Welcome to Faenza! Beautiful artistic city of Etruscan-Roman origin, known throughout the world for its ceramics.
We will start our itinerary, which I suggest mainly for families, from the squares – the heart of the city; one, a seat of administrative power, the other, of religious power. Both squares have ancient origins, in theory Roman, but in fact they were constituted in medieval times and have assumed their present features with a long series of successive transformations, among which the most important were the Renaissance and then neoclassical.
We will visit the Town Hall (the residence of the Manfredi family, in Piazza del Popolo), with the great hall on the first floor characterized by an original sixteenth century wooden coffered ceiling, it forms the atrium to the municipal offices (hall of Flags) .
In the adjacent “Freedom Square” we can look around the seventeenth century Goldsmiths’ portico facing the Cathedral, one of the most outstanding expressions of Renaissance art in Romagna of 1474 which features architecture by Brunelleschi. Do you know how many years it took for its construction? 37 years! In fact, it was accomplished in 1511 but part of the marble facing was left unfinished. The interior with three aisles preserves many important sculptures such as the two shrines of St. Terenzio and St.Emiliano of the fifteenth century Tuscan school and the shrine of St. Savinio attributed to Benedetto da Majano. In front of the entrance stands the Clock Tower of the early seventeenth century, it was authentically rebuilt after the ravages of the war in 1944 and constitutes the true symbol of the community.
Let’s go back to Piazza del Popolo, where we will complete the visit on the left side, dominated by the great Podestà Palace: former residence of the municipal courts of medieval origin. Of particular interest are the Romanesque capitals in the main entrance hall (formerly “of the butchers “) that leads into Martyrs of Liberty Square.
Among other interesting historical places to visit are: the Milzetti Palace, it houses the Museum of Neoclassicism and is considered one of the most important architectural expressions of the Italian neoclassical period (1792-1805), and the Teatro Masini.
The Milzetti Palace is a museum in the museum as the building is of such importance that it outshines any of its contents. The palace is located in Via Tonducci (from the square to the south-west, Green District) unique excursion and perfectly preserved to European standards. The appearance of the staid exterior does not envisage the real achievement of the subtlety hidden inside: the architecture and the decorations are united magnificently with frescoes, decorations and stucco, executed by a team from Faenza coordinated by Felice Giani from Piedmonte (1758-1823 ). Illustrious rooms (including the large room used for Parties which included a gallery ) and the boudoirs, always decorated with fine frescoes of mythological subjects. But we do not want to bore the youngsters too much so, if you want, we can take a look from the outside!
The Masini Theatre (visits only by appointment, but if we are lucky we can find it open) is one of the most beautiful Italian theaters. It was erected between 1780 and 1788 designed by Pistocchi who was inspired by the Olimpico in Vicenza for the “Italian style” setting and for the appraisal of the columns adorned by statues. It is accessible from the Voltone della Molinella.
The Municipal Art Gallery also hosts a broad overview of Italian and Faenza art from XIII to XIX centuries. Works of Donatello, M.Palmezzano, D.Dossi and other masters.
Now on to the best part of this city: the M.I.C. – International Ceramics Museum. Founded in 1908 is still one of the most important in the world. It houses the production of ceramics of Faenza, of all the Italian regions and numerous countries, divided into two large collections: ancient and modern. The most important section is dedicated to Faenza ware with masterpieces from Roman times to the present day. In addition, the museum houses numerous modern ceramic works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Léger and other protagonists of the twentieth century.
Did you know? The reputation for production of majolica pottery made Faenza so famous that the name itself has become synonymous with ceramics in many languages; such as French “faiance” and English “faience”.
And finally, you can’t miss a stop at a ceramics workshop. We will try to discover together the techniques of creation and decoration of these famous ceramics. The more adventurous can also try to create something !
You are tired? Remember that you can taste the pleasures of gastronomy both in the green rolling hills surrounding the city and in the historic center where you can enjoy typical restaurants and bars.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE GUIDED TOUR
The guided tour does not include entrance fees to :
Palazzo Milzetti: 4 €, reduced 2 €
Ceramics Museum: 8 €, reduced 5 €