Faenza is situated on Via Emilia, between the sea and hills, half way between Bologna (50 km) and Rimini (65 Km) and at the intersection of the road that links Ravenna (32 Km) to Florence (100 km).
Synonym worldwide for ceramics – the word faience is used also nowadays to refer to majolica in many European languages - its ancient tradition dates back to the 12th century and reached a peak of artistic significance during the Renaissance. Here ceramic art has combined the new and the antique and a lively artistic sense can be found in the potters’ workshops, palazzos, urban spaces, art schools as well as in the cultural events that take place all year round. There are elegant shops and for gastronomic pleasures, try fine restaurants and wine bars in the city centre.
Since the 14th century, Faenza has been an important political and cultural meeting point, thanks to the rule of the Manfredi family who built up strong bonds with the Medici family of Florence. For centuries the city has been embellished with monuments which maintain their ancient charm.
The urban spaces themselves are masterpieces: the imposing Piazza del Popolo, delimitated by porticoes, on which stand Palazzo della Podestà and Palazzo Municipale (City Hall), formerly the Manfredi family headquarters, Piazza della Libertà with the Cathedral built in the late 15th century and the monumental Fountain of the early 17th century.
Faenza boasts other important monuments in the city centre, Palazzo Milzetti (1792-1805) with its interior decorated in tempera, the elegant Teatro Masini and the City Art Gallery.
The International Ceramics Museum (MIC) founded in 1908 hosts a collection unique in the world for the breadth of epochs and geographical origins, and has a rich section dedicated to Faenza pottery from the Renaissance.
Other masterpieces can be admired by visiting the Pinacoteca Comunale, the oldest museum of the city, and the Carlo Zauli Museum. The Civic Natural Science Museum, one of the most important in the Region for its collection of insects, birds and fossils, deserves to be visited.
Faenza can be visited all year round thanks to the packed programme of events, fairs, and ceramic market exhibitions, such as the Pot Thrower’s World Championship “Mondial Tornianti”, and the “100 km del Passatore”, a marathon run along the Florence-Faenza route, one of the most important events held in spring in Faenza.
More than 60 ceramic workshops are spread out around the town, where craftsmen and artists produce DOC quality certified ceramics in forms and decorations that range from reproductions to artistic experimentation. Ceramic souvenir items such as plates, vases, jugs, and soup tureens embellish many houses.
The territory boasts a wide range of excellent products, such as: Romagna Peaches and Nectarines, apricots and grapes, also cultivated with organic farming methods. The wines have won high recognitions, the DOC Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Pagadebit and Cagnina, and the DOCG Albana in dry and sweet versions. Taste the handmade pastas and passatelli in broth. Tasting can be carried out along the Strada del Sangiovese – the Wine and Dine Route of Faenza.
During the summer, the city centre is enlivened by the “Martedì d’Estate” (Summer Tuesdays), a traditional event with exhibitions, shows held in the streets, guided tours to historical buildings and churches, live music and tasting of local products offered by restaurants and bars.
The passion for cycling is very strong in this area and Faenza offers a wide range of itineraries. Charming itineraries inside Faenza’s downtown and interesting routes out of town invite tourists to learn more about the history and the nature of this territory. All the itineraries are highlighted on the maps and can be downloaded from the website.
Faenza celebrates its history with the Palio del Niballo, one of the oldest jousting tournaments. The five districts of the town enliven the whole month of June with challenges between flag-throwers and drummers, bacchanals and amazing shows, until the Palio in which the knights face each other in the Saracen joust. The parade in historical costumes that precedes the competition helps recreate the atmosphere of the period of the Manfredi, the ancient lords of Faenza.
“Terre di Faenza” can be experienced by means of a kind of circuit, and apart from Faenza itself one can visit: Riolo Terme (17 km), Casola Valsenio (30 km), Brisighella (13 km), Castel Bolognese (8 km) and Solarolo (11 km). It is easy to reach Ravenna (30 km), an ancient Byzantine city known worldwide for its mosaics and for its monumental heritage; Unesco has included 8 of Ravenna’s monuments in the World Heritage List. Ravenna is a city of art with 35 Km of coastline on the Adriatic Sea.