Matilde’s Castles  By

Matilde’s Castles

The Great Countess Matilda ruled on a vast territory, including most of the northern and central part of the Italian peninsula; nevertheless, the heart of his reign, fortified and safe, was the area between the castles of Canossa, Rossena, Sarzano, Carpineti and Bianello.

Here the Countess lived in the most dangerous year of her kingdom, here the outcome of European politics were decided during the contest between the Imperial power and the Pope’s one.

The contribution of Matilda to this land is also witnessed by the churches and cathedrals that the Countess – a pious woman, faithful to the Pope  – built in the area, featuring a characteristic Romanesque style, still alive in the production of Ars Canusina, a refined manufacturing art you can only find in Casina, Reggio Emilia.

Middle Age is still alive in this land, thanks to the company established for the conservation and revival of the area (Matilda di Canossa S.p.A) and to the love of the inhabitants of the area for the Great Countess Matilda, the history of which they remember every year in many historical parades (the most famous one is the Quattro Castella’s), celebrating the pride of this community.

Nature and history collide in this land: a valley of castles watching over the plain from the top of peaks covered in woods and from each top, a breathtaking view.

votigno_DSC_0100bYou can visit this land by car or by venturing on the “Sentiero Matilde”, today  also with the help of the app Alta Via dei Parchi 3D Maps available on App Store for I-Phones and I-Pad.

In the area of Quattro Castella the protected Oases LIPU is also worth a guided visit, for there you can find 15 different species of wild orchid and a very rich fauna.

Furthermore, the lands of Matilde also host a Casa del Tibet, the first Tibetan community to be opened in Europe, just few steps away from the ruins of the castle of Canossa; this interesting community found the ideal setting in the medieval village of Votigno which is now a lively center of attraction and dialogue between cultures.