No less than Dante Alighieri wrote about Reggio’s territory, and some scholars of the “Supreme Poet” think that he took direct inspiration from the Bismantova Stone (a huge mountain of very peculiar shape) for the narrative creation of the mountain of Purgatory in the Divina Commedia; we cannot be sure of this, but in the lines of Canto IV we do find the Stone:
“Vassi in Sanleo e discendesi in Noli,
montasi su in Bismantova e ’n Cacume
con esso i piè; ma qui convien ch’om voli”
(“One climbs Sanleo and descends in Noli,
And mounts the summit of Bismantova,
With feet alone; but here one needs must fly”)
Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, Canto IV, vv.25-27.
By all means, thanks to local film directors, poets and writers, the image of the province of Reggio Emilia has reached both national and international hearts: the famous Italian singer-songwriter and film director Luciano Ligabue, born in the Province, has given a fascinating picture of the private radio phenomena in the 1970s in Radiofreccia, filmed in different cities of the Reggio Emilia area; the movie has gained extensive fame with the inclusion in 2006 into the MoMA of New York’s permanent cinematographic archive.
Brescello and Boretto have also become an open-air film set for the cinematographic transposition of the Mondo Piccolo saga by Giovannino Guareschi into Don Camillo and Peppone films. The plot, set in the second half of the 1940s, tells about the humoristic adventures of a country priest and the communist mayor of a small lowland city, identified with the areas of Brescello and Boretto defined by Guareschi as a symbol of rural reality after the second world war.
Indeed the author felt a strong connection with this land:
“That’s how, my friends, my priest and my big mayor of the Lowland have been born.[…] The Lowland itself has created them. I met them, took them by the arm and walked them up and down the alphabet.” G. Guareschi