Rocca sforzesca, Imola

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The Middle Ages beyond the city walls

Updated on 14 November 2022 From Bologna Welcome

More than just towers, weaponry, paintings and sculptures. The Middle Ages in Bologna also means architecture, with plenty of interesting sights to discover outside the city centre.

The Rocca Sforzesca in Dozza is a must-see for fans of the Middle Ages. This monumental complex was converted into a fortified castle by Caterina Sforza and then adapted as a noble residence during the Renaissance period. In Imola, the Museum of San Domenico - City Art Collections is home, among others, to some valuable fragments of Gothic window decorations found in the dormitory of the former medieval convent.

The town of Minerbio, nestled in the Bolognese flatlands, boasts some precious frescoes by Amico Aspertini decorating the imposing Rocca Isolani, built in 1403 by the noble feudal family as a stronghold for defensive purposes. Sala Bolognese, on the other hand, is home to the impressive Pieve di Santa Maria Annunziata e San Biagio, a Romanesque-Lombard style building from 1906 erected on the remains of an early Christian temple.

In the Apennines, medieval charm is woven into unspoilt nature and revealed in the small village of Lustrola in Alto Reno Terme. Surrounded by chestnut groves, the hamlet has recently turned 1,000 years old since the first written records were found dating back to 1021. Also worth a visit is the Pieve di Roffeno in Vergato, otherwise known as the Church of San Pietro and built around 1155, a small hidden gem of Romanesque origin. 

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