CHIESA DELLA BEATA VERGINE DELLE GRAZIE
VIA XX SETTEMBRE E FOSSE IPOGEE
PALAZZO CORBUCCI / ESPOSIZIONE "COME ER....
VIA XX SETTEMBRE E FOSSE IPOGEE
CHIESA DI SAN PIETRO
PALAZZO CORBUCCI / ESPOSIZIONE "COME ER....
EX MACELLO E CENTRO STUDI NATURALISTICI
Audioguides with text
Chapter 1 - Historical notes
San Giovanni in Marignano is the gate to Valconca: Cattolica beach is a few kilometers away and the first hills are all around. Known since the Middle Ages as “The Malatesta’s Breadbasket” thanks to the fertility of its soils and to its cereal wealth hidden in more than 200 underground hollows, San Giovanni in Marignano has been preserving its strong rural identity since the Roman period.
The town joined “I Borghi più belli d’Italia” route in 2008.
Now we will take you in a multimedial walk through San Giovanni in Marignano downtown. You will find signs showing the way close to the monuments. You can follow the progressive order or chose your personal one.
The name San Giovanni in Marignano is a toponym composed of two parts: San Giovanni, that refers to San Giovanni Battista in Castelvecchio church, the first church in the village dating back to the first half of the 12th century; and Marignano, that is an ancient rural property dating back to the late-Roman period.
The origins of San Giovanni are strictly connected to the development of Valle del Conca. This valley has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic when some of the most important civilizations, as the Umbrians, the Picenes, the Senones and later the Sabines, settled there. In the 4th century, the Romans replaced them and founded some colonies, such as Ariminum, along the present Via Flaminia, thus dividing the land into centuries.
Castelvecchio and Castelnuovo
The present settlement is the consequence of a new foundation of the built-up area that took place in the second half of the 13th century in the plain and near the Ventena river. This was possible thanks to the Benedectines of Montecassino who digged up and reclaimed the soil and began a farm renewal. The new settlement was called Castelnuovo to distinguish it from Castelvecchio, the early one. The original urban plan of Castelvecchio is regular: it is based on the central street (“via di mezzo”), the new settlement longitudinal axis, that is the present Via XX Settembre. The first wall settlement of the new castle dates back to about 1280, but it was restructured several times in the course of time.
The Malatesta Signoria
In the 15th century Rimini territory was ruled by the Malatesta Signoria who handled lands that were controlled by the Church. Between 1438 and 1442 Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, reorganized the territory defences; in this occasion he equipped San Giovanni in Marignano with new city walls that were more effective than the 13th-century ones. The new walls were defended by the Ventena stream and composed of six/eight keeps and two portal towers; they included a direct-lifting drawbridge.
At the height of their power the Malatesta Court in Rimini was into contact with the great European Courts and Sigismondo Pandolfo was in a position to summon the most important contemporary intellectuals, such as Filippo Brunelleschi. According to documents of the period the artist visited several Malatesta castles, San Giovanni included, to restore and renew the 13-th century defences. The 14th-century walls could seem too grand if related to San Giovanni settlement that is in a plain besides, but it was necessary because San Giovanni had to defend the wheat that was stocked under the castle.
As a matter of fact Giovanni in Marignano was one of the capital cities of the Malatesta State together with Cesena, Cervia, Senigallia and Fano and it was called “The Breadbasket” because of its cereal production that was stocked in more than 200 underground silos located on the main street, “via di mezzo”.
From 16th to 19th century
From the period of its new foundation to the 16th century, San Giovanni in Marignano was directly or indirectly influenced by Rimini life and historical events. In the 16th century a period of slump and depression was caused by struggles among the Malatesta family, the Republic of Venice and the Church; this period was to end only in 1529 when Romagna, San Giovanni included, passed under the Church’s direct control. The Church was to rule this area ‘till 1859, the years from 1797 to 1814 excluded because of a short Napoleonic period.
In the 19th century, thanks to migrations from the neighbouring villages and from the coast, we remark the birth of two villages along the castle main road. The two villages developed beyond the two entrance towers. San Antonio village was named after the church of the same name: the church lodged the Celestine Fathers’ monastery and was already known in the 15th century. At present it lodges the Maestre Pie dell’Addolorata nuns; School Village was already shaped around the market square in the 18th century and it was bounded by the municipal towers on one side and by the Blessed Virgin of the Graces church on the other one, this latter known as Saint Lucy church.
