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A visit to Reggio Emilia

A gastronomic expedition to northern Italy.

A visit to Reggio Emilia
Image published via Wikipedia
Piazza San Prospero seen from the patron saint's basilica – Reggio Emilia, Italy

Situated in Northern Italy, in the Po Valley, at about 50 km from Bologna, on the Via Emilia, Reggio Emilia borders Parma’s territory to the west and Modena’s territory to the east. In the north, the River Po separates its territory from the province of Mantua, while in the south the Apennines mark the border with Liguria and Tuscany.

Why visit

Reggio, also known as the Tricolour town, because it was here that the future Italian flag was adopted for the first time in 1797, has an ancient history: In the 11th century, the town was the heart of Matilde’s county in the neighbouring territory. Later, important figures marked its Renaissance, ranging from Boiardo to Ariosto, the great poet of The Orlando Furioso.

On the table

Do not leave the town without tasting and buying the excellent delicacies of its gastronomy: the cappelletti or caplètt, the Parmesan cheese, the seasonings and the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. In the town bakeries, it is possible to find the erbazzone and the chizze, in the pastry shops, the spongata, the traditional rice cake and the biscione.

Where to visit and what to see

The best seasons are spring and autumn because of the weather and the many events held in the town.

The visit itinerary may start from the Sala del Tricolore (Tricolour Hall) and its Museum, which goes over the historical events with Napoleonic memorabilia and relics of the Risorgimento. The visit may continue in the nearby Piazza Prampolini or Piazza Grande, with its statue of the Torrent Crostolo and, by crossing the Broletto arcades, reach the small Piazza San Prospero, seat of the traditional market and, then, Piazza Fontanesi, a sort of open sitting room surrounded by trees. The Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Town Hall overlook Piazza Grande, while Piazza San Prospero is dominated by the Basilica dedicated to the Patron Saint.

A must to see are the Basilica della Madonna della Ghiara, a vestige of the Emilian Baroque that contains precious masterworks such as the celebrated Guercino’s “Crucifixion”, as well as a cycle of frescoes illustrating the female figures of the Old Testament; the Museum Palace, which stand out for their art, archaeological and naturalistic collections; the Galleria Parmeggiani, especially for its 19th-century collections; the Synagogue; the neoclassical and stately Teatro Municipale and the nearby Piazza Martiri del 7 Luglio, with its new fountain.

Other places of interest are the Spazio Gerra with its installations of contemporary art of the last years: from Fabro to Morris, from Sol Lewitt to Mattiacci, until the amazing permanent private collection Maramotti, which displays works of art of inestimable value, and Palazzo Magnani, the main exhibition seat of the town, hosting exhibitions all year long, with a particular preference for photography and modern art.