by Luciano Bigi -
Club Super Marathon Italia
Mercato Saraceno. Many people ask
themselves whether Saracens actually passed through the town. The name clearly comes
from "market", as during the XII century, before Internet and E-bay
were invented, people used to meet in specific places in order to sell and/or
Anyway, for what concerns "Saraceno", the first certain news date
back to a document written in 1223 in which a place named “Forum Saraceni”
is mentioned. "Forum
Saraceni" was so called because of its belonging to a certain Saraceno,
son of Alberico degli Onesti, an ancient local squire.
Therefore, there are no muslim influences involved. If you have enough time, you
should have a walk through piazza Mazzini, in the historic centre: quite small
but really graceful and with a lot of bars in which you can have a coffee, it
represents the main square of the town.
Descending towards Cesena, then, you will pass through some little villages situated along the old road
that leaded to Rome, before E45 was built. The route is really pleasant: it
offers a great view over the hills and presents some slight latches and a wavy
Entering Cesena, the first thing you will notice is the Rocca
Malatestiana, placed over the Garampo Hill. The construction of the
fortress began in1380 and finished in 1477 (under the pope dominion).
The place in which the castle rises was the area over which the original
Cesena's residential zone was settled before the Roman colony was established
and where Romans, once defeated Celtic and Etruscal populations, built their
remains of the Roman and pre-Roman Cesena since, in February 1377, the future
pope Clemente VII, in order to punish the town for having supported the
Republic of Florence, sent there his "Breton" troops. Narrators of that
time report 4.000 dead people and the same amount of deported ones among the
civilian population; the town was completely destroyed.
I would not like to dwell too much but I point out that the Malatestiana Library certainly represented, for the
city, a sign of rebirth. Built around 1450 by Malatesta Novello, it has
remained intact, exactly as it was at the moment of its construction. It is,
actually, like a time machine, as crossing its doorstep means going back to
over 500 years ago. The marathon does not pass in front of the Malastiana
Library and, anyway, it would not be possible to enter it but, if you have a
little bit of time, you should go and see it. The 5-euro entrance fee is
absolutely worthwhile; moreover, on the inside, you can see the elephant
symbol, emblem of the Malatesta family and one of the icons of Cesena itself.
Getting back to our itinerary, when crossing the main Cesena's square, piazza
del Popolo, in front of the Albornoz palace, don't forget to have a look at
the Masini fountain, whose water jets have been flowing since 1591.
Once out of
Cesena, we will run along a stream called Pisciatello. The name helps us
figuring the amount of water that, nowadays, flows in it and yet, it represents
a possible path of the Rubicon.
Since always, the exact Cesena's passage point, associated with the famous
expression "Alea Iacta Est" dividing academics, is discussed. The most accredited options are: the
Rubicon (crossing Savignano and once called Fiumicino), the Uso (passing
through Santarcangelo) and the Pisciatello (Urgon, in dialect).
Mussolini, as a true Duce, established that the Fiumicino was "the
Rubicon", but a lot of historicians disagree with that.
Just recently, a public event in the form of a trial with some academics has
occured, in order to determine which one is "the real Rubicon". The
jury decided that the Pisciatello is "the true Rubicon", that is to
say that we will run beside the river
where, on 10th Jenuary 1949, Julius Caesar started his war against the
Skirting the torrent, we
will reach Cesenatico. This place too was already
peopled before the Roman invasion; anyway, Romans permanently took up residence
there. Thus, the town is deeply attached to its harbour, but it will not be
possible to see it during the marathon as, since 1314, prosperity periods and
difficulties ones define its alternating fate.
A really interesting peculiarity is represented by the fact that the present
harbour still traces the lines drawed in 1502 by Leonardo da Vinci, upon Cesare
Borgia request, in order to improve the pre-existing landing.
Good marathon everybody!
(Luciano Bigi - Club Super Marathon Italia)