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The lands of Canossa and the Apennine of Reggio Emilia

The lands of Mathilda di Canossa

In the scenario of the Apennine of Reggio Emilia, around the XI Century, the Countess Mathilda of Canossa placed the headquartier of her political and military power. Her domain covered an area extended between Lombardy and Tuscany. As remainders of her strong power several castles still stand on the peaks of that land, to recall to the travellers a period of strong passions. First of all the Castle of Canossa, seat of a National Museum and direct heritage of the Italian State, was the heart of Mathilda's defensive system to patrol the roads linking the plain and the Apennines. The best preserved building of that period is the Castle of Rossena that still presents the Mastio and the defensive wall. Other castles are strictly bounded to the history of Mathilda: Carpineti, that hosted two Councils, Bianello of Quattro Castella that housed the Emperor Henry the V, Montecchio Emilia and Sarzano of Casina.

Contemporary and not less important, then as now, are the parish churches that recall Mathilda's reforming will in ecclesiastical field: ToanoMarolaSan Vitale of Carpineti, BeleoPaullo and Pianzo are rich of romanic details still clearly visible and suggestive.



Opening times

Opening hours of Mathilda's Castles


It's possibile to walk through the history. In the Mathilda's lands there's a network of marked paths that connect the principal naturalistic and historical places of the hills of Reggio Emilia. The steps are five divided in different sections with some possible variations. Through these paths, the Sentiero Matilde leads from the Canossa cliff to San Pellegrino in Alpe, natural balcony above Garfagnana,  through castles, tower houses, ancient parish churches and medieval villages of stone houses.

◊ Visit the Mathilda of Canossa's Lands
◊ Itineraries about Mathilda of Canossa


Mathilda and the treasure of Canossa



The Apennine of Reggio Emilia

The Apennine of Reggio Emilia is mostly placed in the Tuscan-emilian National Park and it's particularly interesting under a naturalistic and landscaping point of view. From Monte Cusna to the Alpe di Succiso, from Calamone Lake to the Lavacchiello waterfall, deep valleys, steep ravines, suggestive mirrors of water, wide and shady woods, prairies and moorlands follow each other. The landscape, low popuplated and so low urbanized is characterized by some excepitonal examples as the Pietra di Bismantova, a big sandstone monolith, cited by Dante in his Divine Comedy.
The tourist information Office on Castelnovo ne' Monti promotes the territory of 10 Municipalities: Castelnovo nè Monti, Ventasso, Villa Minozzo, Vetto, Canossa, Casina, Viano, Baiso, Carpineti e Toano. The Province of Reggio Emilia has a wide network of paths (about 1250 km) mainly through the mountains and hills. The paths are marked with red and white sign of CAI and numbered with an odd three-digit number starting with 6, for example n.615 (the even numbers are on the Tuscan side).





Three are the pathways that cross the Apennine of Reggio Emilia:

◊ Sentiero Spallanzani (115 km) It goes through the places visited and descripted by Lazzaro Spallanzani, famous scientist of Scandiano of the XVIII Century. Starting from Scandiano (130 m), the pathway leads to San Pellegrino in Alpe (1524 m), going through all the most important places under a naturalistic point of view. The pathway is divided in 7 stages and hasn't tecnical difficulties.
Sentiero dei Ducati (82.3 km) It's a trans-Apennine path that connects the hills of Reggio Emilia (Quattro Castella 160 m) with the Tirrenic coast (Luni 20 m). The Itinerary goes through the Enza Valley and the Pass of Lagastrello. It's divided in 11 stages (7 in the Apennine of Reggio Emilia) and has some variations.
◊ Sentiero Matilde(circa 80 km) The path goes through the places of the Countess Mathilda of Canossa up to San Pellegrino in Alpe on the Tuscan-emilian Ridge. The path is divided in 7 stages, and 5 of them are in the Apennine of Reggio Emilia.


◊ Trekking Appennino - Tourist itineraries
Tuscan-Emilian Apennine Park
◊ Rifuges