It is a town in the province of Reggio Emilia, located along the river Enza, halfway between Parma and Reggio Emilia, in an area created by sediments left by the waters of the river during its flood. The earliest settlements date back to the Bronze Age. Subsequently here settled Etruscans and Romans, of whose remains (roads, rural villas and traces of centuriation) are still visible. The town's name derives from the Latin word "Monticulum" (small mountain).
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the territory was occupied by the Lombards and of this period remains a valuable golden cross, now housed at the National Museum of Parma. Montecchio was already mentioned in a document of 781 and for its strategic position was at the centre of clashes for centuries, passing from the domain of the Church to the Visconti, the Barbiano, the Sforza, the Gonzaga, the Farnese, the Spanish, the French and, finally, to the Duke of Este.
Montecchio still retains traces of its picturesque old medieval center with the fortified wall and the "Cittadella".
Sites of Interest:
- the Town Hall, built in 1577 by brothers Malombri;
- Palazzo Vicedomini-Cavezzi which preserves intact the walls and decorative elements of the XV century. During the XIX century it was the seat of important meetings between members of the Masonic sect of the Sublime Mestri Perfetti, that in agreement with the Carbonari, meditated raising the people against Francesco IV, Duke of Modena and Reggio Emilia;
- the stronghold of the Castle, situated in the western part of the center. A primitive fortress which was built in 1113 by Beatrice di Canossa (mother of the more famous Matilda). The perimeter of the tower was completed in the second half of the XIII century. Occupied in 1296 by Azzo d'Este and partially dismantled in 1317 by Gilberto da Correggio, the fortress was expanded with the construction of the Rotonda and surrounded by ditches in 1437-38. Later building works continued until 1455;
- the Carolingian burial sepulchre, located in the basement of the castle dating from the early medieval period;
- the Church of the Madonna del Popolo, which features an XVIII century façade, punctuated by four pilasters and a triangular pediment;
- the Sanctuary of the Virgin dell'Olmo, with XVIII century façade divide in three sections by pilasters;
- the Church of Saint Donnino Martyr, in Baroque style, is one of the oldest in the city, dating to the early days of evangelization of the Padana Valley area. It was already mentioned in a document of 822.