On the right of San Mercuriale Abbey, the bell tower rises, in Lombard Style, 72.40 metres high. The bell tower was built according to a drawing by Francesco Deddi and completed by Mastro Aliotto in 1180, as evidenced by a small plaque on the side of the bell tower facing the square. At the time of Caterina Sforza, the astonishment of those approaching Forlì from the countryside must have been enormous.
Seeing this huge building rose from the distance gave an idea of how powerful was the Valle Ambrosiana Congregation, the Community of Benedictine Monks founded in 1309 by San Giovanni Gualberto, who ruled the abbey of San Mercuriale.
At the base of the bell tower, on the right side, there is a small plaque enclosing a Dantesque triplet which recalls the episode of the “Bloody Heap” and the belonging of the city of Forlì to the Ordelaffi family.
It is a Dantesque triplet that recites these lines: “The city which once made the long resistance, And of the French a sanguinary heap, Beneath the Green Paws finds itself again” Inferno, Canto 27, verses 43, 44 and 45.
These verses recall an important episode in the history of the city of Forlì, in the night between 30 April and 1 May 1282 the city became the scene of the epic victory of the Forlì Ghibellines led by Guido da Montefeltro, against the French troops sent by the Pope and led by Giovanni d’Appia.
At the end of the communal period, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, the hegemony of the Ordelaffi family began over the city of Forlì which, among various events, maintained its dominion until the end of the fifteenth century, or until the arrival of the Riario Sforza in Forlì.