Imola is familiar to many sport fans as the home of one of Italy’s most famous racetracks. The surrounding Apennine Mountains add drama to the town’s pleasant historic center, where a number of interesting attractions can be found within easy walking distance.
Set on the border between Emilia and Romagna, Imola has been inhabited as far back as the Bronze Age. After Roman rule, it became an independent commune in the 11th century and was finally annexed with the Papal States in 1504.
Today, the town is best known as the home of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where important races such as the Formula One San Marino Grand Prix, the Formula 3000 World Championship and other important sporting events have taken place since the 1950s. Stop by to pay your respects at the memorial for legendary Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, who was killed in an accident on this track in 1994.
See the panoramic views from the top of Sforza Castle. Inside the castle, you’ll find an exceptional collection of old weapons and medieval ceramics.
Check out the artifacts housed in the Palazzo Tozzoni, a well-preserved historic mansion. Admire the stuccoes and sculptures that decorate the main staircase and browse the library’s collection of books, some of which date back to the 16th century.
Don’t miss the San Domenico Museum, which is set in a former convent that dates back to the 14th century. With more than 600 pieces, including ceramics, drawings, paintings, coins and sculptures, the museum traces the history of Imola from the medieval period to modern times. Keep an eye out for paintings by well-known artists, including Innocenzo da Imola and Guttuso.
One of the best times of year to visit Imola is during June, when streets artists perform in the town center for Imola in Musica. In November you can sample the city’s rich cuisine at Baccanale, an event that celebrates all forms of gastronomy. Imola is located 26 miles (42 kilometers) from Bologna.