Cento: the city of Guercino
The itinerary begins with the XIV Fortress; its towers dominate the surrounding plain and allowed the population to control the strategic routes of access from Bologna and the nearby Pieve di Cento. During our walk in the historical centre, we will see Teatro Borgatti which has been described as the “greatest little Italian theatre” a real architectural jewel, decorated with wonderful terracotta ornamentation. We proceed to Piazza del Guercino, the real heart of the town, with the Palazzo Municipale and the Palazzo Governatore dating back to 1502 when this land came under the control of the Este family. Inside this latter building we can find the Gallery of Modern Art “Aroldo Bonzagni” with an important collection of art works by Guttuso, Burri, Carrà, Capogrossi, Balla,etc).
Nearby we can find the old Jewish ghetto of the sixteenth century, one of the most important in this area, and the city Art Gallery which houses the largest number of paintings by Guercino (Francesco Barbieri) in the world. This artist is considered to be one of the masters of the Baroque style painting.
The works of Guercino can also be seen in the Church of the Rosary, the same artist was responsible for the design of the church and became prior here. In the private chapel of the Guercino family further works of art by the artist can be admired.