Poggio Renatico is located in the Ferrara plain near the Reno river.
This town, possibly of Roman origin, was for centuries a feud of the powerful Lambertini family of Bologna, whose members included a Pope, Benedict XIV.
The territory traditionally represented the boundary between Bologna (city to which Poggio belonged up to the 19th cent.) and Ferrara and still abounds in old watchtowers.
The town center is dominated by the feudal palace and the striking Church of San Michele Arcangelo, built after the Lombard-Gothic style in 1907.
It was built on the order of the Lambertini family in 1475 and 1681. When the power of this family was overshadowed the castle was sold to the Community of the Poggio and today it is the Town Hall. The original gothic style was repeatedly renovated: in 1475 it was almost completely rebuilt, and the same happened in the 17th century and after the Second World War. At the end of the 19th century a new wing of eight metres was added to the north, to complete the façade that was asymmetrical. The floods of the 1950's caused serious damage to this wing, which was rebuilt by the Municipality.
In the mediaeval era the vicinity of Poggio Renatico, although still largely wetlands and woods, was fortified by the Bolognese with a line of towers and castles that allowed them to control both fishing and river traffic, as well as giving protection against the expansionist policy of neighbouring Ferrara.
TORRE DELL'UCCELLINO Built in the 13th century it was once part of a castle surrounded by water. The garrison lost its importance when Alfonso d’Este, ignoring the protests of the Bolognese, took away the bell to be melted down for his cannons.
TORRE DEL COCENNO (Chiesa Nuova) Probably already in existence before 1250. Originally a watch-tower, it was restructured in the 14th century. The half moon windows under the cornice were used for sighting and firing guns.
TORRE DEL POGGIO Simple and austere, this too dates back to the 13th century. In 1963 during restoration works six frescoes were found on the external niches of the building, and these are now preserved in the State Picture Gallery in Ferrara. They form a cycle attributed to the Bolognese Amico Aspertini, one of the more original painters of the late Renaissance.
TORRE DELL'OROLOGIO Splitting the horizontal façade of the castle in two and the oldest part of it, going back to the year 900. Twenty-five metres high, at one time it was the site of the castle prison, and retains the strong wooden door with many iron bolts. It also houses an ancient clock mechanism.