GANGANELLI ARCH (2)
Triumphal arch built in 1772 in honour of Pope Clement XIV.
In 1769, when the cardinal priest Lorenzo Ganganelli, born in Santarcangelo, was elected Pope Clement XIV, the local authorities wanted to honour this event with an Arch designed by the official architect of the Holy See, Cosimo Morelli from Imola. It was constructed between 1772 and 1777.
At the top of the Arch, you can see the papal coat of arms.
Initially, the arch was meant to be decorated with a large marble statue of the Pope blessing people.
Canova designed the statue, but the statue itself now adorns the tomb of the Pope in Rome, in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles.
Originally, the arch appeared to be much more impressive because of its isolated position, as the town was still only on top of the Jupiter Hill (Colle Giove); the only building close by was the convent of the Franciscan Friars Minor next to the church dedicated to Saint Francis.
During its history, the church was transformed into military barracks in 1862 and into a pipe factory in 1873; at the end of the 19th century it was demolished, providing a site for the construction of the elementary school which is now located in the main square.
Until 1989, cars still passed under the Arch as it was located on the main road, Via Emilia, built by the Romans, which connects Rimini to Piacenza. More recently, many prestigious cars have passed under the Arch during the famous “Mille Miglia” car race.
The most important festival in Santarcangelo is the St. Martin’s Fair on 11th November, traditionally known as the “Fiera dei Becchi” or the Cuckolds’ Fair.
In occasion of this event, enormous cow horns are hung in the middle of the Arch. According to the popular tradition, if the horns move while you pass under the Arch, then you can’t be certain about your partner’s fidelity.
The typical Romagna humour has become a game to be “cuckolded” and it is also the name of a well-known race: “La Cheursa di Becc”.
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