modular row buildings aligned in the two main districts: the Roman district, measuring 90 meters in length, and the Florentine district, measuring 95 meters in length. With the addition of the space that separates them from the two castles, they reach a total length of 233 meters and a width of 9 meters. When viewed in perspective, they appear as a long straight line from castle to castle. The width of the districts is equal to the height of the houses, following Leonardo da Vinci's guidelines. This main street is interrupted at the midpoint by the Piazza d'Armi, which is the center of the entire monumental complex. On the sides of the main districts, there are four minor districts used for services and for the garrison troops.
1-2-3-4 The Bastions
he defense of the citadel was primarily entrusted to the bastions, where the firearms were concentrated. In the bastion of S. Maria, the entire complex of double-level galleries and maneuvering squares is visible. Through the shooting loopholes, one can see the alignments of the walls and the opposing bastions.
In the bastion of S. Reparata, the access ramp to the upper maneuvering area remains, and the lower one is still visible. Every year, the "Nativity Scenes Exhibition" takes place there.
In the bastions of S. Martino and S. Andrea, the shooting loopholes can be observed from outside the walls, but the partially buried or collapsed underground structures are not accessible.
5-6 The Castles and the Gates
There are two entrances to the fortified city, defended by two "star-shaped forts" that have a similar layout and exterior and interior appearance. The interior is characterized by protruding and angular bodies arranged in a star shape. If an enemy had breached the two Gates, additional defenses were prepared with loopholes positioned at various angles in the corners of the two "star-shaped forts" and the row houses facing the two entrances. These entrances were intentionally situated not in line with the two districs but adjacent to them, with a winding and zigzagging uphill path.
The PORTA FIORENTINA or Florence Gate (facing towards Florence), surmounted by the CASTELLO DEL CAPITANO DELLE ARTIGLIERIE or the Castle of the Captain of the Artillery, was defended by a drawbridge located in the middle of the brick arch bridge, a sturdy iron gate, a portcullis, and machicolations. The Castle included the Captain's Quarters with beautifully painted wooden ceilings (1587), the Armory (a storage facility and workshop for light weapons such as arquebuses, pikes, halberds, swords and amrors), the Crossing Gallery that overlapped and intersected with the Gate Gallery (allowing the garrison to move from one Bastion to another without entering the Castle's premises), the Dayt Guard Room (below the Gate), the Night Guard Room (in the space above the Gate), the Resting Guard Room (the high vaulted entrance hall measuring 14.60 meters, where soldiers took turns relieving the Gate Guard), with military prisons located on the side.
The internal facade of the Castle, with its angled and star-shaped design, is crowned by a balcony supported by stone brackets and terracotta arches, used by the castle's sentry for patrolling.
The PORTA ROMANA or Roman Gate (facing towards Forlì), surmounted by the CASTELLO DEL GOVERNATORE O CAPITANO DELLA PIAZZA (Governor's or Captain's Castle), was defended by a drawbridge, raised by two chain passages, which blocked the entrance, as well as by a portcullis, a loopholes and machicolations.
This Castle included the Captain's Quarters (after its disarmament in 1772, it became the Customs Officer's Quarters and Customs House, relocated here from the "Confini" [borders]), the passage gallery, the daytime guard room, the nighttime guard room, the resting guard room, and the storage for saltpeter, cannonballs, and gun rests.
The Castello del Capitano or Captain's Castle, currently privately owned, is beautifully preserved and its spaces are used for ceremonies and conferences.
The internal star-shaped facade is also crowned with a balcony for the sentinel's rounds.
The Castello del Governatore or Governor's Castle, publicly owned, houses the HISTORICAL ARCHIVE on the mezzanine floor, which contains over 2000 files, and on the noble floor, it serves as the headquarters for the Roman District, the Balestrieri Company of Terra del Sole, the Municipal Band, the local music school, and the Choral Group.
