Reggio Emilia (Latin: Regium Lepidi and Regium) is an affluent city in northern Italy, in the Emilia-Romagna region. It has about 167,013 inhabitants and is the main comune (municipality) of the Province of Reggio Emilia.
The town is also referred to by its more official name of
. The inhabitants of Reggio
nell'Emilia (called Reggiani
) usually call their town by
the simple name of Reggio
. In some ancient maps the town
is also named Reggio di Lombardia
The old town has an hexagonal form, which derives from the ancient
walls, and the main buildings are from the 16th-17th centuries. The
commune's territory is totally on a plain, crossed by the Crostolo
Ancient and early Middle Ages
Roman in origin, Reggio began as an
historical site with the construction by Marcus Aemilius
Lepidus of the Via Aemilia, leading
from Piacenza to Rimini (187
Reggio became a judicial administration centre, with a
called at first Regium
, then simply Regium
, whence the city's current
During the Roman age Regium is cited only by Festus
, as one of the military stations on the Via
Aemilia. However, it was a flourishing city, a Municipium
with its own statutes,
magistrates and art collegia.
Apollinaris of Ravenna
in the 1st century
CE. The sources confirm the presence of a bishopric
in Reggio after the Edict of Milan
(313). In 440 the Reggio's
diocesis was submitted to Ravenna by Western Roman Empire Valentinianus III.
At the end of
the 4th century, however, Reggio had decayed so much that Saint Ambrose
include it among the dilapidated
cities. Damages were increased by Barbarian invasions. At the fall
of the Western Empire (476), Reggio was part of the Odoacer
's reign. In 489 it was in the Ostrogothic
kingdom; later (539) it belonged to
the Exarchate of Ravenna
was conquered by Alboin
in 569. Reggio was chosen as Duchy of Reggio
In 773 the Franks
subjected Reggio, and
gave the bishop royal
authority over the city and established the diocese' limits (781).
In 888 Reggio was handed over to the Kings of Italy
. In 899 the
heavily damaged it, killing Bishop
Azzo II. As a result of this new walls were built. On October 31,
900, Emperor Louis III
authority for the erection of a castrum
(castle) in the
Reggio's territory, together with that of Parma, Brescia, Modena, Mantova and Ferrara, were merged
into the mark of Tuscany, later held by Matilde of Canossa.
Corso Garibaldi and basilica della
Reggio became a free commune around the end of the 11th or the
beginning of the 12th century. In 1167 it was a member of the
and took part in the
Battle of Legnano
. In 1183 the
city signed the Treaty of
, from which the city's consul
Rolando della Carità, received the imperial investiture. The
subsequent peace spurred a period of prosperity: Reggio adopted new
statutes, had a mint, schools with celebrated masters, and
developed its trades and arts. It also increasingly subjugated the
castles of the neighbouring areas.
The 12th and 13th century, however, were also a period of violent
internal struggle, with parties of Scopiazzati and Mazzaperlini,
and later those of Ruggeri and Malaguzzi, involved in bitter
domestic rivalry. In 1152 Reggio also warred with Parma and in 1225
with Modena, as part of the general struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines
25,000 penitents, led by a Perugine hermit, entered the city, and
this event calmed the situation for a while, spurring a momentous
flourishing of religious fervour.
But disputes soon
resurfaced, and as early as 1265 the Ghibellines killed the
Guelph's leader, Caco da Reggio, and gained preeminence. Arguments
with the Bishop continued and two new parties formed, the Inferiori
and Superiori. Final victory went to the latter.
Palazzo del Monte in Piazza del Duomo,
with the Fountain of River Crostolo.
To thwart the abuses of powerful families such as the Sessi,
Fogliani and Canossa, the Senate of Reggio gave the city's rule for
a period of three years to the Este
Obizzo II d'Este
. This choice
marked the future path of Reggio under the seignory of that family,
as Obizzo continued to rule de facto
after his mandate has
ceased. His son Azzo was expelled by the Reggiani in 1306, creating
a republic ruled by 800 common people. In 1310 the Emperor Henry VII
as vicar, but
he was soon driven out. The republic ended in 1326 when Cardinal
Bertrando del Poggetto
annexed Reggio to the Papal States.
The city was subsequently under the suzerainty of John of Bohemia
, Nicolò Fogliani and
Martino della Scala
, who in 1336
gave it to Luigi Gonzaga
built a citadel in the St. Nazario quarter, and destroyed 144
1356 the Milanese Visconti, helped
by 2,000 exiled Reggiani, captured the city, starting an unsettled
period of powersharing with the Gonzaga.
In the end the
latter sold Reggio to the Visconti for 5,000 ducats
. In 1405 Ottobono
of Parma seized Reggio, but was killed by Michele Attendolo
, who handed the city
over to Nicolò III d'Este
who therefore became seignor of Reggio. The city however maintained
a relevant autonomy, with laws and coinage of its own. Niccolò was
succeeded by his illegitimate son Lionello
, and, from 1450, by Borso d'Este
The Baroque church of San
The Duchy of Reggio
In 1452 Borso was awarded the title of Duke of Reggio and Modena by
Borso's successor, Ercole I
heavylevies on the city and named the poet
Matteo Maria Boiardo, born in
the nearby town of Scandiano, as its governor.
Later another famous
Italian writer, Francesco
, held the same position. In 1474, the great poet
, author of
, was born
in a villa just outside the town ("Il Mauriziano"). He was the first son
of a knight from Ferrara, who was in
charge of the Citadel, and a noblewoman from Reggio, Daria
In 1513 Reggio was handed over to Pope
. The city was returned to the Este after the death of
on September 29, 1523. In
1551 Ercole II d'Este
suburbs of the city in his program of reconstruction of the walls.
