Traditionally, we date the beginning of Reggio Emilia University to 1088, when Jacopo da Mandra moved in with his pupils and started teaching law. As a matter of fact the official life of the University didn’t last long: instituted in 1752, by 1772 it was already downgraded to Lyceum!
On the other hand, today the University of Reggio – united with the University of Modena – is considered a good choice amongst the students and, in 2007, it was appointed best university in Italy by an Italian newspaper that every year ranks the national campuses.
The headquarter building is a neoclassical structure, a former animal marketplace, then barrack for Napoleonic troops turned into the University seat in 2005 and now hosting under its portico one of the permanent works of art made for the city for the project “Invitation to… Luciano Fabro, Sol LeWitt, Eliseo Mattiacci, Robert Morris”.
The Araba Fenice column by Luciano Fabro is made of Iranian travertine-gold marble, a material chosen to meld with the colors and light of the University architectural environment.
Its structure follows the Vitruvian rule where the matter is uniform and the natural form of the marble’s veins when they are more evident; the column is half human and half nature, “an elegant enigma” (Rudi Fuchs), “a dripping-light sculpture” as defined by the artist himself, surely worth a visit.