Both castles, above the roof of the Governor's and Captain's quarters, had a bell tower made of terracotta, with arches and volutes, for the "Campanon dell'Armi." A large bell was rung to signal the opening and closing of the two gates and in case of emergency.
7 Palace of the Commissioners
The Palace of the Commissioners is a magnificent and harmonious quadrangular building measuring 40 meters on each side, representing a classic example of Renaissance architecture. It is constructed with local stone, featuring elements of sandstone and terracotta, and consists of two floors. The windows on the noble floor are arched, while the ground floor windows are square, all adorned with sandstone moldings. Access to the interior of the palace is granted through an elegant three-arched loggia with cross vaults, reached from the square. The courtyard is surrounded on the three sides by arcades with Doric and Ionic columns, connected by a dentilated terracotta cornice. At the center of the courtyard stands a well, framed by a terracotta arch, providing a unique perspective. The façade and arcades are adorned with numerous sculpted or painted coats of arms representing the various Commissioners.
The Palace, besides being the residence of the General Commissioner for Romagna Toscana, also served as the seat of the Civil and Criminal Court of First Instance. It still preserves a daring double helical spiral staircase (clearly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci).
On the ground floor, to the right of the portico, were the halls of the Criminal Court where two frescoes, the "Madonna Assunta" and the "Giustizia," both dating back to the seventeenth century, are still well preserved.
To the left of the portico were the halls of the Civil Court.
Within the courtyard, on the left side, there are entrances to the public male and female prisons, with the quarters located above. On the right side, there are seven criminal prisons, all structured with barrel vaults, double-barred windows, and oak doors covered in iron. These dreadful sixteenth-century "dungeons" are decorated with drawings and inscriptions, painted, scratched, or traced with candle smoke. In one of them, called "Camorcina," there is a tempera painting of "The Deposition of the Cross" (La Deposizione della croce), possibly from the Forlì school of the sixteenth century.
8 St. Reparata’s Curch
Isolated from its context, the church has an impressive latin cross layout and a substantial size. It is situated in front of the Palace of the Commissioners, almost emphasizing the two powers that oversee ordinary civil life. The task of construction was entrusted to Master Raffaello di Zenobi di Pagno from Fiesole, who likely reworked Lanci's original design. Between 1594 and 1605, he built the sacred building on the vacant area according to Lanci's overall and detailed plan. The façade features double pilasters that extend beyond the middle cornice to the pediment, adorned with two side volutes.
The portal is framed by a dentilated motif and surmounted by a large lunette. In the center, there is an oval window that is repeated on both sides of the transept. The apse is pentagonal with slightly pronounced arches. The building is constructed using alternating terracotta and sandstone in the moldings. The interior, like the exterior, is still distinctly Renaissance in style, with a single nave covered by trusses and supported by a dentilated cornice, adorned with Ionic pilasters, and punctuated by four triumphal arches. While the furnishings of public palaces and castles were auctioned off after disarmament, the Church, continuing its functions, has preserved a rich collection of artworks:
Notable in the Sacristy, with an umbrella ceiling, are the two raised platforms.
- The 18th-century pulpit and choir loft with the organ by Feliciano Fedeli from Camerino (1734), restored in 1973;
- On the same level, the positive organ by Pietro Agati;
- The 16th-century solid walnut choir, intricately carved and adorned with fluted pilasters and a dentilated architrave, repeating the motif of the cornice;
- The exquisite wooden crucifix of Florentine school sculpture (16th century);
- The Easter candlestick, with a carved walnut stem and volute base on a triangular pedestal (16th century);
- The altarpiece with the Madonna del Carmine and the Holy Martyrs Reparata and Catherine by Pier Paolo Menzocchi (1575);
- The altarpiece with the Madonna of the Rosary, with Saints Dominic and Catherine of Siena by Francesco Longhi (1610);
- Crucifixion by Romagnola school (17th century);
- Deposition and nativity (on the choir walls) by Florentine school of the 17th century.
