A land full of monuments and folk memory, it offers an entire world to discover made of suggestive landscapes, Food and Wines and itineraries.
The Province of Reggio Emilia, located in northern Italy, extends from the Po River in the north to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines to the south, drawing a long rectangle.
It is a land mainly of plains, with a countryside full of cultivations and woods alternating with rocks and lakes, creating a suggestive landscape of a more or less deep green.
The northern Apennines mountains have peaks over 2000 meters, for example Mount Cusna, with a natural environment of immeasurable beauty.
The hills on the contrary, are crossed by streams and trickles of water. Here, historical villages, castles, towers and aristocratic villas accompany us to discover this territory in Emilia Romagna.
The center of Reggio Emilia is framed between Via Emilia, which runs through its historic centre and it is crossed by Via Roma. This ancient Roman city is a town of cultural interest with an interesting artistic and historical heritage, its strong cultural being tradition tangible everywhere.
A tour of this city can begin from Piazza del Monte, where we find Palazzo del Monte di Pietà; nearby, in Piazza Camillo Prampolini, in the heart of the city, are to be found the most important municipal and religious buildings. Here is the statue of the Cròstolo, dedicated to a torrent which flows in the province. The Cathedral rises in the square with its unfinished façade and it is full of works of art. One example is the “Expulsion of the Laity from the temple” by Orazio Talami, a 17th century work.
Near the Baptistery there is the City Hall, with the room of the Tricolour, where in 1797 the representatives of Reggio, Modena, Ferrara and Bologna met in order to declare the Tricolor as the flag of the Cispadane Republic.
Among the most ancient churches of the city it is important to remember the Basilica of San Prospero beyond the Cathedral with frescoes by Camillo Procaccino and the Church of St. Augustine with paintings of different artists.
A careful visitor wouldn't miss the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Ghiara, decorated with a large quantity of frescoes by important artists, including a beautiful painting by Guercino.
Churches, museums, palaces and historical galleries - Reggio Emilia swarms with unmissable beauties - such as the Valli Municipal Theatre, centre of the cultural life of the city and now named after the actor Romolo Valli. The theatre, of neoclassical architecture, is immersed in the green of the Public Gardens and is near the second theatre of the city, Ariosto Theatre, both always have full bills of shows.
Leaving the city, one can explore the plains of Reggio; in Reggiolo, there is the suggestive Fortress with the donjon, considered the main monument, set in greenery, while in Coreggio you cannot miss the renaissance Princes' Palace with the delightful portal and the municipal museum inside. Then there's the Basilica of the Saints Quirino and Michele, and the large number of Villas in the neighbourhood set in bright green vegetation.
A village impossible to miss is Quattro Castella which takes its name from four castles rising on four hills, Mount Vetro, Bianello, Mount Lucio and Mount Zane.
An avenue leads to the Castle of Bianello, where Countess Matilde of Canossa resided at different times.
Among the properties of the Canossa, don’t forget to visit the Castle of Carpinete, located in a scenic position with a huge sight on the Apennines.
In the town of Quattro Castella there is a great concentration of archaeological finds.
In Roncolo, Mangalano, Forche, Puianello, Campo Pianelli and Ghiardello different stone manufactured articles have been discovered dating back to the Palaeolithic period up to the Roman period.
The Apennines of Reggio had its highest period of splendour in the 11th century, with the town of Canossa at the centre of European politics. Of the Castle of Canossa, one of the most famous properties of the Countess, only few architectural structures remain today, but the landscape and the folk memories make it a place full of magic and suggestion.
It is impossible to list all the places to see but for sure it is impossible to forget Guastalla, with its Cathedral and Ducal Palace and Scandiano with its Fortress of Boiardo.
In such a varied land, lovers of outdoor excursions can satisfy their craving for adrenaline.
A characteristic geological formation of the Apennine of Reggio is the Pietra di Bismàntova in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, a rock of calcareous sandstone with the shape of a ship which stands out the surrounding hills. The shape of the mountain impressed Dante who named it in the Divine Comedy Purgatory. Below the stone different itineraries start.
These lead to the peak of the rock from which one can have a delightful and unforgettable sight of the surrounding countryside.
For lovers of rock-climbing there are different routes of various difficulty levels. Lovers of trekking can walk on the Matilde Path which crosses the country from the mountains of Modena to the Garfagnana. This is a route which crosses mule tracks, unpaved roads, paths on which to take long walks, bicycle or horse rides, passing castles, villages and ancient parish churches.
The National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines has a variety of natural environments with prairies and wild peaks, lakes and waterfalls. The wildlife makes these lands very interesting to visit for any kind of sport activities and relax.
For the lover of skiing, Cerreto dei Laghi is an important winter tourist resort.
The festivals and folk traditions are not to be missed.
The epic deeds which lead Matilde di Canossa to these lands are remembered by the great number of celebrations and costumed historical parades in different places of the province.
The most famous takes place in Quattro Castella, where the costume parade comes down from the hill of Bianello together with a sumptuous retinue up to the field in which scenes and entertainment from medieval life are offered.
In the city of Guastalla the Gnoccata is celebrated and a historical costume parade from the 18th century goes through the streets of the center. Unquestioned protagonists of the festival are the gnocchi. Along the streets huge boilers cook gnocchi which are given out to all visitors.
Finally, there's the Wine Route. The hill ground, poorer and less compact than the plain, is particularly suitable for wine production. In order to promote the vintage wines and other quality food production, the Scandiano and Canossa Route of Wines and Flavours of the Hills was created. It starts from the south of Via Emilia, rising along the gentle hills of Reggio, covering the land made famous by Matilde of Canossa.
The Parmigiano Reggiano is a very well known cheese, also produced in other provinces of the region. Parmigiano Reggiano is a hand-made high quality product, guaranteed since 1996 by a Protected Designation of Origin (DOP). The town of Bibbiano, an important processing center has been conferred the “cradle of grana” title.
Another strong flavor of this area is balsamic vinegar, produced in the Provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is obtained through a simple fermentation of the cooked must from particular grapes coming from the Reggio Emilia area.
The secret is in the ensuing protracted aging, in small barrels of different kinds of wood. The result is an extraordinary and complex product, with precious and versatile use in cooking.
Among the first courses typical of the Reggio Emilia cuisine are cappelletti stuffed with meat and parmigiano cheese and herb and pumpkin tortelli. Among the second courses, local specialties are turkey meat loaf, rabbit alla reggiana and roasted stuffed pork.
Typical of this country is also the fried gnocco served with salami and cheeses, and erbazzone, a cake with spinach and chards.
Among the desserts it is important to remember rice cake and the spongata reggiana of Brescello, with dried fruits, honey and raisins.
The characteristic wine of Reggio and Modena is the Lambrusco.
Other wines of this area come from grapes also from vineyards elsewhere in the country, such as for example the rare white wines given by Sauvignon, Pinot, Chardonnay and Malvasia grapes. Important red wines are the Cabernet Sauvignon, Marzemino and the gentle Malbo.