The Oratory of Monteforte was part of a fortified hamlet of significant importance during the middle ages. Standing in a strategic position on one of the main communication routes between the territories of Bologna and Frignano, the hamlet was frequently disputed, attacked and occupied, until 1535 when the Este family ordered its destruction. There is therefore little of the castle still standing nowadays – just an ogival-arched doorway with bell, a few remaining parts of the walls and the oratory.

oratorio di monteforte maserno

Built in the XII century, the oratory features a late-XVIII century nave, and presbytery decorated with frescoes dating to the mid-XV century, commissioned by Giovanna di Reno (or Renno). On the left is a Madonna and Child, and, on the right, Saints Antoninus, protector of the place, and Barbara, protector of castles; above, in the centre, Christ is pictured rising from the grave, with the sun and moon (a clear reference to pre-Christian cults) to either side. On the right sidewall, the Last Judgement, the moment when Christ returns at the end of time to rejoin the apostles, is portrayed. On the barrel-vaulted ceiling, Christ Pantocrator and the winged evangelists Luke and Mark are depicted.