Cotignola - Ravenna Intorno

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Cotignola, a town in Ravenna plain, stands on the left bank of the river Senio.


Very ancient documents show the existence of a built-up area since the XIII century. However, many archaeological findings and Roman centuriation traces show that this town was populated in more ancient ages. During the Second World War, Cotignola old town sustained such severe damages that the town had to undergo a radical rebuilding which was carried out in the respect of the original urban planning. And it is just thanks to this rebuilding that today we can still perceive the greatness of a history made of memorable deeds and people and we can live again the fourteenth-century charm of an era when Cotignola was Giovanni Acuto’s fief and afterwards mercenary commander Muzio Attendolo Sforza’s one.

The cylindrical Torre d’Acuto, the symbol of the town, was built in 1376 by the famous English condottiere Sir John Hawkwood. It was in all probability built on the basement of the old bell tower of the Pieve di Santo Stefano in Panicale (IX-X centuries). Completely destroyed by Germans in 1944, the tower was rebuilt in 1972 and the original bell called E Campanon was replaced at its higher point.

Market: Friday morning Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

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Another fourteenth-century building is related once again to Sforza family’s events and to its progenitor, Muzio Attendolo who was born in Cotignola in 1369. Palazzo Sforza was built in 1376 and it was the Sforza residence during the period of its domination of the town. Declared in 1892 National monument for art and history, it was bombed out during the Second World War. The 1961 rebuilding preserved some original architectural elements such as the columns of the arcaded loggia and the terracotta rose window displaying the Sforza coat of arms. In the inner courtyard it is possible to admire the very valuable Caio Vario’s stele (30-49 A.D) and the Caio Rufrenio Severo’s funerary stele (I century A.D.). The Palazzo houses the Archivio Storico (records) and the Museo Varoli, a museum dedicated to Luigi Varoli’s works (1889-1958) who was the leader of a large group of artist of Romagna region. Another collection of Varoli’s works are housed in Casa Varoli.

Moreover, lovers of art will certainly be interested in the eighteenth-century Collegiata di Santo Stefano. This building, done by the architect Cosimo Morelli, houses altarpieces painted by the Veronese painter Felice Torrelli and a painting of the Carracci school of Bologna. The visit to the Chiesa conventuale di San Francesco is valuable and fascinating. The church, in gothic roman style, was built during the decade 1484-1494 and it was consecrated the year after. The church houses sixteenth-century frescoes among which there are the Pietà by Girolamo Marchesi, called the Cotignola. The Cappella degli Sforza is an integral part of the church but it was previously built. The chapel is connected to the central part of the building through the arcaded loggia of the façade. Late fifteenth-century frescoes decorate the vault and the apse of the chapel. A very remarkable Miracolo della Verna, attributed again to Marchesi, was brought to light during renovations of the apse half-dome.

Traditional and folk festivals are renowned and particular: the Festa della Segavecchia is staged in the middle of the season of the Lent and it brightens up Cotignola with shows, parades, carnival floats and the propitiatory ‘rogo della vecchia’. At the beginning of June in Cotignola is held L’Improvvisa, an international festival dedicated to the art of improvisation. On the first Sunday of October the festival Sagra del vino tipico romagnolo takes place.