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Aemilia Ars in the Pianura Bolognese (Bolognese Plain)

The countryside north of Bologna treasures some interesting traces of the peculiar art society founded by the architect Alfonso Rubbiani at the end of the 19th-century, the Aemilia Ars, sort of a Bolognese "arts and crafts" characterized by floral decorations, artworks of refined handicraft and a 'neo-gothic' revival in restoration works.

First stop-over on the way is the Budrio Town Hall, where one can admire the splendid staircase leading to the Council Hall, masterfully decorated by Aemilia Ars artists. Following the itinerary, near Minerbio is worth a stop-over the Castle of San Martino in Soverzano: the ancient manor house surrounded by a suggestive moat, now a private property, was re-elaborated by Rubbiani according to the typical neo-gothic style that connects many of his  restoration works to medieval architecture.

Another precious example of neo-gothic restoration is the Castle of Bentivoglio, built in the 15th-century by the Bentivoglios Signoria and thereafter restored by Rubbiani respecting and enhancing the original structure and the beautiful Renaissance frescoes. In Bentivoglio lies another masterpiece of the Aemilia Ars: the Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace), a gorgeous end-of-19th-century countryside residence with interiors decorated with  natural motifs: the "Bolognese Liberty style" at its finest.

Moving to Baricella, another point of interest is the San Marco Oratory or Zucchini Chapel, one of the most valued examples of funerary art decorated with Aemilia Ars' floral motifs.

On the way back to Bologna, in Sala Bolognese, lies the Romanesque church of Santa Annunziata e San Biagio. Built in the 11th-century, the ancient building was skilfully restored by an Ars Aemilia society's scholar.

An interesting fact: the Aemilia Ars is also connected with a stunning lacework technique, still practiced by a few local embroidery associations.

Palazzo Rosso

Built on the riverside of the Navile canal, the country residence of the marquise Pizzardi is a jewel of Bolognese Liberty architecture, featuring richly decorated rooms.


address: Via Marconi, 5 - Bentivoglio (BO) ph: +39 051 8904823 email: website: opening hours: Palazzo Rosso hosts the public library, open on Opening times: Monday and Friday 8.00 - 14.00; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8.00 - 13.00; Sunday closed. The site is freely visitable when the library is open or during the guided tours published on

Castello dei Bentivoglio

Leisure residence of the noble Bolognese family of the Bentivoglios, maintaining the original Renaissance structure with magnificent 16th-century frescoes and later decorations in Ars Æmilia style.

address: Via Saliceto, 1 - Bentivoglio (BO) ph: +39 051 8904823 entrance:

The Castle is open for guided tours only, the calendar is available on

Pieve di Santa Maria Annunziata e San Biagio

Below the presbytery lies the suggestive crypt with three altars, restored according to the original appearance.

address: Via Gramsci 51, 40010 – Sala Bolognese (BO) email: opening hours: Tuesday, Friday, Saturday 8.30am - 1.30pm Thursday 15.00 - 17.30 Weekly closing: Monday, Wednesday, Sunday