With 6,000 mostly aging population, young ones leaving the town to go to Bologna, Dozza has been in a slow but obvious decline. The town decided to reinvent itself in the early 1960s. They decided that they will have a unique selling point for the tourists, by making their city a vast open-air art gallery.
Initially the local artists were asked to make paintings outside on the walls of the houses and the town started to become famous. People came to look at the houses with paintings. Now it holds a painting festival every two years in September. The next biannual painting festival is planned for September 2017.
Bologna is an important node for road and railway network in north Italy. Reaching Dozza is easy. It is just 30 km away, so you can drive down. Suburban buses from Bologna going to Imola stop in Dozza. From Bologna you can also take a taxi. Or, you can take a train from Bologna to Castle San Pietro Terme or to Imola, and then take a taxi from there.
The Art in Dozza
Dozza is nestled at the top of a hill, and is dominated by a castle. The surrounding area has gently rolling hills covered with vineyards.
The medieval part of the town has ancient pebbled streets that go up and down all around the castle. It is a small area closed by the medieval walls, through which you can have glimpses of the beautiful surrounding hills, green meadows and valleys. Behind the castle there is a park on the side of the hill, full of steps going up and down.
It has a lovely small castle at the top of a hill, belonging to the Marquis of Malvezzi-Campeggi family since 1500s. The last heir to the marquis family died in 1960 and the castle now belongs to the municipality.
The medieval town with its pebbled streets, the small castle and the beautiful paintings, these all combine to make Dozza a special place. Thus, if you are planning a visit to Bologna, keep a morning for visiting Dozza, it is worth it.