Reggio Emilia – History, Culture and Good Food in Central Italy

Reggio nell’Emilia, commonly called Reggio among its inhabitants (you pronounce it ‘rejjo‘), is an important historic centre located along the ancient Via Emilia of Roman times.

It’s a very livable town, never crowded but during the weekly markets, where most part of the people move around by bicycle or by feet, where there still are small shops where customers chat with the owner while shopping.

Historic Centre

Reggio’s historic centre is shaped as a long hexagon and hides several surprises of different ages: neoclassic, renaissance and baroque, as churches and palaces, squares and monuments.

It’s a pleasure to walk through Via del Broletto, with its old streets and artisan shops, and arrive in Piazza Prampolini, with the impressive Basilica and the Town House.

The walk continues in Piazza Casotti where in the past the old flea market took place.

There are also old cafés where you may stop and watch the town’s life flow in front of you: women on bicycles with bags full of different food products; old people discussing lively; mothers with kids coming from school…

Reggio Emilia - Italia

There are a few buildings you shouldn’t miss, for their architectural value as well as for their historical significance. One of them is the Town House: in one of its room – known as Sala del Tricolore – on January 7, 1797, the first Italian flag was created and Italy’s actual flag is a derivation from it.

Also Reggio Emilia’s churches are worth a visit, first of all the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. It is a Romanic style church but has been modified during the centuries. The unfinished front wall is just grandiose.

But the buildings the town is more proud are probably its theatres: the one entitled to Romolo Valle faces one of Reggio’s most important squares and hosts concerts and operas.

Reggio Emilia - Italt

Exhibitions and shows

Reggio is culturally very rich and variegated: every year there are major exhibitions and shows dedicated to arts, traditions and history.

During Spring – from end of April to June – there is the European Photography Week, with exhibitions, meetings, talks and many shows.

The most peculiar event is the Fair of San Prospero – the bishop in charge during the Roman Empire’s invasions. It recurs every year on November 24: entertainments, street artists, food stands and markets, all together for a great party and a unique atmosphere.

Tibet Home

Just a few kilometers from Reggio there is Tibet Home, located on Votigno’s green hills. First in Europe and the only one in Italy, it’s a medieval small village rebuilt in a meditation centre, Tibet museum, temple and seminary area. It’s a place of peace for everyone, no matter if you are Buddhist or not, and it’s enriched by the hills’ extraordinary frame.

The cheese

If you are passionate about Italian cheese Parmiggiano Reggiano the place to go is Scandiano: here you can book a visit to Caseificio Boiardo and have a look to the very making of this world renown cheese, since when the fresh milk arrives to the ageing of the cheese products.

Parmigiano Reggiano - Reggio Emilia, Italia

Where to eat

Ristorante il Pozzo – Delicious traditional meals and an excellent wine list, served in a comfortable atmosphere at reasonable prices.

Lived in England since 1998 and travelled the world since 2005, visiting over 100 countries on 5 continents. Writer, blogger, photographer with a passion for adventure and travel, discovering those off beat places not yet on the tourist trail. Marco contributes the very best in independent travel tips and lifestyle articles.

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