CESENA (anc. Caesena), a town and episcopal see of Emilia, Italy, in the province of Forlì, 12 m. S.E. by rail from the town of Forlì, on the line between Bologna and Rimini, 144 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1905) 12,245 (town); 43,468 (commune). The town is picturesquely situated at the foot of the slopes of the Apennines, and is crowned by a medieval fortress (Rocca), begun by the emperor Frederick I. (Barbarossa) probably, but altered and added to later. The cathedral has two fine marble altars by the Lombardi of Venice (or their school). The library, built for Domenico Malatesta in 1452 by Matteo Nuzio, is a fine early Renaissance building, and its internal arrangements, with the original desks to which the books are still chained, are especially well preserved (see J.W. Clark, The Care of Books, Cambridge, 1901, p. 199). In it are valuable MSS., many of which were used by Aldus Manutius. It also contains a picture gallery with a good "Presentation in the Temple" by Francesco Francia. There are some fine palaces in the town. Three-quarters of a mile south-east on the hill stands the handsome church of S. Maria del Monte, after the style of Bramante, with carved stalls of the 16th century. Wine, hemp and silk are the main articles of trade. About the ancient Caesena little is said in classical authors: it is mentioned as a station on the Via Aemilia and as a fortress in the wars of Theodoric and Narses. During the middle ages it was at first independent. In 1357 it was unsuccessfully defended by the wife of Francesco Ordelaffi, lord of Forlì, against the papal troops under Albornoz. In 1377 it was sacked by Cardinal Robert of Geneva (afterwards Clement VII., antipope). It was then held by the Malatesta of Rimini until 1465, when it came under the dominion of the church. Both Pius VI. (1717) and Pius VII. (1742) were born at Cesena.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)