Located less than 40 km outside of Bologna, the village of Dozza (population of 6,000) is truly a hidden treasure of the Emilia-Romagna region. Indeed I have rarely heard anyone speak about Dozza, not even a small mentioning from the mouth of a local Bolognese. Even Wikipedia’s page of this hilltop town is bare: one measly paragraph is dedicated to Dozza, followed by a few “yawnful” geographical facts.
Yet it only takes one glimpse at Dozza to understand that the best adjectives to describe it are not “bare”, “measly” or “yawnful”, but rather “vibrant”, “rich” and “unique”. The colorful painted wall murals, which are repainted every two years during its Painted Wall Festival in September, light up every angle of the town, creating a fantastic open museum for visitors. Although it only takes a 5 minutes to walk from one end of the town to the other, one could easily spend hours admiring the art and the charming architecture on every street corner.
While is there is plenty of feasting for your eyes, so too is there an abundance for your taste buds. At Osteria del Borgo, the piadinas are not to be missed. Try the classic prosciutto crudo with squacquerone cheese (essentially the best “ham and cheese” sandwich you will ever eat) for a quick and affordable lunch. Ristorante La Scuderia is also well renowned for its traditional Emilia-Romagna cuisine and its beautiful views of the surrounding rolling green farmland.
For the wine aficionados (or for those who simply like to drink wine, like me), the Dozzese cup runneth over. Located in the basement of the medieval Rocca Sforzesca Castle (which can also be visited for only 5 euros), the Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna is recognized as the central point of promotion for wine and other typical products of the Emilia-Romagna region. Here you can buy regional wine, such as Pignoletto, Trebbiano and Sangiovese, as well as enjoy a wine sampling in the small and cozy tasting room.
The best way to get get to Dozza is by car. When arrive, you must park your car in the parking lot just before the archway and walk into the center (a 2 minute walk). Only residents are permitted to drive within the city walls.
One more point I must add: I visited Dozza on a cold, rainy day and enjoyed it immensely! Can you imagine what it’s like on a warm, clear sunny day?