A municipality of the province of Bologna, located along the ancient Via Emilia, where the valley of the river Santerno, between the Apennines, flows into the Po Valley, Imola is the second largest city of the whole province by population and fifth of the region.
Known to the Romans as "Forum Cornelia, the former colony was located in an area already populated since prehistoric times, as evidenced by the settlement on Mount Castellaccio dating from the Bronze Age and the necropolis of the VI and V centuries B.C., found in Via Montericco. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the end of the barbarian invasions, Imola was scenario of clashes for the dominance of its territories, between its inhabitants and troops with those of Bologna, Faenza and Ravenna. Between the XIV and XVI centuries several noble Fanilies and Lords succeeded and ruled the city such as: the Alidosi, the Manfredi and the Visconti. In 1473, the city was ceded to Galeazzo Maria Sforza who donated it in dowry to his daughter Catherine, wife of Girolamo Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. This was a particularly rich and prosperous period for the city, which alongside to an increase in the local economy, also reported a transformation of the urban centre and the construction of several buildings. From 1504 until the Unification of Italy (except the parentheses of the Napoleonic period) Imola was part of the Papal States: in this period ended also the civil clashes between the different internal factions. At the same time the architects Cosimo Morelli and Domenico Trifogli embellished the churches and the palaces of the city with a new style.
Imola is a city that perfectly combines the ancient and modern, the pleasure of good food and the adrenalin of important sport events, relaxing between the hilly landscape and the nightlife of the clubs.
Sites of Interest:
- the Sforza Castle, founded in the XIII century, which is a beautiful example of fortified architecture of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It houses a rich collection of ancient weapons and ceramics;
- Palazzo Riario (today Sersante), built in 1480 on request of Gerolamo Riario to become his residence. An elegant brick façade on which outstands 14 arches with sandstone pillars decorated with beautiful capitals. The first floor windows, the arches of the porch and the decorative elements are in elegantly sculptured in terracotta;
- Port Mountanara, one of the four main gates to the city between the fortified walls, that used to surrounded Imola, built at the time of the rule of the Lords of Manfredi;
- the Cathedral of San Cassiano Martire, built in the center of the main square, between 1187 and 1271, in Romanesque style. The construction has submitted several alterations until in 1763, due to serious problems in its foundations, it was completely rebuilt by architect Cosimo Morelli, and solemnly consecrated in 1782. The façade of the church, completed in 1850, is the result of the amendment to the original project. The crypt houses the remains of San Cassiano. Worth of interest: the XVIII century wooden choir, the XVI century baptismal font in the first chapel to the left, the beautiful XV century wooden crucifix of Christ, paintings of the artist Gottarelli and the tombstone of Girolamo Riario;
- the Convent of San Francesco, one of the most important historical sites in town. Built in the XIV century, an imitation of the Basilica of Assisi with the church above and one below, both a single nave plan connected to a large adjoining cloister. The great upper church was closed during the Napoleonic rule and transformed the theater in 1812 and the convent was gradually transformed into a public library;
- the XVIII century Hospital and Pharmacy, opened in 1794, which has remained almost intact in the furnishings and decorations;
- the Complex of St. Nicholas and Domenico, seat of the Museum of San Domenico which houses inside the Civic Art Gallery, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum Scarabelli;
- the Shrine of Our Lady of Piratello along the Via Emilia, a place devoted by the local inhabitants;
- the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari ", a F1 circuit, built in 1972.