Probably best known as one of the towns currently featured on the Formula One circuit, Imola is bordered by the River Po to the north and the Appenines to the south.
The town is halfway between Bologna and Rimini and was originally an ancient Roman colony populated as early as the prehistoric age.
Imola was based on a Roman town, but following the Lombard invasions and the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area was to fall into a period of decline.
There was economic recovery in the 10 th century but a turbulent medieval period saw Imola face Bologna, Faenza and Ravenna in supremacy wars. In 1473 the town was given as part of a dowry for the wedding of Galeazzo Maria Sforza’s illegitimate daughter Caterina to Giarolamo Riario. Soon after the town’s architecture was transformed by the Renaissance period.
The town of Imola is the second largest municipality by number of inhabitants of Bologna’s Province in Italy. The residents are 69.608 (31/07/2015) on an area of 203.94 sq. km.
Situated on the banks of River Santerno, where the Tosco-Romagnolo Apennines meet the Padana Plain, Imola is located in a wonderful position, 30 km from Bologna and only 60 km from the sunny beaches of the Riviera Romagnola.
Known all around the world for its racetrack, Imola is the ideal place where you can spend some days enjoying culture, sports and delightful food and wine tours.
The elegant mansions and the Rocca Sforzesca are only a few attractions of the historical centre, which can be visited completely on foot. Moreover, the evocative background of the Apennines and the high-level sports facilities make Imola the right place for nature and sports lovers.
Imola is a good place to visit all year long, thanks to its great geographical position.
The Rocca Sforzesca (Imola’s fortress), which dates back to the 13th century, is the most imposing building of the urban landscape. The complex, open to the public, hosts a rare collection of ancient weapons and a prestigious exhibition of medieval ceramics. From the top of the building you can take in a 360° view of Imola’s territory, from the plain to the Apennines.
Since 1989 the fortress is also the premises of Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri con il Maestro” a school of advanced piano performance specialization created to nurture young musicians talent.
Among the many noble palaces of the historical centre (a lot of them open to the public), Palazzo Tozzoni stands out with its furnishings and its perfect state of conservation. Particularly interesting are the cellars of the mansion, hosting a rich collection of historical objects and tools of the local rural culture.
Plunged deep in the greenery of its gardens, the San Domenico Museum, located in the cloister of the ancient convent of the Saints Nicolò and Domenico (next to the church of the same name), houses the “Pinacoteca Civica” and the museum”Giuseppe Scarabelli – Archeological Section”. Among the paintings exhibited, belonging to different ages and schools, you can find paintings by Innocenzo da Imola, Bartolomeo Cesi, Guttuso and De Pisis.
The Hospital Pharmacy, inaugurated in 1794 and largely intact with regards to furnishings and decorations, is a fascinating example of a 18th century pharmacy, enriched by the decorated vaulted ceiling and by 457 antique majolica vases displayed in carved wooden cabinets.
On the first slopes of the Apennines lays the racetrack which has made Imola a well-known town all around the world. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, built in the 50s, still welcomes sporting events of international importance and it is an obligatory stop for those who want to completely understand the character of the town. Since 2014 in the racetrack is possible to visit the “Museo Checco Costa” dedicated to the motoring tradition of the Emilia Romagna Region.
The Arzdora – housewife ‘par excellence’ – armed with a rolling-pin makes the dough ready for garganelli (macaroni) and tortelli di ricotta (pasta with a ricotta cheese filling), strictly handmade.
Second courses are meat-based: castrato (grilled mutton) and fiorentina (grilled T-bone steak). Plus the local piadina romagnola (unleavened bread) served with soft cheeses or salami. As for wine, a wide selection includes: Sangiovese DOC (red) and Albana DOCG (white). Imola is part of the “Strada dei Vini e Sapori Colli d’Imola”.
If you are fond of cycling, you can ride along the Santerno Valley, the Sillaro Valley, or the Sellustra Valley, three places where you can spend time in untamed nature and great landscapes.
Winter is the time of the “Fantaveicoli”, a carnival parade on wheels; summer offers Imola in musica when the town comes to life with cultural events and street artists performing in the town centre, Imola Summer Piano Academy & Festival and Emilia Romagna Festival.
In September, Imola hosts an event CRAME where enthusiasts gather to exchange vintage cars, motorcycles & bicycles and related spare parts. The Superbike championship is also held at the Enzo & Dino Ferrari Racetrack.
November brings the “Baccanale”: gastronomy in every form, from exhibitions to tastings, theatrical events, conventions, and markets.
After the unification of Italy the Cooperativa Ceramica (a ceramic co-operative) was founded.
The current population of more than 64,000 and the town has a strong interest in music, theatre and cinema.