The ideals of Renaissance Humanism spread with incredible rapidity in this region together with a proper urge for renovation.
This longing for change was not only showing in big cities such as Ferrara, Reggio and Parma, but also into smaller towns, dignified by the importance of their citizens and lords’ contribution both in arts and politics.
Reggio Emilia district’s courts convinced the greatest figures in Europe at that time to come and visit these small capitals several times because of their cultural turmoil: Guastalla, under the Gonzaga family, was pursuing the construction of “ideal town” and Novellara was being adorned with masterpieces by Lelio Orsi; close by, the delightful frescoes by Niccolò dell’Abate glorified the successes of the Boiardo family in the Scandiano while Palazzo dei Principi’s beautiful gates welcomed in his court important statesmen, artists and men of letters.
This small but remarkable courts have a rich historic significance and the important architectures you will find there are totally worth a visit.
The poet Giosuè Carducci called Scandiano “a land of scholars and poets”: thinking about the great contribution to literature and science of M.M. Boiardo and of L. Spallanzani, we know he was not mistaken.
Amongst the lords that ruled the feud, the Boiardos are probably the most famous one thanks to the Renaissance’s poet Matteo Maria Boiardo, author of the immortal Orlando Innamorato.
At the time, the houses’ façades were decorated with paintings insomuch as Scandiano’s old center used to be called “the painted box”.
Although the paintings are gone, some remarkable buildings stand to testify the city’s past glory as a “small capital”: Boiardo stronghold, a piece of great architectural value once decorated with beautiful 16th century frescoes by Niccolò dell’Abate (today in the Galleria Estense of Modena) and featuring today some impressive 17th century stuccowork; coming out from the stronghold into Piazza Boiardo, a nice parish church with an original Renaissance bell-tower hosts the Lazzaro Spallanzani’s tomb, not so far away from the scientist’s home, showing an elegant baroque façade and an interesting collection of scientific instruments within.
Today Scandiano is one of the most important economic and productive centers of the Province but it still celebrates its traditions in a five century old fair: S. Giuseppe fair, on 19 March.