East – west Roman road
Via Emilia traverses southeast northwest the region between the plain and the foothills of the Apennine mountains. As a result, it is the old road that the consul Marco Emilio Lepido built in 187 ac in the Northeast of Italy. Hence the Via Emilia runs straight for about 250 kilometers from the town of Rimini to Piacenza. Along this road we find the life, the passion, as well as the heart of a region that has taken its name: Emilia. Most of all eleven large and small cities align themselves as pearls along this asphalted road. However, the same road that the Romans built with stone blocks. And it divided the mountainous skeleton of the Apennine from the Po plain.
The connections of the Via Emila
As a significant sign of the region, this road has intercepted and distributed all the commercial flows. For sure the trade from the Center to the North of Italy. First of all, to reach it the Romans used the Via Flaminia. That ran through the Furlo pass before the connection with the Via Emilia in Rimini. Furthermore, the Christian pilgrims, but before the Lombards and the Franks, left it in Fidenza or Parma. In order to land in the Tuscia region through the Monte Bardone road that crossed the Apennine mountains. As follow, with the affirmation of Florence, they privileged the Futa pass to reach Bologna. But other pathways, lost in history, have leaned on this important road. For sure both in the direction of the Apennine valleys and in the still uncertain fluvial landscape of the Po valley.
From the Romans to the Middle Ages
Along the Via Emilia, the Romans made the colonial centuriations. As a result, today we recognize them in the regular drawing of the country between Imola and Faenza. Furthermore, the Byzantines from Ravenna and the Lombards met face to face. Between the ruins of the cities destroyed after the collapse of the Roman power. For sure a land that St Ambrose saw on his way to Bologna in 393. Later, during the Middle Ages, the free communes took the power. And great artists started to work on their masterpieces. As a result, masters anxious to corroborate in Modena, Parma, and in Fidenza the journey of the pilgrims. With sacred stories sculpted on the stone.
The main buildings along the road
Each city showed its best garment along this road. In fact, it formed the generating axis with palaces and squares. As well as bows, shops, and fountains. Instead, the churches, a bit disturbed by so much promiscuity, preferred to glance this main road a few steps back. With a little square made for them, as in Fidenza, in Fiorenzuola, and in Piacenza. Today, the Via Emilia has transferred its functions to the nearby motorway. And it has lost its fascination of a frontier road. But it is a major metropolitan arterial route, indeed the main road city to city of the region.
The historic Via Emilia
In the town of Rimini, the Roman road Via Flaminia links to the Via Emilia. As a result, where is the Arch of Augustus. Also the bridge of Tiberius is a masterpiece of the road engineering of the Romans. Augustus started it and finished by Tiberius in 21 AD. Furthermore, between the towns of Imola and Faenza, to the north of the Via Emilia, we see the mesh of the Roman centuriation. Hence it is in the orthogonal arrangement of the Roman grid and irrigation channels. Also in Bologna, we can see part of this road. In fact, in the underpass between the Neptune square and the Independence street, there are sections of the paving of the Cardo and the Decumanus of the Roman Bononia. As a result, the Decumanus Maximus in the urban section corresponded to the Via Emilia.
The Western part of the Via Emilia
Near the bridge on the Panaro river, at the sign of 140,7 kilometers, a cippus marked until 1859 the border between the Pope State and the Duchy of Modena. In Parma, the arch of San Lazzaro is one of the rare triumphal arches on the Via Emilia. A monument that gets till our times. As a result, they built it in the 1628 to celebrate the wedding of Odoardo Farnese with Margherita de’ Medici.