Brisighella (Ravenna) - The castle of Ceparano

Partial view of the excavation area

Archaeological mission coordinator/director

Enrico Cirelli

Research Area and ERC Panels

Activation date of the campaign and duration

  • Starting date: 2018
  • Duration: nine weeks


The castle of Ceparano (Cipariani castrum, or Ceparani or even Cipriani) is located above a rocky spur of limestone (spungone), located near the Rio Crete on the right bank of the river Marzeno, a tributary of Lamone, on the first Apennine hills close to Faenza. The first mention of the toponym dates back to the year 965, in a document from the Archive of the monastery of S. Andrea Maggiore and shortly after, in 970, in the archiepiscopal archives of Ravenna. The castle was perhaps one of the properties of Àngelrada, daughter of Ravenna’s comes palatii, and later it became one of the properties of the monastery of Santa Maria del Sacro Palazzo. In the mid-12th century it belonged to Guidi’s family. Probably as early as the 12th century, a restricted area was built on the site, perhaps a fortified zone for the owner.

In 1167 the castle of Ceparano was partially destroyed by the Faenza who contended it with the powerful Tuscan family throughout the Middle Ages, alternating with new fortifications and destruction. In addition to the castle in written sources, various dwellings and structures that depend on the fort but are located outside are also mentioned. In AD 1258, for example, the community of Monte di Ceparano was forced to demolish the castrum and all the fortified structures from the podestà of Faenza and to rebuild the castle and the church in a different position and the dwellings "in loco qui non sit in fortiliciis". The fortification passed into the hands of the Papal State (under the control of Cardinal Albornoz), like most of Romagna but shortly afterwards the Manfredi took possession of it until 1467. The most important exponent of this family that intervened inside of the settlement was Astorgio Manfredi who had an imposing tower built there, as indicated by an epigraph from 1378, with a beak and an ogival plan, suitable for new firearm siege techniques.

The archaeological excavations, begun last summer (2018) have brought to light the structures of the medieval fortress and two cemetery areas, in addition to a widespread housing area on the opposite side of the main fortified zone and along the slopes towards Marzeno’s River.


The ruins of the Ceparano castle