The Reggio Emilia City Guide was created in collaboration with Reggio native, Ilaria Calò.
City Hall – Designed by the Bolognese engineer Ludovico Bolognini in 1774. It was here that, on January 7, 1797, representatives of the free municipalities of Reggio, Modena, Bologna and Ferrara met to proclaim the Cispadane Republic, adopting the tri-color flag (green-white-red), that was then chosen as the national flag (although the prototype had horizontal bands) in 1848. The Tricolor hall represents the town's civic commitment. Today, it is the seat of the Municipal Council.
The Tricolor flag Museum - The museum is located inside the City Hall. On display are documents, objects, and relics concerning the history of the national flag, its origin and further developments until the Napoleonic period.
San Prospero – Built in the 10th century and dedicated to Prosper of Reggio, a bishop of the city. It was later rebuilt 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 tower with an octagonal floor plan that was started in 1535 and never quite finished. The interior of the church has a Latin cross plan, with three naves. The apse houses the splendid fresco of the Last Judgement, by the Bolognese artist Camillo Procaccini. Also noteworthy are the wooden chaird from 1546 and the Assumption altarpiece.
Basilica della Ghiara – Main church of the city; begun in 1597, and completed in 1619. The interior is ornately decorated with frescoes by the Caracci school, Alessandro Tiarini, and Lionello Spada.
Musei Civici – The new Palazzo dei Museii of Reggio Emilia, designed by the architect Italo Rota, presents an idea of museum open to a collective memory by interacting with the present and creating the future. Objects, people and characters with their stories become the architecture of the museum.
Teatro Valli – The Teatro Municipale Valli was designed by the architect Cesare Costa and constructed in the neoclassic style between 1852 and 1857. The frescoes on the ceiling are by the local artist Domenico Pellizzi. Its inauguration took place on the 21st of April 1857 with the performance of Vittor Pisani by local composer Achille Peri. It is the pre-eminent public theatre of the city and is located in the historical centre next to the public park and near the smaller and more recent theatre Teatro Ariosto. It sponsors concerts, operas and ballet performance.
Palazzo Magnani Foundation – The building which currently houses the Palazzo Magnani exhibition gallery once belonged to the Becchi Counts for a century. In the early eighteenth century it was acquired by another aristocratic family, the Chioffi, who initiated major restoration works in 1841 that gave the building its current appearance. Nowadays it is the setting for art galleries and exhibitions from all over the world.
I chiostri di San Pietro - The two Cloisters of Saint Peters belonged to the Benedictine Monks who used to officiate in the annexed church. The small Cloister was completed in 1524 by Bartolemeo Spani and by Leonardo Pacchioni and is of typical renaissance design. The large Cloister was built in 1584 by Prospero and Francesco Pacchioni, with the high loggia running along the length of the facades, it is densely decorated with statues and windows. A number of paintings can be seen but unfortunately many of the original decorations were covered by a layer of limestone in the 1950's.
Calatrava Bridges and High Speed Train station- Surrounding Reggio are three magnificent bridges designed by Santiago Calatrava that were opened in 2005-2006. The three bridges connect the Austostrada del Sole A1 (the main Italian north to south motorway) to the city of Reggio Emilia. A central arch bridge spans the Milan-Bologna high-speed railway line and the motorway, while the two twin cable bridges are at either end, and connect with the adjacent Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana high-speed railway station (that is itself an amazing architectural structure designed by Calatrava). In 2009, the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork gave the three bridges a European Steel Design Award, stating that the twin bridges' original visual effects at different angles give the two bridges "the aspect of huge musical instruments."
Spazio Gerra – Bequeathed to the Municipality of Reggio Emilia by Anna Maria Ternelli Gerra for the purpose of creating a new cultural venue in the city dedicated to her husband, the artist Marco Gerra (1925-2000). The former Cairoli Hotel, located in piazza XXV Aprile, was restored through an innovative design by the architect Christian Gasparin. Exhibited on the various floors of “Spazio Gerra” are the multifaceted dimensions of contemporaneity in their various expressions, functions and manifestations, including art, photography, advertising, television, cinema, graphic art, illustration, comics, projection, video and computer, but also in less visible forms, such as those of the mind, those evoked through words and music, as well as those not deriving directly from sight but perceived through the senses of smell, touch, taste and hearing.
