The building shows all the characteristics of the Bolognese style: the façade with an imposing door, a spacious hall on the main floor which is accessed by a spectacular stucco staircase decorated by the Giovan Battista Verda from Ticino and embellished with the statues of the Flemish Francesco Janssens.
During this period the west wing was restructured. The rooms on the ground floors were resized and styled according to the 18th century French dwelling design, the “barocchetto” apartment. It created an apartment consisting of three rooms for the newlyweds Giuseppe Tozzoni and Carlotta Beroaldi, a relative of the future Pope Benedict XIV.
In 1818, another marriage between Count Giorgio Barbato and the Faenza Orsola Bandini led to the restructuring of the east wing of the first floor with the creation of the “appartamento impero” (empire apartment), which was also the result of a unified stylistic synthesis. In this case it was based in neoclassical style, thanks to two artisans from Faenza: cabinetmaker Angelo Bassi was a responsible for the furniture and Pasquale Saviotti took care of the wall decorations, inspired by antiques.
The public and private history of the Tozzoni is preserved in the many objects in the rooms, in the photographic background and especially in the historical archive on the first floor, a treasure chest of memories and the “secrets” of this family who for five centuries lived in the palace on Via della Fortezza (now via Garibaldi), until 1978 when the last heir, Sofia Serristori Tozzoni, donated it to the city.
Originally from Lucca in Tuscany, the Tozzonis moved to Imola in the fifteenth century and immediately became important figures in the city. For example, the jury consulting Pietro Paolo Tozzoni gonfalonier of Imola who served ambassador to the popes Julius II and Leo X as well as being judge of the Republic of Florence.
The family increased its importance and wealth, partly through marriage bonds, and was celebrated in the recurring coats of arms on the walls, in the paintings and furniture, where the tozzoni deer flanks the insignias of powerful families of Imola, Modena, Rome and Florence. The title of accounts was acquired by Ciro Tozzoni in 1666 and his son Francesco rebuilt the building on the basis of the new prestige as well as taste.
Famous guests of the Palace included the future Benedict XIV, Carlo Emanuele III and in 1908 Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoia.
This rare museum-house, open to the public since 1981, with the charm of a house inhabited by the same family for five centuries and the apartments, are perfectly preserved examples of the ways of living that have changed over time.
A visit offers a unique glimpse into what took place there, insight into public and private life through the various rooms and halls: from the salon and apartments on the main floor, to the most intimate ones such as the library, the living rooms on the ground floor, to domestic spaces such as kitchens, cellars and courtyards with wells and tub.
The gallery contains almost two hundred paintings and is dominated by the Bolognese school with paintings by Passerotti, Fontana, Cesi, Donnini, Beccadelli and objects of applied art, furnishings, family memories and a collection of demo-ethno-anthropological materials from the estates farms of the accounts.
They have passed down the history of the family and events, with all the changes over the centuries, through the fashions, collections, and taste that determined the architectural and furnishing choices.