Villa Spada Garden

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villa spada in bologna
The Park of Villa Spada ©
villa spada in bologna
The Park of Villa Spada ©

The Villa Spada Garden is one of the most characteristic green areas of Bologna, it extends for over 6 hectares and in some places reaches 120 meters in height. Inside the park there is no shortage of fabulous views created with great skill by a skillful mix of natural elements and architecture.

Table of Contents

Villa Spada in a Nutshell

The park is located just outside Saragozza Gate, right on the route recommended by our tour that leads to the church of San Luca, and stands on what was once the estate of the Zambeccari marquises which was purchased by the municipality of Bologna in the 1960s.

The flora and intricate paths of this park are not the only reasons to visit it, from an architectural point of view, the points of greatest interest inside are the villa from which the park takes its name and the neo-Gothic turret.

Where is it

Via di Casaglia, 3

The Green Area

villa spada bologna - gardens
Gardens of Villa Spada ©

This lovely green corner offers a diverse mix of flora in a relaxing setting. The paths around the main building are dominated by majestic evergreen trees such as cedars and yews, but as you approach the heart of the park, Mediterranean species prevail.

Heading beyond the villa, the vegetation changes to a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs. The Ravone valley was in the past used for cultivation and grazing, while the less sunny side offers a shady environment with native trees.

The park has been enriched with new species and ornamental shrubs after a renovation, making it even more fascinating and diverse for anyone who visits it.

Once you reach the top of the hill and look out onto the side that faces the city centre, it will be possible to admire the intriguing panorama of Via Saragozza which stretches straight towards the gate of the same name framed by the roofs of the adjacent houses.

The Villa

villa spada
Villa Spada ©

Villa Spada is a perfect example of eighteenth-century architecture, with an Italian garden, a fountain and a large staircase of honor.

The origin of Villa Spada is not precisely attested. Located on the ancient estate of the Zambeccari marquises, the neoclassical building was associated with Giovanni Battista Martinetti, a skilled architect who worked in Bologna starting in 1774. The previous structure was probably built during the period in which the estate was owned by Jacopo Zambeccari.

The history of Villa Spada has been shaped by epochal events. In 1849, during a crucial moment of revolt, the villa became the Austrian headquarters.

Over the decades, Villa Spada changed owners, passing from the hands of the Spadas to the Pisas, and then to the Levis. Once home to a Turkish prince and a famous Bolognese tenor, the villa later opened its doors to the public thanks to its acquisition by the Municipality of Bologna. Today, it houses the Museo del Tessuto e della Tappezzeria “Vittorio Zironi” (Fabric and Upholstery Museum), a tribute to arts and craftsmanship.

The Tower of Villa Spada

villa spada - Tower
The Tower of Villa Spada ©

The neo-Gothic tower in the park of Villa Spada is known for the tradition that Ugo Bassi was locked up there before his execution.

In its current state the tower has an unusual gable roof above a buffered battlement. However, in 1964, during the restoration work on the roof, traces of a previous roof were found under the impost line of the battlements, raising doubts whether the tower could originally have had a crenellated crown. Since no documents were found attesting to the changes over time, the decision was not to restore the tower to its original condition.

Only in 2018, with the discovery of historical documents, it was discovered that the tower had been modified in 1861 to be used as a powder warehouse, and that once returned to the owner it would not be returned to its original state.

Continue your adventure!

As we conclude this part of the journey, we recommend exploring other gems of Bologna, perhaps taking the walking route to San Luca. If you love nature, don’t miss the Margherita Gardens and the relaxing Montagnola Garden. Each place has its own story to tell, helping to make Bologna a tourist destination not to be forgotten.

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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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