From the Romanesque to the Renaissance Part 2: from Assisi to Parma

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This is the continuation of the itinerary: From the Romanesque to the Renaissance Part 1

The itinerary:

After the visit to Assisi, we we leave the city, descending into the valley and passing bythe enormous church of S. Maria degli Angeli, and go toward Perugia, but without re-entering the city. When we come to Ponte San Giovanni (12 1/2 miles from Assisi), we take Highway No. 3 his to the right, up the valley of the Tiber, and after some 20 miles come to UMBERTIDE, with its Castle (14th century) and the beautiful octagonal church of S. Maria della Reggia (16th century). In the church of S. Croce (1651), we find a Deposition by Luca Signorelli.

Another 13 miles on, and we come to CITTA DI CASTELLO . After a drive of some 13 miles across the plain of the Tiber, we come to SANSEPOLCRO and from here to AREZZO.

We can glimpse Arezzo on arriving in the evening, seeing it in greater detail on the following day.

At the end of our day in Arezzo, one climbs to the Face di Scopetone (526 m.-1725 ft.); there is a fine view and an even better one of the Upper Tiber Valley, before beginning the descent to Sansepolcro where one can eat before returning to Arezzo for the night.

In the morning we set off again from Arezzo through beautiful hills dotted with farms and villages.

We leave Arezzo in the afternoon of the twelfth day and drive up (20 miles) to BIBBIENA with its Palazzo Dovizi, and the Romanesque church of SS. Ippolito e Donato (excellent 14th century paintings). From here we drive on through majestic mountain scenery to the Mandrioli Pass, over which we enter Romagna and reach (40 miles from Arezzo) Bagno di Romagna, San Piero in Bagno, and Sarsina (ancient Roman town and birthplace of Plautus). After Mercato Saraceno, we come to CESENA (76 miles from Arezzo). Since by now it must be evening, we shall continue without stopping to the Via Emilia and 19 miles later reach RIMINI.

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RIMINI, today an internationally famous seaside resort. We shall see, first of all, at the end of Corso d’Augusto, the Arch of Augustus, the earliest of the great Roman triumphal arches (27 B.C.), now with medieval battlements.

Returning to Corso d’Augusto, we reach Via IV Novembre, which will take us to the Malatesta Temple (1450), designed by Leon Battista Alberti, and the gem of Renaissance art in Romagna; in the severe Venetian-Gothic interior, we shall see a Crucifix, attributed to Giotto, the marvelous Chapels on the right with the Malatesta Tombs, the bas-reliefs by Agostino di Duccio, and the magnificent fresco of Sigismondo Malatesta Kneeling by Piero della Francesca. Returning to Corso d’Augusto once more, we come to Piazza Cavour, where two Romanesque palaces stand side by side: Palazzo dell’Arengo and Palazzo del Podesta.

In the Rimini Picture Gallery, we find superb works of the local 14th century school of painting, Giottesque in origin, and two masterpieces: la Pieta by Giovanni Bellini and a wooden panel by Ghirlandaio. Leaving Rimini by the Roman bridge (1421 A.D.), over the Marecchia, we come once more to CESENA, which has outstanding Cathedral (15th century), the Rocca (Castle) Malatestiana and, above all the fine Malatesta Library, designed by Matteo Nuti (1452).

Continuing our journey along the Via Emilia, we come, after 12 miles, to FORLI’.

FORLI’, ancient Roman and medieval city which we enter through Piazza della Vittoria, and, taking Corso della Repubblica, we immediately find on the left the Picture Gallery which is well worth visiting for the wonderful paintings it contains: besides the primitives of the local school there are a fresco by Melozzo da Forli, a sizeable group of works by Palmezzano, two panels by Fra Angelico, a portrait by Lorenzo di Credi, and fine 17th and 18th century Bolognese works. We come next to Piazza Saffi where. on the side where the arcades are, we find the Gothic Romanesque Palazzo del Podesta and, opposite, the Romanesque church of S. Mercuriale, with its ponderous Romanesque Bell tower.

Leaving Forli by Corso Garibaldi, we drive for 20 miles, to the city of FAENZA, famous for centuries for its majolica ware. Here we may admire the handsome Renaissance Cathedral by Giuliano da Maiano (1474), with a noble interior and many works of art. After another 10 miles, we come to IMOLA, with its striking Palazzo Sersanti (15th century) the most beautiful Renaissance palace in Romagna, and opposite it, a Baroque Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall). A fine portal and a 14th century Chapel with frescoes distinguish the church of San Domenico.

We then reach Bologna, that we can visit in half a day.

After that we go through ModenaReggio Emilia and back to Parma.

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Itinerary partly courtesy of ENIT