Dozza is a small medieval village, a few kilometres from Bologna and considered one of the most beautiful in Italy; it has been awarded the orange flag (recognition of quality) by the Italian Touring Club. It has maintained its medieval urban layout and its historic centre lies within the old city walls. Among other things, it is famous for the Biennial contemporary art festival “Il Muro Dipinto” (The Painted Wall), an exhibition that has transformed, and continues to transform, the village into an open-air art gallery that is in continuous evolution thanks to the works of well-known contemporary artists that adorn the façades of the houses in the village.
Walking along the two streets of the village, you can admire the murals that are connected with its history, atmosphere and landscape. Among the best known are “The Angel of Dozza” by Giuliana Bonazza in 1993 and restored in 2001, “L’arcobaleno” by Alfonso Frasnedi in 2000 and the Koncept “Dozza”, commonly referred to as “Francobollo” (postage stamp) by the artist Michal Strjecek in 2000.
Continuing towards the upper part of the village you will find the imposing Rocca Sforzesca, a powerful and immense historic residence which features a central courtyard surmounted by two loggias. It houses the Rocca Museum that contains the historic furnishings and 18th century paintings that belonged to the Campeggi and Malvezzi families, who lived in the fortress until 1960. Since 1970, the underground rooms have been home to the Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia-Romagna, the ideal place to discover and taste the excellent wines from Emilia-Romagna, an area that has over 1000 labels from 200 producers in the region. When visiting the fortress, you can climb up to the tower, from where you can enjoy a splendid view of the village and the surrounding hills. During your climb, you can admire Fyrstan, a resting dragon imprisoned in one of the cells of the fortress, before going up to the keep. He represents the guardian of imagination and creativity. He only wakes up during Fantastika, the biennial of illustration that was started in 2014 to promote fantasy art.
For lovers of the fantasy genre, there is also another place that can’t be missed, the “Tana del Drago (the “Dragon’s Den”), the first learning centre in the world dedicated to John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Not far from Imola
By car: It takes 15 minutes to get to Dozza from the Castel San Pietro Terme motorway exit.
Parking: Piazza Fontana (camper area); from Via Calanco to piazza Andrea Costa. The historic centre is closed to vehicles.
By bus: can take the TPER bus 101 from the Bologna bus station and alight at Toscanella. From there, take bus 147 to the village.
On Sundays and holidays, this bus route also connects with the train station in Imola.
N.B. Bus 147 is available by reservation only. Bookings have to be made at least one day in advance.
In order be able to fully appreciate the murals that decorate the town, you can download the “Painted Wall” app or visit the website www.murodipinto.com. This is a free multimedia guide that provides information about the murals in the village.