Imola and Dozza, once ruled by Caterina Sforza, offer an interesting chance of getting in touch with the traces left by noble families, who lived on Imola territory.
Here is a 24h itinerary, to rediscover ordinary and everyday life of the old times, through the architectures witnessing the passage of great personalities who made history.
Majestic difensive fortress, surrounded by a deep moat, Imola Fortress “Rocca” perfecly represents difensive achitecture of the end of XV Century.
Its building dates back to 1261 but, thanks to Sforza family dominion and especially Caterina’s will “Romagna Lioness”, Rocca of Imola becomes a Reinassance Fort, able to resist even the bombarding of cannon shots. The novelty in the structure consisted in a new rounded shape in the place of the ancient squared towers, which were eventually integrated in the more modern towers.
It was 1502, when Leonardo da Vinci was invited to go through the many fortresses covering Romagna territory, to evaluate thir military features and faults. Of course he visited Imola, too, and left a precious trace of his stay: a hand – drawn map of the city, which is considered to be the first one with polar vision and where the fortress stands as a key element for Imola.
Once inside the fortress, you will feel surrounded by a timeless atmosphere: inner courtyards and wall walks will unveil the secrets of the mostly military activities which took place here.
A precious collection of weapons and ceramics, found during renovations and archaeological works, are kept in the most central room of the castle.
Two are the ways to visit the Fortress: on your own during opening times, or being guided by augmented reality. Thanks to a free App, visitors will be guided by no less than Leonardo da Vinci: a guided visit rich in stories about Master’s stay in Imola, about architectural and defensive features and historical happenings of Riario and Sforza families.
Leaving Imola Fortress behind, it is time to enter Imola historical centre.
The short walk touches San Cassiano Cathedral, proudly standing in front of Episcopal Palace.
If you wish to understand better history and happenings of this Roman city, a visit to Palazzo Tozzoni cannot be missed. It was here where, at the beginning of XV Century, Tozzoni family decided to move and here lived for over five centuries. The palace perfectly pr4serves the fascination of noble houses, whose spaces are divided into public rooms where guests were welcomed, private apartments and areas dedicated to domestic activities. An important testimony of modus vivendi, told through furniture, pieces of art and an internal courtyard.
This inner courtyard is the first visual impact for the visitor entering Palazzo Tozzoni: the well in the middle and the climbing plants over the walls suggests that time has stopped here.
Last stop of this day itinerary is the enchanting borgo of Dozza, on Imola hills heading to Bologna. Here too, the traces of Sforza dominion and Campeggi Malvezzi Counts are visible in Dozza Fortress.
Along the visitors’ path inside of this precious house museum, it is possible to relive the historical happenings and see the evolution of the architecture, according to the mutating living necessities.
The original Middle Ages core is preserved in the external fortified towers, while today’s appearance of the Fortress can be dated to late XV Century, when Dozza became part of Riario-Sforza Signoria.
The following Reinassance period transforms Rocca into a home, but does not leave behind the defensive factor. During this charming historical moment, the protagonists in Dozza are Campeggi Counts, donating the symmetrical harmony of the architecture.
The last structural changings date back to late XVIII and XIX Centuries: Malvezzi Campeggi families, new owners of the home, adds new rooms and settings, adapting old spaces to new activities, creating the amazing example of noble home we can admire still today
The visit to Dozza Fortress is also perfect for the kids: a special “note book” is available at the ticket office. It will guide the young visitors through the rooms and introduce them many interesting and funny characters. The most fascinating is surely Fyrstan the Dragon, sleeping in the central tower of the Fortress: he wakes up every two years, in occasion of Fantastika, a festival dedicated to the mystical world of fantastic. Many are the possibilities of activities and workshops for children.
Dozza Fortress does not only represent the starting point for visiting the Painted Walls Borgo, but offers also numerous delicious suggesting for foodies: the undergrounds of the fortress host Emilia Romagna regional Wine Cellar, the perfect place to know and explore Emilia Romagna through the excellence of local wine productions.