The territory of the Colli Bolognesi has always been coveted by the nobles of Bologna as a place of residence or holiday where to develop villas, gardens and land holdings.
"Palazzo Albergati" in Zola Predosa is a great country residence that belonged to the homonymous Bolognese family, Albergati, originally from Zola who was one of the most illustrious and representative of Bologna between the 16th and 17th centuries.
Girolamo Albergati started the construction who was a Bolognese senator and ambassador in Rome in 1659; the works lasted for about thirty years, defining the structure that can still be admired today.
Outside the garden there is the cultivated countryside with its extension geometrically delineated that testifies the dual function of the palace: a holiday resort and a land ownership administration center. The essentiality and compactness of the exterior, reminiscent of military architecture, make even more amazing, by contrast, the interiors of the Villa with its frescoed walls and its bold architectural vagaries. The staircases have, for example, different shapes and the most spectacular and characteristic is the noble one, consisting of 3 ramps with a helical shape. Beautiful and amazing, it is the prodigious living room of honor: over 30m high, it occupies 250 square meters and it is surrounded by a double order of loggias and can be reached from all the apartments and terraces.
In the 18th century Francesco Albergati used it as a theater for his own performances, created by Voltaire and Goldoni (who was a guest in the Villa and wrote 5 plays specially).
This Palace was visited by many illustrious guests: writers, such as Goldoni and Alfieri, politicians, such as James III of England, and historians, such as Giacomo Casanova.
Palazzo Albergati opens its magnificent rooms on the occasion of initiatives such as Autumn and Spring Brunches (all Autumn and Spring Sundays) and Summer Thursdays (Thursdays in July and August) or for other initiatives and cultural events. It is also possible to organize private and corporate events.
For more informations about the events you can visit: www.albergati.com
Palazzo Bentivoglio Pepoli (also known only as Palazzo Pepoli), in Zola Predosa, was built at the beginning of the 16th century by Alessandro Bentivoglio, later passed to Marescotti family and finally to the Pepoli.
It was Countess Marina Grimani Pepoli who promoted a significant restructuring between 1778 and 1806, entrusted to Angelo Venturoli, who gave the Palace its current appearance. Maintaining its complexity of Renaissance architecture, visible in the double loggia of the northern façade and adding features of the neoclassical architecture among which stands out the neopalladian tympanum decorated with two winged victories supporting the family shield surmounted by an eagle.
Inside, precious painted wooden ceilings, decorations and friezes are preserved.
Outside the garden preserves the tanks for water games, with fish ponds and fountains, which characterized it in antiquity.
The garden courtyard was to be joined to the large and more ancient "noble stable" (with stable and barn) on two floors, divided into three large naves with cross vaults.
Currently the building is a private property so it can be visited on some occasions through guided tours organized by the "Associazione Ville Storiche Bolognesi": www.villebolognesi.it
Villa Edvige Garagnani rises where the agricultural property called "delle Donzelle" originally stood, adjacent to the estates and the Palazzo degli Albergati, belonging to the Olivetan monks. Following the establishment of Napoleonic power, the estate passed through several owners until 1908 when the noble Paolo Baldi Randi bought it to be the dowry for his daughter Edvige, wife of Ferdinando Garagnani.
The villa belonged to the Garagnani family until 1971 when it was bought by the Municipality of Zola Predosa. The Villa was known as the "Villa of the Mayors" because of the public offices held by Ferdinando Garagnani (and a previous owner). The passing loggia, the most significant element of the Villa, offers to the visitor frescoes with motifs (that deceives the eye) and landscape scenes, enriched with exotic details such as lion skins and pairs of sphinxes.
Of the external garden there are still some trees of considerable size such as the majestic "Cedrus deodara" in front of the palace.
The Villa was restored in 2003 and since June 2005 it has hosted the IAT Colli Bolognesi (Tourist Information Office) and since 2010, the Villa is also home of the "Ville Bolognesi" study center.
Today, thanks to its elegant and versatile spaces, Villa Edvige Garagnani can host weddings and private events as well as the cultural events that are organized during the year. For more information, visit the Villa's website: www.villagaragnani.it
Villa Balzani is a sober 19th century villa derived from the transformation of a rural building, its current appearance derives from the transformation desired by Andrea Balzani in 1860.
In 1797 an oratory was added to the house which opens every three years for the feast of the Holy Trinity.
The park that surrounds the villa preserves some centenary trees among which a fine specimen of "Taxus baccata" and a unique oak forest of every origin.
The Balzani family continues with great commitment to take care of the park, which has been enriched in recent decades with a collection of roses among the richest in Italy.
Villa Balzani opens its doors annually on the occasion of initiatives organized by the Municipality of Zola Predosa, especially in May to admire the beauty of the roses in its garden.
The palace is included in a farm and it is surrounded by a romantic park.
Palazzo Stella, in Crespellano, owes its name to Count Stella, who purchased it in the 18th century, although it is a building dating back to the 1500s.
In the park there are various structures such as a chapel, a stable and an ice-house.
The villa externally has an elegant loggia, while inside the rooms develop laterally with respect to two passing loggias. Both the loggias and the various rooms have painted ceilings.
Among the illustrious guests of the villa we should mention the princess Carlotta Bonaparte, Napoleon's nephew.
Today Palazzo Stella hosts private events, weddings and cultural events. For more information, you can visit the site: www.palazzostella.org
Palazzo di Cuzzano
Already home to a Roman fund (Fundus Acutianus), from the 11th century Ponzano hosted the Cuzzano castle: Cuzzano was a family of feudal lords serving the countess Matilde di Canossa. In 1360 the castle was the victim of a fire. In 1522 the new building was already built, which incorporated the remains of the burned castle with the main tower, still visible today, externally accompanied by a terracotta spiral staircase.
Over time, the building changed its owners and took on its current appearance with additional works made in the 18th and 19th centuries: such as the tower's roof-terrace, the courtyard with a portico and a fake oratory in symmetry with the real one.
The latter, perhaps from the 16th century, is dedicated to the Holy Cross and replaced an early medieval church dedicated to Saint Niccolò, the patron saint of the Cuzzano family.
The body of the building, that stands isolated at the north end of the courtyard, preserves a large medieval core with a vestibule together with two stables added between the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Palace hosts cultural and private events. for more information you can visit the official site: www.palazzodicuzzano.com