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What to do in Reggio Emilia in Emilia Romagna?

Today I'm taking you to is the most beautiful city in the Emilia Romagna. In addition it is one of the most visited cities in the region.

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What to do in Reggio Emilia in Emilia Romagna?

Getting lost in the streets of Reggio Emilia is wonderful! Even if you have no idea where you are, you will always discover a special corner in this city so loved by locals and tourists! Let’s go to our post of the day: What to do in Reggio Emilia in Emilia Romagna? Stay with us and make the most of the boot country! Here at Italy’s Dream Tourism you can make the trip of your dreams come true!!! Also check out our Accommodation in Italy Section – Tips for your Vacation!

Our Introduction

Reggio Emiliana in the Emilia Romagna region is a city that, especially in recent decades, has come into its own and has been able to reevaluate itself, revive itself and attract a lot of attention: in addition to becoming a world leader in childcare services (Reggio is home to the best schools and daycare centers in Europe), it has also been able to make the most of its tourist attractions, despite not having the same popularity as its neighboring cities.

Even so, Reggio has established itself and become one of the most visited cities in the region and today we will find out why. The cobblestone streets give a charming and old-fashioned touch to the streets full of historic buildings, churches, shops, bars and restaurants. And then, of course, we will also give you tips on the local cuisine, after all, skipping a meal there would be a real sacrilege! It is impossible to talk about Reggio Emilia without a historical curiosity: it was in Reggio Emilia that the Italian flag was born, when the representatives of the city, together with those of Modena, Bologna and Ferrara, proclaimed the white, red and green flag as the flag of the Cispadana Republic. Did you know that? Well… The rest is only history!

1) What to do in Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna? VISIT MEDIOPADANA

Let’s start with the Reggio Emilia of the future, that part of the city revisited by the most popular architect of all time, Santiago Calatrava. A few kilometers from downtown, practically in the open countryside, stands the white and wavy complex of the new Mediopadana high-speed station.

The futuristic design is impressive and eye-catching, the structure, together with the Velas and the three bridges designed by Calatrava along the A1 highway, represents the new and prestigious gateway to the city. Unfortunately, the bridges are only partially visible if you arrive by train; the greatest thrill is crossing them by car. From the high-speed station in the center you can take the bus or a taxi. It’s close!

2) What to do in Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna? VISIT THE VENICE ALLEY

Once in the city center, head straight ahead to a side street off Via Roma, the narrow Venice Alley. At number 13, just before the entrance to the park, you can see some faded writing on the wall that reads: “Il Popolo Giusto vuole la neve“. It is believed that it was built around 1940 and has been given several meanings, because this area of ​​the city was home to the so-called Popol Giost, the poor part of the population who lived off odd jobs, including shoveling snow: one of the two meanings of the writing is actually linked to this fact, but it is also said that the writing was political and called, in code, for the end of the fascist regime.

Schools and the Park

A few steps further on, towards the park, you will find several schools and nurseries. Reggio Emilia is famous throughout the world for its innovative approach to education. Thanks to the pedagogue Loris Malaguzzi, the so-called Reggio Emilia Approach was developed, an educational philosophy that gives the child a central role and whose creativity must be brought to the fore and valued. A very important role is played by the surrounding environment, which becomes a pedagogical tool: this happens in the next stop of our itinerary, namely the beautiful Diana School located inside the People Park. The park, which is the largest green area in the city, occupies the space where the Gonzaga citadel once stood and inside, you can see Lebanese cedars that reach 15 meters in height and are centuries old. Very interesting!

3) What to do in Reggio Emilia in Emilia Romagna? VISIT PIAZZA DELLA VITTORIA AND PIAZZA DEI MARTIRI

From the park we go to Piazza della Vittoria and Piazza dei Martiri.

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria is home to the beautiful Teatro Municipale (or Teatro Valli) which steals the show, but only when the fountain opposite is turned on with its jets coming out of the ground and has colored lights at night (the fountain is in Piazza Martiri). The exterior of the theater building is pink and has a neoclassical style. The interior is also beautiful and, if possible, be sure to visit it!

Piazza Martiri

Piazza Martiri was renamed this way after a sad event that happened here on July 7, 1960: five workers from Reggio were killed by the police during a union demonstration. In memory of the victims, during the revitalization of the area in 2010, plaques were placed where the workers were killed and 5 trees were planted. A gesture that definitely touched the city’s inhabitants, who have great appreciation for this place.