At the end of the century work on the city's famous Basilica della
began, on the site where a miracle was believed to have
occurred.The Este rule continued until 1796, with short
interruptions in 1702 and 1733-1734.
The Napoleonic age and the Restoration
The "Tricolore's Room", in the Town
Hall, is where for the first time the Italian's flag three colours
arrival of the republican
French troops was
greeted with enthusiasm in the city.
Piazza San Prospero with patron
On August 21, 1796, the
ducal garrison of 600 men was driven off, and the Senate claimed
the rule of Reggio and its duchy. On September
26, the Provisional Government's volunteers pushed back an
Austrian column, in the Battle of Montechiarugolo.
Though minor, this clash is considered the
first one of the Italian Risorgimento
himself awarded the Reggiani with
500 rifles and 4 guns. Later he occupied Emilia and formed a new province, the Cispadane
Republic, whose existence was proclaimed in Reggio on
January 7, 1797.
, named Il Tricolore (three-colours flag), was
sewed on that occasion by Reggio women. In this period of patriotic
fervour, Jozef Wybicki
, a lieutenant
in the Polish troops of General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski
, an ally of
Napoleon, composed the Mazurek Dąbrowskiego
Reggio, which in 1927 became the Polish national anthem.
The 1815 Treaty of Vienna
Reggio to Francis IV d'Este
in 1831 Modena rose up against him, and Reggio followed its example
organizing a corps under the command of General Carlo Zucchi
. However, on March 9
, the Duke conquered the city with his escort
of Austrian soldiers.
In 1848 Duke Francis V
state fearing a revolution and Reggio proclaimed its union with
. The latter's defeat at the
brought the city back under
the Estense control. In 1859 Reggio, under dictator Luigi Carlo
Farini, became part of the united Italy and, with
the plebiscite of March 10, 1860, definitively entered the new
Reggio then went through a period of economic and population growth
from 1873 to the destruction of the ancient walls. In 1911 it had
70,000 inhabitants. A strong socialist
tradition grew. On July 7, the city hosted the 13th National
Congress of the Italian
Later the Fascist
oppressed Reggio's people because of these leanings and traditions.
On July 26, 1943, the régime's fall was cheered with enthusiasm by
the Reggiani. Numerous partisan
bands were formed in
the city and surrounding countryside.
- The Baroque Basilica della Ghiara (1597), the
most important church of the city.
- The Basilica di San Prospero. Built in the 10th
century and dedicated to Prosper of
Reggio, a bishop of the city, it was reconstructed by Luca Corti and Matteo Fiorentini between 1514 and 1523.
The façade, with eleven statues of saints and patrones, was
redesigned by Giovan Battista
Cattani in the mid-18th century. It includes a pleasant
belfry/tower, begun in 1535 and never quite finished, with an
octagonal plant. The interior of the church has a Latin cross
plant, with three naves. The apse houses the splendid fresco Last Judgement, by the Bolognese artist Camillo
Procaccini. Also noteworthy are the wooden choir from
1546 and the Assumption altarpiece by Tommaso Laureti and Ludovico Carracci (1602).
Cathedral (9th-12th century). It was reconstructed in
the second half of the 16th century. It has three naves with works
by Guercino, Palma the Younger, Prospero Spani and Alessandro Tiarini.
beside the cathedral is the now deconsecrated baptistry, or church
Tourist Information (In Italian)
- Saint John the Baptist *The church of St. Augustine. Once
dedicated to St. Apollinare, its
dedication was changed in 1268 when it was rebuilt, along with the
annexed convent, by the Augustinian friars. It was restored in
1452, when the tower was also erected. The current interior dates
from 1645–1666, while the façade was added in 1746.
- The small Baroque Christ's Oratory.
- The church of St. Francis.
- The church of St. George.
- The church of San Giovannino (dedicated to Saint John
the Evangelist) (c. 1200). It houses Baroque
paintings by Sisto Badalocchio,
Lorenzo Franchi, Tommaso Sandrini, Paolo Guidotti and Tiarini.
- The church of St. Peter, designed by Giulio della Torre and built in
1625-1629. A belfry tower was added in 1765 and a façade added in
1782, while the cloister was constructed in
the 16th century. The interior is in a Latin cross shape with a
single nave. It houses notable Baroque paintings by Tiarini,
Pietro Desani, Luca da Reggio, Camillo Gavasetti and Paolo Emilio Besenzi.
- The Baroque church of St. Philip.
- The church of St. Stephen, cited in the 11th century as a
Palaces and other buildings
Painters and sculptors of Reggio Emilia
Other famous people of Reggio Emilia
Bagno, Botteghino di Sesso, Cadè-Gaida, Case Bigi, Case
Manzotti-Scolari, Case Pirondi, Case Vecchie, Caseificio Laguito,
Castel Baldo, Castellazzo, Castello di Pratofontana, Castello di
Vialato, Chiesa di Bagno, Cella, Codemondo, Corticella, Coviolo,
Baragalla, Fogliano, Gavasseto, Ghiarda, Ghiardello, Guittone
d'Arezzo, Il Cantone di Marmirolo, Il Cantone di Pieve Modolena, Il
Capriolo, Il Castello di Cadè, Il Chionso, Il Tondo, La Corte, La
Giarola, La Valle, Madonna Caraffa, Marmirolo, Massenzatico, Mulino
Canali, Palazzina, Parrocchia di Cella, Piazza di Sabbione,
Quaresimo, Roncadella, Roncocesi, Sabbione, San Bartolomeo, San
Felice, San Giorgio, San Rigo, Stazione Pratofontana, Villa
Corbelli, Villa Curta, Zimella
Twin towns - sister cities
Reggio Emilia is twinned