The area in which Reggio Emilia is situated is a faithful reflection of the character of its inhabitants: bountiful and humble, productive and prudent, welcoming and orderly, pleasant and discreet.
An extraordinary example of a community that has succeeded in creating a city internationally known as a “people-friendly” place. Many are those who, although they have come from other parts of the world, have decided to settle in Reggio having been won over by values that reach way beyond the surface. A life-style that continues to safeguard the agreeable and balanced aspects of living in a community despite being part of a productive and industrial context of national importance. The farming tradition that characterized its history still profiles the city, dominated by urban green spaces that mingle with contemporary buildings and historical architecture.
Famous for its flourishing cultural environment, Reggio is well known for its traditions in the world of entertainment and boasts three important theatres all situated near to each other: Teatro Valli, Teatro Ariosto and Teatro della Cavallerizza. Teatro Municipale Romolo Valli looms in the historical city centre, a magnificent, imposing building dearly loved by the citizens. The network of large and small Squares, or “piazza”, in the heart of the city is one of its architectural characteristics.
Central Piazza Prampolini, dedicated to the “father” of cooperation, is linked by the Broletto portico to one of Reggio Emilia’s architectural gems: Piazza San Prospero. Right in the centre of the city, unspoilt and intact, it’s an extraordinary piece of history and epitomizes the character of the people of Reggio Emilia.
Città del Tricolore (City of the Tricolour Flag) celebrates its history with a museum situated right alongside the famous Sala del Tricolore in the Town Hall, the place where the Flag of Italy was officially adopted for the first time in 1797 and where the City Council still holds its meetings.
But it’s the Via Emilia that has determined the setting and special character of the city for the past two thousand years, i.e. the arterial road that crosses the entire historical centre from gateway to gateway (the ancient entrances to the centre) like a backbone.
Straight and wide, flanked by age-old buildings now hosting shops and stores, it has always been a meeting point for the people of Reggio Emilia.
An up-to-date outlook and the fundamental values of a city that turns work into a virtue are represented by many important, recent constructions. One example is Calatrava’s spectacular project that redesigned the city’s northern access point.
400 metres in length, the unique Mediopadana Railway Station is one of the most spectacular buildings in Europe and is surrounded by three immense white bridges that span the A1 motorway below.
Even remodelment of the buildings in the former industrial area known as Officine Reggiane, subjected to a renovation and enhancement project dedicated to various different functions for the benefit of the population, is an emblem of a city, Reggio Emilia, that looks to the future.
Exploration of the Reggio Emilia area extends throughout a province where visitors can admire many different landscapes.
From the banks of the river Po, along the “bassa” (the Po Valley lowlands) to the gentle hills and on to the Apennine mountains where Monte Cusna, with an altitude of over 2000 metres, soars over the lands that were once the dominion of Matilde di Canossa.
The age-old history of the reign of Matilde di Canossa combines with the flourishing nature of one of the most fertile areas hereabouts.
The ancient hillside hamlets and castles contrast with the imposing and mythological image of Pietra di Bismantova, while the banks of the river Po are steeped in memories and evidence of a cultural and artistic fabric that has produced internationally known personages like Antonio Ligabue and Cesare Zavattini, as well as the box-office successes featuring Don Camillo and Peppone.
This is Reggio: city of work, social commitment, education, good food, music and the theatre, city of people.