02-The painted walls of Dozza
Dozza is an Italian town located amongst the rolling hills and vineyards outside of Bologna. Charming cobblestone streets, historic architecture and pastel-coloured walls are enough to make any self-respecting traveller swoon, especially those with a love of all things Italy.
But Dozza is more than just charming; the town itself is an incredible open-air art gallery. In 1960, the town established the Biennale del Muro Dipinto (Biennial of the Painted Wall), a festival of art that showcases contemporary and modern art, not just on canvas, but on the very walls of the town.
Since its inception, there have been over 100 works painted on the town walls. Every two years, 200+ artists travel from all around the world to create and showcase their work in the open-air art gallery. Thus, the streets of Dozza are completely covered in murals of all types, giving the town an eclectic feel. The result is a mesmerising open-air art gallery that will leave you in awe.
The festival itself usually occurs in mid-September (the last edition was in 2021 - details here), when the streets and fortress come alive with events, exhibitions, concerts, as well as art. You can even hear directly from artists as they discuss their work.
You see, Dozza is home to the Biennale del Muro Dipinto (Biennial of the Painted Wall), a festival of contemporary art that uses the ancient facades of Dozza as the canvas. Houses, arches, churches, porticoes, streets and squares are home to over 100 contemporary art pieces. It's, for this reason, been named one the 'most beautiful towns in Italy'.
Of course, it wouldn't be a typical Italian village without its fair share of other attractions, including a middle-ages Fortress, an exceptional wine cellar (Enoteca), and a variety of top restaurants. But really, it's the murals that shine colourfully in Dozza, and should be reason enough to visit this hidden gem. A local landmark is Dozza Castle, whose cellars host Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna, the enoteca and wine bar dedicated to oenologic products of Emilia-Romagna.