Situated on the Via Emilia and main city of its own Province, Reggio Emilia (Regium Lepidi) became, in the II century B.C., an important Roman city centre with a rich trading activity.
In the XI century the local area became the fulcrum of the county of Matilde di Canossa. Allied to Milan the inhabitants engaged the war against Federico Barbarossa, The city, subject to a series of internal conflicts, fell under the dominion of various conquerors such as the Estensi, the Gonzaga and the Visconti families.
Under the Estensi the city's destiny was similar to those of Ferrara and Modena and was birth place of the famous writer Ludovico Ariosto.
Reggio Emilia is also famous for giving its city colours the National flag," the Tricolore", which appeared for the first time during the occupation of the troupes of Napoleon.
Piazza Pampolini, known as Piazza Grande, is the main city square onto which very important buildings face, such as: the Battistero in Romanesque style, the Palazzo Vescovile, the Cathedral and the Town Hall. Here the Sala del Tricolore can be visited, which is dedicated to the National flag, chosen in 1797 to be the emblem of the Italian State.
Through a arched passageway (the Broletto), another beautiful square opens up, Piazza San Prospero, known as "Piasa cica" (Small Square), which is dominated by the Basilica dedicated to the patron Saint of the city and is a perfect example of the Emiliano Baroque style with its octagonal shape bell tower.
The Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Ghiara is one of the most famous Mariani Sanctuaries in Italy and an important pilgrimage destination. It was built to glorify the miracle of 1596 of the young "Marchino", who was born deaf without speech, but started to hear and was able to speak whilst he was praying to the image of the Madonna, painted by the artist Bertone.
Worth a visit is also the Wine Musuem, the Parmeggiani Art Gallery, the Civic Museums and the Town Theatre Romolo Valli (built in the second half of the XIX century.
The local territory, and in particular Reggio Emilia, has a great quality food tradition. It is not possible to leave this area without tasting the Parmigiano Reggiano, the salami (cold meats), the Lambrusco and the Balsamic vinegar.