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Dozza, Italy: 7 Best Things to do in Italy’s Art Village

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Are you planning a visit to Dozza, Italy? We’re sharing a complete guide of all the best things to do in Dozza.

Dozza is a charming medieval village overlooking the Sellustra River Valley in the Emilia Romagna region. The city is known as Italy’s art village because of all the beautiful street art murals painted along the outside walls of the entire town.

While street art is the main lure of Dozza, the village is also home to a medieval castle, stunning views, and Emilia Romagna’s regional wine shop.

This guide includes the top things to do for a visit to Dozza, including restaurants, nearby hotels, and practical tips for a perfect day trip.

Best Things to do in Dozza, Italy

1. Discover Dozza’s Painted Walls

Dozza is listed as one of “I Borghi piu belli d’Italia”, or in English, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The main reason for this is that the walls of this small town are covered with incredible murals painted by national and international artists.

As you wander the streets, you’ll notice that nearly all of the buildings have impressive artwork on them. The town currently has over 100 total murals and more get painted every two years during the Festival of the Painted Wall.

Dozza has two main streets that form a loop, so as you walk around admiring the art, you will want to pay attention to the art on both sides of the street as you may not be walking back the same way.

One of the most famous murals is the painted archway which will talk more about below.

2. Check out Sforza Castle

The Sforza Castle, also known as the Rocca di Dozza, was built around 1250 as a medieval fortress. Since the time of its original construction, the castle has undergone numerous renovations as it turned from a fortress to a residence.

As mentioned, the Sforza Castle was first built as a medieval and Renaissance fortress, was later turned into a Renaissance residence, and then finally bought and adjusted as an eighteenth-century residence.

The castle was bought by the city of Dozza in 1960 and turned into a house museum for the public to visit. As you explore the fortress, you’ll be able to see the three main styles of the interior as it was updated over time.

Make sure to visit the watch tower on your tour of the museum. This tower gives you amazing 360-degree views of the surrounding hills, making it the perfect spot to snap a few photos.

The castle is open every day from 10 am to 1 pm and opens again from 2 pm through 6 pm, except for Sunday, when it is open from 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets to the museum cost 10 euros which you can purchase at the castle entrance.

3. Taste Wine at Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia Romagna

Hidden away in the cellars of the castle lies one of Dozza’s hidden gems. The Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna features the best wines of the Emilia Romagna region as chosen by professional sommeliers.

Here, you’ll find over 600 labels of different wines, 200 bubbles, and 170 featured companies. These include local wines that are only produced in the Emilia Romagna region.

As you wander the shop, you can ask questions to the sommeliers to learn about what foods the wines are best served with, which ones should be used for aperitifs, and which ones should be paired with entrees.

Some of the local wines worth buying or tasting include Lambrusco, Pignoletto, Sangiovese, Albana, Fortana, Malvasia, and more.

We highly recommend signing up for one of their wine tastings at their wine bar, which you can schedule during your visit, or book in advance. Each tasting is led by a professional sommelier. This way, you’ll get a sampling of some of their best wines.

At a minimum, we recommend walking through the enoteca where you can purchase a bottle of wine and see some of the other local products like balsamic vinegar, pesto, and other local specialties.

Entrance to the Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna is free. To book your wine tasting, email [email protected]. Wine tastings vary in price from €100 to €166.

4. Walk the Wine Path (Il Sentiero del Vino)

One of the best things to do in Dozza, Italy is to walk the Dozza Wine Path. This 6.5 km (4 miles) hike guides you through vineyards, wineries, and stunning panoramic viewpoints of the Dozza hills. On your walk, we recommend stopping at some of the local wineries, exploring their shops, and tasting their wines.

Wineries on the wine path include:

The Dozza Wine Path starts at the Rocca Sforzesca di Dozza and makes a large loop through the countryside and back to this charming village. We recommend taking comfortable shoes for walking as the path is a mix of paved and gravel roads.

The path is well-marked with signposts and historical markers highlighting the geological features of the area.

If you are a true wine lover and want to visit even more wineries, the area around Dozza has quite a few wineries worth visiting. You will need to take a car to reach them, but we recommend visiting some nearby wineries on your way to or from Dozza.

Other wineries near Dozza:

5. Admire the Painted Archway in Piazza Zotti

While Dozza is an old medieval village, the town feels quite modern thanks to the contemporary art that fills its streets. The most iconic of these beautiful murals is the painted archway in Piazza Zotti. Currently, the archway is painted with a mural of the sky dotted with storybook clouds.

The archway spans between a small church and a portico serving as a welcoming entrance into this open air museum.

Every two years in September, Dozza hosts the Biennale del Muro Dipinto which brings national and international artists to paint frescoes on the walls of Dozza. Some murals get painted over, like the archway, while some artists paint new works on open walls.

The festival happens during odd numbered years and includes exhibitions, concerts, and installations in addition to the main mural painting events.

One of the best aspects of Dozza is that no matter what time of year you visit, you never have to worry about paying for tickets, the city being closed, or waiting in long lines to view this world-class art.

6. Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption

The Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption, or Santa Maria Assunta in Italian, is a small church located in the heart of Dozza. This stunning church makes for a nice quiet reprieve from the streets just outside its doors.

The church dates back to 1141 AD and the interior of the building is in the Renaissance style, consisting of a single nave covered by a barrel vault. It’s worth taking a look inside.

7. Walk or Bike along St. Anthony’s Way

St. Anthony’s Way or St. Anthony’s Walk is a pilgrimage that stretches from Veneto to Emilia Romagna and down into Tuscany. A portion of this path runs through the Appenine Mountains right through Dozza.

