For the past 18 years, Zola Predosa, a sleepy town 12 km from the center of Bologna, has been hosting Zola Jazz&Wine, (this year, June 30-July 2), a festival that, as the name implies, celebrates music and wine (the local Pignoletto above all), in lovely countryside setting with views of the hills, among historic residences and monuments.
It is the perfect occasion to explore this little-known area so close to Bologna, yet providing such a different experience from the bustling capital of Emilia-Romagna.
This year’s festival edition, which celebrates Thelonious Monk in the 100th anniversary of his birth, takes place inside and in the gardens of two local jewels: the 18th century Villa Edvige Garagnani and Palazzo Albergati, a 16th century countryside villa whose richly decorated interiors are stunning, making it a major example of Baroque architecture in Italy; the third festival location is among the vineyards of the local wine producer Terre Rosse Vallania.
You’ll have the chance to taste the wines produced locally while listening to live jazz music, surrounded by the gentle hills that frame Zola Predosa.
The festival is a good chance to explore more of the countryside west of Bologna. If you love the outdoors, you should go for a walk in the Regional Park of the Abbey of Monteveglio, set among woods and badlands; and while you’re there, stop in the tiny borgo of Monteveglio to see the abbey, then continue to Oliveto, which is even tinier, but so charming with its old walls, medieval atmosphere and a chapel built before the year 1000.