Castello di Zena/Castle of Zena

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Castles in the Territory

Updated on 23 September 2021 From eXtraBO Outdoor Infopoint

Our territory boasts a wealth of historic buildings of great importance for the artistic and cultural heritage of Emilia Romagna. Amongst villas, castles and historical residences, you can relive the splendour of the Baroque era, the charm of the medieval period and the vicissitudes of some of the most illustrious families of the time. 

Manservisi Castle 

The imposing Manservisi Castle overlooks the surrounding valley from Castelluccio, a small village in the municipality of Alto Reno Terme. The building was renovated in the late 19th century by Alessandro Manservisi and remained in the family's ownership until 1912, when it was donated to charity for poor children. As well as the general outline of the building, many decorative elements in stone and wrought iron bear witness to the romantic taste of the renovation. Inside the castle, you can admire the 'Tapestry Room' with works restored by the Bolognese painter Giacomo Lolli: eight canvases, painted to resemble real tapestries, depicting scenes from daily life in the castle and honouring Alessandro Manservisi. Visitors can also visit the LabOrantes Museum, set up in a colony adjacent to the castle and dedicated to the daily life and farming culture of the Apennines. 

Castel del Rio –  Alidosi Palace and Bridge

As you approach Castel del Rio through Via Montanara, in the upper Santerno Valley, your first encounter will be the imposing Alidosi Palace

The Alidosi family marked the history of this village for about 400 years and made it a real political stronghold, with their stability and power being still clearly visible today through the Palazzo and the famous humpback bridge.

In 1542, the family had their palace-fortress built, featuring prominent bastions enclosing a fine example of Florentine Renaissance with the splendid fountain courtyard that can still be visited today.

The building is also seat of the War and Gothic Line Museum, a precious and vast collection of materials that testify to the important role the town played in the two world wars.

Descending towards the Santerno River through the town's cobbled streets, the Alidosi Bridge will soon reveal all its beauty and magnificence. A true masterpiece of engineering, the structure features a 42-metre single arch used as a link between the two banks of the river over the centuries and reference point for Castel del Rio as one of the main trading centres of the valley.

The bridge interior conceals five rooms that were probably used as prisons, warehouses or toll stations. 

Villa Malvezzi -Bagnarola di Budrio

The Ville Malvezzi complex, one of the most interesting settlements in the Emilian countryside, lies across the Bolognese plain surrounded by a rural landscape punctuated by canals and small roads.

The villas include the Casino d'Aurelio and Floriano, named after two of the leading members of the Malvezzi noble family, with the former being the oldest wing, built during the 16th century and later acquired by the Malvezzi family. The building consists of a central part, topped by a turret, and two side wings, reflecting the marquis' wishes. The interior of the Casino is composed of no less than thirteen rooms, with walls and ceilings displaying numerous frescoes and wall paintings mirroring the aesthetic sense of the family between perspectives, landscapes and luxurious representations. The Floriano wing is not decorated, yet it houses a valuable collection of paintings and 18th-century furniture. The combination of these rooms, together with a small private chapel, lent the structure an exceptional aesthetic value, to such an extent that the villa was soon to be called the Versailles of Bologna. 


Rocca Isolani - Minerbio 

This 14th-century fortress has undergone several reconstructions over time, which can still be traced in its walls. Sure enough, it was plundered in 1527 by the Landsknechts on their way to Rome and therefore remodelled shortly afterwards, when Giovanni Francesco Isolani commissioned architect Vignola to embellish his residence to host Emperor Charles V at his coronation in Bologna in 1530. Also designed by the same architect is the elegant dovecote tower with an inclined floor rising upwards in a helicoidal shape.

The decorations, carried out around the middle of the 16th century, the heyday and pride of the complex, are ascribable to the famous painter Amico Aspertini. In the Hall of Mars, the walls are punctuated by small monochrome sculptures, while the Roman deity stands in the centre of the vault. In the Hall of Astronomy, conversely,  figures of the Muses and the Liberal Arts are set in niches, whilst four statues support an illusionistic painted balcony on the vault overlooked by the figures of Diana and Apollo. Finally, in the Hall of Hercules, despite noticeable time damages, a host of frescoes with sweeping views of the village are recognisable as a backdrop to the hero's exploits narrated in close-up. 

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