Lugo

A lively historic centre with a marked 18th-century imprint, Lugo is one of the most important economic and productive centres in the Lower Romagna area, a true “market town”.
With its articulated system of squares, for centuries it has been home to one of the most important markets in Emilia Romagna and its historic centre has always been a place of great economic and cultural vitality.
As soon as you get to the heart of the city, you will be enchanted by the grandeur and majesty of the Rocca Estense fortress, which has been the hub of the city since the late Middle Ages. Of particular interest is the north-west tower, the so-called Uguccione keep, named after Uguccione della Faggiola, lord of Lugo at the end of the 13th century and an important figure in the Italy of his time.
His figure crosses paths with Dante several times. It is alleged, for example, that Faggiola offered hospitality to the exiled poet.
Another historical reference is found in Dante’s tercet:
“Bagnacaval does well: it breeds no more— / and Castrocuro ill, and Conio worse, / for it insists on breeding counts so cursed.” (Purg. Canto XIV-115-117)
The reference is to the quarrelsome Counts of Cunio who were engaging in raiding and looting in the Lugo area and neighbouring areas, always in dispute with the Polentani of Ravenna, with whom Dante spent the last years of his life.
Historical, architectural and cultural references can be found in every corner of the city, from the 18th-century four-sided portico of Pavaglione, located in front of the Rocca, to the Monument and Museum dedicated to Francesco Baracca, the Italian aviation hero of the First World War, to the Rossini Theatre and the recently inaugurated Rossini House Museum, to the countless churches and ancient parish churches, and the wonderful natural attractions a just a short distance from the town, first and foremost the Parco del Lotto, making Lugo an unmissable destination in the heart of Lower Romagna.
Lugo (Ravenna province) is located at the crossroads between the provincial road San Vitale SP253R (which connects Bologna to Ravenna) and the provincial road Felisio SP7; it is 26 kilometres from Ravenna, 50 kilometres from Bologna and 60 kilometres from Ferrara. The motorway exit is Lugo, on the A14dir motorway. It is located on the Ravenna/Bologna railway line, with connections to Ferrara and Faenza.

What is perhaps the most characteristic monument in Lugo today was built in the late Middle Ages, almost certainly on the site of an earlier fort. Under the rule of the Este family, it underwent the profound alterations and renovations that gave it its current appearance. Since then it has been subject to continuous more or less pronounced remodelling. However, the tower located to the north-west, the so-called “Uguccione della Faggiola tower”, was spared. In particular, the layout of the fascinating roof garden, which can be accessed from the inner courtyard, dates back to the early 19th century. Along with the ancient cells, it is undoubtedly worth a visit. The replacement of the east bastioned side with the present arcade also dates from the early 19th century. The recently discovered Salone Estense hall is located in the northern area of the Rocca. Built at the height of the Italian Renaissance, it was constructed by the Dukes of Este between 1437 and 1598. Its wooden ceiling is remarkable, embellished with decorated wooden panels, depicting the coats of arms of the Seignory and symbols of the so-called Borgo d’Este companies.

Next to the Rocca stands the Monument to Francesco Baracca, the Italian aviation ace during the First World War. Commissioned immediately after the hero’s death by a committee chaired by the Duke of Aosta, the work was entrusted to the sculptor Domenico Rambelli from Faenza.
The design of the monumental complex took the sculptor over three years, the construction almost six and the work was finally inaugurated on 21 June 1936. The bronze statue, about six metres high, is hoisted on a base, covered in Tivoli travertine, bearing the dates and locations of the aviator’s victories. On the side of the wing is Major Baracca’s emblem, the Prancing Horse, known throughout the world because of its being adopted by Enzo Ferrari as the emblem of the Maranello red cars.
Lugo has dedicated a historical museum to its famous hero, located in the house where he was born, with a collection of memorabilia and objects belonging to the “ace of aces” inside. Among other things, you can admire the 1917 Spad VII aircraft in which Baracca achieved one of his 34 victories.

 

In front of the Rocca stands the Pavaglione, a unique structure that is a formidable example of a natural commercial centre, conceived and built over two centuries, which has returned to its former glory after restoration work in recent years. The imposing four-sided portico, designed by Giuseppe Campana from Ferrara, who grafted it onto the loggia built in the 16th century and completed it in 1783, was initially conceived to accommodate the then flourishing silkworm cocoon market. The name seems to be derived from the Latin papilio or, according to others, from the French papillon. The Pavaglione, today as in the past, accommodates workshops, shops, fairs and, in addition to the Wednesday market with its six hundred years of history, hosts numerous spectacular events that animate the city throughout the year, carrying on an ancient tradition. There is a record of musical works being performed in this space since the end of the 17th century.

