Forlì, the ‘elegance’ of rationalism

Italy, Forli
We came in Forli by pure chance just because we wanted to visit a photo exhibition by Steve McCurry. We already knew that the town cannot be considered a tourist destination so we didn’t have great expectation. To tell the truth we didn’t have no idea what surprise was waiting for us. The dominant construction style is that of rationalism known as fascist architecture! Quite charming in its way…

Italy, ForliWe arrived in Forli in the late afternoon and we parked in an ample lot [44.21979,12.03146] where there are places designed for motorhomes too and free camper service except for the water. The drinking water costs 10cent / 10lt; the ‘not drinking’ simply does not work. Unfortunately they forgot to put bins for garbage and recycling . This is the only thing missing for this area to be a perfect free camper stop.

Once we get settled, we went for a quick exploration of the place, mostly to check the opening hours of the exhibition that we wanted to visit the next day and then to walk around the town. We followed the signs towards the center and we found the San Domenico Museum (pictured below) where the exhibit was hosted

Italy, Forli

We continue towards the center following the very helpful signs and within ten minutes we reach the immense piazza Saffi where we remain speechless.

DSC_9184-forli
Italy, ForliItaly, ForliItaly, Forli

What impressed us at first sight was the architectural austerity and a somehow ‘totalitarian’ atmosphere and aesthetics Of course we had not idea about the history of the town. As it began to get dark we gave up our architectural reflections and we got back to our camper van, where we spent a quiet night.

In the morning, we went to pay tribute to the great master Steve McCurry and we remained fascinated, not only by the images, that by the way we already knew, but also by the arrangement of the space and the photos.

DSC_9120-forli
DSC_9136-forli

After our visual journey that lasted more than an hour, we returned to the center and began to explore the town this time properly; we had procured from the museum information desk a map of the town and various brochures. We finally discovered the origins of Forli’s rationalist heritage: it was the hometown of Benito Mussolini. We started our tour from the central square where stands some of the most representative buildings.

Italy, Forli
Italy, Forli
Italy, ForliItaly, Forli
Italy, Forli

Continuing to wander around, we passed by an old covered market that strangely survived globalization and afterwards by the nearby Cathedral or Duomo

DSC_9095-forliItaly, ForliItaly, Forli
Italy, Forli

…then we went to the very rational and very photogenic square of Victory or Piazzale della Vittoria...

Italy, Forli
Italy, ForliItaly, Forli
Italy, Forli
Italy, ForliItaly, Forli

finally we walked down the avenue of Freedom (viale della Libertà) towards the train station, admiring the imposing buildings. Some of them are perfectly restored and can be visited as the former Casa del Balila, then called also Casa della Gioventù Littoria and now simply former GIL“. The edifice was recently reopened to the public hosting various exhibitions.

Italy, Forli
Italy, Forli
Italy, ForliItaly, Forli
Italy, Forli
Italy, ForliItaly, Forli
Italy, Forli

Ending our exploration of fascist aesthetics, we came to the conclusion that rationalist architecture is definitely interesting and, although most Italians despise it for historic reasons it needs to be reassessed by an artistic point of view. Before returning to the camper, we walked to the fortress of Rivaldino, which unfortunately can not be visited

As far as we are concerned we are convinced that Forli is worth a visit!

Italy, ForliItaly, Forli

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