Rocca di Dozza

Piazza della Rocca, SNC - 40060 Dozza - Bologna   see map - Contact
The Rocca di Dozza is a monumental complex of medieval origin transformed by Caterina Sforza into a fortified castle and used, during the Renaissance, as a noble residence. Dozza is considered one of the most characteristic medieval villages of the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, both for the state of conservation and for the landscape in which it is immersed. Vineyards and gentle slopes, in fact, frame the medieval village topped by the majestic Sforza fortress.

Rocca di Dozza History

The Medieval Village of Dozza, one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of Italy", is located south of Bologna, 6 km from Imola and is situated on the crest of a hill overlooking the valley of the Sellustra river and gently descends towards the via Emilia.

The origins of the Rocca date back to the century. XIII. During the Middle Ages, the strategic position on the border between Bologna and Romagna, makes the fortress of Dozza the subject of strong disputes. During the 14th century, the distorted annals cited the hegemony of the Bolognese, then the government of the lord of Romagna, Ricciardo Manfredi, of the papal legate Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, and again of the Bentivoglio, to mark the return to the sphere of Bologna.

The Rocca was undoubtedly subject to modifications, destruction and reconstructions. Excavations, findings and surveys conducted on the occasion of architectural restorations have enabled the elaboration of a stratigraphic hypothesis of the plant. The arch of the ancient entrance portal decorated with heraldic symbologies was found. Another element referable to the medieval period is the layout of the keep visible in the internal rooms of the Torre Maggiore. The tower, composed of three rooms with a square plan, turned into masonry, superimposed on each other, connected by an internal staircase and equipped with a cistern for water supply, constituted an autonomous residential nucleus in which one could take refuge during long sieges.

The current external appearance of the Rocca can be attributed to the late fifteenth century, when Dozza became part of the Riario - Sforza lordship. In 1473, with a marriage of strong political values, Girolamo Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, joined Caterina Sforza, daughter of the Duke of Milan and grandson of Ludovico il Moro, and obtained the vicariate of Imola from his uncle Pope, up to then under the Sforza domination, to which the lordship of Forlì was added in 1480. Girolamo, and after his death, Caterina, made substantial fortifications on all the castles of their state, which included a series of minor possessions including Dozza. Here the employment of the military technician Gian Ludovico Manghi and of mastro Giorgio Fiorentino from Settignano is very probable for the execution of the works; the deep moat, the mighty towers marked by the stringcourses of the stringcourses, the rhythmic crowning of the corbels are Sforza elements. The rounded towers are integrated in a continuous system of polygonal-shaped corner elements with typical bevelled edges of the bastion shape born with Giuliano and Antonio Sangallo.

During the sixteenth century the castle and the feud of Dozza were ceded by Pope Clement VII to Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi, a high prestige apostolic nuncio who carried out important diplomatic missions to the sovereigns of the time, such as the King of England Henry VIII and the emperor Charles V. The distribution system of the building (courtyards, atrium, entrance hall and stairs) and the organization of the noble floor, as we see it today, are mainly due to the lordship of the Campeggi who, in the second half of the sixteenth century, undertook massive interventions of transformation in order to transform the fortress from fortress to a diplomatic center. The covering of the courtyard between the south-facing ramparts allows the expansion of the surfaces to be used as a residence both on the ground floor and on the first floor. The construction of the two superimposed arcades, with sandstone colonnades, as well as stylistically characterizing the architecture of the residence, circumscribes a central courtyard that will become the focal point of the activities carried out within the building.

In 1728, with the death of Lorenzo Campeggi, the last male of the family, the marquisate of Dozza was inherited by Francesca Maria Campeggi, wife of Matteo Malvezzi, who transferred the feudal rights to this latter family. Francesca's son Emilio was the first marquis who unified the names of the two families in Malvezzi-Campeggi. In 1798, with the entry into force of the Napoleonic laws, the Rocca was about to be confiscated but the Marquis Giacomo succeeded in demonstrating that the castle was a private good. Thus the fiefdom of Dozza was abolished, but the Rocca remained the property of the Malvezzi-Campeggi family who made it their residence until 1960. The detailed descriptions of the 1795 advent refer to a building already completed, both in plan and elevation. All the expansions carried out at this time are determined by the development and increase of residential uses, including the construction of the apartments on the second floor (now destined for exhibition space).

The most important part of the museum is obviously the Rocca itself. Inside, the environments where the people who lived there carried out their activities were reconstructed: from kitchens to bedrooms. The room that hosted Pope Pius VII can also be visited, keeping intact the original furniture. The wine cellars are kept in the cellars; in the kitchen are collected agricultural tools of the rural civilization of Romagna. A part of the fortress was used as a prison: these are also preserved. The Pinacoteca del Muro Dipinto is located on the second floor. In 2006 the Study and Documentation Center of the Painted Wall was established, where more than one hundred and eighty sketches of the works are preserved, which the various artists who have followed have made on the walls of the town. On the ground floor there is the Emilia-Romagna wine shop, founded in 1970, which exhibits the best DOC wines of the Region.

Rocca di Dozza

Time period
  • Middle Ages
  • Italy, Bologna
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Rocca di Dozza
  Piazza della Rocca, SNC - 40060 Dozza
  0542 678240

Rocca di Dozza
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