On the other side, beneath the mighty arches of the bell tower, completed between 1821 and 1825, culminating in a dome, inspired on a smaller scale by the Brunelleschi's dome of Santa Maria del Fiore.
9 Provveditore’s Palace
Located at the beginning of the Roman District, it served as the headquarters of the Minister responsible for the administration of public properties and supplies, as well as the maintenance of military defenses and weapons throughout the province.
Today, following various restorations, it is presented in a typical Renaissance style.
At the corner of the Palazzo, there is the Medici coat of arms of Grand Duke Francesco, son of Cosimo, bearing the date 1579, the year when the construction of Terra del Sole was completed.
10 St. Barbara's Chapel
Patron saint of the "Bombardieri," as the artillery operators were once called.
It is located along Via delle Mura and overlooks the courtyard at the back of the Palazzo del Provveditore, where the Provveditore had private access and could attend the festive Mass of the Bombardieri from a reserved side grate for him and his family.
The building, with a single nave, dates back to the 17th century, as evidenced by the architectural lines of the apse and the small sail-shaped bell tower. The facade, however, has undergone an 19th-century renovation. It is currently used as a workshop.
11 Arsenale of the cannons
"... consists of a large room and another small room where the furnace and its brazier are located, with three large doors and a gate... three racks for trowels and other cannon tools."
It is a low-rise building located in the central area of the citadel, allowing for the rapid supply of weapons and gunpowder to the defense zones.
Used as a warehouse for many years, it has now been completely restored and houses a traditional restaurant.
The Casemates - (maneuvering areas)
The "casemates" are impressive vaulted or barrel-vaulted chambers, solemn like crypts, supported by mighty pillars and connected by spacious galleries, including the passages with exit doors. Originally, all 4 bastions were equally fortified and structured. Now they are only visible in the bastion of S. Maria.
13 Piazza d'Armi
The Central Piazza d’Armi (56m x 65m), also known as the "Main Square," is the true urban "hub" of the city, following the urban planning principles of a "human-scale city" designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Once a month, the Garrison Companies would assemble in this square for drills and to be reviewed by the "Governor of Arms." Additionally, on the second Sunday of every month, the Square hosted the "described" members of the Band: here, they would be reviewed by their Captain, and the officers would teach them how to march in formation, double the line, move forward and backward, and demonstrate how sentinels are posted.
Once a year, on the occasion of the patronal feast of "Madonna delle Grazie" on the third Sunday of May, the "General Review" of the soldiers of the Garrison and the Band took place in the square, featuring blank shots and fireworks. This vast square comes alive again with the ancient 'Military Parades” during the Palio of S. Reparata and Romagna Toscana, with a festive celebration of costumes and colors. The square is bordered by monumental buildings: the Church of S. Reparata, the Grand Ducal Commissioner's Palace, the Provveditori’s Palace, the Province or Chancellery Palace, as well as the lordly palaces. The placement of the Church and the Pretorian Palace, located facing each other, is not coincidental; the two buildings embody the two powers that preside over the orderly civil life, Church and State, distinct but not opposed.
14 Palace of the Chancellery
The Palace of the Chancellery is located on the far left side of Piazza d'Armi. It was the residence of the Chancellor of the Province, who was responsible for drafting public acts. It also served as the venue for the Provincial Council meetings, which included representatives from various communities of the Romagna Toscana Province. The Romagna Toscana Province was established by the Senate of the Quarantotto of Florence on August 23, 1542 (and existed until 1776), with Terra del Sole as its judicial and administrative capital.
The Province of Romagna Toscana included the following locations: Palazzuolo sul Senio, S. Benedetto and Bocconi, Modigliana, Rocca S. Casciano, Portico di Romagna, Castrocaro and Pieve Salutare, Verghereto, Bagno di Romagna and S. Piero, Dovadola, Tredozio, Firenzuola, Marradi, Galeata and Pianetto, Premilcuore, Sorbano, Santa Sofia and Corniolo, Terra del Sole.