The 20th century
During the last decades of the Pope rule and during the first year of the new Reign of Italy, Mazzini and Garibladi’s ideas found their loyal supporters in San Giovanni in Marignano too. A lot of the inhabitants took part into the rural revolts in 1913.Then there was the First World War and its victims, the postwar period and the Fascism rise to power and the Second World War, directly involving San Giovanni that is along the Gothic Line.
The period after the Second World War was very difficult for San Giovanni: it was still a rural village, the reconstruction was not easy, people were without a job and they began to migrate to Switzerland and Germany. The real recovery was only in the 50’s when bathing tourism developed, thus stopping the migration and increasing craft. In the late 60’s this new reality together with an entrepreneurial spirit led to the building of the new craft area near to the A14 Highway tollgate. San Giovanni was no longer a migration place: thanks to its craft production, mainly fashion and ship building, it had become an immigration.
Chapter 2 - THE MONUMENTS
1. Defence system
Once downtown you can immediately remark signs of the two periods that mainly influenced its history: the Middle Ages and the 19th century.
The original defence system was located in the present Via Veneto, Via Fosso del Pallone, Via Settembre and other small streets and probably dates back to the foundation of Castelnuovo at the end of the 13th century.
You can find signs of the 13th-century defence system in the extremely rare coin tower over the Ventena Bridge and in the door tower in Silvagni Square with its clearly Gothic pointed arch.
This system was disrupted by the restoration by Sigismondo Pandolfo together with Filippo Brunelleschi: the restoration involved the ramparts and their towers. The well-known Brunelleschi’s keeps cannot unfortunately be seen from the outside, though there’s a well-preserved one incorporated into the 13-thcentury Venetian tower in Via Veneto and another one in Corbucci Palace.
The Ventena stream surrounded the castle in the Middle Ages, but it was diverted over time to enable the village to widen: at present it is outside the castle.
2. Blessed Virgin of the Graces church
The Blessed Virgin of the Graces church is known as St Lucy church at present. Over time she took several names: School Church, Silvagni. Since the end of the 16th century it has been quoted as a religious building “located outside the village walls” and near the market area. The church was built along a pilgrims’ route and has always been venerated, especially because of a second-half 16th century fresco by an unknown artist from Romagna: the fresco shows the Virgin on a throne holding a blessing Infant Jesus and is probably a fragment of a larger one where the Virgin and the Baby were surrounded by St Rocco and St Sebastian who can be still partly detected.
Thanks to the Silvagni legacy the church was completely rebuilt adopting a Greek cross and preserving the fresco, thus confirming its importance.
The church master mason was probably Luigi Moretti; while the peculiar stuccos with their theatrical and musical features can be attributed to the well-known Rimini sculptor Antonio Trentanove.
It is worth remembering the altar pieces by Giuseppe Soleri Brancaleoni: one shows the Virgin with Baby Jesus and some Saints, the other one…. The 18th century organ is undoubtedly the most precious element: it was built by Domenico and Francesco Ricci da Verucchio in 1785 and was destined to St Clara church in Rimini and then sold to Mondaino’s church first and to San Giovanni’s one later. The organ is composed of about 600 tin and wooden pipes. Thanks to expert restorations, it is still played in concerts and Holy Masses. The church is owned by the Municipality and can be kept open and visited thanks to some volunteers. The Mass is celebrated once a year on December 13th, in honor of St. Lucy.
3. Silvagni Square
Since the 16th century the widening between the tower and the School church has been used for several food and cattle markets. In 1786, thanks to the Silvagni legacy, the Municipality was able to start the rebuilding of the square, then known as the School Square, and of the church nearby.
The restoration cost about 3,000 scudos and made the place the official market square. To add glamour to the village main square, the building fronts were re-designed and some arcades to be used as fish market were built. Furthermore it is worth to mention the ancient defence moat route that was discovered only during the last restoration in the year 2000 and on and underlined the architectural, historical and social peculiarities of the square in different ages.
