This itinerary takes visitors to some pretty unconventional museums: the Palazzo Tozzoni mansion house-cum-museum in Imola, the Mengoni Archive in Fontanelice and the WW2 and Gothic Line Museum in Castel del Rio.
Their exhibitions and collections illustrate the history of the Imola area through personalities, events and objects, evoking bygone eras.
A house-cum-museum in the centre of Imola, a palazzo that charms visitors with its inner courtyard; in autumn, its walls blaze red as the leaves on the creepers change colour.
Palazzo Tozzoni safeguards a key part of the history of both Imola (it is, in fact, one of the Musei Civici) and the Tozzoni family, who lived here for generations.
The highly recommended guided tour provides explanations that bring the rooms back to life, awakening their splendour yet also evoking the quiet home life once experienced within these walls.
This is also a venue for events and performances. Moreover, several evenings are dedicated to illustrating little-known aspects of the past.
The Mengoni archive is not an actual museum, but the importance of its materials and documents mean it is often considered as such.
This little-known place is dedicated to Giuseppe Mengoni, an architect born in Fontanelice in the Santerno Valley. His works brought him considerable fame.
His masterpiece is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. The documents concerning this stunning Milanese construction are held in the Mengoni archive in Fontanelice, as are the preparatory drawings and various sketches.
L’Archivio Mengoni can be visited on request: certain visiting rules apply as these are vital for proper conservation of the valuable papers.
The Museo della Guerra e della Linea Gotica is located in Castel del Rio, inside Palazzo Alidosi. What makes it unconventional is its grassroots origin, as the museum was brought into being by the wishes of ordinary people.
The area around Castel del Rio saw heavy fighting during the Second World War, on the front known as the ‘Gothic Line’. Many artifacts, of which there are over 2000, were donated directly by local citizens. Over the decades they’ve found numerous war relics such as ammunition, helmets and uniforms. The Museum is divided into three sections: the Great War, the Second World War and the Partisans’ Battle and the deportation of Castel del Rio’s citizens.
Equally original is the “From the front to the fireside” exhibition. This illustrates what was referred to as riuso bellico, that is, the conversion of military hardware to domestic use at a time when necessity forced people to make use of whatever they could get. The Museum is open to visits by individuals, groups and school parties.