An itinerary in the province of Forlì dedicated to those who love slow tourism and timeless sacred places. A day in contact with nature, living the simplicity of rural spaces, to rediscover the past, experiencing the splendour of art.
Since these places cannot be visited daily, it is always necessary to plan your visit in advance, as indicated in the links below.
The itinerary is also accessible to the disabled with the exception of the Pieve di San Martino in Strada.
Its origin, the subject of several studies, dates back to the 6th century AD. In ancient times, the area of Barisano was part of those territories that were donated to the veterans of the Roman Classe fleet; a "villa" probably arose here, of which evidence remains thanks to some mosaics found almost two meters below the current floor.
Built with a typical Byzantine technique that used large bricks combined with lime and lapillus, with grains of crushed stones, the church has a single central rose window on its facade.
Inside, the archaeological excavations and the profound restoration works that have been done to it over the years have brought to light some mosaics depicting geometric figures, flowers, intertwined edges, phytomorphic drawings made with polychrome tesserae, in addition to the crypt, dating back to the IX-X century and ancient frescoes including a fourteenth-century "St. Martin on horseback giving the cloak" and a fragment of the "Virgin with the Son".
A peculiar feature of this church is the single nave: a real rarity, considering that the other churches in the area all have three naves.
From via Oraziana, continuing on via Ravegnana, and then turning into via Ca’ Mingozzi, we reach the second stop of our route, which is also easily reachable from the highway toll exit.
Santa Maria in Acquedotto is an ancient church that stands in the countryside of Forlì on the road leading to Ravenna, on the route where, according to tradition, the Theodoric aqueduct (hence the name) passed.
The first attestations regarding this parish date back to 963 AD, but its origins seem to date back to the sixth century and it may represent one of the first seven churches commissioned by Empress Galla Placidia.
The current parish church was built in the 13th century on the remains of an older Byzantine church. Its peculiarities are the inclined structure and the substantially bare interior, except for a few traces of frescoes brought to light thanks to the twentieth-century restorations, including the "Madonna dall'aureola", with an engraved halo, present in the counter-façade on the left of the entrance and some figures of Sant'Agata and San Giovanni Evangelista, works by a local painter of the late sixteenth century.
From via Ca' Mingozzi, turn left into via Brunotto until the entrance to via Cervese, then turn left and continue towards Pievequinta, then turn left again into via del Cippo.
Here we find the Church of SS. Pietro e Paolo, also called “Pievequinta” as it was the fifth of the parish churches commissioned by Galla Placidia.
Probably of early Christian origin, its existence dates back to 950 AD. The church was then demolished in the 15th century and rebuilt in 1793. It is famous for being the only church in the Forlì countryside to have a cylindrical bell tower, in Byzantine style, typical of Ravenna's basilicas.
Among the most remarkable works we find the three marble heads of the Holy Apostles attributed to the "Master of the Marble Madonnas", the altarpiece by Andrea Vandi entitled "Saints Peter and Paul glorified by the Eternal Father among a court of Angels" and the fresco depicting “The Adoration of the Three Kings”, perhaps referable to the school of Luca Longhi.
Returning back to the Carpinello roundabout, turn left onto via del Bosco and then right onto via del Tempio, to reach the fourth stop of the itinerary: the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the hamlet of Fornò. Dedicated to the cult of the Blessed Virgin, it was built starting from 1454 at the behest of Pietro Bianco da Durazzo, a character shrouded in legend: a former corsair and hermit who then converted to Christianity due to a miraculous event.
The peculiar circular plan shape presents an oriental architectural appeal: cylindrical shapes, cubes and domes interpenetrating to give the idea of the universe also suggest a Byzantine and Armenian influence.
Inside the church you can admire works of art such as the sculpture of the "Virgin and Child" by Agostino di Duccio, fifteenth-century frescoes from the schools of Melozzo da Forlì and Palmezzano, and Bianco da Durazzo's sarcophagus. Particularly relevant is the icon of the Virgin of Theotocos, symbol of the parish church, to which it was dedicated.
To reach the final leg of our itinerary, continue from via del Santuario onto via Bianco da Durazzo towards via Enrico Mattei; enter the ring road, continue on Viale della Costituzione until the sign for San Martino in Strada, then turn onto Viale dell'Appennino and reach piazzale della Pieve.
Pieve di San Martino in Strada, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a fourth-century Christian bishop, has a very ancient origin: the first documentary information dates back to 962 AD.
The ancient church, in Lombard style with a basilica layout, has been remodeled several times over the years. Inside you can still admire a very scenic painting dedicated to Sacred History and the fresco of an ancient medieval Virgin holding baby Jesus in her arms.
Look at the road itinerary on the map: https://bit.ly/3dq0Jug