The author Giovanni Cavina writing of this small urban centre, located after Marradi towards Faenza in the valley of the river Lamone within the Grand Duchy of Romagna, stated that its name derived from the latin “Populanum” (people). Of particular interest is the small plebeian church of Santa Maria a little more than a kilometer south-east of Marradi.
There was once a castle with its connected church located on the slopes of a small hill and known by all as “Del Cavallaro”. Some historians believe, amongst them Metelli, that the castle was set on mount “Cavallaro” and today known as “Cavallara” while the church seems to have been positioned below, totally detached from the castle. Occasionally relics are found on the mount at near ground level, such as traces of solid compact walls, these are the remains of the old castle.
We must state that below the slopes rose the church of Popolano, called the “Pieve di Santa Maria” whose origins are ancient (the date of its foundation is not known).
Finally we must not forget that Bandino, prior of Popolano and nephew of Maghinardo Pagani was given various castles in the valley of the river Lamone, such as Castiglionco(Castiglione), Fontana Moneta, Fernaciano(Fornazzano), Grementiera, Valdifusa, with their relative courts and half the castles of Calamello and Cavina. The other half went to Maghinardo’s daughter Leda, wed to Guidone di Ghiozzano. Verbal tradition states that in 1299 Bandino was chosen by the clergy in Imola (maybe to exalt Maghinardo) as Bishop of Imola. However, as Metelli accounts, the Pope refused to confirm the election.
Today the church of Popolano, which is very ample and with some architectural worth, protects some works of art and we wish to pint out in this light its artistic tabernacle in polychromic terracotta in the style of the school of della Robbia.
History – a deed from 1087, the oldest on the existence of Popolano, tells of a certain Rocco who with his wife, daughter if Guido, gave their courts, castle, dwellings, and lands scattered over various surrounding zones to their children Ugone and Deudo. As a result Popolano became a feud to the Count Guidi of Modigliana a privilege confirmed by the Emperors Corrado VI and Fredreic II (1191 and 1220).
It is remembered that in the year 1126 the inhabitants of Popolano gathered in council to deliberate giving Lordhsip of their lands (after a number of promises!!!) to the Abbey of the Monastery of Santa Reparata in the Borgo of Marradi. The plebian church of Popolano rises in the ruins of an ancient castle whose tower still serves today as a bell tower.
The hamlet of Popolano is divided into two small centers, Popolano above and Popolano below. The first consists of a group of houses gathered on the western head of the bridge, whereas the other is formed by dwellings placed on the opposite bank of the river Lamone where the plebian church is still situated.