Dozza is a lovely little village (about 1.000 inhabitants) located on the crest of a hill in Emilia Romagna, in the province of Bologna. It’s not that known and visited by Italians, except those of the area. I intended to visit it just because it is among the most beautiful villages in Italy (since it’s one of my passions). Plus I read that it is one of the most picturesque medieval villages of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Moreover, I saw a couple of pictures on Instagram, showing some alleys adorned by street artworks. But I had no idea that street artworks were almost everywhere in that tiny historic center. I was very impressed with Dozza street art in the end.
La Rocca di Dozza, Dozza’s Fortress
The Fortress was built for the will of Caterina Sforza, countess of Imola and lady of Forlì. She was born an illegitimate daughter (then legitimized) of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan. Educated in the refined court of Milan, she was passionate about dance, hunting, and alchemy. It was Cesare Borgia (yes, that Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI) who finally conquered her fortress. After imprisonment in Rome, she retired to private life in Florence. According to tradition, before dying, she said to a friar:
If I could write everything about my life, I’d amaze the world.
The Fortress still maintains its medieval structure: the rooms are well kept, with valuable furniture, paintings, and tapestries (the majority dating back to the 1700s) and the kitchen still houses tools dating back to 1500. You can visit the apartments of the noble floor, the living room, the sitting rooms and the bedrooms, the kitchen, the prisons, the torture rooms, the walkways on the towers (with great views over the surrounding countryside). Plus the wine shop.
Emilia Romagna regional wine shop
In the basement of the Fortress, do not miss the Enoteca Regionale (Emilia Romagna regional wine shop), involving over 200 producers of wine, balsamic vinegar, and spirits. It is quite big. It includes over 800 selected labels (with suggested food pairings). You can purchase some bottles or also (but apparently, only on Sundays have a tasting). I purchased a small bottle of Rosolio, sweet roses wine. Since it is mentioned in several historic Italian novels I was curious to taste it. But I didn’t open it yet.
Wine shop opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 9.30 am – 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm – 7.00 pm
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 10.00 am – 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm – 7.00 pm
Closed on Mondays.
Dozza street art
Dozza is a so-called open-air-museum. In Italy we actually say museo a cielo aperto, meaning open-sky-museum. Similar, though. On the half of the 60s, the municipality decided to launch this initiative. Some of the authors are very prestigious. As for now, there are more than 100 artworks (someone says 200 but I found no certain source).
It is beautiful to explore the village and to admire the different paintings. Each of them displays the name of the artist and the year of execution.
Strolling in Dozza, other than many street artworks I spotted several Virgin representations on the facades of the houses. Like the one on the photo.
Tolkien in Dozza
The first thing that hit me as soon as I get past the city door was a familiar writing font on a door sign. It said: La Tana del Drago, Dragon’s lair. Precisely in Dozza, there’s a study center dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien but also dedicated to fantasy literature in general, Italian folklore, northern Europe legends, games and children’s literature. They also have a gallery and a bookshop.
Other things to see in Dozza
Also worth visiting the Provost Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Piscina, built in the XII century, and the Rivellino tower (later transformed in city door).
What to eat in Dozza
This area of Emilia is famous for fresh, handmade pasta: tagliatelle, tortelli, garganelli. Among meat courses grilled meats (beef or mutton). A real must is the piadina with fresh and soft cheese plus cold cuts. As for wines: Sangiovese DOCand the village wine, Albana DOCG.
Events in Dozza
- Vino in Festa, Wine Festival, first Sunday of May.
- Festa delle Arzdore, the first weekend of September. This festival (focused on local food) is dedicated to Arzdore, i.e. the queens of the domestic hearth, the Romagna ladies, who once dedicated themselves to the family.
- Biennale del Muro Dipinto, the Painted Wall Biennale in September. During 4 days, artists of different countries adorn the walls of the village. 2019 is the right one: from September 9 to 15. Next appointment 2021.
! Tip: 30 minutes by car from Dozza you can visit the infamous FICO. Learn more on my post about Fico Eataly World.
Where to park in Dozza
We went to Dozza by car and parked at the free parking in via Giovanni Pascoli.
! Next to the parking, going by foot towards Dozza, you’ll spot a door with the sign of a man playing the tuba and these words: the heart never gets old and always play. It is the seat of the local folkloristic band.