To trace Longiano’s origins, we have to go back to when the Lombards arrived in Italy, in the 7th and 8th centuries, while fleeing the barbarian invasions. It assumed greater military and strategic importance during the wars between the cities of Cesena and Rimini, an era that saw Longiano at the sharp end of a protracted struggle.
In about 1290, the House of Malatesta took control of Rimini (and Longiano with it) but despite the family’s power, the conflicts with Romagna’s other cities (Cesena, Imola, Faenza, and Forlì) rumbled on until the Romagna region was subsumed into the Papal States.
It was in this period of bloody local skirmishes that Longiano acquired the appearance we can still admire today, surrounded by imposing ramparts and dominated by the mighty Malatesta castle.
History also records the affair when the people of Longiano took on the might of Cesare Borgia, Duke of Valentino. When Cesare Borgia decided to proclaim himself Duke of Romagna, with the approval of his father, Pope Alexander VI, Longiano refused to toe the line. The duke’s army promptly paid Longiano a visit – and flattened it.
After a few years under the Republic of Venice, traces of whom remain, with the bath in the Castle Court, Longiano came back under the Pope’s control in 1581, where it remained until Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in Italy in 1790.
But Longiano’s history would be complete only mentioning how the town suffered during the final stages of World War II. 1944 will remain one of Longiano’s lowest ebbs, as it was bombed repeatedly because of its proximity to the German defenses on the Gothic Line.
Today, Longiano is a community of about 7000 people and has flourished economically since the war while preserving its small-town character and quality of life, like many of Romagna’s hill towns.