Imola - Encyclopedia

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IMOLA (anc. Forum Cornelii), a town and episcopal see of Emilia, Italy, in the province of Bologna, from which it is 21 m. S.E. by rail, 140 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 12,058 (town); 33, 1 44 (commune). The cathedral of S. Cassiano has been modernized; it possesses interesting reliquaries, and contains the tomb of Petrus Chrysologus, archbishop of Ravenna (d. 451), a native of Imola. S. Domenico has a fine Gothic portal and S. Maria in Regola an old campanile. The town also contains some fine palaces. The communal library has some MSS., including a psalter with miniatures, that once belonged to Sir Thomas More. The citadel is square with round towers at the angles; it dates from 1304, and is now used as a prison. Imola has a large lunatic asylum with over 1200 inmates. Innocenzo Francucci (Innocenzo da Imola), a painter of the Bolognese school (1494-1549), was a native of Imola, and two of his works are preserved in the Palazzo del Com.une. The Madonna del Piratello, 2 m. outside the town to the N.W., is in the early Renaissance style (1488); the campanile was probably built from Bramante's plans in 1506.

The ancient Forum Cornelii, a station on the Via Aemilia, is said by Prudentius, writing in the 5th century A.D., to have been founded by Sulla; but the fact that it belonged to the Tribus Pollia shows that it already possessed Roman citizenship before the Social war. In later times we hear little of it; Martial published his third book of epigrams while he was there. In the Lombard period the name Imolas begins to appear. In 1480, after a chequered history, the town came into the possession of Girolamo Riario, lord of Forli, as the dowry of his wife Caterina Sforza, and was incorporated with the States of the Church by Caesar Borgia in 1500.

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