Priory and Church
A brief description.
The city of Forli.
According to legend, the city of Forlì was founded in 188 BC by the consul Gaius Livius Salinator, who confronted Hasdrubal Barca and vanquished him at the banks of the Metaurus River (207 BC). The old city was destroyed in 88 BC during the civil wars of Gaius Marius and Sulla and rebuilt by the praetor Livius Clodius afterwards. Presumably, Forum Livii was a middle-sized city producing agricultural products, which reached market via the Via Aemilia.
After the collapse of the West, the city formed part of the realms of Odoacer and of the Ostrogoth kingdom before becoming an outlier of the Byzantine power of the Exarchate of Ravenna.
Saint Mercurialis (San Mercuriale) (d. 406) was a bishop of the city, after whom one of its main churches is dedicated.
In the time of the Lombards, the city was contested and was repeatedly retaken by Lombard forces, in 665, 728, 742. It was finally incorporated with the Papal States in 757, as part of the Donation of Pepin.
By the 9th century, but perhaps a century earlier, the comune had wrested control from its bishops and was established as one of the independent Italian city-states, the communes that signalled the first revival of urban life in Italy. Forlì became a republic for the first time in 889.
In the medieval struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, Forlì sided with the Ghibelline factions, partly as a means of preserving its independence. It supported all the Holy Roman Emperors in their adventures in Italy. Their fiercest rivals were Faenza and Bologna. During these centuries, popes many times tried to resume the control of Forlì, sometimes by violence sometimes by allurements.
More essentially local competition was involved in loyalties: in 1241, during Frederick II's struggles with Pope Gregory IX the people of Forlì offered their loyal support to Frederick II during the capture of the rival city, Faenza, and, as a sign of gratitude, they were granted an augmentation of the communal coat-of-arms with the Hohenstaufen eagle, together with other privileges.
With the collapse of Hohenstaufen power in 1257, Guido I da Montefeltro the staunchest imperial lieutenant, was forced to take refuge in Forlì, the only remaining Ghibelline stronghold in Italy. He accepted the position of capitano del popolo and gained for Forlì some notable victories: against the Bolognesi at the Ponte di San Procolo, on June 15, 1275; against a Guelph allied force, including Florentine troops, at Civitella on November 14, 1276; and at Forlì itself against a powerful French contingent sent by Pope Martin IV, on May 15, 1282, in a battle cited by Dante Alighieri (who was hosted in the city in 1303 by Scarpetta Ordelaffi III). In 1282, Forlì's forces were led by Guido da Montefeltro. The famous astrologer Guido Bonatti (advisor of Emperor Frederick II, too) was one of his advisors.
The following year the exhausted city's Senate was forced to accede to papal power and asked Guido to take his leave. The commune soon submitted to a local condottiere rather than accept a representative of direct papal control, and Simone Mestaguerra had himself proclaimed Lord of Forlì. He did not succeed in leaving the new signory peacefully to an heir, however, and Forlì passed to Maghinardo Pagano, then to Uguccione della Faggiuola (1297), and to others, until in 1302 the Ordelaffi came into power.
Local factions with papal support ousted the family several times, in 1327–1329 and again in 1359–1375, and at other turns of events the bishops were expelled by the Ordelaffi. In that period, the famous musician Ugolino da Orvieto, too, had to escape from Forlì, and went in Ferrara. Until the Renaissance the Ordelaffi strived to maintain the possession of the city and its countryside, especially against Papal attempts to assert back their authority. Often civil wars between members of the family occurred. Sometimes they also fought as condottieri for other states to earn themselves money to protect or embellish Forlì.
In the Middle Ages, Forlì had an important community of Jews: they had a school in the 13th century; and, in 1418, a famous synod convoked by the Jews in Forlì, sent a deputation with costly gifts to the new pope, Martin V, praying him to abolish the oppressive laws promulgated by Avignon Pope Benedict XIII and to grant the Jews those privileges which had been accorded them under previous popes. The deputation succeeded in its mission.
The Dominican priory and church.
The Dominicans built their priory and church, dedicated to San Giacomo Apostolo, in Forli during the 13th century in the southern part of the town.
It hosted friars of the Dominican Order, hence it was better known as Church of San Domenico.
In the first half of the 16th century, the two cloisters were restored and the monastery was enlarged.
Between 1715 and 1719, the church interior was restored according to the late baroque canons.
With the last and final abolishment of the convent in 1867 by Napoleon, the church was expoliated while the monastery was used as a shed for military vehicles. Then it was subject to a hard and progressive deterioration which, in 1978, brought to the collapse of the roof and the church demolition.
The building of San Domenico is currently undergoing a vast recovery project and a part of it has become the seat of a museum.
The Dominicans Jacopo Salomonio (1231-31 March 1314) and Marcolino Armanni or de Forli (1317-1397 ) were members of this priory in Forli.
Inaugurazione restauro complesso San Domenico.
Italy 2004. Forli postmark 15.5.
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