Pietra di Bismantova - The Stone of Bismantova is included in the National Park of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano and is a geological formation in Castelnovo ne' Monti just outside of Reggio Emilia. It has the shape of a narrow, quasi-cylindrical plateau whose steep walls emerge about 300 meters high as an isolated spur from the nearby hills. (The top has an elevation of 1,047 meters above sea level.) It includes fossils belonging to a tropical environment and is surrounded by a forest of mostly hazel trees. The Pietra di Bismantova is mentioned by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy (Purgatory, IV, 25-30).
Giusto Spirito - Try lunch at Reggio's most famous micro-brewery. The menu items are always delicious, from salads to hamburgers and pizza! Good value for your money. It is located about 10 minutes from downtown Reggio by car.
Tigelliamo - You can’t come to Reggio and NOT try the Gnocco fritto (salty fried dough) or the Tigelle (compact round bread) served with the typical array of cured meats & cheeses! For a quick lunch with these regional specialties, this is the perfect place.
Zazie - Fresh soups and smoothies served in a charming, casual setting right in the city center.
Condor – Fresh pasta and pizza place that is perfect for a relaxed lunch. Good home made pasta served in generous portions. Condor is very popular among local customers, businessmen and people working in the area.
Boni - The best coffee and pastries in Reggio Emilia! In this recently restored historical building, meet Rosalba (the sweetest owner in town) who will greet you and ask for your order. Try a “cannellino” (fresh pastry cone filled with custard or Chantilly cream).
Sambirano – Want to start the day the right way? Try breakfast at this luxurious but modern café, offering a wide variety of high-quality coffees, teas, pastries and petit bon bon.
Reggio Emilia is famous for its artisanal Gelato. These three gelaterie are definitely carrying on the tradition in the best way! Choose from rich cream & chocolate flavors, as well as interesting flavors of their own invention!
K2 – in via Guido da Castello 7
Caraibi – in Via Emilia Ospizio 59
Capriccio– in vicolo Trivelli 2
Caffè Fontanesi - Here you can drink the best spritz in town, order a bottle (or just a glass) of your choice from the wide selection of wines. You can either hang out inside next to their personal library under beautifully frescoed ceilings, or you can sit down outside in the “distesa” overlooking one of the loveliest and most romantic squares in Reggio, Piazza Fontanesi.
Bottega 39 – This tapas bar is located in the charming, little square Piazzetta della Legna. It’s my go-to place for excellent cocktails with a twist, and tapas-style dinner and aperitivi. Look up at the ceiling for some non-refundable wisdom from famous personalities! (Large groups should reserve a table).
Caffè Europa – Located in Piazza Prampolini in front of the City Hall, this little cafè is the epitome of the Dolce Vita. When you order a drink, they will serve you complimentary olives, chips and little snacks on the side. Take a deep breath and relax!
Hot Chili – This is possibly the most crowded place to grab a drink on weekends in the city center, but it is definitely the best by far! Get their signature drink the “Uragano” (the Hurricane) at a discount price during Happy Hour from 19.00 till 21.30. If you prefer a lighter drink, I recommend the “Lady Killer”.
Ristorante Canossa – Regional cooking at its best located in the heart of the city. Canossa is famous for delicious Reggio Emilian-style first course dishes like cappelletti and lasagne, as well as regionally-renowned meat courses, like the “Carello dei Bolliti” (literally a hot cart full of meats!).
Marta in Cucina – Nouvelle cuisine style restaurant located near Piazza del Cristo. A minimalist interior with a modern approach to regional dishes.
Spaghetteria – Young and hip restaurant with art-focused décor. Spaghetteria is famous for a special "al dente" pasta. Be advised: this restaurant doesn't take reservations, so plan accordingly.
Piatto Unico - If you are in the mood for something different, Piatto Unico is a great place to try some new flavors. They combine Italian recipes and fuse them with ethnic influences. The staff is very friendly and the food, although not terribly abundant, is very delicious. In the summer you can wine and dine in the quaint garden in the back too!
Piccola Piedigrotta – Naples-style pizza place located in the city center. Well known for its thick-crusted pizzas and grilled meats.
Tamagnini - Trendy & elegant shoe store for both men and women, with a focus on brands proudly sporting the Made in Italy label.
