The name comes from the many water-mills ("molini") which sprung up along the ancient River Idice, which it seems were able to function both when the water flowed down towards the Po at Primaro and when it flowed upstream due to flooding.
Molinella is a town that has always been contested by the land and water. Water here has not only conditioned the geography, but also the economy and culture.
The agriculture of these lands is also based around a cereal linked to water: rice. Considered too stimulating and a carrier of malaria, it was banned for centuries by the State of the Church and intensive cultivation only began after the introduction of hydraulic systems in the 18-19th centuries.
These changes took on great importance in Molinella with the arrival of the workers' and socialist movements. It is the birthplace of Giuseppe Massarenti, who passed from the struggle for the trade unions to the creation of the first prime consumer, production and workers' cooperatives in the region.
From a historical point of view, Molinella still has some interesting traces of the warlike past of the plains. In the centre of the town, the Torre di Santo Stefano is all that remains of the ancient castle built by the Bolognese to defend the border with Ferrara. The lovely tower is open in occasion of events or exhibition.
Leaving the town, there are several areas worth visiting, such as Selva Malvezzi, a genuine 14th-century feudal village.
San Martino in Argine, mentioned in documents about river traffic dating back to before 1000, was sacked in 1390 by the troops of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Villa Ghisleri is worth noting, a 15th-century villa whose present appearance came from restructuring by Giuseppe Grabinski, an officer of Napoleon.
The wet zones of Vallazza and Valle di Marmorta which still survive today as a memory of the once-great "Padusa" (the wild lands of the Po Valley), offer animal-lovers and birdwatchers a genuine paradise, populated by thousands of aquatic birds.
For lovers of skydiving, Molinella has the largest parachuting centre in Italy, which also has courses and a hire-service of ultralight planes and gliders.
Now, some gastronomic curiosities. Here, in the 18th century, the delicious cake "torta di tagliatelline" was created, while the local rice is the main ingredient of the most classic Bolognese sweet: rice cake. Another typical product of the zone is White Balsamico Vinegar, a variant of the more famous Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, obtained by combining wine vinegar and must from white Trebbiano grapes.
From the Bologna Bus Station, ATC Public Transport Company (for information on timetables and fares visit www.atc.bo.it):
From the Bologna Central Station (for information on timetables and fares visit www.ferroviaer.it): railway line Bologna-Portomaggiore, Molinella stop.
The Guglielmo Marconi Airport is about 32 km. from Molinella.
The BLQ Airport shuttle connects every 15-30 minutes the airport to the city centre and to the central station. Piazza XX Settembre stop to get a bus towards Molinella.