|Città di Faenza|
|Frazioni||Albereto, Borgo Tuliero, Celle, Cosina, Granarolo, Mezzeno, Pieve Cesato, Pieve Ponte, Prada, Reda, Sant'Andrea|
|• Mayor||Giovanni Malpezzi (Democratic Party)|
|• Total||215.72 km2 (83.29 sq mi)|
|Elevation||34 m (112 ft)|
|Population (31 December 2012)|
|• Density||270/km2 (700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Madonna of the Graces|
|Saint day||June 17|
Faenza, at the foot of the first Subapennine hills, is surrounded by an agricultural region including vineyards in the hills, and cultivated land with traces of the ancient Roman land-division system, and fertile market gardens in the plains. In the nearby green valleys of the rivers Samoggia and Lamone there are great number of 18th and 19th century stately homes, set in extensive grounds or preceded by long cypress-lined driveways.
According to mythology, the name of the first settlement, Faoentia, had Etruscan and Celtic roots, meaning in Latin "Splendeo inter deos" or "I shine among the gods," in modern English. The very name, coming from the Romans who developed this center under the name of Faventia, has become synonymous with ceramics (majolica) in various languages, including French (faïence) and English (faience).
From the second half of the 1st century AD the city flourished considerably as a result of its agricultural propensities and the development of industrial activities such as the production of everyday pottery and brickwork objects and linen textiles.
After a period of decadence from the 2nd century to the early Middle Ages it regained prosperity from 8th century on. Around the year 1000 with the government of the Bishops and subsequently in the age of the Commune the city began a long period of richness and building expansion which reached its peak with the rule of the Manfredi family. The first consuls were elected in 1141 and in 1155 a podestà was in charge of government of the city. In the wars between Guelphs and Ghibellines that began in the following years Faenza was at first loyal to the emperor. In 1178, however, it changed side and entered the Lombard League. The inner disputes anyway favoured acquisition of power by Maghinardo Pagano, who remained podestà and capitano del popolo for several years.
At the beginning of the 14th century the Guelph Manfredi began a rule over Faenza that was to last for almost two centuries. The peak of splendour was reached under Carlo II Manfredi, in the second half of the century, when the city centre was renewed. In 1488 Galeotto Manfredi was assassinated by his wife: his son Astorre III succeeded him, but was in turn killed in Rome as a prisoner of Cesare Borgia, who had captured Faenza in 1501.
After a brief period of Venetian domination Faenza became part of the Papal States until 1797. So the city we see today was formed over a long arc of historical evolution and enriched over the years by fine architecture with strong Renaissance and Neoclassical features.
Faenza's architectural attractions are concentrated in the two contiguous main squares: Piazza del Popolo, lined by two double order porticoed wings, and Piazza della Libertà.
- The Palazzo del Podestà and the Town Hall, both of medieval origin, stand in Piazza del Popolo. The former was largely restored in the early 20th century while the latter — radically transformed in the 18th century — was the Palazzo of the Captain of the People and later the residence of the governing Manfredi family.
- Along the east side of Piazza della Libertà is Faenza Cathedral. Influenced by Tuscan style, it is one of the highest expressions of Renaissance art in Romagna. Built to Giuliano da Maiano's design, it was begun in 1474 and completed in 1511. The marble decoration of the façade remained unfinished. The interior, a nave and two aisles with obvious references to Brunelleschi's San Lorenzo in Florence, houses numerous works of Renaissance art, chiefly sculpture, among which are the tombs of St. Terence and St. Emilian (Tuscan school of the 15th century) and that of St. Savino, perhaps done in Florence by Benedetto da Maiano.
- Opposite the Cathedral is the open gallery known as the Goldsmiths' Portico, built in the first decade of the 17th century, and the monumental fountain whose bronzes date to the same period.
- The Clock Tower, in front of the entrance to the Piazza, is a postwar rebuilding of the 17th century tower that stood at the crossroad of the cardo and the decumanus gate of the Roman Faventia.
Among the other monuments of the historic centre are Palazzo Milzetti, the richest and most significant Neoclassical building in the region, and the Teatro Masini (1780–1787). In the nearby, the Villa Case Grandi dei Ferniani has a collection of 18th and 19th century Faenza ceramics.
Grotta Tanaccia Karstic Park and the Carnè Natural Park, a vast green area with a visitor’s centre and refreshments, are also of great interest, characterized by a typical landscape of dolinas, ravines and swallow holes.
Faenza is home to the International Museum of Ceramics. The museum houses pieces from all over the world and from every epoch, from classical amphoras to the works of Chagall and Picasso, and there is a rich section dedicated to Faenza pottery in the golden age of the Renaissance. Other interesting art collections are located in the Municipal Art Gallery, the Diocese Museum, the Bendandi Museum and the Manfredi Library. The historic production of Faenza majolica is recognized worldwide as one of the highest moments of artistic creativity expressed through pottery. The tradition was born from a convergence of favourable conditions: a territory rich in clay, a centuries-old history of political and commercial relations with nearby Tuscany (especially with Florence).
As a testament to the popularity of the city's majolica through the ages, on August 18, 2006, Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced that Canadian archaeologists had discovered the precise location of Canada's lost first colony of Charlesbourg-Royal, and that a fragment of a decorative Istoriato plate manufactured in Faenza between 1540 and 1550 was found there that could only have belonged to a member of the French aristocracy in the colony.
In September and October international contemporary and classical ceramic art events draw majolica amateurs, collectors and artists to Faenza from all over the world. In June the Palio del Niballo, a tournament between five horsemen from the districts of the town, re-evokes the magnificence and struggles of Faenza in the Manfredi epoch.
Faenza also houses the annual Mexi-talian Convention, in which Mexican and Italian food and drinks are served alike at the local market; this event usually occurs in May, as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Typical regional dishes include home-made tagliatelle, cappelletti, lasagna and strozzapreti with the Romagna meat sauce.
The Botanical Gardens, next to the Civic Natural Science Museum with its collections, houses more than 170 species of plants indigenous to Romagna. There is about 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi) of public urban green area. The Bucci Park, created in 1968, has an area of about 80,000 square metres of undulating land, green meadows and fish-rich waters, with species of birds including wild duck, storks and swans.
The Florence - Faenza 100 km (62 miles) marathon, a demanding long distance race held during the last weekend in May, attracts athletes of all nationalities.
Faenza is home to the Formula One racing team Scuderia Toro Rosso, formerly Minardi. Minardi was one of the last small, independent constructors in Formula One, and was bought by Red Bull in 2005, continuing to be based in Faenza.
Faenza railway station, at Piazza Cesare Battisti, forms part of the Bologna–Ancona railway. It is also a terminus of two secondary railways, linking Faenza with Ravenna and Florence, respectively. Opened in 1893, it replaced an earlier station, which had been opened in 1861 at a location to the east of the present station, near what is now Via Caldesi.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Faenza is twinned with:
- Bergerac, France
- Rijeka, Croatia
- Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
- Talavera de la Reina, Spain
- Timişoara, Romania
- Maroussi, Greece
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