The historic centre of Cento, in Emilia Romagna, is a jewel to explore as you stroll through the arcaded streets and colourful buildings that have earned it the nickname “Little Bologna”. You can start your visit at Piazza del Guercino, where you will find the statue of Italian painter Guercino who was born here, as well as the Governor’s Palace, which is home to the Gallery of Modern Art.
Around the old Jewish ghetto, you can admire Spanish-style wrought-iron balconies. The Rocca castle has dominated the city since 1378, while the San Lorenzo Art Gallery houses works by Guercino. Nearby is the frescoed Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rocca. Strolling along the main street, you can admire the noble residence Casa Pannini. Ten minutes from the centre is the Giant’s Garden, a park where you can find fairy-tale-inspired sculptures.
Don’t miss the historic Cento Carnival, when carnival floats are paraded through the streets of the city. This event, which dates back to the 1600s, is depicted by Guercino in his frescoes. Just outside the village, we recommend visiting the MAGI’900 Museum, which houses contemporary and conceptual art, and the Panfilia Wood, along the river Reno.