Castenaso stands on the banks of the Idice river, along the ancient Via Salaria (today Via San Vitale), connecting Bologna to the salt pans of Cervia.
Its early settlement dates back to the first stage of Etruscan civilisation, known as Villanovian, since the first findings were discovered in the hamlet of Villanova di Castenaso. Today, several important relics from the Iron Age necropolis of Villanova are on display in the Museum of the Villanovan Civilisation (MUV).
In the Church of the Madonna del Pilar, erected in Madonna di Castenaso (2 km from the town centre), Gioacchino Rossini celebrated his second marriage to the soprano Isabella Colbran in 1822. The couple lived for about ten years in a villa next to the church; there the Maestro composed works such as “Semiramide” and “William Tell”.
The MUV, Museum of Villanovan civilisation, with its archaeological finds, its temporary exhibitions and the accurate full-size reconstruction of a Villanovan hut, is an important step in understanding the evolution of the Etruscan civilisation.
A few kilometres from Castenaso there is the Casalunga Golf Club. Surrounded by a lovely landscape, the complex combines the beauty of the Emilian countryside with the pleasure of golf, not far from the city of Bologna.
The Grape Festival (late September) is the great traditional autumn festival, with historical re-enactments, food, wine and shows.