The Medieval Village of Dozza, one of the “Most Beautiful Towns in Italy” is located south of Bologna, 6 km from Imola, and is situated on the crest of a gentle hill dominating the Sellustra River valley.
In Dozza, art becomes urban landscape, through the decoration of houses’ walls, streets and squares which fills the corners of the village with light and bright colours. It’s a real open-air museum, where you can admire more than one hundred works by several contemporary prestigious artists. Inside the fortress, in the Centro Studi e Documentazione del Muro Dipinto, frescos and sketches of the painted walls are displayed.
The best period to visit Dozza is from May to September, when you can combine a visit to the village with the participation in events such as the “Wine Festival” or the “Nuova Biennale del Muro Dipinto” (Biennial Exhibition of the Painted Wall). Its historical centre, with a singular spindle shape, has maintained the original medieval structure and the imposing fortress, the Rocca Sforzesca, situated on the top of the village, harmonizes perfectly with the rest of the buildings.
The Fortress, reconstructed during the 15th century by order of Caterina Sforza on the remains of ancient Bolognese fortresses, has been transformed, at the end of the 16th century, into the elegant Palazzo Malvezzi Campeggi by the Malvezzi-Campeggi family, who lived there until 1960.
Don’t miss a visit to the apartments on the first floor, to the great hall, the parlours and the bedrooms, the kitchen, the dungeons, the instruments of torture and the tour of the towers.
The second floor of the Fortress hosts the ‘Centro Studi e Documentazione del Muro Dipinto’ and the Mascellani Collection, while the ancient cellars host the Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia Romagna.
In the historical centre of the village, coloured by the frescos of the Painted Wall, don’t miss a visit to the Praepositus church of Santa Maria Assunta in Piscina, built in the 12th century on the remains of an ancient Romanesque church, which hosts a panel painting by Marco Palmezzano dating back to 1492, the Rivellino, with the 18th century gate to the village and the Rocchetta, dating back to the 14th century.
You can’t leave Dozza without visiting the Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia Romagna. The Enoteca Regionale is situated in the evocative cellars of the Fortress; there you can find and buy more than 800 selected labels. Moreover, it hosts a wine bar where wine tastings are organized under the guide of professional sommeliers.
From tagliatelle (noodles) to garganelli (macaroni) and tortelli (filled pasta), in Dozza pasta is rigourously hand-made. The traditional second courses are meat based: castrato (grilled mutton) and fiorentina (grilled T-bone steak), accompanied by the typical piadina (flat bread) served also with soft cheese, like squaquerone, or salamis.
As for the wines, you can choose among a great selection of local products such as Sangiovese DOC (red wine) and Albana DOCG (white wine). Because of its enogastronomical richness, Dozza is part of the Strada dei Vini e Sapori Colli d’Imola.
If you are fond of cycling, you can ride along the Santerno Valley, the Sillaro Valley, or the Sellustra Valley, three places where you can spend time plunged into a wild nature and great landscapes.
Dozza Wine Path is a lovely hike of about 6km: with the start in from of Enoteca Regionale, the trail develops on hills decored by wineyard and natural beauty, connecting some of the excellent wineries located in Dozza area.
Via dei Gessi e dei Calanchi is a hiking adventure from Bologna to Brisighella and Faenza, crossing the lovely town of Dozza.
15 Km away from Dozza you can also find Castel San Pietro Terme Baths (Terme di Castel San Pietro Terme) and the Golf Club “Le Fonti", a beautiful 18 hole golf course situated in the charming Sillaro Valley.
Don’t miss, during the third week of September, the Biennale d’Arte Contemporanea “Muro Dipinto” (Biennial Exhibition of the Painted Wall). The event was created in 1960 and during this manifestation the artists work in close contact with the public and the urban background.
When Biennale of the Painted Wall does not take place, Dozza is animated by “fantasy”: the Fortress and village host Fantastika, Biennale of Illustration dedicated to the world of fantastic.
Interesting destination is also Imola, with its International Racetrack Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Sforza Fortress and Palazzo Tozzoni.
25 km away from Dozza, in the village of Castel del Rio, along the Santerno Valley, you can visit the fortified Palazzo Alidosi (XVI century), holding the "cortiletto delle tre fontane" (three fountain courtyard), dating back to the Renaissance.
Inside the Palace you find the War and Gothic Line Museum, holding more than one thousand findings from the two World Wars. The basement of the Palace hosts the Cantinaccia, a place where you can find tourist information and taste and buy typical local products of the territory.
Next to the centre, there is Ponte Alidosi, a rare masterpiece of civil engineering, which became a national monument in 1897. This humpback bridge has got a single 42 meter high arch with a slope of 19 meters.