Casimiro – Fun and creative design objects for you and your home. You can find everything from high-end design objects to creations by emerging young designers.
Boom - Stylish clothing & accessories for the everyday working woman.
Christian - Make sure to stop by and check out some serious fashion statements. This Reggio Emilia luxury multi-brand store will surprise you with Italian leather, tailor-made suits from all the best brands.
Jalisco - Rustic Western store filled with handmade boots from Mexico, handcrafted jewelry, cowboy hats and other unique items.
Bagus – An all-in-one jewelry, art, ethnic clothes, and furniture store.
Bologna Airport - (BLQ) Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi di Bologna. Approximately 50 min by car.
Parma Airport - (PMF) Aeroporto di Parma. Approximately 40 min by car.
Milano Linate Airport - (LIN) Aeroporto di Milano Linate. Approximately 1 hour and a half by car.
Train - The Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana High-Speed Train Station and The Reggio Emilia Train Station - Being close to Bologna and Milano, which are the main hubs for train traffic in the north of Italy, it's relatively easy to reach Reggio Emilia by train. The main train station is within walking distance from the city center. From Milano, Bologna and Florence, it's possible to book more expensive and faster trains that stop at the Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana High-Speed Railway Station designed by Calatrava. Otherwise you can take the Regional trains which are slower, a little less comfortable, but definitely cheaper.
Bus - ATC 1.50 euro/ticket if you buy with exact change on the bus. The price is 1.30 euros/ticket if you buy an individual ticket at a Tabaccheria (insert it into the gray & yellow ticket machines on the bus). Or buy the City Pass in a Tabaccheria which costs 12 euros for 10 rides (always remember to stamp your ticket with the gray ticket machine). One ticket is valid for 75 minutes from the time you insert it into the ticket machine!
Car - Reggio Emilia is located on the Highway A1, that runs from Milano to Napoli, passing by Bologna, Florence and Roma. Leaving from Milano the exit for Reggio Emilia is around 130, 140 km south. Coming from Bologna, the exit for Reggio Emilia is aroung 80 km north. The city center is mostly closed off to cars “Zona Traffico Limitato-or- ZTL” (unless you’re a taxi, bus, or resident of that area). It is recommended to park outside the city center or find a reasonably priced parking garage nearby. If parking on the street, please take note of the color of the lines: White lines mean parking for residents only, blue lines mean anyone can park there (make sure to see if there is an hourly fee to pay), and yellow lines mean NO parking (either Handicap parking or Bus stops).
Bike – Reggio Emilia is a biker-friendly city with bike paths all around the city center. Visitors can rent bikes andcycle around the city center where everything is happening. Make sure you have a solid lock and don’t leave your bike where you think it might be stolen.
Foot – Reggio Emilia is a great walking city. You can walk from one side to the other in just about 30 minutes! The old town has a hexagonal form, which derives from the ancient city walls. The main buildings are from the 16th–17th centuries, and are divided by Via Emilia, an ancient Roman road which spans from to the northen part of Italy down to Rimini on the Adriatic coast. In Via Emilia, you'll find shops and boutiques prefect for a relaxing stroll.
Cesare Zavattini – Famous writer, journalist, screenwriter who devoted himself to writing and in 1936 received his first screenplay and story credits. In 1935, he met Vittorio De Sica, beginning a partnership that produced around twenty films, including such masterpieces of Italian neorealism as: Sciuscià (Shoeshine, 1946), Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, American release title, The Bicycle Thief, 1948), Miracolo a Milano (Miracle in Milan, 1951) .
Ludovico Ariosto - Italian poet that is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso (1516). The poem, a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens with diversions into many sideplots. Ariosto composed the poem in the ottava rima rhyme scheme and introduced narrative commentary throughout the work. Ariosto also coined the term "humanism" for choosing to focus upon the strengths and potential of humanity, rather than only upon its role as subordinate to God. This led to Renaissance humanism.
Pier Vittorio Tondelli - was an Italian writer who wrote a small but influential body of work. He was born in Correggio, a small town in Emilia-Romagna region and died in nearby Reggio Emilia because of AIDS. Tondelli enjoyed modest success as a writer but often encountered trouble with censorship for his use of homosexual themes in his works. Book recommendation: Altri libertini – 1980 Feltrinelli
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