Pieve di Cento is a town in the province of Bologna, situated in the Rhine Valley and 'also known by the nickname "little Bologna" for the large number of arcades present in the charming old center, enclosed by four gateways, the unique access roads to the village.
In the VIII century A.D. the first settlement developed around a small abbey (from which derives part of the present town's name) under the dominion of the Bishop of Bologna. It became an autonomous municipality only in 1376. The whole area followed the same historical fate of the regional capital, until in 1502, it passed under the rule of the d'Este Family, as a wedding gift of Pope Alexander VI to his daughter Lucretia, who married the Duke of Ferrara Alfonso d'Este. The d'Este domination ended in 1598 when Ferrara returned to the Papal State.
Sites of Interest:
- the Holy Trinity Church, built in the XVI century by the homonym confraternity and is a true artistic gem. It features the presence of precious frescoes depicting scenes from the Old Testament, by Lionello Spada and Francesco Brizio, a beautiful wooden choir and an altarpiece of Lucio Massari;
- the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, already mentioned in official documents between from 1207 until 1378, was the site of the only the baptismal font of the Centopievese area. The present building dates from the XVIII century (although the apse is of the original structure), with a single nave plan and an interior in Baroque style. Inside it is possible to admire a beautiful wooden crucifix of the XII century, "The Assumption" by Guido Reni (1600) and "The Annunciation" by the Guercino (1646);
- the Church of Saints Rocco and Sebastiano, rebuilt on the remains of an existing building of the XV century. Inside there are wooden statues of Antonio Porri and a beautiful Baroque style altar;
- the Chapel of Santa Chiara, built in the former convent of the Clarisse nuns between 1633 and 1645,and features a single nave with a barrel vault and a rich pictorial decoration. Most of the interior decorations date back to the XVIII century. Interesting is a fine altarpiece commissioned to the Guercino's nephew, Benedetto Gennari, representing the "Dressing of Santa Clara";
- the former Convent of Clarisse, founded by four Franciscan nuns in the early XVI century. The monastery soon became important and had to be enlarged, while with suppression orders imposed by Napoleon, the Convent was used as a hospital. Today it is home to some municipal offices, a clinic and seat of University of Ferrara for courses of Nursing;
- the Rocca, the old castle, which at present is the seat of the Municipal Museum, built in 1381 and designed by Antonio di Vincenzo, the same who designed the Cathedral of San Petronio in Bologna;
- the four gateways to the Old City: Porta Cento, Porta Asia, Porta Bologna and Porta Ferrara;
- the Notarial Archives, in the Town Hall, where documents prepared by the notaries of Parish between 1458 and 1795 are preserved;
- the Old People's Home, one of the oldest buildings in the Parish, with wooden pillars, dating to 1272, which was originally a shelter for pilgrims and horse stable;
- the several museums and exhibitions, such as: the Art Gallery, the Civic Museum, the Hemp Museum, the Music Museum and MAGI '900 (a permanent exhibition of Art).