Morciano is the most important centre of commerce in the Conca Valley, and it has witnessed a steady process of economic growth since the end of the past century. However, the foundation for this development was laid hundreds of years ago, when one of the largest annual cattle fairs of Romagna was first held in the town and its markets became the reference point for the world agricultural and craft of the vast territory that includes the whole area of the Conca Valley.
This ancient town of fairs and markets, a natural centre for the business of the inhabitants of the towns of the Conca Valley, probably had its origins in the Roman period, inscriptions on stone tablets, now kept at Rimini Civic Museum, refer to lands in the Morciano owned by Gens Murcia or Marcia, Medieval documents show that Benno Bennone, the squire of the town, left it to bis son Pietro in 1014, who donated it to St Peter Damian. In 1069, to commemorate this event, the San Gregorio Monastery was founded, and traces of the originai building can still be seen in the farmhouse into which it has been transformed over the centuries.
A document dating back to 1371, Descriptio Romandiole, presents Morciano as a ruined and almost uninhabited village, on account of the frequent floods caused by the River Conca, Nevertheless, it was still an important place for markets, and ownership of the town was often fought out between the local lords, as the tolls and taxes resulting from the market trade were a source of great wealth. The famous St Gregory’ s Fair, heldevery year in the second week of March, probably started in this period, and its existence is documented as far back as 1200.
At the end of the 12th century, the town and its markets were annexed to the neighbouring town of Montefiore, whilst the remaining portion of the territory carne under the jurisdiction of San Clemente. The situation changed slightly in 1827, when Pope Leo XII issued an edict subtracting Morciano from Montefiore and assigning it, with a certain degree of independence, to San Clemente, which thus carne to contrai the commercial activities of the entire valley. Morciano was finally granted autonomous status by Pope Pius IX in 1857.
Places and events
The important role occupied by Morciano in the past is still a distinctive feature of the town. There are many important factories in the area, and it is one of the wealthiest commercial communities in ltaly, even boasting a small centre far trade fairs and exhibitions. The streets are laid out according to plans drawn up at the beginning of this century, and there are regrettably few traces left of the original medieval town. Only a single wall remains of the castle, running along side the River Conca, and what little remains of the San Gregorio Monastery, chiefly the external walls, has been incorporated into a farrnhouse, as mentioned earlier.
It was suppressed in the period of the Napoleonic occupation, and was never reopened. However, the Town Council has prepared a project far the recovery and restoration of the surviving parts of the building. The Beata Vergine delle Grazie Chapel, from the end of the 18th century, is worth visiting.
One particularly important annual event is the StGregory’s Fair, with its gaily coloured stalls lining almost alI the streets of the town, and this is still probably one of the largest events of its kind in Romagna. It is held in coincidence with the spring equinox,a traditional time far celebrations ever since human history began, linked with the mysterious reawakening of trees and plants, with the worship of the deities of the earth, and with fertility rites. An interesting custom, handed down tram generation to generation, is that the shopkeepers and tavem owners of Morciano hang a leafy branch aver their doors during the fair, in continuation of ancient propitiatory rites invoking good fortune far the coming year. One particular speciality of the fair is the exhibition and sale of local cattle and horses. Amongst the famous people bom in Morciano, mention should be made of Umberto Boccioni, a leading figure in the Italian Futurist movement, and Arnaldo Pomodoro, a modero sculptor whose work can be adrnired in the new square of the town.
Area: 5.41 sq. kilometres
Height: 85 metres above sea level
Dialling code: 0541
Town Council: 1 Piazza del Popolo – Tel. 988016/988122
Civic Library: 46 Piazza del Popolo – Tel. 988016
Boccioni Civic Art Gallery: Piazza del Popolo – Tel. 988016
Posi OfflCe: 2 Via Della Resistenza – Tel. 988234
Public Telephone Service: Bar Roma – 44 Via Roma – Tel. 988234
Municipal Police: 30 Piazza del Popolo – Tel. 988122
Police;22 Via Venezia – Tel. 988134
A Guide to Rimini Countryside 1992
Rimini Area Tourist Authority