With almost 170.000 inhabitants, Reggio Emilia is a welcoming, lively city; both modern and traditional, it mixes the surprising beauty of its architectures and the richness of its culture with the delicious flavors of its gastronomy!
Reggio Emilia’s old city center is shaped on the map as an hexagon, tracing the perimeter where the ancient city walls used to stand and enclosing the notable historic heritage of the city, much still to be discovered by the public.
Founded by the Romans as part of the strategic road network called Via Emilia, its territory was the heart of Matilda of Canossa’s domain in the Middle Ages and became the home of poets such as Ludovico Ariosto and Matteo Maria Boiardo during the Renaissance period, under the powerful Este family. And of course… Reggio Emilia is also the birthplace of the Italian Flag, the Tricolore, here adopted in 1797!
Living together with the cultural richness of former times, Reggio Emilia also hosts some outstanding examples of contemporary trends such as Le Vele, The Sails, and the high speed railway station Mediopadana – both captivating architectural projects designed by Santiago Calatrava -, the contemporary ballet company Aterballetto and its fascinating headquarters, La Fonderia, the Maramotti Contemporary Art Collection, where you can find the works of international artists such as Francis Bacon, Jannis Kounellis, Lucio Fontana, Alex Katz, and many others.
Reggio Emilia also offers a kaleidoscope of cultural activities, such as the International Center “Loris Malaguzzi”’s, named after the man who inspired the “Reggio approach” which is a worldwide famous educational experience. This Center is the home of meetings and workshops for those who seek to innovate education and culture, and during the international festival Fotografia Europea, a very important artistic event, the city brightens up with life, for the crowds of art lovers spread into its streets visiting the exhibitions based on a different topic every year.
Besides this ancient and contemporary patrimony, the gastronomic tradition of Reggio Emilia must not be forgotten, because the city belongs with full rights to Italy’s worldwide famous food valley: Parmigiano Reggiano has its birthplace in the province, and it makes a perfect combination of flavors with traditional balsamic vinegar from Reggio Emilia; furthermore, local desserts, wines, and a set of specialties only to be found in Reggio Emilia like Erbazzone, Pecorino cheese from the Apennines mountains and Spongata cake.
Up in the Apennines another ancient tradition is still alive: the “Maggio”, scenic performances organized by local companies who recite a folk elaboration of epic poems and holy texts in rhymes for even five, six hours, revealing their essence by reenacting a form of theatre very close to the most archaic European medieval one.