Rock of Imola (Italy)
Emilia-Romagna See list of castles in Italia
A splendid example of fortified architecture between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, its origins date back to 1261. On the perimeter of the original structure there were nine quadrangular towers, only a tenth tower, the keep, still stands at the center of the inner courtyard. The Church of Rome, the noble families of the Alidosi, the Visconti then the Manfredi led Imola and the Rocca. However, it was at the end of the fifteenth century that the Sforza family began the complete Renaissance transformation of the building which continued with the new lord of Imola Girolamo Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV and husband of Caterina Sforza. Starting from 1480 the square corner towers were incorporated into new and thicker circular towers capable of resisting the blows of the bombs, and the construction of a residence, the Palazzetto, was also started. The death of Pope Sixtus IV marks the beginning of the crisis of the Riario Sforza lordship over the city, up to the siege of the Rocca moved by Cesare Borgia, known as il Valentino, who in 1499 decreed the return of a direct papal dominion. The Valentino then used the advice of Leonardo da Vinci in 1502 to inspect the Romagnol fortresses including the Imola one: the Imola plant that Leonardo laid out, where the Rocca is also clearly visible. Finally, with the definitive annexation of Imola to the Papal State, the use of the fortress environments as a prison is strengthened, a situation that remained until 1958 when restoration work was started and the Sforza monument was destined to become a museum.