4. The municipal tower
Piazza Silvagni prominent element is undoubtedly the municipal tower. It was originally one of the two door towers and it became the clock tower during the 19th century.
At present the tower is 24-meters high, but it is still possible to see its chock because of the different wall color and of the lengthened bracket signs.
It is also possible to notice the two side holes enabling the drawbridge chain to pass. It is also worth to remark the Gothic pointed arch which is of the most ancient elements of the castle (about 1280).
5. 20th september street
Once you pass through the municipal tower, you enter via XX Settembre. Along this street, once called via di mezzo, you can find 18th and 19th century buildings, such as the Captain Palace (Fortino delle Fate at present), or the palace once belonging to Carpegna Counts (Corbucci Palace at present) , or the palace belonging to Spina Counts. The whole town layout is characterized by alleys and halls and by tight woven routes and connections between the two main axis. The settlement is bounded by a wall enclosure, built with brick curtains and equipped with projecting battlements which are spaced by towers. Along the street, on the floor, it is possible to see the underground silos, numbered according to the 19th century way.
6. The underground silos
Since ancient times one of the most relevant problems had been the way to stock food long time; in our territory this problem mainly concerned cereals and wine grapes which have always given rich harvests. Some underground hollow barns were built in San Giovanni in Marignano in the Middle Ages: they granted a good food preservation, especially in winter, and also protected food from enemies. There are evidences of more than 200 wheat hollows located downtown and dating back to the 15th century; in the 19th century 128 underground silos located along the main street were recorded in the town Historical Archiveves. For further details about the structure you can refer to the relating boards.
7. St Peter Church
The most ancient reference to the town main church dates back to 1348, but its building was probably contemporary to the new castle one, that is end of the 13th century. In 1515 the building was considerably restored thanks to the monks of San Vitale Church in Ravenna who owned it; in 1534 it was equipped with a bell tower made by Simone di Baldo. The present building dates back to 1746-1754 when the church was completely re-built according to a plan by Domenico Barbini that gave it its imposing and baroque looking. Materials coming from the ancient Conca parish church, the font included, were used for the restoration. It is worth to remind some of the paintings that can be found into the church: St. Peter’s miracle by Salvatore Monicillo, a Sicilian artist who worked a lot in Romagna; St. Benedict and St. Mauro by Gian Andrea Lazzarini who was one of Raphael’s pupils in Rome and Christ bearing his cross by an unknown artist and that was probably object of monks prayers.
Between 1835 and 1843 the wooden inner door with the above orchestra were built; between 1897-98 the main bell tower was restored, since the existing one had been damaged by an earthquake in 1816. The present floor was installed between 1935 and 1941 and replaced the original terracotta-tiled ones with granolithic tiles with floral pattern. Furthermore it is worth to visit the wonderful high altar, that was commissioned to the sculptor Domenico Toschini in 1754 and is one of the few marble altars in Valconca; but also the Romanesque tabernacle and the stucco altarpiece with its rococo shapes made by Pietro Martinetti.
8. Corbucci Palace and the bridge over Ventena river
In 1854, according to a project by Rimini architect Giovanni Benedettini, the tower to enter the castle was demolished and its debris were used to re-built the bridge over Ventena river; the bridge was enlarged both to enable cart passage and to prevent river flooding.
Corbucci Palace overlooks Ventena river: this elegant palace and its history have always gone together with the most relevant moments in San Giovanni’s life. The main Rimini well-off families permanently or temporarily lived here up to the Sixties.. The original palace was commissioned by Malatesta de’ Malatesta, Lord of Pesaro, in Malatesta era. It was not connected to the castle walls but it widened thanks to the addition of the corridor that you can still walk nowadays, thus incorporating the ancient castle walls facing the Ventena river and lately, during the first decade of 16th century, the polygonal tower that had been added thanks to Sigismondo’s restoration.
Then the palace was inherited by the Passionei family from Urbania, who were Della Rovere’s relatives, and at the end of 16th century to Carpegna counts, thanks to the marriage between Orazio II and Camilla dei Passionei in 1595. In the 18th century it was referred to as Carpegna Palace and as “casino”, meaning a country holiday house or “house of delight”.
