Emilia Romagna Castles

Where it is

Bentivoglio lies about halfway between Bologna and Ferrara in the Bolognese plain, which still bears the traces of Roman centuriation. The town is crossed by the Navile Canal, the ancient communication route to Venice and the Adriatic Sea.

When to go and what to see

A convenient stopping point for those traveling on the Bologna-Padua motorway. Bentivoglio takes its name from the well-known Bolognese Signoria and for many reasons, it is worth a visit in all seasons.

The castle, called "Domus Jocundatis" (House of Joy), built by Giovanni II Bentivoglio and incorporating the already existing fortress of 1390, can be visited for events and guided tours, which are organised once a month or at a time to be agreed in case of groups.

Overlooking the Navile Canal lies Palazzo Rosso, commissioned by the Marquis Carlo Alberto Pizzardi and built with the contribution of the restoration architect Alfonso Rubbiani. Palazzo Rosso has got splendid decorations, considered one of the best expressions of Ars Aemilia, the style that incorporated international Liberty into the Bolognese territory.

The large mill was built in the mid-1300s and belonged to the Bentivoglio family. It was later modernised by Pizzardi and still contains machinery and tools dating back to the early 20th-century.

In the heart of an English-style historic park, the 19th-century Villa Smeraldi houses the Museum of Rural Culture, one of the most important in Italy. The Museum recreates the events of the plain told through its crops: from corn to hemp, from wheat to rice.

The former Risaia di Bentivoglio (La Rizza Oasis) is home to a rich and diverse fauna, including the white stork that has recently returned to nest here after centuries of absence. The natural area is equipped with pedestrian and cycle paths and observation huts for birdwatching. During the weekends it is possible to eat in the nice restaurant run by a Social Cooperative.

Room with a view

White storks flying from the bedroom of the hostel built in a renovated farmhouse in the natural area of the La Rizza Oasis.

Don't miss

The “Storie del Pane” (Stories of bread) in the Castle, an extraordinary cycle of frescoes from the school of Ferrara, depicting the various phases of bread-making .

The “Sala dello Zodiaco” (Zodiac room) in the Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace), an original late 19th-century decorative masterpiece.

The white storks in the La Rizza Oasis who came back to nest here after centuries.

On the table

According to tradition, the famous pasta tagliatelle were born from the inspiration of Mastro Zafirano, the personal chef of Giovanni II Bentivoglio.  The occasion was the wedding of Annibale Bentivoglio and Lucrezia d'Este, who got married in 1487 in Ponte Poledrano -the ancient Bentivoglio- both coming by boat on the Navile, one from Bologna and the other one from Ferrara.

Keeping fit

Bentivoglio can be reached from Bologna by bike along the Ciclovia del Navile, a cycle-pedestrian path that runs along the canal sided by ancient hydraulic structures and characteristic glimpses of the plain.

Significant appointments

Open Day del Gusto (end of June and mid-October): it features typical and traditional products of the local countryside. The products on display are "explained" by the producers themselves. Events, workshops and historical re-enactment of threshing take place at the Museum of Rural Culture.

International Chamber Music Festival (autumn): it hosts concerts by great performers and young talents in the splendid setting provided by the Castle.

Castles in the territory

Monuments in the territory

image from Castello di Bentivoglio

Castello di Bentivoglio

image from Palazzo Rosso - Mulino

Palazzo Rosso - Mulino

image from Oasi La Rizza

Oasi La Rizza

image from Istituzione Villa Smeraldi Museo della Civiltà Contadina

Istituzione Villa Smeraldi Museo della Civiltà Contadina

For More Information

Redazione Pianura Bolognese