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TUSCAN ROMAGNA

TUSCAN ROMAGNA

Pristine and waiting to be discovered, this area is an extraordinary combination of history and nature.  The Montone Valley joins Romagna and Tuscany in a series of gentle rolling hills, an area rich in precious finds which have maintained their pristine character until today.  This valley was part of Tuscany until it was annexed to the Province of Forlì in 1923.

The history of the picturesque village of Castrocaro Terme goes back as far as Roman times.  It is dominated by a fortress, which today hosts an important Medieval Museum, home of a permanent historical exhibition and of the “Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori” Wine Cellar.

First becoming famous as the town of curative waters and muds in the last century, Castrocaro Terme knew of its good fortune as early as 1400.  In 1938 a state-of-the-art hot springs complex was inaugurated. 

The project called for the construction of three basic buildings for the Thermal City: a bathing facility, the Grand Hotel and the Amusement Pavilion.  Realization of the project was entrusted to the engineer Diego Corsani, who in turn engaged the architect Tito Chini for artistic advice; the hand of Chini is indeed evident in every aspect of the complex.

CASTROCARO E TERRA DEL SOLE

CASTROCARO E TERRA DEL SOLE

The history of Castrocaro is connected to that of its ancient fortress, whose imposing presence dominates the entire village.  In medieval times it was the main urban center of the Romagnolo hinterland.  In the High Middle Ages, the cliff on which the Fortress was built marked the border separating the Lombard Kingdom from Byzantine lands; in this same period the foundation stones were laid of the tower that still today overlooks the town.  From 1118 the castle was in possession of the Counts of Castrocaro, who transformed it into a solid fortress with crucial strategic importance, so much so that it even hosted Emperor Federico Barbarossa. 

On more than one occasion the Papacy claimed rights to the Fortress, which it however failed to obtain until the death of Barbarossa.  In the 14th century the Fortress was still the object of contention between local rulers and the Papal States, until in 1403 Castrocaro was annexed by the Florentine Republic, remaining an important center of Florentine Romagna until the beginning of the 17th century.  In the following centuries, the Fortress was neither used nor inhabited and was therefore left unchanged.  Since its restoration, which was completed in 1999, it stands as an authentic medieval fortress that has survived the oblivion of time, as if “frozen for centuries.”

The Terra del Sole represents the “ideal city” imagined by the Renaissance, fruit of those Humanists who placed man at the center of the universe. Like its counterpart Pienza in the Orcia Valley, the town is a rare exemplar of urban design “on a human scale.”  It is a town which still has much to teach us, both for its layout, characterized by symmetry and the use of perspective, and for its intelligent harmonization of space and volume.  The Fortress City was commissioned by Cosimo de’ Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, who both named and “designed” the area of the new fortress-city, having visited this border region of his state.  As early as 1 February 1564 he had the lands “where the new Terra del Sole was to be built” surveyed and appraised.  The “Housing Notice” of 18 August 1565 reads:  “It is the wish of His Serene Highness the Prince of Florence and Siena to construct a new town, with encircling walls, gates and fortresses, on a suitable site and strictly in accordance with his intentions.”  The town would become the seat of the Grand Ducal Commissioner in 1579, the year of its inauguration, and later provincial capital of Florentine Romagna, which was abolished in 1784.