Pontecchio – Sasso marconi – Panico – Marzabotto – Vergato
The trip regards the towns situated along Reno’s Valley. We go out from “Porta S. Isaia” and take Porrettana Road until PONTECCHIO. We stop at “Villa Grifone”; inside there is Marconi’s Museum and Mausoleum where the scientist lies.
At Pontecchio we find one of the most beautiful villas in Bologna, the 15th century “Palazzo dei Rossi” restored by Rubbiani at the beginning of the 20th century.
We go on for some kilometers and we find SASSO MARCONI, located in a wonderful hilly region and it was one of the favorite summer holidays destination of Bologna nobility. There are a lot of villas which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. “Villa Achillini”, called the “torrette”, “Villa Albani”, “Villa Bevilacqua” at Moglio, the 15th century “Palazzo Sanuti”, called “the fountain”, “Villa Ghisleri” upon “Colle Ameno” (Ameno Hill).
You can’t miss the Neoclassical Sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso.
The town was called Sasso Marconi in 1938 as tribute to the great scientist Guglielmo Marconi, father of modern telecommunications, for his first experiment made here at the feet of the hill of Villa Grifone.
Going on along the trunk road we turn off along PANICO, which was an ancient stronghold of Panico’s count, whose Romanesque S. Lorenzo’s Parish and a beautiful Basilica are still left. We come back on the trunk road and we stop at MARZABOTTO; in the South of the village there are some rimains of an Etruscan city which dates back to more or less the end of the 6th century A.C. The finds are kept in the Archaeological Museum “P. Aria” and it is possible to visit the ruins also the most recent ones. Marzabotto is also sorrowfully famous for the well-known massacre of 1830 people caused by the Nazis during the 2nd World War; also the Memorial Chapel is worthy to be visited.
Our last stop is VERGATO; after having gone through the “Riola” bridge, 9 kilometers after the village, you will find the particular “Mattei Rocchetta” building in Medieval and Arabian style. It was built in the middle of the 19th century by Cesare Mattei, who became Earl in exchange of some territories given to the papal government.
Among the various activities done by that strange man he was also the
architect and the engineer of this strange building.
In the interior there are various rooms to be visited: the English room, the white room, the Turkish room and another room dedicated to Pio IX; The sarcophagus where the Earl lies and a courtyard which reminds Granada’s Alhambra.
Today the building is used as a hotel and a restaurant.