Further below, I encounter the large brick façade of the building known today as Imola Village. Originally a convent commissioned by Pope Pius IX and entrusted to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, it was remodeled into a larger complex from 1888 to 1895 through the demolition of adjacent buildings from the previous era. The so-called Conventone thus assumed its current appearance, with a large central body, two lateral wings, and a large internal courtyard. The building sustained a lot of damage during WW2. It is currently privately owned and operates as a hotel, but occasionally hosts cultural events in the courtyard:
I continue to the east along Via dei Mille and arrive to another church, that of Santa Maria dei Servi. Built by the Servite Fathers in the 14th century, it contains some of the most significant works of art in the city. Over the centuries, it underwent transformations that radically changed it into a single nave church with a gabled façade:
Of particular interest is the church’s 16th century sandstone portal, which is framed by a portico with round arches, and bears the coats of arms of Pope Julius II and of a number of noble Imolese families from that period:
Although it was also closed, I managed take a picture of the impressive interior through the glass door. It is characterized by eight side chapels and an imposing altar of carved wood enclosing a 13th century image of the Madonna with Child, deemed miraculous in 1632 after an epidemic of plague. Important works of the late 17th - early 18th century are also kept inside, most notably paintings and a statue of Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows):
A little further, I’m intrigued to come across Via Selice, the same street on which the company where I trained is located, only that in that central spot it’s still merely a narrow alley. In Roman times, Via Selice was a wide, 25km long road connecting Imola with the Adriatic Sea, and used to be all paved with flints (selci), hence its name. I take it towards the north until Via Cavour that runs perpendicularly to it.
On Via Cavour stands the remarkable Palazzo Calderini. Commissioned by the Calderini family to be their residence, it clearly shows Tuscan influences with its decorated sandstone facade and ornamented twin-lancet windows. During the 16th century, public acts were administrated and stipulated on the stone benches that can still be seen below the façade. The building was until recently the seat of the Imola branch of the Court of Law of Bologna:
Across the street is another large palace, Palazzo Ginnasi. Formerly the residence of the Ginnasi-Poggiolini counts, as revealed by the coat of arms on the façade, it underwent renovation works in the 18th century, and today houses offices and private homes:
It is constructed around two inner courtyards, one of which was meant for the servants and for the stables, while the main one, meant for the guests, can be accessed through a gate on Via Appia and houses a fountain with a statue of Neptune:
I cross Via Appia still going westwards, and my attention is caught by Palazzo Cassa di Risparmio (Palace of the Savings Bank), whose pink façade is decorated with large medallions between the gables of the windows carrying inscriptions, and is today the seat of the Banca Popolare Italiana in Imola:
The Gothic church of Santi Nicolo e Domenico is part of the Dominican convent complex housing now the Museum of San Domenico. Its construction started in 1280 and was completed in 1374, then it remained unaltered until the great works of the 17th and 18th centuries that led to the substitution of almost all the Gothic architectural elements:
The interior houses numerous paintings, of which "The martyrdom of St. Ursula" (1600) in the apse, is worth mentioning, while a door to the right of the presbytery leads to an ogival chapel (seen below) whose walls are decorated with Gothic frescoes from the 14th century:
Before turning back to go to the bus stop, I take a quick look at the nearby chapel of the Santa Caterina Cult Foundation, headquartered in a restored building that formerly housed a workshop of blacksmiths:
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