Gualtieri is one of the small towns on the plains south of the Po River that sprang up during the age of the seignories, the glories of which were connected to the imposing land reclamation operations and monumental urban constructions ordered by the Bentivoglio family.
- October Fair, held the third Sunday of the month in Gualtieri
- Postal code: 42044
- The Easter Octave in Santa Vittoria
6.696 updated to January 1, 2011
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Distance from Reggio Emilia exit of A1 motorway: 20 km. Distance from Reggiolo/Rolo exit of A22 motorway: 16 km. National Road SS 63 from Mantua to Reggio Emilia. National Road SS 62 from Parma to Mantua and Verona.
Gualtieri is the ancient "Castrum Walterii" of the 11th century, which belonged in turn to the Bishop of Parma, the Este family, and the Da Correggio family, only to be taken over again by the Este and finally given in fief by them to the Bentivoglio family. In 1567 Alfonso I gave Gualtieri to Cornelio Bentivoglio, investing him with the title of "marquis". Cornelio and his son Ippolito began the imposing land reclamation project that redeemed the wetlands on the plains of Reggio. The basic structures underlying the operation are still in efficient working order today. Ippolito began construction on the Gualtieri Castle, of which the current Palazzo is only a part. He commissioned G. B. Aleotti, better known as "Argenta", to design the beautiful town square that is still standing to this day, and had the Collegiate Church built. The town suffered the disastrous effects of the War of Succession, flooding by the Po River, and abandon by the new feudal lords. Gualtieri still preserves the tangible memory of its past:
Town Hall 0522 221811
Fax 0522 828444
The town square designed by Argenta has been preserved in its austere beauty, with three sides occupied by a harmonious portico and a fourth by the mass of Palazzo Bentivoglio. The centre of the west side of the building is surmounted by the imposing town tower, which has recently been restored. Palazzo Bentivoglio is only one of the majestic constructions Marquis Ippolito began to build. The exterior of the building is characterised by the austere grandeur of exposed brick and the bulk of the structure, while the interior still displays the charm of numerous halls with frescoed ceilings, a room that once served as a private chapel with lovely stucco-work and frescoes, and most importantly, the immense hall with vast frescoed areas depicting "Legends of the Giants" and episodes relating to the "Liberation of Jerusalem" by Badalocchio, which have been restored. There is also an interesting theatre in the building, which is in need of restoration. In addition, you will find:
- "Jupiter's Hall", with the Antonio Ligabue Museum and Study Centre, which renders homage to the painter and illustrates his artistic development through the collections of bibliographic and iconographic material. The collections include a valuable original self-portrait by Ligabue.
- "Icarus's Hall", with a collection donated by Umberto Tirelli, the famous costume designer who worked with the most important Italian film directors. The collection includes more than 50 excellent works of art (drawings, oil paintings, ink drawings, and tempera paintings) by artists such as Casorati, De Chirico, Guttuso, Balthus, Manzł, Clerici, and Mazzacurati, as well as two costumes designed for Pirandello's "Henry IV" and for "Ludwing" by L. Visconti.
On the south side of the square stands the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria della Neve. Gualtieri's oldest church is Sant’Andrea (St. Andrew's), located along the road to Parma. It has been restored and expanded, and has a fine bell tower that was completely rebuilt in 1713. The Church of the Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception) is of particular interest; it was decorated in 1650 with a splendid carved wooden ceiling with a large central oval depicting "The Assumption of the Virgin Mary", which has been attributed to the Battistelli school. Finally, not far from Gualtieri, is Villa Malaspina, which once belonged to the counts Torello. The villa has a large lawn with a pond, and a chapel with a painting by A. Chierici. Five kilometres away in the village of Santa Vittoria looms 18th-century Palazzo Greppi, which has recently been partially restored.