The trek takes you through beautiful hills and countryside where you can escape from cities and enjoy the beautiful Italian countryside. The path is well-marked and you can go for as long as you want, but you’ll need to come back on the same path as the entire route is longer than 400km.

To get on the trail, you’ll want to start at San Martino in Pedriolo, which is about a 15-minute drive from Dozza.

Is it worth going to Dozza?

Yes, Dozza is worth visiting for anyone who loves art, fine wine, and the Italian countryside. While there are countless charming towns dotted throughout Italy, Dozza is one of the most unique and pleasantly surprising, serving as an open air museum that is worth visiting any time of the year.

If you want to visit Dozza for the Biennale of the Painted Wall, you’ll need to plan your visit for the third week of September during odd-numbered years.

Where to Eat in Dozza, Italy

Dozza is a tiny village with just a couple of restaurants to choose from. That means that on a busy day, you’ll want to make a reservation to ensure you have a spot to eat during your visit.

  1. Ristorante La Scuderia | Located opposite the castle, Ristorante is Dozza’s most popular restaurant. Serving up classic Italian cuisine. We recommend trying their fresh handmade pastas such as garganelli, tagliatelle, tortelloni, or passatelli. They are open every day for lunch and dinner except Tuesdays when they are closed. To make a reservation, you can call them from 8am – 12am at (+39)-0542-678103.
  2. La Bottega Ristorante & Vineria | La Bottega Ristorante & Vineria is another popular restaurant in Dozza for great food and wine. Serving up modern regional fare, you’ll get an interesting take on classic dishes here. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxing, making it a perfect place to eat and drink on your one day in Dozza.
  3. Osteria di Dozza | Osteria di Dozza is known as Dozza’s tavern. It is a laid-back restaurant perfect for families or larger groups. They serve up many of the local favorites including tortelloni with pumpkin in the fall. This is a fun restaurant with a nice covered eating area outback for the warmer months.

Where to Stay in Dozza, Italy

There are only a couple of hotel options in the actual town of Dozza. We are sharing our hotel and bed and breakfast recommendations below.

How much time to spend in Dozza?

We recommend spending a half-day in Dozza. You can see all of the sites within a 3-4 hour window. This will give you time to see the painted houses, the castle, and visit the enoteca where you can stop for a nice drink.

If you plan on doing any of the hiking, either along the Wine Path or St. Anthony’s Way, you could easily spend one day in Dozza.

When is the best time to visit Dozza, Italy

The best time of year to visit Dozza is in the spring or fall. We recommend visiting sometime between May and June or September through November.

One day in Dozza is plenty of time for a visit, and if you are stopping by to view the art, you can make your way through town in an hour or two.

Because the city serves as a free outdoor museum, you can visit any time of the year, but the most pleasant days will be late spring and early fall as the weather is typically mild and pleasant.

How to get to Dozza, Italy

If you’re planning a trip to Dozza, driving there is your best bet. You can find parking just outside of the city where you’ll have to walk a couple of blocks to reach town.

Dozza is very difficult to reach by public transportation, but it can be done with some preparation. If you are going to use public transportation, you need to prepare in advance and take the 147 bus from Imola. The 147 bus is only by reservation. Dozza does not have a train station.

To book to 147 bus, you must call at least 60 minutes in advance to the number 011-39-051-290-299. You can purchase a ticket on the bus by cash only, and only with bills and coins smaller than €5.

To see the 147 bus timetable and fine print, you can look at this PDF (in Italian).

Because of how difficult the journey is to reach Dozza by public transport, we recommend grabbing a taxi from Imola for a short 15-minute drive to Dozza.

Faenza to Dozza

  • Public transport: To get to Dozza from Faenza using public transportation, you’ll take a train from Faenza to Imola where you’ll then walk to the local Bus Station (Autostazione) and hop on the 101 bus to Toscanella. From Toscanella, you’ll get on the 147 bus to Dozza. Remember, you need to reserve this in advance. The estimated travel time is 1 hour 50 minutes. Estimated costs are around €6.50 for a one-way journey.
  • Driving: The quickest way to get to Dozza from Faenza is to hop on the E45 or SS9 to Imola and then follow the signs until you reach Dozza. It should take between 32 – 40 minutes depending on traffic.

Imola to Dozza

  • Public transport: Catch the 101 bus from the Autostazione in Imola to Toscanella. Tickets cost about €2.00 for a one-way journey. From there, get on your reserved spot on the 147 bus to Dozza. You must reserve the 147 in advance. Estimated travel time is 1 hour and 7 minutes.
  • Driving: From the center of town, hop on the SS9 and then turn onto Via Calanco until you reach Dozza. Estimated travel time is 15 minutes.

Bologna to Dolzza

  • Public transport: To get to Dozza from Bologna, you’ll need to take a combination of trains and buses. From Bologna Centrale, you’ll take a regional train to Imola where you’ll need to walk down the street to the Autostazione and catch the 101 bus to Toscanella. Once in Toscanella, get on your reserved 147 bus to Dozza. You must reserve the 147 bus in advance. Estimated travel time is 2 hours. The estimated cost is €8.40 for a one-way journey.
  • Driving: The quickest way to drive from Bologna to Dozza is to take the E45 until you reach Castel San Pietro Terme. From there, you’ll exit, hop on the SP19 until it connects with the SP9. Follow the SP9 until you reach Via Poggiaccio which will take you to Dozza.

More Information for your Trip to Italy

ITALY TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE

Italy Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for Italy? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.

Italy Rental Cars – Is it safe to rent a car in Italy? Yes! We’ve rented a car in Italy too many times to count, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

Italy Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Italy, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Italy, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.

Italy Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Italy? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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