SAN RUFILLO

San Rufillo – km 91 km

The current church dedicated to San Rufillo can be found on the road between Florence and Faenza in the Valley of the River Lamone a little more than 2 kilometres from Brisighella in a well cultivated and inhabited rural area. Long ago this church was remembered as “San Rufillo in plebato Auri” (in the parish of Pideura). San Rufillo was mentioned for the first time in 1280 in reference to a patrimony left in a will when a certain Bono, priest of the area, was left ten turnings of land in the will of a relative named Vescovello with the obligation of celebrating a yearly mass for his soul.

On May 20, 1573 don Barnaba Nicolino visited the church on behalf of the Visitor Ascanio Marchesini who found the church complied to all aspects of the Sacred Canons. The picturesque bell tower at the side of the building was constructed between 1470 and 1500. Unfortunately the restorations undertaken not many years ago by the engineer Annibale Metelli affected the structure by taking away the original and valid historic/artistic part of the building and it seems that only the base was respected.

The current church dates back to the 18th century with a harmonious and well coordinated interior containing a single nave. There are various altars, including the main altar which contains an 18th century canvas depicting the saint for whom the church was named. In the altar to the right as we enter is held a multicoloured piece of terracotta of the 15th century Tuscan school representing the Madonna that came from the suppressed “Hospitale di Ponte Lungo” that held some importance for the sick and pilgrims. We know that many ceremonies were held in the same oratorio. The hospital was run by two administrators who were chosen every year. Due to a lack of documentation, the date of its foundation and its history are not known. The hospital, one of many within the Valley of the Lamone River, held three beds and was furnished with good funds and hosted the sick and pilgrims. It was suppressed between 1797 and 1798 by Napoleon and its goods were assigned to the Congregation of Charity in Brisighella with the obligation of keeping some of the sick poor from the parish community.

In the parish of San Ruffilo were a numbers of oratories; Santa Cecilia (the fund “Cornacchia”) which existed until 1777, Sant’Antonio di Padova (of the fund “Casa dei Resti”) and then the Oratorio of the Counts Ricciarelli which no longer exists. Finally mention must be made of the oratorio of San Gennaro (case Bruciate), no longer existent and also of “Casa Rimessa” that still exists and was once the property of monsignor Filippo Diletti (1831-1898), ex high priest of Cotignola.

In the parish cemetery, in the tomb of the priests, is buried don Antonio Lanzoni (1871-1944) who led the nearby church of San Martino di Montecchio (now suppressed) for 46 years. He was a generous priest who lived and died poor, helping everybody without distinction in accordance with the Gospels.

Piero Malpezzi