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Montecchio Emilia

Montecchio is an important town situated along the Enza Valley, its position was strategically relevant since ancient times, even before the conquest by Romans.

Information and contacts

Altitude: 99 m
Inhabitants: 10.578 (updated to December 31, 2017)
Post code: 42027
Weekly market day: Monday
Patron Saint: San Donnino (October 9)
Events and initiatives: Antiques market (fourth Sunday of the month)
Hamlets: Aiola
Phone 0039 0522 861811 - Municipality
Website Municipality of Montecchio Emilia

How to get there

Montecchio Emilia

By car
From Reggio Emilia take the Provincial road to Montecchio.

By train
From the train station of Reggio Emilia, Tper train Reggio-Ciano d'Enza up to Barco then bus No. 94

By bus
From Piazzale Europa bus No. 94


Montecchio is a strategic centre of Val d'Enza, at the boundary between the provinces of Reggio Emilia and Parma, 15 km from the administrative centre.

Reasons to visit

In the Early Middle Ages, it was a first look-out bulwark within the pre-Apennine defensive system set up by the Canossa rulers. A privileged fiefdom of the Este family until 1713, Montecchio Emilia conserves, in the historical centre, part of the fifteenth century bastion walls, the porticoes, the Castle and the medieval burial ground, the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Olmo, and the Parish Church of San Donnino.

Not to be missed

The most representative monument of Montecchio Emilia is, without doubt, the Medieval Castle or Rocca. The structure dates to the Matildic era, as can be inferred from a document signed by the Countess herself dated 1114. Building continued with subsequent interventions until the sixteen-century by order of the Este family and, in particular, Prince Luigi D'Este who lived there from 1638.  The castle was long occupied by the Vicedomini who performed vicarious roles, first that of the Bishops of Parma and then of the Este family. The structure, with a rectangular plan, has a compact volume with two crenelated towers. The higher one is the Clock tower.


  • Festival of St Mark. 25 April. Market with local and organic products; show of plants and flowers, stalls and fun fair.
  • Primo Maggio Aiolese. 1 May in Villa Aiola: Performances by folk groups, demonstration activities for the old and young, exhibitions, visits to the Parmigiano Reggiano museum, refreshment point with gnocco fritto and local wines, the cooking of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with a wood-fired oven in an 18th-century dairy hut, ancient crafts of Val d'Enza.
  • Festival of St Simon. Last weekend of October, Stalls, fun fair, agricultural and trade show.

Keeping fit

Enza Park, a public area on the banks of the River Enza extending over 40 thousand square metres, has for many years been the social meeting and entertainment venue of the local community, especially in the summer.

In the vicinity

Another place of interest, in the villa Aiola hamlet, is the Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano e della Civiltà Contadina e Artigianale della Val d'Enza (Museum of Parmigiano Reggiano and Farming Life and Crafts of the Val d'Enza). Founded in 1977, it conserves objects and work instruments from the farming world, with particular reference to the production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The Museum can be visited by telephone booking, contacting the La Barchessa Association (tel. 0522 871271).

Historical notes

The ancient town of "Monticulum", located at the crossroads between the roads through the foothills and the road from the Apennine Mountains to the Po River along the course of the Enza River, was for centuries a strategic town of considerable importance. It was situated along the main road running north and south even before the time of the Roman conquest, as shown by archeological finds from the prehistoric and protohistoric periods.

The Lombards also settled in the area, and as early as that period all of the Enza Valley was subject to the influence of different sovereigns, who were often in conflict. In 781, the borderline between the dioceses of Parma and Reggio Emilia was located at Montecchio. During the Dark Ages, Montecchio served as a fortification protecting the central part of the territory belonging to the Canossa family. This role is confirmed in documents from the monastery of Sant'Apollonio of Canossa and Matilda, Countess of Canossa that sanctioned control over the locality by the church. With the decline of the bishop's authority, the Municipality of Parma exercised its control over the area. In 1296 the oldest fortifications were razed to the ground by Azzo d'Este. Around the mid-14th century, the family conflicts in the context of battles between seignories (the Este, the Scaligeri, and the Visconti and their allies) concluded with the subordination of Montecchio to the authority of the Visconti. With the fall of the lords of Milan, the House of Este's dominion reached as far as the Enza River, remaining in force until the Unification of Italy (1861), except for brief intervals. Beginning in the latter part of the 15th century, the Este rebuilt the Montecchio Castle and the town fortifications. In 1453, Borso d'Este allowed Montecchio to draw up independent statutes, since the town had possessed its own coat of arms since 1442. This consisted of a diamond ring, and symbolized everlasting union with the House of Este. Following this, Montecchio was granted ample authority over the territory from Barco to Sant'Eulalia (present-day Sant'Ilario), a boundary which remained unchanged until 1859. Throughout the first twenty years of the 16th century, the Municipality of Parma continued to claim the area. At the same time, a period of rule by members of local families who had risen to the top of the economic and social ladder began. Beginning in 1680, conflict between the great European states caused in Montecchio, as in other areas, repeated periods of military occupation, fiscal oppression, and political humiliation, weakening the town's age-old independence.
During the Restoration Period after the return to power of the Austrian-Este alliance, many citizens of Montecchio participated in the uprisings of 1821 and 1848. By the end of the 19th century, the construction of a bridge over the Enza River and the railway from Reggio Emilia to Ciano (1909) made the first phase of economic development in Montecchio possible. Development continued with the creation of industries related to agriculture, dairy products, the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine. Today Montecchio is a modern town with various industries and services, which preserves important monuments from its past.

Useful links

Museums in Montecchio Emilia
The castle of Montecchio Emilia
Churches in Montecchio Emilia
Where to stay in Montecchio Emilia
Where to eat in Montecchio Emilia
All files of Montecchio Emilia