Re Enzo Palace

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Re Enzo palace, bologna italy
Maretta Angelini, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Re Enzo palace, bologna italy
Maretta Angelini, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Palazzo Re Enzo è sicuramente da annoverare tra gli edifici più maestosi di Bologna. Il solo guardare la sua facciata ti farà sognare di vivere in antichi giorni di splendore.

Il palazzo ti aspetta nel pieno del centro storico e il suo ingresso affaccia sulla celebre statua del Nettuno.

Re Enzo palace is certainly to be counted among the most majestic buildings in Bologna. Just looking at its facade will make you dream of living in ancient days of splendor.

The palace awaits you in the heart of the historic center and its entrance overlooks the famous statue of Neptune.

Indice dei contenuti

Re Enzo Palace in a nutshell

The beautiful medieval palace was built in the mid-1200s by the Municipality as an extension of the spaces it was building at that time for public functions, we are talking about the Palazzo Del Capitano del Popolo and Palazzo del Podestà.

Just to distinguish it from the latter, it was called Palazzo Nuovo for a period.

Where is it?

The facades stand out on Piazza Maggiore, Via Rizzoli and Piazza del Nettuno.

Entrance times and costs

The palace can only be visited during events (about 150 each year).

The cost of the ticket varies according to the conditions of the individual events and on some of the occasions it can be free.

The medieval beauty of the palace

One of the things that is most striking looking at the building from the outside are the beautiful Gothic style battlements, typical of the medieval era.

However, a keen eye would notice that they are hiding a secret: in reality they are not that ancient. in fact, they are the result of a restoration of the palace by Alfonso Rubbiani.

Around 1905, the architect tried to restore this magnetic building to its former glory by reconstructing some important details for the history of the building in several places.

In addition to the battlements, the arches on the ground floor and the staircase are also attributable to that period. However, not all the renovations were very faithful and some more imaginative than realistic changes were made, typical of the artistic fashion of the time.

During this period, several structures that had surrounded the building, part of the ancient Mercato Di Mezzo district now kwow as the Quadrilatero, were also demolished.


Attend one of the events to better admire the ancient building

Re Enzo palace, bologna italy, inside
Palazzo Re Enzo, internal courtyard ©

If you are lucky enough to participate in one of the many events that animate the imposing palace, you will be delighted from the moment you enter. In fact, we remind you that visits are only possible on special occasions, which are however not few, there are more than 50 events that take place in this suggestive setting every year and the place can be visited about 150 days a year.

As we cross the entrance we find the ancient and beautiful sandstone well to welcome us together with the suggestive fifteenth-century staircase on the left, one of Rubbiani’s restorations.

Before continuing to discover this legendary place, we recommend looking at the back of the Chapel of Santa Maria Dei Carcerati on the right, the place where the prisoners gathered before being sentenced to death.

The entrance to the very small church is located next to the Voltone del Podestà, which we remember contains one of the seven secrets of Bologna.

Palazzo Re Enzo a name full of legend

We know that in the beginning the palace was called Palatium Novum but its true fame lies behind the name it took from its most illustrious prisoner. Yes, since 1249, just three years after his birth, the Palace was the prison of Enzo Di Sardegna, also known as Enzo di Svevia, son of Federico II.

Our king Enzo stayed here for 23 years, until his death in 1272. The illustrious personage never left Bologna, in fact his remains are now in the Basilica of San Domenico as per his will.

There are several stories and legends behind his years of imprisonment that make a visit to this complex even more fascinating.

One of these sees him related to the Bentivoglio, a very important feudal family for Bologna, they were the lords of the city and it seems that the progenitor is none other than the illegitimate son of King Enzo, had by a peasant woman during her imprisonment in the palace.

The mysterious garden of the Lazzarina

The history of the palace hides in itself mysteries and legends.

Another of these can be discovered by carefully observing the right wall of the building as soon as you enter the complex. You can notice something unusual looking up, you can recognize an opening that is not really a window. In fact it was nothing more than a sort of French window that overlooked a balcony always full of beautiful flowers, so beautiful that they won the name of Garden.

Only there is a sinister side to this story, because the owner of the Balcony, Lazzarina, was the hangman’s wife.

Those sentenced to death must not have been too happy at the sight of that spectacle because it’s said that the woman added a flower to her balcony every time her husband completed his tremendous task.

Time to visit Palazzo Re Enzo!

So what are you waiting for to immerse yourself in the discovery of this important piece of history and go back in time?

Maybe you could do it while savoring the typical dishes of the Bolognese tradition, his majesty Il Tortellino, during the festival dedicated to him that animates the palace for three days at the beginning of October. Or with a more modern approach, to the sound of electronic music during the RobOt Festival.

There is much more to discover ...

Just a few steps from Palazzo Re Enzo, many other adventures and beautiful places await you.

Among the most beautiful things to do in Bologna there is certainly the “climb” of the Torre degli Asinelli which will take you along almost 500 ancient wooden steps.

If you are looking for a more relaxing activity, perhaps involving only the effort of the jaw, they could be interesting 2o places where to eat suggested by our guide!

4.5/5 - (2 votes)
This article was written by:
Camilla Viviani
With a keen passion for food, art, and history, I’m always eager to uncover Bologna’s hidden gems and indulge in its cultural offerings, never passing up a chance to explore its myriad museums. As an enthusiastic cartographer and meticulous planner, I thrive on crafting uncommune travel itineraries that promise to delight travelers, offering unique experiences that leave lasting memories.
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