- Piazza del Popolo
- Piazza della Libertà
- Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo
- Faenza Ceramics Museum
- Palazzo Zauli-Naldi
What to see and do in the lovely city of Faenza?
Faenza is all of these and more, with a historic center studded with buildings and monuments to explore, as well as magnificent pottery.
The wonderful art city of Faenza, recognized throughout the world for its legacy tied to the art of ceramics, is located in the province of Ravenna, midway between Forlì and Imola, and has a great position along the millenary Via Emilia, near to the first slopes of the Apennines. It has been inhabited since ancient times and has profound Etruscan and Roman origins. It still has a lovely medieval historic center with Renaissance and neoclassical structures that hold historical and aesthetic treasures to be uncovered.
The piazza del Popolo and the piazza della Libertà are Faenza’s two beating hearts.
The old Piazza del Popolo is encircled by exquisite and beautiful arcades and symbolizes the ideal and symbolic core of Faenza, the nerve core of its city life. It is introduced by the majestic clock tower, a faithful duplicate of the seventeenth-century one destroyed during the Second World War. The Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo Manfredi, now the Town Hall, are two of the city’s most notable structures, both from the Middle Ages, and are visible from the plaza, which has retained its 15th-century outlines. The exquisite Molinella vault, which connects the area to the eighteenth-century Masini municipal theater in Piazza Nenni, is also remarkable.
Only the straight paths of Corso Mazzini and Corso Saffi separate Piazza del Popolo from Piazza della Libertà, which do not disturb the continuity of the huge area produced by both, so much so that the Faenza refer to it simply as “square.” Nonetheless, Piazza della Libertà has its own precise and distinct identity, which is blatantly eclectic, as evidenced by the imposing Renaissance facade of the cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo, Faenza’s cathedral, and the baroque and monumental Fontana Maggiore, which is located on the side of the church and is embellished with bronze sculptures by Tarquinio Jacometti. The fountain was erected on a much earlier spring, which was found at the end of one of Romagna’s oldest aqueducts.
The cathedral of Faenza is distinguished by its practically incomplete front, which resembles San Petronio, the cathedral of Bologna, and is preceded by a large stairway. The church, which was constructed between 1474 and 1515, is one of Romagna’s finest specimens of Renaissance architecture. Inside, you can see the Beata Vergine delle Grazie chapel‘s fifteenth-century fresco of Mary breaking arrows, St. Emilian’s contemporaneous ark embellished with elegant marble reliefs (some of which are now in Paris), and Innocenzo da Imola’s canvas of the Blessed Virgin with Child Jesus and Saints.
Faenza’s creative legacy is undeniably its exquisite ceramics, which are world-renowned. The Faenza Ceramics Museum is without a doubt the city’s most important museum, as well as one of the world’s most important dedicated to ceramic art. Founded at the turn of the twentieth century in response to the Faenza International Exhibition of 1908, the museum, which has been designated by Unesco as a Monument Witness to a Culture of Peace since 2011, houses works from Italian ceramic workshops from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, as well as ancient ceramic productions from around the world: from the Hellenistic period through the pre-Columbian and Islamic eras A significant proportion of the museum’s program is dedicated to modern and contemporary ceramics.
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES IN Faenza
The intriguing old town, with its disorganized network of lanes and the classic medieval urban structure still clearly apparent today, surrounds the two squares. There are historic residences and elegant palaces along these streets, including the Palazzo Zauli-Naldi, preceded by the singular loggia della Pagnotta, under which bread was once distributed to the poor, the contemporary Palazzo Ferniani, at the corner of which stands a beautiful marble statue of the Immaculate Conception, and the Valenti house with its unique neo-Gothic facade covered with terracotta, and Palazzo Laderchi, which today houses the Risorgimento and Contemporary Age museum, which has some of Piedmontese Felice Giani’s most valuable decorations, including the Psyche Gallery and the Astronomy Study. The splendid Palazzo Milzetti is the apotheosis of the neoclassical taste of the whole city of Faenza and, indeed, of the whole Emilia Romagna area.