FORLI (anc. Forum Livii), a town and episcopal see of Emilia, Italy, the capital of the province of Forli, 40 m. S.E. of Bologna by rail, 108 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 15,461 (town); 4 3,321 (commune). Forli is situated on the railway between Bologna and Rimini. It is connected by steam tramways with Ravenna and Meldola, and by a road through the Apennines with Pontassieve. The church of S. Mercuriale stands in the principal square, and contains, besides paintings, some good carved and inlaid choir stalls by Alessandro dei Bigni. The façade has been considerably altered, but the campanile, erected in 1178-1180, still exists; it is 252 ft. in height, square and built of brickwork, and is one of the finest of Lombard campanili. The pictures in this church are the work of Marco Palmezzano (1456-1537) and others; S. Biagio and the municipal picture gallery also contain works by him. The latter has other interesting pictures, including a fresco representing an apprentice with pestle and mortar (Pestapepe), the only authentic work in Forli of Melozzo da Forli (1438-1494), an eminent master whose style was formed under the influence of Piero della Francesca, and who was the master of Palmezzano; the frescoes in the Sforza chapel in SS. Biagio e Girolamo are from the former's designs, though executed by the latter. The church also contains the fine tomb (1466) of Barbara Manfredi. The cathedral (Santa. Croce) has been almost entirely rebuilt since 1844. The Palazzo del Podesta, now a private house, is a brick building of the 15th century. The citadel (Rocca Ravaldina), constructed about 1360-1370, and later rebuilt, is now used as a prison. Flavin Biondo, the first Renaissance writer on the topography of ancient Rome (1388-1463), was a native of Forli.
Of the ancient Forum Livii, which lay on the Via Aemilia, hardly anything is known. In the 12th century we find Forli in league with Ravenna, and in the 13th the imperial count of the province of Romagna resided there. In 1275 Forli defeated Bologna with great loss. Martin IV. sent an army to besiege it in 1282, which was driven out after severe fighting in the streets;. but the town soon afterwards surrendered. In the 1 4 th and 5th centuries it was under the government of the Ordelaffi; and in 1500 was taken by Caesar Borgia, despite a determined resistance by Caterina Sforza, widow of Girolamo Riario. Forli finally became a part of the papal state in 1504. (T. As.)
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