The Must-Visit Castles in Emilia Romagna: An Enchanting Journey through Italy's Past

Best Castles Emilia Romagna

Embark on a journey through the ages of Emilia Romagna's best castles.

Let's step back in time and discover the fascinating stories and legends that surround these magnificent timeless treasures.

Rocchetta Mattei

Rocchetta Mattei Castle Bologna

This is not another castle.
This is unique.

The story of Rocchetta Mattei is the one to make a movie from it.
Once upon a time, a nobleman, half doctor half wizard, created this unusual building up on the hills of Bologna. It's a mix of styles and his grave is inside it.

Stop, no spoiler.

If you have time, rent a car, book your guided tour and go there. Alone or also if you need things to do in Bologna with your kids.

You won't forget it, I promise.

Info

Via Rocchetta, 46A, 40030 Grizzana Morandi BO
Tel. +39 051 673 0335

rocchetta-mattei.it

Rocca di Dozza

Dozza Rocca Castle

Ehi romantic?
Yes yes, you.

Google "Dozza, Italy", please.
You will thank me later.

That's the place you're looking for the most romantic escape from Bologna.

A small village surrounded by yellow fields and peach trees in flower. Then intimate restaurants, painted walls and a well-kept castle to visit.

You will admire the well-preserved kitchen, a mysterious well and...why not, the Regional wine shop in the basement.

Not bad, huh?

Info

Piazza Rocca, 40060 Dozza BO
Tel. +39 0542 678240

fondazionedozza.it

Castello dei Manzoli

Castello Manzoli

Who's the one looking for the hidden gem?

Gotcha.

15th-century style, 4 towers, 2 drawbridges, a little well-kept village next to it and all around a wood of century-old trees.

And a ghost of course.

It's got it all.

The bad news?

You can visit Castello de Manzoli only a few times during the year.

Info

Via San Donato, 40061 San Martino In Soverzano, Minerbio BO

Rocca di Vignola

Vignola Castle Modena

I know, I mention Vignola and you first think of cherries and Torta Barozzi.

How can I blame you?

Vignola's castle, also called Rocca dei Contrari, from the name of its owners, is one of the castles beautiful both outside and inside. Rare species.

You'll enter the room of the lions, the room of the doves, the room of the dog. So yeah, animals are allowed :)

Info

Piazza dei Contrari, 4, 41058 Vignola MO
Tel. +39 059 775246

roccadeicontrari.it

Castello Estense di Ferrara

Ferrara Castle

I'm deeply in love with Ferrara.
City of music, bikes and good food.
For the writer, one of the best day trips from Bologna you can have.

Oh, there's a castle too.
One of those with big towers, water in the moat, crocodiles.
Joking (or not?).

When is the best time to visit Ferrara's castle?
Easy answer. New Year's Eve, when the castle is set on fire.
Not joking.

Info

L.go Castello, 1, 44121 Ferrara
Tel. +39 0532 419180

castelloestense.it

Castello Rossena

Rossena Castle

Be ready, this is huge.

Year 950. The great-grandfather of Matilde of Canossa built this massive defense castle on the hills of Reggio Emilia.

Unlike other castles in the area, it has always been inhabited over the centuries. So it has arrived up to today in excellent condition, on a hill with an impressive panorama of the Val d'Enza.

But, surprise!
The castle went for sale in the last years for the huge maintenance and management costs it requires to keep it open.

So if you need a bigger kitchen, go conquer Rossena!

Info

Località Rossena, 27, 42026 Canossa RE
Tel. +39 349 542 0806

Castello di Torrechiara

Torrechiara Castle Parma

If on your tour of the best castles in Emilia-Romagna, you're looking for one that reminds you of all the fairy tales you read as children, go to Torrechiara.

We are on the hills of Parma, the perfect setting for a love story.
The famous Golden Chamber is dedicated to the passion of Pier Maria Rossi, founder of the castle, and Bianca Pellegrini.

Do you remember Ladyhawke?
A movie about 2 lovers who transformed into a hawk and into a wolf, and they'd never meet again in their human features?
Torrechiara Castle was the setting of part of that movie.

It is also the perfect excursion to digest the culatello, ham and anolini you tasted on our Parma food tour.

Info

Str. del Castello, 1, 43013 Torrechiara PR
Tel. +39 0521 355255

musei.emiliaromagna.beniculturali.it

Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Fontanellato Castle Parma

There are many reasons to visit Parma and one is called Fontanellato.

If you, like me, love antiques, go there for the vintage market that takes place on Sundays.

For fairytale lovers and historical dreamers, it would be Rocca Sanvitale.

The outside look stunning, a jump back in time.
The inside of the fortress is a treasure chest.
Don't miss the famous Camera Picta, with frescoes by Parmigianino.

But most of all you'd fall in love with the Optic Chamber. It's the room, at the top of a tower, from which, with a play of mirrors, the count could observe everything that happened in the square below.

Big Brother 1300.

Info

Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 1, 43012 Fontanellato PR
Tel. +39 0521 829055

fontanellato.org

Rocca di Brisighella

Brisighella Castle Ravenna

Can you smell the flavor of freshly baked piadina in the air?
Of course, we're in Brisighella, a small village on the hills in the heart of Romagna.

The view from the Rocca is incredible: olive oil trees, green hills, and even the sea if you're lucky.

But most of all you'd appreciate the gentle and lively spirit of local Romagnoli. If you've met them already during our Mosaic Tour in Ravenna, it would be another memorable day in Italy.

Info

Via Rontana, 64, 48013 Brisighella RA
Tel. +39 0546 994415

Castel Sismondo

Castel Sismondo Rimini

The last of the Emilia-Romagna castles I'd like you to know is the Prince of Rimini.

The square geometries of Castel Sismondo dominate the center of the city. Mr. Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta built the castle in the mid-15th century.

For its construction, he asked the advice of illustrious architects and experts, first of all, Filippo Brunelleschi.

Do you need one more reason to visit Sismondo Castle?

Inside you will find the museum dedicated to Federico Fellini, the famous Italian director who was born in Rimini.

At the end of the visit you could say: Amarcord a castle!

Info

Piazza Malatesta, 47900 Rimini RN
Tel. +39 0541 704704

riminiturismo.it

[Photo credits: Cristiano, Vincenzo De Geronimo, Gabriele Cabassi, Roberto Conte, Andrea Righelli, Vanni Lazzari, Simon, Raffaele Pagani, Francesco Pappalardo]


Related post

  • Modena Day Trip

    A Food Lover's Guide to Modena: A Day Trip of Endless Delights

    A day in Modena is not much time so wear your comfy ones, I'll make you walk.The good news is that Modena city centre is quite small but the things to do in a day are plenty. Check out my food itinerary to get the best from your day in Modena.

  • Bologna Shopping

    Shopping in Bologna: 10 unique places to make it special

    Shopping in Bologna can be more interesting than visiting a museum.Family old shops from generations, vintage signs, passionate people. Hard to mention them all, but here are my best shops in Bologna. You won't find the same ones in your hometown, I promise.

  • Bologna bookshops

    12 Independent Bookshops of Bologna You Should Visit

    The quantity and quality of bookshops can tell a lot about a city and the people who live it.Vintage librerie like Nanni or new format that combines books and food, like Modo Infoshop: here's my selection of the most unique bookshops of Bologna.


Home page icons22

Tasty newsletter

Stay in touch with monthly news and get my PDF guide with the best restaurants in Bologna, Modena and Parma


Subscribe