MARRADI (seat of the council area – 328m above sea level) – km 65 – Refreshment – n. 15

In a cleft of the River Lamone and  at the feet of the ancient castle of Castiglione we find the town of Marradi. Here converge two large waterways, the “Rio Del Santo”, also known as the “Badia” to the right and the “Rio del Collecchio” to the left.

We know nothing the origins of Marradi and its name. Maybe, as some scholars maintain, the name of the town refers to the noted medicinal herb “Marato”. An important part of its history is certainly tied to the abbey of Santa Reparata, now commonly called the Badia del Borgo which for centuries represented a point of reference for the whole territory. According to ancient tradition, in 1177 a branch of the Fabroni (or Fabbroni) family of distant Pistoia moved to Marradi. In his book  “History of Brisighella and the Valley of the Amone” Metelli disagrees with this theory and maintains that the Fabbroni were already in the area well before this date for which they can be considered inhabitants and not founders of the town. On the other hand, another scholar states that the Fabbroni transferred to Marradi in 1177, just as the Spada family from Gubbio took up residence near their fief of Zattaglia (Brisighella).

Even Carlo Mazzotti, author of an authorative study of the Monastero della SS. Annunziata at Marradi states that Pistoia was town from which came the Fabbroni, an ancient and noble family that was always faithful to the Republic of Florence and to the later Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In relation to the Fabbroni, we must remember how they hosted various members of the de Medici family at Marradi. Furthermore, they even had the honour of hosting Pope Julius II, the famous Giuliana Della Rovere (1443 – 1518), the so-called “Warrior Pope” (who succeeded the Borgia Pope Alexander VI) who in reorganizing the Papal State showed he was more adept at the military arts than in “things ecclesiastical”. We must not forget that amongst the members of the Fabbroni family were Monsignor Angelo the famous Latin scholar and his brother Giovanni who was gifted with a prodigious memory and who lived for many years in Florence where a street is still dedicated to him.

Giuseppe Matulli, the noted scholar of his beloved Marradi and its lands writes that a roman headstone dating to the year 89BC was found in the centre of Marradi. This seems to demonstrate that at the time of Roman domination that there wasa “castrum” in the area that was present in the itinerary of Antoninus Pius, Roman emperor from 135 – 161AD. Matulli maintains that this fort existed in the centre of the town Marradi’s high priest’s church dedicated to San Lorenzo is now located.

Another great family of Marradi to remember is the Catani family which resided in front of the church dediocated to the martyr San Lorenzo. Of this family we remember Cardinal Federico (1856 – 1943) who was an eminent prelate of the Roman Curia. Particular mention must also be made of the eminent poet Dino Campana (1885 – 1932) who was born here. He was the author of “The Orphic Chants”, first printed in 1914 by Ravagli printers here in Marradi. We all know the unhappy life of this poet whose existence expired in a psychiatric institution at Castel Pulci in Florence. We are still moved by the painful destiny of this great nineteenth century poet. His visionary and daringly symbolic “Orphic Chants” represent one of the most authentic expressions of the Italian Decadent movement.

Today Marradi is a delightful town closely tied to Tuscany on which it depends administratively, but which conducts many of its activities towards the nearby Romagna to which it is linked by an ample road and railway, known as the “Faentina”. This route is amongst the most distinctive in Italy with its verdant fields, clefts in the countryside, caves and wide fields of chestnut trees which all together make living there unique.  It is a countryside of many changes with a wide variety of expressions of the Tuscan-Romagnolo Appenines.

Its inhabitants were once dedicated above all to agriculture but now many, due to their daily commuting, undertake their working activities in Florence and a number of other centres of Tuscany, while many others descend to the plains around Florence and Ravenna to work in various industries.

Piero Malpezzi

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