Villages and Castles
The territory of the Colli Bolognesi is rich in historical evidence from various eras but certainly the most spectacular also from an architectural point of view are those of the medieval period with its castles and abbeys and their villages still inhabited today.
Monteveglio was an important Matildean stronghold. Around the middle of the tenth century it became a fiefdom of the Countess of Canossa and was therefore involved in the struggle between the empire and the papacy since Matilde of Canossa sided alongside the Church and therefore against the emperor, Henry IV. Monteveglio victoriously resisted the imperial siege by forcing the emperor to retreat.
The monk Doninzone, cantor of the deeds of the great countess of Canossa, called Monteveglio "memorial over the centuries"; attribute immortalized in modern times in a plaque placed at the entrance of the Castle.
Of this stronghold remain the entrance arch, once equipped with a drawbridge, and a massive crenellated tower.
Among the streets of the stone town stands the Abbey of Santa Maria.
It was built in 1092 and in its Romanesque forms bears the marks of the various restorations made over the centuries.
On the night between 24 and 25 March 1527, she was also subjected to a miraculous story when, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Annunciation of Mary, Monteveglio was saved from the siege of the Landsknechts from a snow storm and a sudden flood. The episode is remembered in a seventeenth-century plaque walled in the wall near the altar of the Abbey.
In 1628 Pope Gregory XV granted the abbey title to the community.
In 1961 the monks returned to the abbey for the first time since the end of the 18th century. Today it still houses a Franciscan community, which you can turn to for information and for any guided tours.
The church is open every day from 6.30 to 12.00 and from 15.00 to 19.30 while the internal cloister is open only on Sundays and holidays from 15.00 to 17.00.
The medieval re-enactment festival takes place annually in the village of the Abbey.
For more information on the Abbey, you can consult the deicata entry on the website of the municipality of Valsamoggia:
At the Abbey there is also a splendid Regional Park (see Parks and Nature page )
Castle of Serravalle
The fortified village of Castello di Serravalle has ancient origins, was formed in defense of the exarchate of Ravenna against the barbarian invasions. It was then razed to the ground by the Lombards in the VIII century. and was rebuilt in the Middle Ages on the Roman foundations.
In the nineteenth century he even gave asylum to Charlemagne, bound for Rome.
Until 1109 it was part of the fiefdom of Matilde of Canossa and was then bitterly contested between the Ghibelline Modena and the Guelph Bologna in the historic struggle between the 2 cities.
Of the ancient fortification that gives its name to the town, you can still admire the medieval entrance and the tower of 1523 while the stately building, entirely built in terracotta close to the tower, is of eighteenth-century forms.
In the heart of the village, the thirteenth-century town hall was the seat of the magistracy of the Captain of the western Mountain in fact, in the entrance hall a sandstone bas-relief depicts the knight Iacopino da San Lorenzo in Collina, the famous Captain of the Mountain.
A castle that does not lack even the traditional ghost story reminiscent of that of Bluebeard.
It is said that the souls of the cruel Boccadiferro's wives still wander in the fortress. On the nights of May their ghosts wander in the village spreading a mysterious perfume while in the castle tower echoes the lamentations of Boccadiferro himself who was finally killed by his thirteenth wife.
The Serravalle castle, with its history and its architecture, inspired in 1920 the composer Gaetano Luporini (1865-1948) to music the opera set in it entitled "Love and death", on a libretto by Giuseppe Lipparini.
Cultural and food and wine events are held annually in the village.
The Ecomuseum of the Hill and Wine is also located in the village (see Museums page ).
Fortress of Bazzano
The heart of the city of Bazzano is its Rocca, the Rocca dei Bentivoglio , which dominates the town from a hill near the historic center.
The fortress was commissioned by the Countess Matilde of Canossa but its present form is that which the Bentivoglio family attributed to it towards the end of the 15th century, a rich and important family in Bolognese history.
In 1779 the poet Ugo Foscolo was also a guest. A forced guest as he resided there as a prisoner.
Since 2007 the Rocca has been the seat of the Rocca dei Bentivoglio Foundation, which deals with the organization of various cultural events and activities not only in Bazzano but in various locations in the Colli Bolognesi.
For more information on the Foundation and its events, visit the website:
It is also home to the Arsenio Crespellani Civic Archaeological Museum where you can discover the history of the area since the Bronze Age (see Museums page )
Oliveto is located a short distance from Monteveglio, in a panoramic position on a hill.
In the year 776 the town of Oliveto, then called Casale Sociorum, was donated by the Lombard dukes to the Nonantola abbey which included it in its fiefdom until, in 1131, the Olivetans became independent, constituting a free municipality ( which survived for about a century, then passed freely to the municipality of Bologna).
In 1803 Napoleon's French, who had invaded the region, suppressed the municipality of Oliveto, passing the territory under the municipality of Monteveglio.
From the tenth century the village took the name with which we still know it today, derived from the name of the hill (Monte Oliveto) inspired by the characteristic vegetation of the place, olive trees.
Some ancient monuments remain of the historic olive grove
Among which, for example, a large medieval building called the Casa Grande dello Jewo (built in 1410 by Salomon Mathasia, was the seat of the Jewish community as well as the first bank in the whole area) and the Bronzina (which in 1527 was the hotel of the Great of Spain and subsequently it was also a lazaretto and then a bronze foundry around 1775).
The "Saracca Festival" is held annually in the village in March.
Spanish-inspired festival, inherited at the time of their passage in 1527. The object of this festival is the funeral of the Saracca "or Sardina which is buried at the foot of a wooden cross.
Hermitage of Tizzano
The Eremo di Tizzano can be considered one of the most suggestive places in Casalecchio di Reno . Arrived at the top after a couple of km. uphill you can enjoy a splendid panorama: your gaze sweeps over the whole plain of Bologna: you can see the Reno valley on the right, in front of the Sanctuary of San Luca to arrive, in the absence of mist, up to Monte Mario and Badolo.
Erected by the Camaldolese monks between 1655 and 1741, the church, dedicated to San Benedetto, has a simple and elegant Bolognese baroque style.
Inside, a single, high and bright nave is surrounded by six side chapels, connected to each other by narrow passages, in which it is possible to admire pictorial works of excellent workmanship.
Worthy of note is the beautiful sixteenth-century crucifix in olive wood, at the base of which there is a reliquary which is said to contain fragments of the True Cross and other relics testifying to the Passion of Christ.
On the left side of the building stands the bell tower built in 1724 once inhabited by the Prior. In the large lawn at the back, which once housed seventeen cells for the Eremite Monks, the remains of two of them are now visible and you can access a secondary church, a sort of consecrated cellar, which at the time of the war was used to shelter.