Forlì-Cesena is a province in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
Cities and towns
- 1 Forlì the provincial capital has many medieval buildings.
- Meldola south of Forlì has a fortress and old churches.
- 2 Predappio, birthplace of Mussolini, has become a barometer of Italian politics.
- 3 Rocca San Casciano has a big bonfire festival on 19 March.
- 4 Forlimpopoli retains much of its ancient walls.
- 5 Cesena is co-capital and also has a fine medieval core, heritage of the Malatesta dynasty.
- 6 Cesenatico is an atmospheric old port, with scenic canals for a fraction of Venice prices.
- 7 San Mauro Pascoli was flattened in World War II, so the "old centre" is a reconstruction.
- Savignano sul Rubicone just south was where Caesar said "the die is cast" and crossed the Rubicon.
- 8 Mercato Saraceno has a small old centre clustered round Piazza Mazzini.
- 9 Bagno di Romagna is a spa town in the hills.
This area is the flat, fertile plain of the River Po. The Romans occupied it from 200 BC, and cut a highway Via Aemelia in a straight line from Piacenza to the coast at Rimini. The modern SS9 follows this route through Forlì and Cesena. In medieval times noble families slugged it out with each other and with the Pope for control: the Sforzas and Borgias mostly held Forlì while the Malatestas gained Cesena. They embellished their cities with fine palaces, churches and castles which are nowadays their major attraction. The medieval pattern of city states and principalities continued right up to 1871 when Italy became a unified state.
The dark side of this area is that it was the birthplace of fascism in Italy. Mussolini was born in Predappio in 1883, and his heir-apparent Balbo came from Ferrara. They showed their hand in 1920, torching opposition premises in a night of terror called the "column of fire". Mussolini became President in 1922 and the country slid towards war. The province was pulverised in the conflict, so many old town centres and historic buildings are post-war reconstructions. Il Duce himself, shot by a partisan in 1945, after several posthumous adventures was eventually interred at Predappio. Whether you find the place subdued or garlanded will reflect the present mood in Italy.
- Forlì Airport "Luigi Ridolfi" (FRL IATA) is at the southeast corner of the town. In early 2021 it has no commercial flights but these are planned to start later in the year, with domestic, Med holiday and European short-haul destinations.
- Bologna, Venice and Milan have a much better selection of flights and good onward transport.
- Intercity trains head southeast from Bologna stopping at Faenza, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini. Regional trains also stop at Forlimpopuli and Savignano sul Rubicone.
- Intercity buses are barely running here in early 2021.
- By car follow A14, which traverses the region.
The towns along the railway are compact so use the train between them. You need a car for anywhere off the main transport corridor.
- In Forlì the area around Piazza Saffi is crowded with historic buildings.
- In Cesena see the magnificent 15th century Malatesta Library and the fortress.
- In Savignano sul Rubicone see the Roman bridge, though it's a post-war reconstruction.
- Soak in the thermal springs at Bagno di Romagna.
- Cesenatico has a beach.
- See Emilia-Romagna#Eat for regional specialties.
This province is part of the Romagna wine-growing region, where Sangiovese di Romagna is very similar to Chianti but sells for a fraction of the price.
Standard advice about traffic and care of valuables.
- Bologna and Ravenna are both must-see old cities.
- San Marino the hilltop microstate won't take you long, but since you're in the area . . .
- Rimini for the beach.