Palazzo Monsignani già Sassatelli – Imola, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Palazzo Monsignani già Sassatelli

The location where a famous medieval knight was murdered.  


During the carnival of 1501, Cesare Borgia was ruling Imola.

One of his knights, Guidarello Guidarelli, lent a beautiful shirt with gold embroidery to a warrior named Virgilio Romano. He intended to wear it at a masquerade carnival party. But when Romano decided not to return the shirt, a duel ensued. It was in Palazzo Sassatelli, now Palazzo Monsignani, where the fight began and where it’s said Romano mortally wounded the beautiful knight.

An impressive tombstone dedicated to the knight is housed at the Museo d’Arte della città di Ravenna (MAR). For centuries, legend had it that if a single woman kissed the statue, she would soon be married.

It’s unknown if the duel actually took place. Other tales state that Duke Borgia killed and beheaded the knight because he suspected Guidarelli was a spy for the Republic of Venice.

The building itself was constructed in 1522 by the Sassatelli Family. In the internal courtyard, there is a portico with a wonderful loggia complete with sandstone columns. The building also contains emblems of Giovanni Sassatelli, also known as Cagnaccio, who once headed the Guelph faction in the city.

Know Before You Go

This is a private building, so access is allowed only into the internal courtyard, which during the summer provides a romantic setting for concerts.

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August 20, 2020

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