Reggio nell'Emilia Tourist Attractions
SituationThe provincial capital of Reggio nell'Emilia lies on the Via Emilia near the southern edge of the north Italian plain. The town was known in Roman times as Regium Lepidi; the poet Lodovico Ariosto was born here in 1474 (d. 1533).
Piazza Cesare Battisti
In the center of Reggio nell'Emilia is the Piazza Cesare Battisti, with the 13th century crenellated Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. The square lies on the line of the ancient Via Aemilia, which traverses the town under the name of Via Emilia a San Pietro (to the east) and Via Emilia a Santo Stefano (to the west).
A little way south of the Piazza Cesare Battisti is the large Piazza Prampolini on the east side of which stands the cathedral (13th century, rebuilt in 15th-16th centuries). Behind the unfinished Renaissance facade is the original Romanesque structure, with remains of frescoes and sculpture (on the facade and in the interior) by Prospero Spani (d. 1584), a pupil of Michelangelo's and Bartolomeo Spani, both natives of Reggio.
To the southeast of the cathedral stands the 16th century church of San Prospero, on the site of an earlier Romanesque building. On the facade (rebuilt 1748) are six marble lions from the original building. The church has frescoes, including a "Last Judgment" by Camillo Procaccini (1585-89), choir-stalls of 1546 with intarsio decoration, and a copy of the "Birth of Christ" (1528) by Correggio. Adjoining the church is a fine octagonal campanile.
To the north of Piazza Cesare Battisti in the Piazza Cavour is the large Municipal Theater (1857). Near the square can be found the Municipal Museum (Musei Civici), with an 18th century natural history collection, a paleo-ethnological collection, works of art of several periods and a picture collecton. A palace to the west of the Piazza Cesare Battisti houses the Galleria Parmeggiani, with folk costumes, goldsmith's work and sculpture.
Madonna della Ghiaira
In the western part of Reggio nell'Emilia, in the broad Corso Garibaldi, is the church of the Madonna della Ghiaira, a Baroque church built 1597-1619, on a Greek cross plan with a dome over the crossing. The interior, notable for the beauty of its proportions, has charming stucco decoration and frescoes.
San Polo d'Enza
Near San Polo d'Enza, some 20km/13mi southwest of Reggio, lie the ruins of four castles which were once owned by the influential Margravine of Tussin (1045-1115). The most famous is Canossa, where in 1077 the excommunicated Emperor Henry IV came as a penitent and humbled himself before Pope Gregory VII. Today little remains of this historically important castle. 44km/27mi southwest of Reggio nell'Emilia is Castelnovo ne' Monti (700m/2,310ft), a small town on the northwest slopes of the conspicuous rocky peak of the Pietra di Bismantova (1,047m/3,455ft), from the top of which there are magnificent views of the Apennines. A road (5km/3mi) ascends the hill; then it is 15minutes' walk to the top.