On the west side of the Pavaglione is the Teatro Rossini, which hosts plays, concerts and an internationally renowned opera season. Built between 1757 and 1759 by the architect Francesco Petrocchi, it was completed in 1761 by Antonio Galli Bibiena. Considered the prototype of the Italian theatre, it was named after Gioacchino Rossini in 1859. The great musician, born in Pesaro to a father from Lugo, received his earliest musical education from the Malerbi canons in Lugo, where his family had moved in 1802. Villa Malerbi, another interesting destination on the Rossini itinerary, dates back to the early 19th century. Today the villa is home to the Municipal School of Music.
A few steps from the Theatre, in Via Rocca 14, is the Rossini House Museum, the former home of the Rossini family, which belonged to the grandfather of the famous composer. The museum tour unfolds across four rooms, along a walkway that makes it easy to stop at each station to watch and, at the same time, to listen and discover, as you get more and more involved and fascinated – the life and work of an unusual Rossini in a constant crescendo. The theatrical form, the Master’s favourite terrain, is here taken as the paradigm of the exhibition.
On the west side of the Pavaglione is the Teatro Rossini, which hosts plays, concerts and an internationally renowned opera season. Built between 1757 and 1759 by the architect Francesco Petrocchi, it was completed in 1761 by Antonio Galli Bibiena. Considered the prototype of the Italian theatre, it was named after Gioacchino Rossini in 1859. The great musician, born in Pesaro to a father from Lugo, received his earliest musical education from the Malerbi canons in Lugo, where his family had moved in 1802. Villa Malerbi, another interesting destination on the Rossini itinerary, dates back to the early 19th century. Today the villa is home to the Municipal School of Music.
A few steps from the Theatre, in Via Rocca 14, is the Rossini House Museum, the former home of the Rossini family, which belonged to the grandfather of the famous composer. The museum tour unfolds across four rooms, along a walkway that makes it easy to stop at each station to watch and, at the same time, to listen and discover, as you get more and more involved and fascinated – the life and work of an unusual Rossini in a constant crescendo. The theatrical form, the Master’s favourite terrain, is here taken as the paradigm of the exhibition.

Capers of the Rocca
Numerous caper plants have self-seeded and grown wild in the cracks in the walls of the Rocca di Lugo for centuries.
When, at the end of May and throughout the summer, the short but intensely scented flowering season takes place, the flower buds are picked and pickled by the hands of expert artisans, according to the ancient recipe of Pellegrino Artusi.
In recent years, the Municipal Administration has introduced the custom of directly collecting and preserving capers as gifts for illustrious people visiting the town. After harvesting by the Administration, citizens are granted the “right of capping”, i.e. the possibility of directly harvesting the capers up to eye level.
Traditional Market
Every Wednesday there is a traditional market, one of the largest in Romagna and Italy.
Set in a very picturesque setting, it extends throughout the historic centre, occupying all the squares gravitating around the main city monuments. Already flourishing in the 15th century, it became particularly important from 1600 onwards, following the start of the trade in silkworms and their products.
It is now one of the largest markets in the region, in terms of size and number of stalls, with almost 600 traders in public areas, accompanied by exhibitors of agricultural products. Its composition is excellent, as it deals with a large number of high quality goods.
Lugo boasts several recurring fairs and markets throughout the year, such as the antiques market, the farmer’s market and the Biomarchè with high-quality, environmentally friendly local organic produce.
Treasures
Lugo has an interesting historic centre that bears witness to the development of civil and religious architecture over the centuries.
In addition to town’s iconic monuments (see details above) there are other places of special interest.
Next to the theatre is the Trisi Library, which houses a remarkable collection of books, including manuscripts, incunabula and books from the 16th century.
There are numerous churches of artistic significance. The Carmine church was built in the mid-18th century in the Baroque style; inside are the Callido and Gatti organs on which the young Rossini practised. The church of the Suffragio, with its rich baroque interior, and the oratory of Sant’Onofrio contain valuable paintings by Ignazio Stern. The Collegiate church with its beautiful cloister, built in 1471, is the work of Cosimo Morelli. The “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” (15th century), a polychrome terracotta group in the church of San Francesco di Paola, is very impressive.
Not far from the town centre, in Via di Giù, is the Jewish Cemetery, which attests to the presence of a large Jewish community in Lugo from the 16th century up until the last century. At the southern entrance to the town, the 15th-century Oratory of Croce Coperta houses an admirable cycle of frescoes, attributable to the Ferrara school of the 15th and 16th centuries. To the north of the city, a short walk from the centre, there is a pleasant area of green space called the Parco del Loto, close to the Canale dei Mulini. The cycle path along the canal offers a unique itinerary due to the numerous buildings and waterworks and the variety of environments.
Near Lugo, the church of Campanile, with its ancient cylindrical bell tower with mullioned and three-mullioned windows, in pure Byzantine-Ravenna style (9th century), and the Church of Ascension, built in 1534, in whose façade, sides and apse the lines of the sixteenth century are apparent. The church is decorated with remarkable frescoes, but only the apse is intact.

Lugo has an interesting historic centre that bears witness to the development of civil and religious architecture over the centuries.

In addition to town’s iconic monuments (see details above) there are other places of special interest.
Next to the theatre is the Trisi Library, which houses a remarkable collection of books, including manuscripts, incunabula and books from the 16th century.
There are numerous churches of artistic significance. The Carmine church was built in the mid-18th century in the Baroque style; inside are the Callido and Gatti organs on which the young Rossini practised. The church of the Suffragio, with its rich baroque interior, and the oratory of Sant’Onofrio contain valuable paintings by Ignazio Stern. The Collegiate church with its beautiful cloister, built in 1471, is the work of Cosimo Morelli. The “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” (15th century), a polychrome terracotta group in the church of San Francesco di Paola, is very impressive.

Not far from the town centre, in Via di Giù, is the Jewish Cemetery, which attests to the presence of a large Jewish community in Lugo from the 16th century up until the last century. At the southern entrance to the town, the 15th-century Oratory of Croce Coperta houses an admirable cycle of frescoes, attributable to the Ferrara school of the 15th and 16th centuries. To the north of the city, a short walk from the centre, there is a pleasant area of green space called the Parco del Loto, close to the Canale dei Mulini. The cycle path along the canal offers a unique itinerary due to the numerous buildings and waterworks and the variety of environments.

Near Lugo, the church of Campanile, with its ancient cylindrical bell tower with mullioned and three-mullioned windows, in pure Byzantine-Ravenna style (9th century), and the Church of Ascension, built in 1534, in whose façade, sides and apse the lines of the sixteenth century are apparent. The church is decorated with remarkable frescoes, but only the apse is intact.

 

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