La Rocchetta Mattei

The castle Rocchetta Mattei (literally “small fortress Mattei”) is situated in the mountain chain of the Apennines between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. It is 45 km away from Bologna, on the SS.64 (road) that links Bologna to Porretta Terme, just after the town of Riola, in the municipality of Grizzana Morandi. It was built by the Count Cesare Mattei (1809-1896) on the remains of an ancient medieval castle that belonged to Matilde di Canossa (a.k.a. Matilda of Tuscany).

In the beginning the Count was an army man, than a politician, than a science man, a scholar, a philanthropist and an entrepreneur. He personally directed the construction of the castle “having on his command artisans of every trade”.

Morandi House Museum

To the extraordinary patrimony of the Gallery of Modern Art, of which the MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna is the centrepiece, the Morandi Museum, Villa delle Rose and more recently the Memorial Museum Ustica, the house in which the artist lived and worked until 1964 has also been added.

In 1933 the artist and his family moved to Via Fondazza No. 36. Morandi chose the room overlooking the courtyard for himself; being the most secluded and the one which allows the light to enter from the window to the left. The window opens onto the garden with the flower bed, the olive tree and the roofs touched by the air from the hills. This familiar view can be seen in many of his paintings.

Casa Museo Morandi

“Going up towards Grizzana, at some point there is a curve and there when you exit the curve, there is the most beautiful landscape in the world”. So Giorgio Morandi, considered one of the greatest painters and engravers of the twentieth century, spoke about Grizzana, a place of privileged inspiration and subject of some of his most famous masterpieces. At the entrance of the village is his house, which became a Museum thanks to the will of his sister Maria Teresa, who gave it to the Municipality of Grizzana as long as it was open to visitors and nothing was altered. The Casa Museo, which houses the Studio where the painter painted some of his most famous paintings, is a living testimony to the personality of the artist and his story. In front of it, there are the Fienili del Campiaro, the privileged subject of Morandi’s painting, which today host numerous exhibitions and are the current headquarters of the Cesare Mattei Museum Archives. The Archive contains numerous artifacts that belonged to Count Cesare Mattei and is the only museum in the world on electromyopathy. To arrange a guided tour: email to

tel 0516730311

Borgo La Scola

As soon as you arrive in the village La Scola you have the impression of having plunged into the Middle Ages.
Most of the buildings date back to 1400-1500 and represent exceptional examples of medieval Appennine architecture by the Comacini Masters.

The fortified village was born as a military district and a place of resistance and defense of the monastic center of Montovolo, of great economic and commercial importance as well as religious.

The fortified village had a strategic role and the military function supported by it justified its urban composition, with buildings and towers leaning against each other and integrated into the defensive system that the orographic nature of the place, almost a spur halfway up, helped to make it more impermeable to enemy offenses.

Remarkable is the majestic cypress of the Scola which, with its height of 25 m and an estimated age of over 700 years, is a true monument of nature.

Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta a Riola

It is the only work in Italy of the great 20th-century Finnish architect and planner, Alvar Aalto. Together with La Scola and the Rocchetta Mattei, it is a must for many architecture students who, at a short distance, concentrate unique experiences. Inaugurated on 17 June 1978. Particularly innovative as well as for conception also for the processing and the materials used, among which the local stone of Montovolo.


In Montovolo there is the Sanctuary of S. Maria della Consolazione, the first Sanctuary of the Archdiocese of Bologna that dates back to the 12th century. Here is preserved the polychrome statue of the Blessed Virgin (XV-XVI centuries) and a crypt with three apses which is what remains of the oldest church.

The primitive Church was built before the year 1000 on a pre-existing pagan temple, as evidenced by the ancient name of Monte Palense, that is dedicated to the Pale goddess Pale, adored by the Etruscans.

The Oratory of Santa Caterina has inside instead a cycle of frescoes of the fifteenth century. A little further on, from what is called the jump of Santa Caterina, it is possible to enjoy a magnificent view over the whole Reno Valley.