The origin of Fontanelice, like that of other inhabited centers in the Santerno Valley, has prehistoric roots.
Scattered fragments from the stone age are testament to its ancient roots. The remnants of its historic path become more numerous as we travel through Villanovan, Etruscan, Celtic and Roman periods.
The subsequent urban development with medieval character can still be seen today in the layout of the inhabited center. It is centered around the square on which the former public palace faces, today it is the home of the Giuseppe Mengoni Archive Museum.
Fontanelice sided with Imola in the fights between Guelphs and Ghibellines, but later joined Bologna against Imola, allying with Tossignano.
During the feudal period, it passed into the hands of the Alidosi family, owners of much of the surrounding area, until 1424, when it became a territory governed by the papcy.
Renowned for its wines and gastronomic specialties, Fontanelice offers a rich calendar of cultural events.
Fontanelice, the name and its legend
The name of the village refers to the dominant element of this territory: water.
According to an ancient legend that was written down in 1364 by Giovanpiero Del Piano, a young man coming from a city of the plain ventured into the woods of the Santerno valley and fell asleep in a field. He was late awoken by a nymph and they fell in love.
However, their love was forbidden as it violated the law of the forest which forbade nymphs to love mortals.
As punishment, the nymph lost her immortality and the young man would lose his life. To atone for their transgressions, they had to choose to be turned to either stone or plant.
Elicio, the young man, wished to become a holm oak, while the nymph chose to be transformed into a spring that gushed out at the foot of the holm oak. Since then the village has been called Fontana Elice.