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Fidenza

Description

City of art and culture, located along the ancient Via Francigena, the route traveled in the Middle Ages by pilgrims on their way to Rome, Fidenza is an important center of the province of Parma. Built on the ruins of the Roman settlement "Julia Fidentia", it assumed the name of Borgo San Donnino after the discovery in the VII century, of the relics of the saint, buried here. Only in 1927 the name was changed to Fidenza. From 1092 to 1102, it was proclaimed capital of the Kingdom of Italy as Conrad of Lorraine, son of Henry IV, allied with Matilde di Canossa and Pope Gregory VII, rebelling against his father. In 1102 it became municipality and in 1162 conquered by Frederick Barbarossa; scenario of a dispute between Parma and Piacenza, won by Parma in 1199, regained by Frederick II and later, in 1268, re-conquered by the troops of Parma that destroyed the centre. In 1336 it passed to the Visconti, in 1556 to the Farnese family and finally, in 1731 to the Bourbons. It was annexed to the Kingdom of Savoy in 1856.
Sites of Interest:
- the Duomo, a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture in the Po Valley, dedicated to San Donnino martyr, patron saint of Fidenza. It was built between the XI and XII centuries, designed by Benedetto Antelami. It features a central nave with two aisles and several side chapels and a chancel floor. It also presents three Bell Towers and an incomplete façade (at the top, in fact, there are slots for decorations never applied). The crypt houses the relics of the saint. The bas-reliefs, that decorate the lower part of the façade are the expressions of great historical significance: by the emergence of the privileges granted by the Emperor and the Pope to the Cathedral, to the Provost Archpriest of Saint Donnino, the juxtaposition between imperial power and papal power;
- the Church of San Pietro, built in 1602 and designed by Mauro Bacchini, was enlarged a century later at the behest of Ferdinand de Bourbon. After the suppression orders imposed by Napoleon, it was used as a storehouse. It was refurbished by the monks in 1919. The façade presents a Tuscany style with Corinthian pilasters and a cornice string course between the first and second order. Inside is preserved a superb polychrome altar and a painting by Angelo dal Verme;
- the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation, built in the XVII century, where formerly was a convent of the Umiliati (Humble);
- the Church of San Michele, in Bramante style, now desecrated and used as a conference and exhibition center;
- the Church of San Giorgio, built in Romanesque style and badly damaged during the bombing of 1944;
- the Church of the Gran Madre di Dio, originally a church of the Jesuits, which was inaugurated in 1722 by the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Francesco I Farnese. The interior is of Baroque style and at the center of the apse is located a XVI century fresco depicting the Madonna, taken from a pillar located near the road bridge over the stream Stirone;
- the Medieval Tower, the Western entrance to the city center, built in 1300 by Giorgio from Como. Incorporated into the Farnese fortifications, it also represents the last remnant of these;
- the remains of the ancient Roman bridge, located near the Duomo, and that in the past allowed the access to the city from the North. Its construction dates back to the I century A. D. and was excavated and brought to light in 1874;
- the Town Hall, in Lombard-Gothic style, dates back to 1270. The current façade was rebuilt in 1875 on designs by Jerome Magnani and incorporates bas-reliefs of the ancient coat of arms of Borgo San Donnino, the emblem of the Visconti and the arms of the municipality. The façade on the ground floor, also features a porch and on the upper level, four double lancet windows and a central balcony;
- the Palace of the Ursulines (1708), now seat of the Museum of the Risorgimento, dedicated to local Garibaldi soldier Luigi Musini, of the Museum Paleontofilo, collecting fossils from the local Natural Park of the Stirone, the Municipal Library "M. Leoni", the Auditorium and the Cedoc center for Peace.

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