In the province of Modena, Vignola is located on the first highlands of the Emilia region, along the left bank of the river Panaro. Immersed in a landscape full of characteristic views, rich in history and charm, the city offers relax possibilities or pleasant trekking and biking trails through the territory of the Regional Park of the Sassi of Roccamalatina.
The town's name seems to derive from "vineola" (small vineyard) to indicate a thriving presence of vines, widely practiced already at the times of the Roman Empire on the alluvial soils of the area.
Even though the territories have been inhabited since ancient times, the first written documents that report its presence go back only to 826: in particular, in an act of exchange in favor of the Abbot of the Monastery of Nonantola, in which the settlement was ceded to him "in loco viniore de saxo"; and at the same time, the construction of the original castle was started, which local traditions tell, was built by Saint Anselm, as a defense of the lands owned by the monastery.
Subsequently the city submitted the domain of Modena, the family Grassoni, and finally, the Este. In 1401 Nicholas III d'Este donated to Uguccione of the Contrari of Ferrara, the Castle and its surrounding lands and the fief of Vignola became a County of 16 communities. The domain, which lasted almost two centuries, coincided with the period of greatest prosperity of the city and the rebuilding of the fortress and stronger defensive walls. In 1557, under the domain of Ercole Contrari, a noble residence was erected, designed by Jacopo Barozzi, today known as Palazzo Boncompagni.
Sites of Interest:
- the Rocca di Vignola, one of the most interesting and significant examples of fortified architecture in Emilia Romagna. Already mentioned in the IX, the traditions report that it was built by Saint Anselm, Abbot of Nonatola to defend the possessions of the famous Abbey. Ceded to various lords, that controlled the city over the centuries, it features rooms that take their name from the recurring motifs in each of them;
- Palazzo Boncompagni (or Barozzi), built in the second half of the XVI century by Ercole Contrari, designed by the architect Bartolomeo Tristano of Ferrara, who at the time was working at the court of Alfonso II d'Este. It features a central structure and two side ones with rusticated portals. Inside it is possible to admire a beautiful spiral staircase. The rooms were frescoed in 1880 at the behest of Prince Boncompagni Ludovisi;
- the Parish Church of Saints Nazario and Celso, documented for the first time in an edit of 1299, it has been expanded and remodeled several times over the following centuries. The interior features three naves are inside are preserved paintings of Elisabetta Sirani, Francesco Stringa and Adeodato Malatesta and a "Pietà" in gilded bronze, artwork of the sculptor of Vignola, Ivo Suns;
- the Church of Santa Maria in Tortiliani, also known as La Rotonda, cited in 826, was totally rebuilt in 1491 by the will of Bartholomew Moreno, in Lombard Renaissance style. It features a circular plan and the interior proposes a certain harmony. It is currently privately owned;
- the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Parish, which local traditions report was built by Liutprando, King of the Lombards, on the foundations of an ancient pagan temple. The current structure features a XVII century portico and bell tower built through the roof.