In April the emerald-green foothills around Vignola are covered with the lacy, rosy-pink blossoms of Vignola’s famous cherry trees. These are celebrated in a Cherry Blossom Festival in April, with horse races, bicycle tours, medieval costumes, fair, exhibitions and other events (you can get there from Bologna by way of a special free Cherry Train, the Treno dei Ciliegi). Half of Italy’s cherries come from Vignola, as did one of Italy’s most talented 16th-century architects, Giacomo Barozzi – best known simply as Vignola.
He didn’t leave anything in his home town, but it does have in its centre one of the best-preserved castles in Emilia-Romagna, the Rocca di Vignola. Founded in the 8th century by the abbots of Nonantola, rebuilt with lofty towers in the 13th century, it was improved by the Contrari family in the 15th century, and since 1965 has been owned by a bank, which has financed its complete restoration. A number of rooms retain their frescoes, with rooms of rings and another of doves; the chapel has frescoes by the so-called Maestro di Vignola. The castle often hosts important exhibitions.
Rocca di Vignola
Hours Most open weekends; check the website for hours
Adm Free (with an audioguide in English)
+39 059 775246
Images by: Icco80