Unlike the other fortresses in the circuit, perched atop rocky crests, the one in Forlimpopoli is located in the lowlands. Built to protect the surrounding area, it was erected between 1361 and 1363 by Cardinal Egidio d’Albornoz upon the ruins of the Romanesque cathedral which he himself had ordered torn down during the course of the battles against the Ghibellines. At the end of the 15th century, first under the rule of the Ordelaffi family, and then under that of the Riario family (and therefore also Caterina Sforza), the structure acquired its current quadrangular shape, with the round corner towers and covered walkways. The fortress then passed to the Rangoni family, followed by the Zampeschi family, who abolished its military function and turned it into a “princely” residence. Ceded to the municipality during the Napoleonic era, it underwent numerous modifications (from the partial filling of the moats to the opening of the four large arcades that connect the internal courtyard with the central piazza).
In addition to being one of the best preserved fortresses in all of Romagna (so much so that the entirety of the walkways are accessible), the Forlimpopoli Fortress is also characterised by the variety of its uses.
In fact, the
municipal offices are located in the northern part, while in the southern part a drawbridge leads to the historic “Giuseppe Verdi” cinema and theatre, also made famous by the bold assault of the “Passatore” in 1851. Finally, the ground floor houses the “Tobia Aldini” Archaeological Museum, which displays artefacts from the Lower Palaeolithic period all the way to the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Roman Civilisation, which – during the course of the 2nd century BC – was responsible for founding the city.
But that’s not all: every summer the internal courtyard welcomes various
national festivals (like the ‘Popular Music Festival’ and ‘Forlimpopoli Didjin Oz’), theatrical performances, film screenings, and historical re-enactments (like ‘Un dè int la Ròca’). Finally, the fortress serves as the suggestive backdrop of the city’s biggest events, starting with the ‘Segavecchia’ and the ‘Festa Artusiana’.