Located in Northern Italy, in the Po River 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 Po River separates its territory from the province of Mantua, while in the south the Apennines mark the border with Liguria and Tuscany.
Reggio Emilia, also known as the Tricolour Flag town, as here the future Italian flag was adopted for the first time in 1797, has an ancient history: in the XI 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.
Nowadays, famous for its gastronomy, lifestyle quality and, internationally, the “best kindergartens in the world”, Reggio Emilia is also a town of art, whose symbols are the XVII-century Basilica della Ghiara and the famous Teatro Municipale Valli. Contemporary aspects are also visible, for those who drive along the A1 motorway, in the bridges designed by architect Santiago Calatrava for the Alta Velocità (High Speed) Railway Station.
The best seasons are spring and autumn because of the weather and the many events held in the town.
A tour may start from the Sala del Tricolore (Tricolour Flag Hall) and its Museum, which goes over the historical events with Napoleonic memorabilia and relics of the Risorgimento. The visit continues 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.
The Basilica della Madonna della Ghiara is also worth seeing: a vestige of the Emilian Baroque that contains precious masterpieces 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 stands out for art, archaeological and naturalistic collections; the Parmeggiani Gallery, especially for its XVIII-century collections; the Synagogue; the neoclassical and majestic Teatro Municipale Valli 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 from the recent years: from Fabro to Morris, from Sol Lewitt to Mattiacci, the amazing permanent private collection Maramotti, with works of art of inestimable value, and Palazzo Magnani, the main exhibition location of the town, hosting exhibitions all year, with a special preference for photography and modern art.
In addition to the excellent hotels of the town, among which it is possible to count even a historical palace, and the lively hostel located in the XVII-century building of Basilica della Ghiara, it is also possible to stay in the castles of Sarzano and Rossena located in the neighbourhood.
The "International Centre for Children's Culture and Creativity Loris Malaguzzi”, to appreciate the Reggio Emilia educational experience; the centre is an internationally renowned meeting place for researchers and teachers, but also for children and families. In mid-May, tales and stories transform the town during ReggioNarra, an event entirely dedicated to children.
Do not leave the town without tasting and buying the excellent delicacies of its gastronomy: the cappelletti or caplètt, the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 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.
For a tour as sparkling as Lambrusco wine, follow the “Strada dei Vini e Sapori dei Colli di Scandiano e Canossa” (the route of wines and flavours of the hills of Scandiano and Canossa) and the “Strada dei Vini e Sapori delle Corti Reggiane” (the route of wines and flavours of the Reggio Emilia courts) in the northern area of the province.
For those who want to walk or run, there are the 7 kilometres of the Pista del Crostolo, a green way at the entrance of the town, which may be also covered by bicycle; for those who want to have a swim, the Parco Aquatico gives great pleasure to adults and children in the summer.
Golf enthusiasts can play at the Fattoria del Golf or at the Golf Club Matilde di Canossa.
Every year, in May, European Photography, an event not to be missed for the enthusiasts of this art; from late September to November, the Aperto Festival of Dance and contemporary performing arts. Reggio Emilia theatres are always interesting for their many and special events that take place all year. In particular, at the Municipale Valli Theatre, every three years one of the most important international competitions for string quartets takes place, the “Premio Paolo Borciani” ("Paolo Borciani Award").
Just at 20 km, on the foothills around Reggio, do not miss the visit of Matilde’s Castles of Canossa, Rossena and Bianello (and the castle of Carpineti in the Apennines, at 44 km). In Gattatico (25 Km), you can visit the Museo Cervi to have a look at the recent history.
Along the River Po (approximately 30 Km), Boretto, Guastalla and Brescello, so particular with their atmosphere and charm, offer the possibility to go for a trip on the river or visit the Museum of Don Camillo and Peppone. Again to the north of the town is Correggio (18 Km), a prestigious small Renaissance court, while Scandiano (15 km) and the picturesque Rocca dei Boiardo lie to the south.