In 1769 Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli was elected pope. The local authorities decided to celebrate this very important event by commissioning Cosimo Morelli, the official architect for the Holy See, to design a monument in his honour. Morelli proposed to build a triumphal arch (original design) in the main square, Piazza Ganganelli, through which the famous Via Emilia ran at the time.

It was completed in 1777.

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