The Observance asylum was built in 1890, because of the growing need for beds, that the existing Central asylum was not able to handle. At the time Luigi Lolli (Riolo Terme Imola 1819-1896), founder and director of the existing asylum, decided to build a decentralized structure that consisted of independent pavilions, had a capacity of about 1000 patients and that covered, with the agricultural colony, an area of approximately 75,000 square meters. The design model was taken from the Academy of Sciences in Paris, dating back to 1788, but still considered the most appropriate and perfect example.
After the death of Lolli in both hospitals arose a situation of real degradation, which forced the Imola charity congregation to put the two buildings up for sale: the headquarters was purchased by the Province of Bologna in 1897, but the “Osservanza” remained Imola’s property. Eventually the situation end up with the coexistence of two independent mental hospitals in Imola, which housed patients coming from different places and suffering from different diseases. In particular the Osservanza hosted patients who were not coming from the province of Bologna and those with chronic mental disorders. Having to accommodate a growing number of patients, the hospital at the beginning of the twentieth century was enlarged. The institution of the hospital authority in 1971 changed again the asylum management, which formally closed on 31st December 1996.
Today, the Osservanza represents a strategic opportunity for the city: its size of 11.4 hectares, the urban location, its large landscaped parks, its urban and architectural priceless value and the synergies that could be established with the rest of the city are objectively a resource unique and unrepeatable for Imola.