Situated in Northern Italy, in the Po Valley – about a one-hour drive from Bologna – the town of Reggio Emilia has an ancient history.
In the 11th century, Reggio Emilia was at the heart of the vast territory controlled by Matilda of Tuscany – la Gran Contessa – a powerful feudal ruler and one of the few medieval women to be remembered for her military accomplishments. The castle of Canossa, in the Apennines south of Reggio, was Matilda’s main power-base.
Across the subsequent centuries, Reggio Emilia is a town that has continued to play an important role in the political and cultural life of this part of the world. More recently, it has been referred to as the Tricolour town, because it was here that the future Italian flag was adopted for the first time in 1797.
What to do
The best time to visit this region is during the spring, but at any time of year there’s plenty to explore. Some of the key highlights that you might want to include in your itinerary are:
The Sala del Tricolore (Tricolour Hall) and its Museum, which goes over the historical events with Napoleonic memorabilia and relics of the Risorgimento. Piazza Grande – surrounded by the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Town Hall