In the footsteps of history among the chestnut groves of Castel del Rio
Among the centuries-old chestnut groves in the mountains surrounding the Valle del Santerno lies Castel del Rio, a town that was once ruled by the Alidosi family.
This lineage is seen throughout the town, starting with Palazzo Alidosi, which today houses the town hall and the Museum della Guerra e della Linea Gotica. There is also a bridge named Ponte degli Alidosi.
A visit to the town
This is a landscape dominated by chestnut groves that produce the famous Marroni di Castel del Rio chestnuts, protected by the PGI label.
This area was also a theatre of war and the Museo della Guerra e della Linea Gotica tells the history of the two World Wars through a collection of military objects found on the battlefields: mostly uniforms and weapons, but also everyday objects.
One part of the museum, called the Animal Tower, tells the story of the local fauna.
The museum is located in the Palazzo Alidosi – originally a military building also known as the “Fortress Palace” with polygonal bastions dating back to the 16th century. It was built by Cesare Alidosi and his uncle Rizzardo, but family disputes soon interrupted its construction and the palace remained unfinished.
The Alidosi Bridge has carried locals over the Santerno River for over five centuries with its imposing humpback structure. When it was built in 1499 at the request of the Alidosi family, its purpose was to facilitate trade between the two banks. In summer, visitors can swim here and enjoy the picnic area.
Autumn in Castel del Rio
Autumn is the ideal season to visit Castel del Rio, especially when the village celebrates its star product of excellence in the Sagra del Marrone (Chestnut Festival). Chestnuts, also known as “bread of the forest”, are used to prepare many local dishes. You can even join in the chestnut harvest. The forests offer a wonderful setting for autumnal walks.
Riding along the cycle path
The Santerno cycle route takes you through Mordano, Imola, Casalfiumanese, Borgo Tossignano, Fontanelice and Castel del Rio. The route is suitable for all abilities and immerses you in nature. Hop on your bike and enjoy cycling along dirt paths and asphalt stretches running from Imola area to the Apennines.
Between June and July, Castel del Rio hosts Feste Rinascimentali (Renaissance Festivals) to explore the town’s past.
Every Sunday in October, the Sagra del Marrone (Chestnut Festival) is held. Porcini mushrooms are celebrated between August and September. September is also when another truly unmissable gastronomic festival takes place: the Sagra del Tartufo (Truffle Festival).
A tour of the surroundings
Not far from Castel del Rio is the Parco della Vena del Gesso Romagnola (Chalk Vein Park), accessed from Borgo Tossignano. A few miles further on, leave your car on Via Montanara and take the downhill road that leads to the Moraduccio waterfall – a magical place where the Rio dei Briganti meets the Santerno. From here, it is a short walk to the charming abandoned village of Castiglioncello.