The Malatestiana Library, included by Unesco since 2005 in the list of World Heritage Monuments, is the real pearl of Cesena. It is located in the old monastery of the Franciscan Friars Minor and was designed by Malatesta Novello, lord of the city, in the mid-15th century after the project of Matteo Nuti. It is the oldest municipal library in Italy, which preserves its basilica form with three naves divided by two rows of columns, as well as more than 340 codes of great value, some decorated with fine miniatures, fruits of the classic Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic tradition. In the same building there is also the Piana Library, a collection of books belonging to Pope Pius VII, namely Louis Barnaba Chiaramonti from Cesena. There are also 15 magnificent 15th century choir books belonging to Cardinal Bessarione and to the Cathedral of Cesena. Along the corridor, one can admire the drawings of the city walls made by Leonardo da Vinci who spent time in Romagna in 1502, while serving César Borgia.
The rest of the old town preserves traces of its glorious past under the Lordship of the Malatesta family, such as the Fortress which overlooks the People’s Square, with the splendid monumental fountain of the Masini (16th century). A walk along Via Zeffirino Re leads to the cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, the city’s Saint Patron, where frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto (18th century) decorate the interior of the chapel of Our Lady of the People. The tour ends at the Bonci theater (1846).