Welcome to the heart of Imola, a city rich in history, culture, and irresistible flavors!

Imola is located in Romagna, reachable by traveling along the Via Emilia, a short distance from Bologna and Ravenna.”

If you’re planning a visit to Imola and wondering what to see, where to savor local delicacies, and where to find a cozy refuge for the night, you’re in the right place.

Among its historical gems stand the majestic Rocca Sforzesca, a silent witness to epic events, and the ancient pharmacy of the Hospital, keeper of ancient recipes and remedies. Another historical excellence is the magnificent Cathedral of San Cassiano, a true treasure trove of art and devotion. For motorsport enthusiasts, an unmissable place is the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit.

But there’s more: if you’re looking for unforgettable culinary experiences and a charming stay, I recommend trying the delights of Cardello Locanda, where taste and tradition blend into a perfect union.

Get ready to explore Imola in all its magnificence, amidst art, gastronomy, and unparalleled comfort!

The Rocca Sforzesca in Imola: history, prices, and opening hours.

Rocca Sforzesca

The Rocca Sforzesca in Imola is an authentic historical gem that enchants visitors with its grandeur and charm even from the outside.

The origins of this medieval castle date back to 1261, and today it represents an icon of power and majesty in the architectural landscape of the region. Initially erected for defensive purposes, over the centuries the Rocca Sforzesca has undergone multiple transformations, including its use as a prison, bearing witness to secrets and human destinies.

In 1502, the Rocca witnessed meetings between illustrious figures such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci, the latter summoned by Cesare Borgia – who had conquered the Rocca in 1499 – to inspect the city’s defenses.

A place steeped in mystery and legends, the walls of the Rocca tell stories of heroism and sacrifice, inviting visitors to explore its halls, lose themselves in its corridors, and be transported back in time, discovering an era of chivalry and daring. Among the attractions, in addition to the evocative armory hall, there is also a fine collection of ceramics.

At the end of the path, visitors are rewarded with a charming view of the city of Imola, reachable by climbing up the observation tower of the Rocca.

To visit the Rocca, you can go there on Thursdays or Fridays from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, or on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and in the afternoon from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Currently, the full ticket price is 4 euros, while the reduced one costs 3 euros. A definitely worthwhile investment! 😉

The Municipal Pharmacy of Imola Hospital

Antica Farmacia Imola

If you’re planning a visit to Imola, you absolutely can’t miss the opportunity to explore the ancient Pharmacy of the Hospital.

Inaugurated in the distant year of 1794, this pharmacy still retains much of its eighteenth-century atmosphere, despite the facade being renovated in 1928. A true treasure composed of 457 vintage majolica jars, locally made, adorns the elegant shelves of carved wood, crafted by the skillful cabinetmaker Giuseppe Magistretti. The decorative paintings on the ceiling, created by the renowned artists Angelo Gottarelli and Alessandro della Nave, celebrate the virtues of medicine and the regenerative power of nature, evoking the style of the city palaces of the 18th century. Still in operation, the pharmacy opens its doors to visitors during scheduled hours, offering a fascinating journey through the past and present of medical care in Imola.

Make sure to include this stop in your itinerary in Imola for an experience that combines history, art, and the well-being of health.

Imola’s San Cassiano Cathedral

Duomo di San Cassiano

Located in the heart of Imola, the San Cassiano Cathedral stands majestically in the historic center of the city. Its central location makes it easily accessible and places it at the center of attention for visitors exploring the wonders of this fascinating location.

The San Cassiano Cathedral is a true treasure of history and art. Its imposing walls and majestic columns narrate centuries of tradition and devotion. The frescoes and artworks inside it constitute precious testimonies of Imola’s rich cultural history.

I was truly fascinated by the magnificence of the Cathedral’s architecture. The intricate sculptures, ornate altars, and decorated vaults offer a visual spectacle like no other. Every corner reveals extraordinary details that capture the imagination of those who visit.

The San Cassiano Cathedral is also a place of reflection and spirituality. Its serene and solemn atmosphere invites contemplation and inner peace. Visitors, believers or not, can find here a moment of tranquility and connection with the sacred.

The historic center of Imola and its characteristic arcades

Portici Imola

Imola’s historic center is a maze of cobbled streets, lively squares, and historic monuments, among which stand out the arcades that adorn the streets with elegance and practicality. These majestic structures offer a refuge from the summer sun and winter rains, creating a unique and welcoming atmosphere. Visiting Imola means immersing oneself in its millenary history.

Imola, the enchanting city of Emilia-Romagna, boasts one of the most fascinating features of urban architecture: its arcades. Symbols of tradition and hospitality, Imola’s arcades are just one of the many reasons why this city is a must-visit for travelers seeking authenticity and beauty.

The arcades are also a must-see stop for motorsport enthusiasts. Walking under Imola’s arcades is like paying homage to the characters who have made Formula 1 history. Here you can encounter the faces immortalized in photographs of Enzo Ferrari, Michael Schumacher, Nelson Piquet, Gilles Villeneuve, and many others.

Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit in Imola

Autodromo di Imola

Nestled in the beautiful hills of Emilia-Romagna, the Enzo Ferrari International Circuit is located in the heart of Imola. Its privileged location makes it easily accessible and places it at the center of attention for motorsport enthusiasts from around the world.

Undoubtedly, a passion for motorsport can be a fundamental motivation for visiting the racetrack. This historic circuit has hosted some of the most epic Formula 1 races and continues to be a place where the passion for four wheels comes to life.

