RUSSI (Ravenna)

The archeological area "Villa Romana" is surrounded by an ecological area with the same name which is formed by the old clay quarry of the Gattelli brick-kiln and by some surrounding land. It is a 13 hectares area mainly constituted  by a 10 meters deep quarry basin.
It is part of the regional pan for ecological areas, that is of small areas, either natural or artificial, created in strongly inhabited territories.
It is formed by particular micro-environments aimed at recreating natural distinctions.
Area di riequilibrioSome environments are always under water (wet area) and some are under water just during short periods of time (flooded grassland); other environments are the wood which is typical of river banks and of the surrounding areas and those which are not strictly linked to the water (stable grass occasionally covered by shrubs).
The typical vegetation of every area has been recreated. This cane, typhaceae, lily and water-lily are to be found in the pond, while rare wild orchids grow well in the wet grass.
Good living conditions for the animals have been recreated.
Some birds which  live in this area are the coot, the moor-hen and the wild duck. There are also some reptiles (tortoise, newt) and some animals.
The area is now administered by legambiente and WWF. It is the most imposing and somptuous building of the area and has been built 2 Km far from Russi, on the right bank of the river Lamone. It is said to be the old "Palazzo delle 336 finestre" (Palace of teh 336 windows) because in 1910 the old Palazzo di Raffanara (Raffanara was the old name of the area; the first document referring to the castle date back to 1155) was demolished and the beautiful stairs connecting it to the new building were given as a present to the Baglioni Hotel in Bologna. Also the summer arena and the stables were demolished. The Rasponi, who had tried for centuries to become "Signori di Ravenna", but did not succeed because of the opposition of the Popes, decides to approach the Church gradually.
Palazzo di San GiacomoOn the 1st of february 1664 Guido Paolo and his brother Cesare bought, for 29500 scudi, the Raffanara and Madrara estates from the Rectory of Porto and decide to build a new palace.
Count Cesare, who in that period had been appointed Cardinal, might have liked to make it his summer residence when becoming Pope. He was born in Ravenna in 1615 and was a very intelligent and learned man who could speak many foreign languages, hebrew included.
He was also a very good politician: when the Pope sent him to Paris, he was able to solve in a brilliant way a hard dispute with the King of France ad was awarded, as a recognition the title of Marquis.
On this occasion he gained the admiration and the estimation of Cardinal Mazarin. He became the "deus ex machina" of the Holy See and died in 1675 (one year before the Palace was finished), when it was sure that he would be appointed Pope.
AffrescoHe is buried in a sumptuous tomb, decorated by local artists, in San Giovanni in Laterano. The summer arena offered good shows to the many noble guests of the Palace.
Chronicles of the time state that, when the Counts went Ravenna to Russi to spend the summer there, the procession of carriages lasted 24 hours.
A century later, a new church was built following a project by Cosimo Morelli. Some works of restoration have been carried out, but they are too slow and the magnificence of the past is going to be found only in some papers which are kept in the archives and which allowed Umberto Foschi to write the book "Il Palazzo di San Giacomo presso Russi" (writing by Montanari, Corbara, Iannucci; introduction by Berardi) published by the old Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana di Russi e San Pancrazio. This palace if famous because, on the 23rd of March 1851, the hunting area of the villa (destroyed during World War II) saw the killing of the famous robber Stefano Pelloni (known as Passatore) by the Pope's troops. Concerto di campaneThe collection started thanks to the passion of Tino Babini, lover and researchers of local souvenirs.
He has been devoting himself since an early age to historical researches and to researches in the field of bell art. He owns at present a very peculiar collection (unique in the region) which is composed of 40 bells.

Further information: Tino Babini - tel. 0544 580187.

The collection started thanks to the local cultural circle in 1969. Since then, the inhabitants of the area have given to the circle some pieces which are of great documentary value as far as rural civilization is concerned. The exposition is constituted by two rooms: in the first there are the objects which were used outside the house and in the second those used inside it.
Recently, a route about the manufacturing of the hemp has been added. To visit the collection (in the local primary school), please call the Cultural Association "La Grama" (0544534303). During the guided tours which are organised for schools or for groups, it is possible to see a demonstration of traditional spinning, warping and weaving. In San Vitale, the road which connects Ravenna ro Russi, the "Museo dell'arredo contemporaneo" (museum of contemporary furniture) was created in 1988 by the painter and artisan Raffaello Biagetti, which owns a furniture shop. This museum, the only one of the kind in Italy, gathers pieces of furniture dating back to the period between 1880 and 1980.
Opening time: 15,30 - 19,30 (Monday and Tuesday excluded).


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