Brisighella, Province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna

Situated in a valley rich of spa waters amid the hills at the foot of the Appennines, it is dominated by three chalk rocks, where the Clock Tower, The Rocca and the Monticino Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary are located.

For the beauty of the landscape and the authentic medieval atmosphere of the borough it is included among the "Borghi più Belli d'Italia" and was awarded the orange flag of the Touring Club Italiano.


  • Altitude: 115 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 7,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 48013
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0546
  • Patron Saint: St. Michele, celebrated on 29 September
  • Demonym: brisighellesi
  • Frazioni & Localities: Boesimo, Casale, Castellina, Croce Daniele, Fognano, Fornazzano, La strada, Marzeno, Monteromano, Pietramora, Purocielo, Rontana, San Cassiano, San Martino, Urbiano, Villa San Giorgio in Vezzano, Zattaglia


Archaeological excavations in the nearby Tanaccia grotto have brought to light human remains of the Stone Age. An area inhabited by the Gauls, it was occupied by the Romans in the first century BC. In the 12th century on one of the three summits a sighting tower was built by Maghinardo Pagano.

On another summit the Rocca was built in the 15th century, and a legend tells of a deep well filled with blades in this castle, where Caterina Sforza sent to their deaths the young men of the village, after inviting them to her chamber. In the 19th century a first spa centre, just 300 mt from the town, was established, that today offers the latest spa therapy amid a wonderful green park.

What to see

  • The church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, preserving important paintings of Marco Palmezzano from Forlì (ca. 1459 - 1539): a throned Virgin with child surrounded by 3 angels and 4 saints (St. Francis, St. Antony Abbot, St. Jerome and another saint in a shining armour - possibly St. George); another painting representing the Almighty with open arms, surrounded by angels.
  • The medieval borough, a maze of ancient houses and flight of steps, with the very special Via del Borgo (also called degli Asini = Street of the donkeys) a covered street, originally part of the fortifications, then in later centuries the district of the "birocciai", who carried chalk from the higher quarries down to the town on their donkeys.
  • The Rocca, a fortress built by the Manfredi family, lords of Faenza, in 1310, was strengthened by the Venetian Republis in the early 16th century with a further massive tower, and still preserves all the features om medieval military architecture. It hosts the "Museo del lavoro contadino", a large collection of farm tools of ancient times.
  • The Torre dell'Orologio, a tower built in square chalk blocks in 1290 on order of Maghinardo Pagani from Susinana as a checkpoint to control the nearby castle of Baccagnano; the clock shows 6 hours and was placed in 1850; from the top of the tower there is a wonderful view on the calanques made of azure clay, special geological formations created by wind and rain.
  • The sanctuary of Madonna del Monticino, with a holy image of the Virgin Mary in coloured clay, a destination for religious pilgrimages since 1626, when it was originally in a small chapel in the village. The sanctuary contains fine 19th century frescos by Savino Lega of Faenza; behind the sanctuary is the ancient, abandoned chalk quarry, which is today an outdoor Geological Museum.

Events and Festivities

  • 29-30 June and early July: the Feste Medievali, medieval re-enactments and performances inspired to the chivalrous poems and the Arab culture of the early Middle Ages.

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Surnames in the Provinces of Emilia-Romagna