Museo Varoli Cotignola The Luigi Varoli Civic Museum has several locations, sections and an exhibition composed by different paths, interweaving and ramifications that reflect the curious and mobile gaze that characterised the life and works of Cotignola artist Luigi Varoli (1889-1958): Scuola Arte e Mestieri, the Varoli school that is still active with workshops and appointments for children, young people and families; Casa-Studio Luigi Varoli, a heterogeneous collection of works and objects that belonged to or were made by the artist; Casa Magnani, the intact home of the poet, painter and ceramist Arialdo Magnani, a pupil of Varoli; and Palazzo Sforza.

The rooms on the ground floor of Palazzo Sforza are used for temporary exhibitions, while the first floor houses the Picture Gallery, with the artist’s most significant works, and the Archaeological Section, a collection of artefacts from Roman times to the late Middle Ages. In addition to paintings, papier-mâché is undoubtedly the area of production in which the artist’s most personal note is expressed: on display in the Museum are some large papier-mâché heads that depict, caricatured, the features of characteristic Cotignola characters, and numerous terracotta and wood sculptures.

On the second floor there is a section dedicated to the Righteous Among the Nations, because Luigi is considered a ‘Righteous’. Here you can see director Fabrizio Varesco’s documentary “Cotignola Città dei “Giusti” Varoli e Zanzi. Stories of a hospitable community at the time of the Shoah” (38″, 2011). Vittorio Zanzi (1896-1985), butcher, republican, Mazzinian and anti-fascist, decorated fighter in the First World War, was the leader and creator of Cotignola’s solidarity network, taking advantage of his position as Prefectural Commissioner, that allowed him to weave a clandestine plot capable of welcoming Jewish families, displaced persons, soldiers and political refugees, involving the entire citizenship in this act of protection.

You can also watch Nevio Casadio’s documentary ‘Cotignola il paese dei Giusti’ (60″, 2012), produced by Rai 150 Anni – La Storia siamo noi.

Then there is the installation by David Loom Frame (2012) in a completely black room, where a circular flow of images, like archive photos retraces, as in a film of memory, the dramatic 144 days of the war front’s stay and stationing on the Senio river during the Second World War, until the liberation on 10 April 1945. The story is almost divided into paragraphs, chapters that fade into one another and in which the faces of Zanzi and Varoli, those of the children, the effect of the heavy bombing and the destruction that occurred, and the rebirth and commitment of just women and men in favour of the persecuted emerge and emerge from time to time like ghosts, dreams or memories. The flow of images is accompanied and amplified in its suggestions by a sound carpet in which the artist has processed recordings of footsteps on the grass and the sound of the wind made on the banks of the Senio river.

July 2023 saw the inauguration, in the garden of Casa Varoli, of a new permanent installation entitled ‘Heads, monsters, spirits and capitals‘, a site-specific project by the artist Nero/Alessandro Neretti, curated by Massimiliano Fabbri. The artist imagined and produced a bestiary made up of a series of small sculptures in ceramic, stone and iron, which took shape from the dialogue with this place and with Varoli’s poetics, creating contrasts with the works and artefacts collected over the years by the master, in and around his house, transforming it into a sort of open-air museum in which ancient and modern coexist to the point of overlapping and blurring. The project is the winner of the PAC – Plan for Contemporary Art 2021, promoted by the General Directorate for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture and intended for the production of works of contemporary art and creativity. To consult the map of the works, click here.



Useful information

Address: Corso Sforza 21 – 48010 Cotignola (RA)
Phone: 0545 908810 – 320 4364316
Web site:

How to get
All the venues are in the historical town centre. Car parks along corso Sforza. Accessible to disabled.

Timetables informations
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 8.30am to12.30pm (by calling 0545 908810 – 320 4364316)
Friday 4.30pm-6.30pm
Saturday, Sunday from 10am to 12pm and from 3.30pm to 6.30pm

closed on August 2023

Free entrance

(Updated to 13/07/2023)

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