Reggio Emilia is a city on a human scale, it has always been one of the most Italian prosperous and liveable places thanks to the high level of its public services, worldwide known for its municipal nursery schools, the working commitment and skilfullness of its people. The handcraft and industrial products of Reggio Emilia like agroindustrial, fashion and agricultural machineries are sold and appreciated anywhere. Reggio Emilia is less famous for its historic and artistic heritage and for the pleasant city centre, surrounded by the exagonal avenues designed on the old walls plan.
Reggio Emilia has been built by the Romans at the beginning of 2nd century b.C.. It was founded by the Roman consul Marco Emilio Lepido and the oldest buildings dates back to the Medieval age. The romanic Cathedral façade is embellished with precious Renaissance sculptures. The nearby baptistry, recently restored, shows the traces of many architectural styles dating from the ancient medieval age to ‘400.
The Tower of Palazzo del Monte, the suggestive Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, the 14th century Torre dei Sessi in Vicolo Trivelli, together with the high Torre del Bordello represent the first example of civil buildings. The 16th century church of San Prospero, the patron saint, overlooks “piazza piccola”, the city hearth. Next to the church, the unfinished octagonal bell tower stands out against the sky. A beautiful monument of early 17th century is the big basilica of Madonna della Ghiara, decorated with a painting by Guercino and other art works by the best Emilian artists of that century. The baroque period is represented by many monuments, among which the churches of S.Giorgio, S.Girolamo and the Oratorio del Cristo. The Sala del Tricolore (the Italian Flag Room), inside the Town Hall, dates back to the second half of 18th century: thanks to the civil and politic passion of this town, this is the place where the 7th of January, 1797, the Italian Flag was born, at that time flag of Cispadana Republic. The Risorgimento atmosphere of the following century is represented by the beautiful Municipale Theatre, today dedicated to our local artist Romolo Valli. Together with the more ancient Ariosto Theatre, it testifies a deep love for theatre, today supported by public management.
The museums are a landmark for those who want to learn about the historic life of Reggio Emilia. The main museum is the Civic Museum, which shows archaeological finds, natural history, with a collection by Lazzaro Spallanzani, paintings, hosted in Antonio Fontanesi Gallery. Other places of interest are the Museum of Tricolore (the Italian Flag), inside the Torre del Bordello and the Museum of the Basilica della Madonna della Ghiara. The Parmeggiani Gallery collects important paintings and minor works. The Via Emilia, major road, heart of trades and ‘salotto’ (drawing room) for the people of Reggio, looks like a big window where churches, palaces, markets and beautiful shops are lined up. It’s about 1400 mt of almost straight road, split by the beautiful paved Cesare Battisti Square, so called Piazza del Monte, that links S.Pietro east gate to S.Stefano west gate. Along its south side, the Via Emilia is lined with porticoed houses. The arcades, once existing along the nort side as well, were demolished at the beginning of 19th century and the houses have been rebuilt with an interesting neoclassic curtain. Via Roma, similar but without arcades, leads to the old popular quarter of Borgo Emilio and the medieval S.Croce north gate.