Fortresses and villas of the Bolognese plain

A journey through the fortresses and historic dwellings of the Bolognese countryside

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The landscape of the Bolognese plains is dotted with villas, castles, fortresses and historical residences, splendid testimonies to the art, architecture and culture of this territory. 

In this itinerary we will introduce you to some of them.

  • Length
    72 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop - Rocca Isolani Minerbio

    Built in the early 1300s and rebuilt in the 1400s after a devastating fire, Rocca Isolani in Minerbio boasts an eventful past. Sacked by the Landsknechts in 1527, it was enlarged to a design by Vignola to host the coronation of Charles V in Bologna in 1530. 

    Renowned for its helicoidal-shaped dovecote attributed to Vignola himself, and for the valuable frescoes by Amico Aspertini dating back to 1538-1542, Rocca Isolani represents an impressive historical and artistic testimony in the panorama of the Bolognese plains. 

    The calendar of guided tours is available on the eXtraBO website.

  • Second stop - Rocca di Pieve di Cento Pieve di Cento

    Situated near Porta Bologna, the Rocca di Pieve di Cento was erected as part of the agreements between the Municipality of Bologna and the people of Pieve di Cento after the disputes of 1380. 

    Transformed into a isolated military fortress on a design by Antonio di Vincenzo, its square shape reflects the simplicity and robustness of defensive architecture. Following restoration work in the 1980s, the fortress today houses the Museum of the Stories of Pieve, where it is possible to explore the history of the town in all its aspects, such as the importance of agriculture and hemp, driving forces of the local economy for centuries.

  • Third stop - Bentivoglio Castle Bentivoglio

    Built in the second half of the 15th century during the period of great prestige of the Bentivoglio seignory, Bentivoglio Castle, also known as Domus Jocunditatis or Casa della Gioia, served as a pleasure residence for the noble Bolognese family of the same name.

    Restored by architect Alfonso Rubbiani in the late 19th century, this square-plan building still retains all its Renaissance charm. Inside, 16th-century frescoes and decorations in the Æmilia Ars style narrate the history of the castle and the Bentivoglio family, with particular emphasis on the rural and religious life of the Bolognese seigniory, visible above all in the evocative Storie del Pane (Bread Tales) room.

  • Fourth stop - Palazzo Rosso Bentivoglio

    We stay in Bentivoglio to visit Palazzo Rosso, an iconic place of Bolognese Liberty style overlooking the Navile Canal. 

    Commissioned by Marquis Carlo Alberto Pizzardi in 1887 as his main residence, the palace boasts splendid decorations conceived by Achille Casanova and designed by Augusto Sezanne, depicting the typical environments of the local marshlands. At the entrance, a striking scene of ducks on a field of yellow irises welcomes visitors, while on the main floor, an elegant staircase leads to rooms adorned with floral friezes gracefully decorating the walls. 

    The Zodiac Room, a masterpiece of Æmilia Ars, is decorated with a marvellous representation of the phases of the moon and the signs of the zodiac, as well as a striking depiction of the Sun with intense red rays. Today, Palazzo Rosso houses the Municipal Library, the City Council Chamber as well as numerous events.

  • Fifth stop - Castle of Palata Pepoli Crevalcore

    Built around 1540 at the behest of Count Filippo Pepoli, the Castle of Palata Pepoli represents the sumptuous residence of his family, who at the time owned a large part of the Crevalcore territory.

    Characterised by a severe and compact elegance, the castle recalls the style of contemporary urban palaces in Bologna and Ferrara. The square-shaped structure has rooms located in perfect symmetry around a central porticoed courtyard. In the centre of the elevation stands a late Gothic double-bodied tower, which gives the castle a majestic and imposing appearance. 

    A calendar of guided tours can be viewed on the eXtraBO website.

Last update 27/06/2024

Information offices

Ufficio Relazioni con il Pubblico di Minerbio
Via Garibaldi, 44 - Minerbio (BO)
+ 39 051 6611711
Ufficio Relazioni con il Pubblico di Crevalcore
Via Persicetana, 226 - Crevalcore (BO)
+ 39 051 988443

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