One of our favourite day trips from Bologna is a charming medieval village called Dozza. Officially recognized as one of Italy’s ‘most beautiful villages’, we were truly dazzled by Dozza.
Our nieces Laura and Alice were visiting us for a week and loved the instagram opportunities and colourful artwork offered in this impossibly pretty place, declaring the visit to be their favourite day-trip.
A dramatic entrance through an archway leads to the village. Very few tourists venture here, except during the biennial Art Festival when national and internationally renowned artists are invited to the town to paint on the walls of these ancient homes, creating a permanent, open-air art exhibition for all to see.
The streets were empty apart from the occasional resident walking the cobbled lanes. At weekends Dozza greets a few more visitors who come to enjoy not only the art, but also the views, the restaurants and the stunning castle.
We felt like VIPs in the castle as we had the entire place to ourselves – no tourists, no staff, just us and the freedom to wander at will throughout. The apartment rooms had me fantasizing about moving in (although the torture rooms and dungeons had our toes curling in horror!).
We have seen a lot of castles in our travels and this one is certainly up there as one of the prettiest we have seen and in one of the prettiest villages to boot!
It is so easy to walk around the streets looking all all the art. You just can’t get lost. You might get hot and a neck-ache from looking up, but it will be worth it. Trust me.
The artwork and the castle are fabulous, but if you enjoy a glass of wine (or two!), you won’t be able to resist the beautiful cellar in the castle vaults. Here you will find the Enoteca Regionale, where more than 800 wines from the Emilia-Romagna region are stored. Lunch and wine tastings are available ! Just in case you wondered, Sangiovese is my favourite red wine of the region….but more about food and wines of the region later.
The castle even has its own quirky art gallery in one of the towers.
Dozza is just 35 km from the centre of Bologna. To get to Dozza from Bologna by bus, the tourist office warned us that buses were run by prior request only and that even if we were successful in our request, we would actually need two buses and some hiking boots!
We hired a car for less than €50. An easy drive – the route took us alongside fields of vines and of sunflowers. The nearest town is Imola (home of the F1 motor racing circuit).
As Dozza is so small, half a day is really enough time to see everything. Deciding to make best use of the car we also visited both FICO (The largest agri-food park in the world) and the Sanctuario di San Luca on our way back home, but you could easily drive onwards to Ravenna, Florence or Ferrara, all of which we visited separately. More about those day trips (and others) will be posted soon.
As you may know, we like to travel slowly – we stayed a month in Bologna, falling in love with the city and the region almost immediately. Has a place ever had that impact on you? If so, let us know where!