LOCAL HISTORY: PIANORO
Pianoro lies along the main road to the Futa pass.
Castello di Pianoro is mentioned in an historical
document dating back to 1009. The castle stands on a
hill-top one kilometre south of Pianoro Vecchia to the
right of the Savena river and served to defend the important
road link between Bologna and Florence.
In 1377 the castle was razed to the ground by the
Bolognese who accused the people of Pianoro of conspiring
against them as they had offered hospitality to enemies plotting
against the papal government.
One kilometre before Pianoro Vecchio, there is a tower, Torre
dei Lu-pari, built in the fifteenth century.
The building has two stories and an inner courtyard enclosed on
three sides with a beautiful fountain bearing the words:
COMODITALI PUBLICAE PRECARIO, indicating the source in a
powerful noble family of the time.
Rebuilt after the war, Torre dei Lupari is a round
tower with a spiral staircase leading to the upper floors and a
window at the top to protect the outside entrance.
At the foot of Monte delle Formiche stands another castle,
Castello di Zena, named after the river flowing nearby.
The castle was mentioned in an 1177 document and its
present architecture recalls the style of the XIV and
In 1270 Count Guido Selvatico di Dovadola was
imprisoned there after falling into the hands of the counts of
Loiano in a battle at San Lazzaro and then freed by the
Bolognese. Also part of the castle is Torre dell’Erede, built
higher up in the XIV century as a look-out tower.
Monte delle Formiche is located 15 km from Pianoro. On its
hill-top rises a sanctuary, Chiesa di S. Maria di Zena
known as Monte delle Formiche, the hill of the ants, a church of
Romanesque origin but rebuilt in 1949.
The place is famous for an event occurring every year on 8th
September, the Feast of Our Lady, when swarms of
flying ants reach the top of the hill to die against the outside
walls of the church where they are collected, blessed and
distributed to the faithful.
Musiano is an ancient hamlet on the site of the Abbey of St.
Bartholomew owned by the Bologna diocese.
In the grounds of the church is the Chapel of the Neri
family where the world renowned neurologist Vincenzo Neri
The present-day parish church of St. Bartholomew and
adjacent abbey date back to 981 built with the help of
Counts Adalbert and Bertilia. Many other donations
were given to the church including a gift from Marquis
Boniface of Tuscany, father of Matilda of Canossa.
Benedictine monks lived at the abbey in 1307 followed by
the Celestine order in 1493 remaining at Musiano until
The church complex was destroyed during the last war and rebuilt
As you enter the church, an urn is displayed, found intact among
the ruins of the church. Popular legend has it that the vessel
has the power to cure or prevent headaches by placing your head
in its wide opening.
According to tradition, the urn may have been one of the
jars containing water turned into wine by Jesus at the
marriage of Cana and was taken to Musiano during the
Another object of interest is the wooden statue of Saint
Bartholomew dating back to the XIII century. An inscription
in the arch of the Chapel reads: in the year 1701,
building the chapel for the urn, the ancient statue of saint
Bartholomew was found in the wall and is venerated here.
In the hills between the Reno and Savena rivers in
the Bologna municipality on the border of Pianoro
lies Castell’Arienti. The locality is mentioned in
documents dating back to 1493 when the palace there was
sold to Paleotti.
Drawings of the building show a single palace with a high
portico on the front and two lower U-shaped wings.
Outside was a water tank placed in one of the columns forming
the main entrance in the upper façade of the palace.
A separate building helda stable for horses and another
two stables for cattle, a dovecote, a portico joined to the east
and a deep well adjoining another stable. Alongside the palace
was an Oratory built on the model of the Chruch of Our Lady
The building, already unstable in 1726, was carefully
restored in 1939 only to be bombed in the last war.