I can’t deny that a ride on the circuit is an unforgettable experience that will make you feel part of motorsport history. A must-see is a stop at the Ayrton Senna Monument, a legendary figure of Formula 1. Ayrton, the Brazilian driver, was Formula 1 World Champion for several years: 1988, 1990, 1991. Unfortunately, he lost his life due to serious injuries sustained in an accident during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, precisely at the Tamburello corner, where now stands his statue in his honor. Visiting this monument is a tribute to the great Brazilian driver and a reflection on the passion and courage that characterized his career.

At the same time, the beauty of the Mineral Water Park will make you fall even more in love with the place. This park, created in the second half of the nineteenth century, surrounds the city and offers a refuge of tranquility and natural beauty. A walk along the park will allow you to immerse yourself in Imola’s historical green lung, rich in a variety of tree species, both native and exotic.

If you’re still wondering why visit the Enzo and Dino Ferrari International Circuit, I can assure you that it offers a unique experience that combines adrenaline, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a motorsport enthusiast, a history buff, or a nature lover, Imola has something special to offer to all its visitors.

What to do in Imola

Circuito di Imola

As mentioned earlier, Imola, a city rich in history and motorsports, offers motorsport enthusiasts a unique experience. Mainly known for the legendary Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit, Imola is a must-visit for speed enthusiasts. Here, Formula 1 fans can relive the emotions of the great champions who have challenged the circuit in epic races.

But Imola isn’t just about Formula 1; it’s also the heart of the MotoGP, where the best motorcycle riders compete for glory on an iconic track. Motorcycle enthusiasts can also enjoy the World SBK and the World MXGP, which bring adrenaline and action to the circuit. Not only international competitions, but also national events like the Italian Motorcycle Speed Championship add color and vibrancy to Imola’s motorsport scene.

For those who love four-wheel racing, Imola also hosts events like the Ferrari Challenge and the International GT Open, offering a wide range of experiences for motorsport enthusiasts. In short, Imola is much more than just a city: it’s an icon for motorsport enthusiasts, a place where the passion for speed and competition blends with local history and culture.

I myself have approached Imola repeatedly over the years to see live SBK races, this in past years, while in October I was there for a different event.

Past events

In October 2023, I visitedEnzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit On October 12th and 13th, the new edition of the AMG Performance Day took place, where Mercedes-AMG customers were invited to the circuit with their own cars or behind the wheel of the latest offerings from the “One man, one engine” brand. On this occasion, the new Mercedes-AMG GT was presented, a captivating Gran Turismo that enchanted all the enthusiasts present in the room. During these days, I had the opportunity to take a ride on the track aboard a Mercedes S 63, driven by a professional driver, and the excitement was incredible! Wow!

The most sensational news, in my opinion, is that a Sardinian company, Cube Controls, has managed to establish a partnership with Mercedes-AMG. Right in mid-October, during the event, one of their innovative products in the field of Sim Racing was presented: the Cube Controls x Mercedes-AMG GT Edition Sim Wheel. It’s worth noting that this steering wheel is used by professional drivers to prepare for real races, and the sensation you experience when using it is that of truly being on the track. If you want to learn more about this company and their fantastic products, you can follow their Instagram channel!

Where to eat in Imola

Imola, a gastronomic gem of Emilia-Romagna, boasts a rich culinary tradition reflected in its first-class restaurants.

Eating poorly in Emilia Romagna is almost impossible, and in Imola, I had no difficulty either. While strolling through the streets of the historic center, I stopped for lunch with my son Tommaso at the RiStorico Restaurant. Here I tried the famous Cotoletta alla Bolognese for the first time, truly tasty and definitely a hearty meal, while my son opted for one of his favorite dishes, pasta with Ragù. I must say that for a restaurant in the city center, the prices are more than fair, and with a single dish, one feels immediately satisfied.

If you find yourself near the Imola Circuit, I recommend Doppio Malto, a chain certainly known by many as it is present in several locations throughout Italy. I like the creativity of the dishes here, flavorful and definitely very generous.

A place I highly recommend if you want to embark on a journey through the distinctive flavors of Emilia-Romagna is Il Cardello Locanda. Just take a look at their menu to realize that it’s truly an exceptional dining spot. A charming location where the staff welcomes guests in a hospitable and familiar atmosphere, and traditional dishes are enhanced by fresh ingredients carefully selected.

Where to stay in Imola

If you’re looking for a cozy and picturesque place to stay near Imola, I recommend considering Il Cardello Locanda. It’s located in the municipality of Casola Valsenio, about 19 km from the Imola Circuit, and in the past, it was common to stay in one of the three beautiful rooms available. A place surrounded by nature, and what I remember most are the breakfasts, with fresh and genuine ingredients. Truly, a place that has remained in my heart.

Un altro posto dove ho soggiornato a pochi passi da Imola è l’Hotel Castello che si trova a Castel San Pietro Terme. The service is good, and during my stay, I discovered that among the guests in the past, there was also the great Ayrton Senna. Indeed, in the lobby, there is a showcase with various memorabilia and a tribute dedicated to the great Formula 1 driver.

Concluding this journey through the wonders of Imola, I hope to have inspired you to explore this fascinating city and to live unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re enjoying culinary delights in its renowned restaurants, visiting its historic monuments, or immersing yourself in its vibrant atmosphere, Imola offers something special for everyone.

For further adventures and travel tips, don’t forget to follow me on social media. Troverai contenuti esclusivi sul mio canale YouTube e su Instagram, dove condivido le mie esperienze e suggerimenti per scoprire i tesori nascosti di luoghi incantevoli che ho la fortuna di visitare. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey!