Reggio Emilia is a charming city full of art, culture and good food. Its characteristic cloisters, ancient craft shops, and the locals’ sparkling personalities make it a must-stop on your trip to Emilia-Romagna. Here’s what to see in a single day in Reggio Emilia!
The Piazzas of Reggio Emilia
An interesting aspect of Reggio Emilia is undoubtedly the presence of numerous squares. Piazza Prampolini, Piazza San Prospero, Piazza Fontanesi, Piazza della Vittoria and Piazza Martiri are the most beautiful and those with the most historical and cultural value.
Piazza Pampolini is called “Piazza Grande” by the locals. Around the perimeter of the square are numerous attractions. The Duomo dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and composed of a tower, a crypt and a baptistery, is found here. In this square we also find the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà with its bell tower. In front of the building, we find the statue of a young man with an amphora representing the stream that passed through the city: the Crostolo.
Piazza San Prospero (Piazza Piccola) houses the Basilica of San Prospero, dedicated to Bishop Prospero, patron saint of the city. Inside is the Last Judgment by Camillo Procaccini and a precious wooden choir carved by Gaspare Bisi. The façade of the church is protected by six red lions in Verona marble and next to it, rises the bell tower.
The Municipal Theater, or Teatro Valli, is the undisputed star of Piazza della Vittoria. Adjacent to this square, we find the Piazza Martiri (Piazza Cavour). This piazza memorializes a tragic event that took place on July 7, 1960. During a trade union demonstration, five local workers were killed by the police and the square honors the fallen with commemorative plaques.
Piazza Fontanesi (or the “Parisian”) is characterized by trees and a wide-open location. Here, you’ll find the most famous antique shops in the city. Chic cafes, venues for aperitifs and sumptuous residences are all around its perimeter.
Tempio della Beata Vergine della Ghiara
This gem was erected in honor of a miracle that took place in the area. It is said that on April 29, 1596, a young deaf-mute man regained both his voice and his hearing while praying in front of the statue of the Madonna. Today, the statue is located inside the church. The church can be visited from 7:30 am to 13:00 and from 16:30 to 18:00.
Inside, you’ll also find magnificent and quiet cloisters to visit. The largest and most important one hosts a youth hostel with reasonable prices for both the stay and the restaurant.
What sets this library apart is the presence of Sol LeWitt’s work on the ceiling of the reading room. We are referring to the Wall Drawing #1126 Whirls and Twirls 1, which represents whirlpools and whirlwinds of truly unique colors!
Otello Sarzi Museum
This magical museum pays homage to Otello Sarzi and his puppets. Admission to the museum is free but donations are accepted. For info visit the official website (Italian only).
What to Eat in Reggio Emilia
As is true across Italy, the cuisine in Reggio Emilia is superb. Classic dishes include cappelletti in brodo or fried gnocco. The cold cuts here are also excellent, especially when accompanied by a nice glass of Lambrusco.
If you are spending some time in the area, then you’ll want to find out more about the lovely region of
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