4) What to do in Reggio Emilia in Emilia Romagna? VISIT THE TEMPLE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN OF GHIARA

Before we get to the heart of the city, head to  the Blessed Virgin of Ghiara Temple. It is one of the city’s main religious buildings and was built after a miracle occurred in Reggio on April 29, 1596: a young deaf and mute man was praying in front of an image of the Madonna, painted by Bertone (which can be seen inside the church, in the second chapel on the right), and miraculously, he began to speak and hear.

The interior cannot be photographed, but it is amazing. The sanctuary has been called “the most important monument of Italian Mannerism”. It is also impossible not to mention the basilica’s cloisters: the largest of them now houses a guesthouse and in the beautiful courtyard, during the summer, some small and incredible restaurants are set up.

5) What to do in Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna? VISIT PIAZZA PRAMPOLINI

From the temple, we can head to the sumptuous Piazza Prampolini, also known as Piazza Grande. Despite its name, it was only called that because, compared to the nearby Piazza San Prospero, Piazza Grande is larger! Hahaha… Some of the city’s main attractions are located on all four sides of the square.

The Duomo

We will start with the Duomo, which is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and has an imposing and curious façade: visibly unfinished, we can see that it is ‘divided’ in two; it is dominated by an octagonal tower that contains a large gilded bronze statue from the 16th century, representing Our Lady with Jesus and the patron saints. The interior of the church has several works of art, but the most interesting element is undoubtedly the crypt, which dates back to the 12th or 13th century, although the exact date has never been confirmed. There is also the Baptistery, a building that is not particularly flashy, but has its charm.

The Palazzo del Monte di Pietà

In Piazza Prampolini the most striking beauty is the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, recognizable by the bell tower above it. In front of the building there is a statue of a handsome young man with an amphora in his hand: this is the Crostolo and the amphora represents the stream that once ran through Reggio Emilia, but its course was diverted over the years due to construction work. The statue comes from the Ducale Village in Rivalta, where once, together with the statues of the Secchia and Panaro rivers, it was part of the ornamental complex of the villa.

Palazzo Municipale

Opposite the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, on the other side of the square, is the Palazzo Municipale, where the Sala del Tricolore is located, that is, the place where, on January 7, 1797, the Italian flag was born. In short, a significant part of Italian history that deserves to be known. On the two upper floors of the hall is the small but interesting Museo del Tricolore, where all the variants of the Italian flag are gathered to document the historical and political context in which its birth takes place.

Torre del Bordello

Also in Piazza Grande is the Torre del Bordello, on the corner between the City Hall and the Duomo. It is a civic tower built in 1489 and got its name because a brothel used to operate there. Of course, it is impossible to mention all the buildings and attractions in the square, but if you have time, take a closer look, with more affection: there is a lot to see there!

Piazza San Prospero and Via Emilia

From there, head to Piazza San Prospero and then head to Via Emilia, which crosses Via Roma. Here, on the ground, there is a plaque that represents what was once the intersection between the Cardo and the Decumanus and has been identified as the physical center of Reggio Emilia, the point from which the city was designed, where its first cobblestone was laid: this is where it all began for Reggio Emilia!

6) What to do in Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna? DISCOVER THE LOCAL CUISINE

Let’s talk about food? Try Cappelletti with Brodo, Erbazzone (a vegetable pie with cheese), or fried gnocco (a type of fried pastry served with cold cuts). To drink, of course: go for Lambrusco (you can’t go wrong!).

Tip of the Day

  • Visit a Parmigiano Reggiano producer in the Reggio Emilia region on this fantastic culinary and cultural tour with a professional guide. Learn about all the stages of production of this historic product and even try some! Reggio Emilia: The Secrets of Parmigiano Reggiano, click here to learn more!
  • Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Experience Tour, click here to learn more!

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What to do in Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna? Reggio Emilia is a delightful city! Everything there catches our attention in a soft, delicate and striking way at the same time; if you are nearby, be sure to visit this unique city! The futuristic design is impressive and eye-catching. The cobblestone streets give a charming and old-fashioned touch to the streets full of historic buildings, churches, shops, bars and restaurants. Be sure to include this Italian gem in your travel itinerary and make the most of everything this charming city has to offer.


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