Of probable "umbro-etrusche" origins, Cesena is situated in a great location along the Via Emilia, between the Padano-Romagnola plain and the Tosco-Romagnolo Apennine highlands . Cesena became a large active cultural city under the domain of the Malatesta Family (1368-1475) and the actual façade of the old town centre and the splendid Library are of those times.
The Malatesta Library, declared by the UNESCO as part of the "World Heritage List", was built on the ruins of an old factory of the Convent of the Minor Monks of San Francesco and opened to the public in 1452 by Novello Malatesta. It is the only example of a Humanistic Library, where furniture and books are perfectly preserved in their original state. It holds 250000 volumes and 1700 manuscripts and more then 17000 letters and autographs.
The Malatesta Fortress is one of the largest strongholds of the Romagna Region with its fortified walls and refurbished side walks; built on the top of the hill of Garampo, it is surrounded by the green of the Park of Rimembranza. The fortress can be accessed by the Piazza del Popolo, through a staircase of the Town Hall and by the Park entrance in viale Mazzoni.
Worth a visit is the Benedectine Abbey, located on the hill of Spaziano from where it dominates Cesena from South-East; valuable frescos and works of art are preserved here such as the famous ex-voto Collection, antique drawing boards with "received Graces from God", offered to the Madonna and are symbols of Faith of the society from the XV century up to today.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, in Gothic-Romanesque style was built in late 1300 and in its crypt the bones of San Mauro are preserved. Between 1467 and 1517 the building was enriched with important marble sculptures of the "stranger" artists such as Ottaviano di Antonio di Duccio of Florence and Lorenzo e Giovanni Battista Bregno of Venice. Between '400 and '500 the façade was completed and in the later years the arches of the aisles were finalized.