Weekend in the Bolognese Apennines

A weekend in the Bolognese Apennines is an opportunity to discover an enchanted place off the beaten track, Rocchetta Mattei, in the Bolognese municipality of Grizzana Morandi, about 20 km away from Porretta Terme.

A true architectural gem that, thanks to the restoration sponsored by the Cassa in Risparmio di Bologna Foundation, has regained all its charm and with the commitment of local authorities – the Municipality of Grizzana Morandi, the Metropolitan City of Bologna and the Union of Municipalities in the Apennines Bolognese – reopened to the public in 2015.

With surreal and eclectic architectural forms, Rocchetta Mattei is an absolute fairytale and out of the ordinary castle, inspired by the architecture of world-famous buildings, such as the Alhambra in Granada or the Great Mosque of Cordoba, is the quintessential set of styles – medieval, gothic, Moorish, liberty – in a path full of symbolisms and esoteric references, between illusion and mystery.

Built at the behest of Count Cesare Mattei (1809-1896), literary man, politician, inventor of electro-homeopathy, who made him famous throughout Europe, as a reference place to welcome patients who came from all over the world to take advantage of his ” alternative ”- medicine, a science based on the combination of homeopathic-like granules with 5 electric liquids to restore the correct balance of the body’s electric charges and restore it to neutrality. The principles were extracted from officinal plants and worked with a secret methodology, and the methodology gave the simple elements their therapeutic efficacy.

The guided tour of the Rocchetta Mattei takes the visitor through a maze of courtyards, narrow and steep stairs and themed rooms, decorations and deceptions of perspective, between esoteric symbols and numerology or bizarre and fascinating decorations trompe l’oeil.

A visit out of the box in the name of originality in the Bolognese Apennines, where even the Tsar of Russia came to be treated by Mattei, as well as the writer Dostoevsky who, mindful of the experience, mentioned Count Mattei in his literary masterpiece ” The Karamázov brothers “.

Rocchetta Mattei is also an extraordinary venue for events, concerts, exhibitions and private ceremonies.

It can be visited only upon reservation.

If the eccentricity of Rocchetta Mattei is not sufficient, the surrounding area offers other extraordinary visiting experiences to complete the weekend program in the Bolognese Apennines.

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is located in Riola di Vergato and can be reached quickly from Rocchetta Mattei.

It is considered one of the greatest examples of sacred modern architecture designed by Alvar Aalto, architect, designer, Finnish academic, master of the modern movement, exponent of functionalism. The lines, the volumes, the light, everything focuses attention on the central point of the liturgy, without the distractions caused by the furnishings reduced to the essentials

Borgo La Scola, whose existence dates back to the 6th century but which we have traces documented since 1385, is a magical place that miraculously resists the passage of time. Built in a strategic position from the military point of view (here the border that divided the Exarchate from the lands of the Lombards passed here), the current aspect of the village was formed between the XIV and XVI when the inhabitants of the countryside took possession lands left by monasteries and noble families who returned to the cities. The towers, no longer as means of defense, were transformed into houses under the skillful hands of the Comacini Masters who worked in these areas starting from the ‘300.

For an out of the ordinary weekend in the Bolognese Apennines, Hotel Helvetia Thermal SPA in Porretta Terme is the ideal starting point for the discovery of these special places and offers tailor-made packages to enrich your trip with a thermal experience about wellness and relaxation.

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