Built in 1978, Riola’s parish church, Santa Maria Assunta, is a Modernist masterpiece of pure white concrete and glass. It was one of the last works of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who built at the request of the local Cardinal, who wondered a the great architect would respond to the doctrines of Vatican II. The exterior echoes the three surrounding peaks of Montovolo, Monte Vigese and Monte Vigo; in the serene luminous interior, the soft northern light filters down through a grid of asymmetrical ribs.
Getting there: trains from Bologna Centrale on the Pistoia line take an hour to Riola.
Santa Maria Assunta: Piazza Alvar Aalto, +39 051 916 355
Images by: Edgar Priestly, Creative Commons License