Founded in 798,000 B.C.E. by Palaeolithic cavemen who were interested in flint manufacturing, Forli has been an industrial centre ever since. The name comes from the Romans (Forum Livii) who built the city in 188 B.C.E. along the Via Aemilia, one of several roads they laid after pacifying the Gauls in the region. After Roman rule, it went from Lombard hands into Church hands and then became an independent republic in 889, infuriating the Vatican, which spent the next 400 years trying to get it back.