Rocchetta Mattei

Historic Building in Bologna

Grizzana Morandi, Rocchetta Mattei
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Gianni Careddu

Situated slightly north of Riola in the municipality of Grizzana Morandi, the Rocchetta Mattei stands as one of the most captivating and distinctive structures in the vicinity of Bologna.

The construction of this extraordinary building commenced in 1850 under the direction of Count Cesare Mattei, a prominent figure in Bologna. Disillusioned by political and personal setbacks, the count withdrew from city life and dedicated himself entirely to the creation of Rocchetta—a veritable castle characterized by its unique and eclectic style. Simultaneously, he pursued the study of “electrohomoeopathy,” a paramedical practice that combined principles of naturopathy with the investigation of electrical charges. The count’s diverse and singular personality is splendidly reflected in the architecture, where Moorish-inspired rooms and towers intermingle with medieval-like structures, sometimes connected by Art Nouveau staircases.

Among its unforgettable features, the “Courtyard of the Lions” stands out—a scaled reproduction of the courtyard found in the Alhambra of Granada. Another remarkable highlight is the “Chapel,” characterized by an elegant interplay of black and white, drawing inspiration from the architectural style of the Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba. Following Cesare Mattei’s passing, the Rocchetta passed into the hands of his adopted son and later a local merchant, who capitalized on its popularity by transforming it into a hotel with an adjacent restaurant. This commercial management persisted until the 1980s when the entire complex was abandoned.

Today, thanks to the restoration efforts carried out by the Carisbo Foundation of Bologna since 2005, a substantial portion of Rocchetta Mattei is open to visitors. The ongoing restoration aims to gradually unveil more sections of the castle, allowing the public to delve further into its intriguing history and architectural wonders.

The Rocchetta Mattei appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Bologna!

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Visiting Rocchetta Mattei


Adults: € 10, Children € 5

Address: Rocchetta Mattei, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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