Imola and its marvellous spirit

iazza Matteotti – Imola CC BY-NC 2.0, Alberto1x3

Imola and its surrounding places are little known and little affected by the large flow of tourists, yet offer a unique scenario of art and culture.
espite officially belong to the province of Bologna, Imola considers itself as belonging to Romagna in all respects. This apparent oddity dates back to the Middle Ages, when Imola sided with the nearby Bologna and  Forli against the powerful Signori, but the link between the two cities was strengthened even more when the Sforza made Imola their own possession together with Forli. By that time important examples remain such as the Cathedral of the twelfth century, the Renaissance palaces and Bersanti Della Volpe, the monumental thirteenth century building later expanded by the Sforza into the famous Castle in the fourteenth century ; now it houses a fine collection of antique weapons and medieval ceramics and pottery. A short distance from the city centre, it is the circuit where runs the San Marino  Formula One Grand Prix.


The town of Imola is perfect for a visit at any time of year, thanks to a mild climate and the enviable location. On the banks of the river Santerno, where the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines meets the Po Valley, Imola enjoys a privileged location. Just 30 km from Bologna and 60 km from the sunny beaches of the Adriatic coast. Known throughout the world for its historic racetrack, Imola is the perfect place to spend a few days in culture and sports, not to mention a few stops dedicated to the tasty food and cousine. The elegant palaces and the Sforza castle are just a few of the jewels of the city centre, full of pedestrian area, while the picturesque setting of the Apennines and the sports facilities  make the city suitable for nature lovers and sports aficionados. For cycling enthusiasts the Valley of Santerno
and Val Sellustra offer landscapes of great beauty. Located 15 km away, there are the castle of San Piero in Bagno.


The Sforza Castle built in the thirteenth century is undoubtedly the building that stands out most in the landscape of the town. The complex, internally open, houses a rare collection of ancient weapons and a prestigious exhibition of medieval pottery. From the beautiful walkways you can also admire the territory of Imola, ranging from the nearby plain to the ApenninesThe fortress, which dates back to 1261, is one of the finest examples of Renaissance building in the region EmiliaRomagna. There are many  masterpieces that welcomed the guests: Niccolo Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, Cesare Borgia, Leonardo da Vinci. The latter, from the top of the castle’s towers, designed in 1502 the plant of Imola, now kept in the Royal Library in London.
Among the innumerable palaces scattered throughout the city centre, many of which are accessible to the public, stands out for its beautiful furnishings and the perfect state of preservation Palazzo Tozzoni. Particularly striking are the cellars of the house you will find a rich collection of great historical instruments and tools of local rural.

Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the San Domenico Museum, located in the cloister of the monastery of St. Nicholas and Dominic, next to the homonymous church, houses the Art Gallery and the Museum Joseph Scarabelli-Section Archaeology. The picture gallery of the gallery includes important paintings from various periods and schools among which works by Innocenzo da Imola, Bartolomeo Cesi, Guttuso and de Pisis. Also the Pharmacy of the hospital, a building opened in 1794 and remained largely intact in the furnishings and decorations, gives the visitor a fascinating picture of an eighteenth-century pharmacy, enriched with decorations from the large vaulted ceiling frescoes and vases 457 vintage tiled display of carved wooden furniture.

At the foot of the hill it is instead the ride path that has made it famous Imola worldwide. The Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, built in the early 50’s, still hosts sporting events of international importance and is a must for anyone who wants to fully understand the nature of the city of Imola.

Imola boasts many lovely pasta types: garganelli, Strozzapreti and tortelloni stuffed with ricotta and herbs, but also
roasted and grilled meats. Then there are the famous piadina to match with soft cheeses and fine meats. When it comes to wine, the selection is extensive: among the red, try the Sangiovese DOC and DOCG –  among whites we advice Albana. The Road of Wine and Flavours Colli d’Imola speaks for itsself!

Another Rocca to visit nearby is Dozza’s, one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” . It is an artifact of medieval origin transformed by Caterina Sforza and turned into a fortified castle, during the Renaissance. The complex looks like an house-museum which offers three routes: the medieval fortress and Renaissance, Residence Renaissance, Residence eighteenth century. The valuable collection of paintings, furniture and historic objects Malvezzi-Campeggi animate the nine rooms on the main floor and the historic kitchen. The museum also includes collections of contemporary art collections..
In Dozza takes place Biennale del Muro Dipinto
(Biennial Exhibition of the Painted Wall), for almost half a century, evidence of the artistic vocation of this small  medievale village.

Located 15 km away, in Borgo Tossignano, the Parco regionale Vena del Gesso (Regional Park of the Chalk Vein) hosts a spectacular, almost lunar natural wall, full of caves, tunnels and beautiful walkways. The chain of selenite gypsum long ten miles regally overlooks the valley of Santerno offering breathtaking scenery. In Tossignano there is also the Visitor Centre  preserving specimens of chalk and limestone and is home to the museum of material culture. It also offers the opportunity to conduct educational workshops on nature and the environment.


Having fun in Imola

Imola Music, in June, offers cultural events and performances by artists in the streets of the old town. In September, the city also confirms its vocation as the Land of Engines with CRAME, the trade show for cars, motorbikes and vintage bikes, and the Superbike World Championship for bikes derived series, both Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. In November, the Bacchanal proposes exhibitions, theatre performances, conferences, markets and tastings throughout the city.

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