Although its Cathedral is more important, the Abbey of San Mercuriale is the most famous religious building in Forlì. It is situated in the main square of the city. Highlight is the relief “Dream and Adoration of the Three Kings” in the lunette above the main portal.
Abbey of San Mercuriale Forlì
Address: Piazza Aurelio Saffi, 17. Phone: +39 0543 25653. Opening times: From 07:30 till 19:00. Ticket price: Free.
The Madonna del Fuoco festival takes place on February 4th. On this day it is possible to climb the bell tower.
History and description
The first version of the Abbey of San Mercuriale was constructed between 1178 and 1181. The church is dedicated to the first Bishop of Forlì, who died around 406.
The church was constructed on top of an earlier church, which had been destroyed by a fire in 1173. This church had, dedicated to Santo Stefano, had been built in eiter the 4th or the 6th century, depending on whom you believe.
The bell tower of this church is over 70 meters high. In order to minimize its weight, it gets narrower towards the top. It served as an inspiration for other famous towards, including the Campanile of San Marco in venic
The entire church was restored in the early 20th century.
What to see
The lunette above the main entrance contains a relief depicting one of the earliest nativity scenes ever sculpted. It was made by someone known as Maestro dei Mesi di Ferrara and dates back to the early 13th century.
The connecting passageway between the 15th century cloister and the Piazza Saffi was created by order of Mussolini.