A bit of history…
Dating back to the 13th century, the Convent of San Francesco is the oldest convent building in town. This historical complex is constituted by a church and the wide monastery building. The latter includes: the beautiful former refectory, called “Sala Oriani” or “Refettorio nuovo”, the cloister, the monumental staircase, the rooms on the first floor, normally used for exhibitions, the basements and the attic, often called “solaio grande” or “Sala delle Capriate”.
The convent was built in the mid-13th century and was one of the first buildings to be constructed soon after the death of Saint Francis of Assisi. Considering that the first convents were built along main intersection routes, it is likely that Bagnacavallo was an important road junction and a rest stop for travellers.
Throughout the centuries, the convent underwent several renovation and extension works, some of the more significant being carried out between 1460 and 1667 under Andrea Galegati’s direction. It acquired its current structure at the end of 1700, thanks to Faenza-born architect Gioacchino Tomba. After the napoleonic suppression of religious orders, part of the building was placed into the public domain.
From 1875 to 1959 the convent became the seat of the state school and its huge basements were used during the Second World War as a shelter for the population.
In the 20th century only a small part of the building was inhabited by monks of the order of the Conventual Franciscans, who then moved to different locations. This area is now no longer accessible to the public. Most of what is in the public domain has been renovated and is now used for exhibitions or public events. In 2000 part of it was turned into a hostel and run as such for ten years. In 2017 the place was reopened as a hotel.