Entire territory Home / Discover the area / Tourist locations in Guastalla

Guastalla

Guastalla is a town of Etruscan origin. It is one of the most characteristic towns in the lowlands of Reggio Emilia along the Po River.

Information and contacts

Altitude: 25 m
Inhabitants: 15.132 (updated to January 1, 2014)
Post code: 42016
Weekly market day: Wedenesday and Saturday
Patron Saint: St. Catherine's Fair (November 25)
Hamlets: San Giacomo, San Girolamo, San Martino, San Rocco, Tagliata
Phone 0039 0522 839763 - Tourist information office
Phone 0039 0522 839711 - Municipality
Website Municipality of Guastalla
Website Guastalla Storia e Cultura

How to get there

Guastalla

By car
Motorway exit A22 (16 km); A1 motorway exit (25 km); road connection: SS62 Verona / Mantova-Parma; SS63 junction for Reggio Emilia, SP with Novellara, SP with Reggiolo.

By train
From the central railway station of Reggio Emilia TPER Reggio-Guastalla line

By bus
From Piazzale Europa-Reggio Emilia bus No. 87

Location

Guastalla, important Renaissance court and major riverside centre of the River Po and of the lowlands of the Reggio Emilia province, is situated 30 km north of the administrative centre, on the border of the province of Mantua.

Reasons to visit

Guastalla conserves the discrete charm of an ancient capital in its streets, palaces, churches and monuments. The sixteenth-century town plan is still largely evident. The ancient via Gonzaga is a checkerboard road system that leads to the square, the heart of the city, dominated by the beautiful statue of Ferrante Gonzaga, the work of Leone Leoni.
Here stands the sixteenth-century Duomo, with a facade from the end of the 19th-century, the Ducal Palace (1567) that houses the town Museum and the Town Hall. 
The Maldotti Library, a valuable example of a scholar’s library from the 18th.century, conserving incunabula and medieval manuscripts, is situated on Corso Garibaldi.
Worth seeing is the Church of the Santissima Annunciata o dei Servi, the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Porta and the Church of St Francis.
A short distance away is the Oratory of St George from the 10th century which, thanks to its small size, rewards the visitor with an unmatchable mystical atmosphere.

Not to be missed

A walk along Viale Po that leads to the woods on the banks of the river. The Po Lido is the site of events and performances and is very popular and lively.

Entertainment

The recently restored Ruggero Ruggeri Municipal Theatre is the centre of the town’s cultural life.

Keeping fit

Viale Po and the banks of the river are ideal for bicycle rides and walks.

In the vicinity

At Pieve di Guastalla there’s the oldest religious building in the area: the Basilica della Pieve, from the 10th century, now dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Appointments

Georgica. April.
Festival of land, water and work in the fields. Market show of local varieties of fruits, flowers, vegetables, show of rural courtyard animals and market show of local “forgotten” organic food and wine products.

Lost Plants and Animals. Fourth weekend of September.
Market show of ancient varieties of fruits, flowers, vegetables, seeds and breeds of rural animals. Market show of local and forgotten organic food and wine products. Market show of craft products, entertainment, ancient games, meetings, workshops.

Festival of Santa Caterina. Fourth weekend of November.
Stalls, fun fair, market show, performances, entertainment, shows, exhibition of agricultural machinery.

Information

It’s possible to request temporary permits for the ZTL zone.

Historical notes

The first record we have of Guastalla dates back to 864, when St. Peter's Chapel of Guastalla was given by the emperor Ludwig to his wife Angelberga, who in turn gave the chapel to the Monastery of San Sisto in Piacenza. The abbess gave this chapel along with the Chapel of San Giorgio to Boniface of Canossa. Guastalla experienced its period of greatest importance under the Canossa family. The town hosted a convention of nobles and ecclesiastic authorities in preparation for the Council of Piacenza in 1096, and a council presided over by Pope Paschal II in 1106. Guastalla underwent various vicissitudes under rule by Cremona, Parma, and the Benedictine Monastery in Polirone, before it became the property of the Visconti family, who gave it in fief to Guido Torello in 1406. It was given to Don Ferrante Gonzaga in 1557, and remained under the rule of the Gonzaga family, who became dukes in 1621, until 1746. Guastalla was then annexed to the Duchy of Parma, but was again made into a duchy for Paolina Bonaparte during the Napoleonic Era. After 1814, Guastalla was again annexed to Parma, under the rule of Duchess Marie Louise. The town prospered due to its position along the banks of the Po River, but it also underwent the disastrous Wars of Succession. The Savoyard grenadiers had their baptism of fire in Guastalla in 1705. Guastalla is currently an important centre of communication. Located in a particularly thriving area, it is rich in industry and trade.

In its streets, its buildings and churches, and in its monuments, Guastalla still preserves the discreet charm of an old capital city. Old Via Gonzaga is the main street from which a network of checkerboard streets branches out. Via Gonzaga leads to the heart of the town, Piazza Mazzini, where the fine statue of Ferrante Gonzaga by Leone Leoni overlooks the square. The buildings facing onto the square include the 16th-century cathedral with a façade from the late 19th century, the Ducal Palace (1567), which has unfortunately been almost completely rebuilt, and the town hall with a model illustrating the old units of measure under its portico. In nearby Corso Garibaldi stands the Maldotti Library, with more than 30,000 volumes, a collection of manuscripts and incunabula, and a rich collection of paintings. In Santa Croce Church, the Church of the Annunciation, and the Church of Servants, one can admire beautiful 18th-century altar-pieces made of polychrome scagliola work. The town theatre in Via Verdi is interesting to visit; it has recently been restored. An enchanting road leads from Guastalla to the woods on the banks of the Po River. There are two interesting monuments in the outskirts of Guastalla, an oratory dedicated to St. George, and the old Church of San Pietro in Pieve di Guastalla. Viale dei Cappuccini leads to the Oratory of San Giorgio, which is so old that it is mentioned in a deed from the 11th century. Of clear Romanesque influence, this church has a particular charm due to its small size and the expert play with architectural elements in its interior, which is composed of a small nave and two side aisles, the size of which were dictated by the desire to create a place for deep meditation. "Strada del Rosario" is the road leading to Pieve di Guastalla, where the Church of San Pietro stands. It was built around the 7th century and rebuilt in the 9th century by Deacon Everaldo. King Berengarius ordered the expansion of the church during the same century. It became the site of a synod in 1095, and of a council in 1106. In 1471, Pope Sistus IV granted the parish church the privilege of "nullius Diocesi". The most important period for the church came in 1585, when it had seven beneficed altars and jurisdiction over five rural chapels. Restoration carried out in 1605 included the covering up of several frescoes from the 15th century, marking the beginning of a series of changes that conferred the current overall appearance to the church.

Useful links

Museums in Guastalla
Churches in Guastalla
Where to stay in Guastalla
Where to eat in Guastalla
All files of Guastalla