It was owned by the Carpegna family until 1802, then it passed to Rimini count, Pompeo Ruffo. In 1811 it was passed to the Corbucci family who would own it until the end of 20th century.
The last restoration of the building dates back to 1884 when the two floor portion facing corso XX settembre and the Francesco Corbucci’s small astronomy tower were added. Odoardo was the last representative of the Corbucci family who married Maria Vaccari, of Bolognese origin: when he died the palace passed to his sister, Teresa, who was left widow and was the last lady of the palace.
The palace is one of the biggest buildings dating back to the ancient Middle Ages village: it is more than 1,000 square meters and is equipped with a terraced garden on the North-Western tower and caves that are partially fit for use. No piece of the original Corbucci’s furniture is still there, but it is worth to remark the ceilings with their frescos by Antonio Mosconi: they date back to the second half of the 19th century and show floral landscapes, animals and San Giovanni in Marignano views.
9. “Come eravamo” Exhibition
At present the palace ground floor contains cultural heritages and an Exhibition, “Come eravamo, Cum a simie”. The Exhibition contains a collection of finds relating to farm culture and civilization in Bassa Valconca between the 19th and 20th century. Thanks to this exhibition it will be possible to discover how people lived in Romagna region up to a few decades ago. It will be possible to visit thematic rooms: a stable, a shoemaker’s, a forge, a bedroom, a cellar. Every room is equipped with objects and tools that were used to work when machines, as we know today, did not exist.
10. A. Massari Theater
The building probably dates back to the 13th century and had originally a religious function: it was the Confraternita of the Santissimo Rosario Oratory.
Once the Italian Government installed it was used it no longer as a religious building but to lodge poor widows and orphans first and then by private renters who used it as a store, as a woodshed and even as a place to skin pigs.
The last renter was a lawyer, Francesco Brilli: from 1821 he used the building for the rehearsal of his newly formed company, Compagnia dei dilettanti filodrammatici. In the next following yearsthe rich member of the Compagnia finance the restoration of the building: from 1855 it was completely transformed
according to the project by Giovanni Benedettini who made it an Italian-style theater, also thanks to the purchasing of nearby dwellings. The theater was horseshoe shaped and was equipped with two box rows, dressing rooms and wings with painted sets. The paintings and curtain are by Angelo Trevisani and Antonio Mosconi from Savignano sul Rubicone. The ceiling wall painting represents Apollo with six Muses; the only curtain by Mosconi left shows San Giovanni in Marignano with puttos and Ceres watching over it: this is a further evidence of the importance of the village in farm tradition, especially as to wine, wheat and oil production. In 1932 the theater was temporarily named “Teatro Nazionale dell’Opera Dopolavoro” and served as fourth-class cinema to screen LUCE movies.
During the Second World War it was sharply bombed, consequently abandoned because of the damages and considered as unfit for use. In 1974 the Municipality decided to restore it and charged Riccione architect Augusto Bacchiani with the project. On September, 12th 1982 the new theater was inaugurated. It was named after Augusto Massari, a conductor and perfomer from San Giovanni in Marignano.
11. New City Hall and municipal Library
The City Hall and the municipal Library overlook via Roma and are part of the structural intervention carried out during the Fascist period.
As a matter of fact, in the Thirties via Rome became increasingly important thus gathering new economic activities near the railways and Cattolica.
The present library was built during this period, though it was the seat of the Fascist Party first and then secondary school and post office.
The present City Hall was built in 1935, but it served as primary school until the year 2000. Up to 2004 the City Hall was in Silvagni square.
12. Institute of Naturalistic Studies
The Valconca Institute of Naturalistic Studies was born in order to study and inform about the naturalistic patrimony in River Conca Valley and the charming world of bugs and other terrestrial arthropoda. The Exhibition has a didactic aim and includes subjects such as sexual dimorphism, mimicry, medicine, superstitions, stamp-collecting and more. There are also different orders of bugs, such as Coleoptera, especially the big Curculionoidea family, and Lepidoptera. You can also find a shell collection, with about 100,000 Curculionoidea specimen, and various orders of bugs. The Institute can be visited every afternoon with no charge.