Rocca Sforzesca (Fortress)

Imola - Piazza Giovanni dalle Bande Nere

Rocca Sforzesca (Fortress)


Entry price: € 3.50
red. 2,50 €, special 1,50 €; Cumulative: Palace and Fortress Tozzoni: 4 €; Cumulative: Art Gallery, Palace and Fortress Tozzoni: 5 €, free: students, journalists, Inspectors and Superintendents of Museums, ICOM members, guides visitors


Always open
Saturday 15-19, Sunday 10-13 and 15-19 Open by appointment. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9-13. To visit the museum by people with physical disabilities is necessary to book: tel.0542.602609 -


Telephone: +39 0542 602609
FAX: +39 0542 602608


The original fortress dates back to the mid 13th century. It was built in a raised position overlooking the Via Emilia, an important throughway. In medieval times, it was fought over by Imola and Bologna. The actual fortress was erected on the ruins of the medieval one in the 15th century under the Riario Sforza family. In 1499 it was besieged and taken by Cesare Borgia who had invaded Romagna with his powerful army. After Borgia's brief dominion, Dozza became property of the Papal State which ruled it through the Comune of Imola. In the 16th century the Malvezzi and the Campeggi - two influential families from Bologna - rivalled for Dozza.


In 1528 the Malvezzi were invested with the title of Counts of Dozza. However, the Campeggi were the first to rule over Dozza thanks to Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi who had close ties with the Pope (he was an Apostolic Legate). The Campeggi ruled over Dozza until the death of their last male heir (1676). Years later, Dozza became a possession of the Malvezzi thanks to a marriage between Matteo Malvezzi and Francesca Maria Campeggi. Following the Napoleonic invasion, the feudal system was abolished but the Marquises Malvezzi-Campeggi maintained the possession of Dozza as their private property. The family lived inside the fortress until 1960 when the last direct heir died and the Municipality of Dozza purchased it. In late 16th century, under the Campeggi family, the fortress was transformed into a noble residence since it was no longer able to resist the assault of modern artillery.

The construction works ended in 1594. Today a drawbridge emulating the medieval one leads inside the fortress. The building features brick walls but also medieval elements such as loopholes, trap-doors, the moat, etc. The central courtyard is embellished by two Renaissance-style loggias. On the first floor there are Renaissance and Medieval rooms. The Renaissance section includes the Main Hall (overlooking the communication trenches of the southern wall and featuring a large red tapestry with the Malvezzi and Campeggi's coat of arms and portraits of members of the two families), the armoury (with a carved ceiling), the Cittadini Room (housing a large portrait of the Campeggi family, 18th furniture and a lacunar ceiling), the Red Room (containing a mirror with a Baroque frame) and the Bedroom of Pope Pius VII. The Medieval section includes the Bedroom of the Lord of the Castle, the Private Chapel, the Razor Well (a trap-door) and the Guest Bedroom.

The first floor also houses the Painted Wall Art Gallery and the Norma Mascellani Collection. The fortress has two Towers connected by a communication trench. The "Torrione dei Bolognesi" is the smaller one and it was build in the 16th century. The "Torresino" is the largest and the oldest one (1180). On the ground floor you can visit the Kitchen, the Laundry, the Prisons, the Dungeons and the Torture Chamber with the Ditch of the Tortured.

The fortress' cellars house the Enoteca Regionale dell'Emilia Romagna, a permanent exhibition of top-quality wines produced at regional level. It is possible to purchase wines and to taste them.


Source: local Staff Area Imolese


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