This itinerary leads to the discovery of the artistic and architectural heritage of the early twentieth century in Forlì, in the so-called "rationalist area".
A tour that runs from Viale della Stazione to the central Piazza Saffi, passing through Piazzale della Libertà.
The first stop on our itinerary is Forlì's railway station, designed by Ezio Bianchi and dating back to the mid-1920s. The 80 meter façade in eclectic style is characterized by a central part, which consists of a main entrance and a double-height hall. The hall features two symmetrical towers that frame three large entrance arches, which are marked by pilasters and decorated with floral garlands. On the each side the complex is completed by two further side spaces with secondary arched entrances.
Walking down Viale della Libertà, which is in front of the station, it is possible to admire various types of buildings in the rationalist style, including the "Ex GIL" (Former Gioventù Italiana del Littorio Building), built between 1933-1935, and the Former Aeronautical School, both designed by the architect Cesare Valle. It was considered an authentic masterpiece of rationalist architecture: it preserves inside the great Mosaics of Flight by Angelo Canevari, and on the outside you can admire one of the city's icons, the imposing Statue of Icarus, almost five meters high and made of Carrara marble by the Roman sculptor Francesco Saverio Palozzi. Originally, the statue had a base that evoked the rocks of a cliff, as legend has it.
Following Viale della Libertà, we come to Piazzale della Vittoria and its War Memorial: it was designed by Cesare Bazzani in 1925 and it is the city's actual icon. The Monument should be admired in its majesty by looking first at its polished Doric column, 32 meters high, sourmounted by three bronze statues of Victory, a work by the sculptor Bernardo Morescalchi.
At each side of the column there are two altars decorated with bas-reliefs by Bernardino Boifava, representing the various moments in a Hero's life. The first moment represents the heart of the battle, the second shows the catharsis of death and the third captures the return to domestic peacefulness, when the goddess sheathes her sword and a child holds onto his mother.
Right at the entrance of Corso della Repubblica stand the Palazzine Bazzani-Benini, both designed by Cesare Bazzani. These two buildings, which are the access point to the city center, are apparently similar on the outside, but they are actually quite different in the organization of the interiors and show Bazzani's approach to a Novecento style. The two belvedere towers, designed in a lower position compared to the road in order to allow for the construction of two terraces, are the only features with a specific reference to the classical order.
Walking down Corso della Repubblica, it is worth mentioning an emblematic example of the architecture of the second half of the twentieth century: the Hotel della Città (City Hotel), inaugurated in 1957 and commissioned by the great publisher and entrepreneur from Forlì, Aldo Garzanti, to the famous architect Gio Ponti. The complex was created by Garzanti as a place of free hospitality where artists, writers and men of science could work. "Hotel della Città" fully expresses Gio Ponti's style and it is a unique and original synthesis of tradition and modernity, history and design, elite culture and everyday life.
The tour continues along Corso della Repubblica and finally leads to Piazza Aurelio Saffi (Aurelio Saffi Square), which has been considered the heart of the historic centre since ancient times. In the middle of the square you can admire a statue dedicated to Aurelio Saffi from Forlì.
One of the most prestigious monuments that stands out in the square is the twentieth-century Palazzo delle Poste (Post Office building). Designed by Cesare Bazzani and built in 1931-1932 on a rectangular plan, the building faces the square and has a double order with a round arch. The ground floor, which is raised by approximately one meter, has a suggestive and deep portico. It was Cesare Bazzani himself, in charge of the project of the new headquarters of the Post Office and Telegraphs, who suggested its location right in the heart of the city.