The fortress stands majestically near Porta Bologna, one of the four medieval gateways leading to the village. Following the agreements between the City of Bologna and the people of Pieve in 1380, the fortress was designed and built between 1382 and 1387, to offer protection and defence to the community. It was erected according to a design by Antonio Di Vincenzo, who also designed the Basilica of St Petronius. At that time the fortress changed from a generic fortification into a stand-alone military structure and was used exclusively as barracks for an armed garrison. The plan of the building is in the shape of a square, divided into a further nine squares housing the main blocks of the fortress: the keep and portals. In the early 1980s, the fortress underwent restoration work to preserve its characteristic features. After the last redevelopment, following the earthquake of 2012, the fortress is now home to Pieve's new History Museum. The eight rooms tell the thousand years of the village's history, from the first settlement through to the changes in the landscape, demographics, planning scheme and local industry and culture.