Discover the hamlets: Affrico and Volpara

The current territory of the Municipality of Gaggio Montano is home to a number of ancient villages, which appear perched on the wooded hills of the Marano stream valley.

Let us explore two ancient settlements that have characterized the history of this part of the Bolognese Apennines since medieval times.



Located northeast of Gaggio and 690 meters above sea level , Affrico and Palazzo d’Affrico is among the oldest hamlets in the municipality. The hamlet was called Pitigliano and and today is known by its current name probably because of the southwest wind that blows here frequently.

It has been known since the 1200s and presents itself as a worked-stone hamlet of Comacine architecture that preserves buildings from the 15th century. Here, too, in fact, we find constructions in the famous style of the guild of maestri comacini, who crossed Italy from upper Lombardy, constructing buildings and structures that are still today-at least in our Apennines-unfortunately in excellent condition.

The parish church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and unlike the architecture of the village, it is in the elegant forms of Bolognese Baroque, due to the reconstruction carried out in the first decades of the 1700s after a landslide had destroyed the earlier 17th-century building.


At Palazzo d’Affrico we can admire a type of dwelling typical of our mountains: tower-houses. These are sometimes imposing buildings, all built of local stone, which began to appear from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

They are housing structures, characterized by a tower incorporated into the structure. Their purpose was to become, in case of attack, a place devoted to the defense of the building. Very often in fact, in addition to dovecotes for breeding, we find crossbows: holes designed in the wall, which were used for the use of the crossbow against enemies.

As hostilities unraveled, tower-houses became over time symbols of power for wealthy families and landowners. In general, many of them are still clearly visible in our territory in a good state of preservation, while others have suffered the devastation of World War II or restorations and renovations that were careless of their historical-architectural value.


The village of Volpara is located on the road from Marano, or from Riola, up towards Affrico. The village is small and preserves many houses with the typical stone structure, which arise behind the narrow alleys.

From the main square you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic balcony that sweeps over the Reno valley, furrowed by the via Porrettana, to the massif of Mount Vigese, which suddenly rises to dominate the surrounding landscape.

From Volpara it is a half-hour uphill walk to the Pieve di Affrico, thanks to one of the new paths arranged and maintained by the Municipality of Gaggio Montano.