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Montecchio Emilia

Montecchio Emilia is a strategic town of the Enza River Valley, on the border between the provinces of Reggio Emilia and Parma.

Information

Altitude: 99 m
Inhabitants: 10.578 (updated to December 31, 2017)
Post code: 42027
Weekly market day: Monday
Patron Saint: San Donnino (October 9)
Hamlets: Villa Aiola

Contacts

Phone 0039 0522 861811 - Municipality
Website Comune di Montecchio Emilia (Montecchio Emilia Municipality)

How to get there

Montecchio Emilia

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

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

By bus
From Reggio Emilia, Piazzale Europa: bus No. 94.

Location

The distance of Montecchio Emilia from Reggio Emilia, the administrative centre, is 15 km.

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 River 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-XIV 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.

From the latter part of the XV 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 (now Sant'Ilario d'Enza), a boundary which remained unchanged until 1859.

Throughout the first twenty years of the XVI 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 Emilia participated in the uprisings of 1821 and 1848.
By the end of the XIX century, the construction of a bridge over the Enza River and the railway from Reggio Emilia to Ciano d'Enza (1909) made the first phase of economic development in Montecchio Emilia possible.
Development continued with the creation of industries related to agriculture, dairy products, the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine.
Montecchio Emilia is now a modern town with various industries and services, which preserves important monuments from its past.

Reasons to visit

In the Early Middle Ages, it was an initial bulwark within the pre-Apennine defensive system set up by the Canossa.
A privileged feud of the Este family until 1713, Montecchio Emilia maintains, in the town centre, part of the XV-century bastion walls, the porticoes, the Castle and the medieval burial ground, the Beata Vergine dell’Olmo Sanctuary and the San Donnino Parish Church.

In the Early Middle Ages, it was an initial bulwark within the pre-Apennine defensive system set up by the Canossa. A privileged feud of the Este family until 1713, Montecchio Emilia maintains, in the town centre, part of the XV-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.In the Early Middle Ages, it was an initial bulwark within the pre-Apennine defensive system set up by the Canossa. A privileged feud of the Este family until 1713, Montecchio Emilia maintains, in the town centre, part of the XV-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 undoubtedly the Medieval Castle.
The structure dates back to the Matildic era, as quoted in a document signed by Countess Matilda in 1114.
The building continued with several interventions until the XVI-century by order of the Este family and particularly Prince Luigi D'Este who lived there from 1638. 
The castle was long occupied by the Vicedomini who t vicarious roles, starting from the Bishops of Parma to the Este family.
The structure, with a rectangular plan, has a compact volume with two crenelated towers.
The highest one is the Clock tower.

Keeping fit

"Enza Park", a public area on the banks of the Enza River extending over 40,000 square metres, has been the main social meeting recreational point of the local community for many years, especially in summer.

Events

San Marco Festival - April 25
Market with local and organic products; display of plants and flowers, stalls and funfair.

Primo Maggio Aiolese - May 1 - Locality Villa Aiola
Performances of folk groups, demonstration activities for old and young people, exhibitions, visits to the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese museum, refreshment point with fried dumpling and local wines, cooking of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with a wood oven in a XVIII-century dairy, ancient Val d'Enza crafts.

San Simone Festival - Last weekend of October
Stalls, funfair, agricultural and trade display.

In the vicinity

Another place of interest, in the village of Villa Aiola, is the Historical Museum of Parmigiano Reggiano and peasant civilization of the Val d'Enza.
Founded in 1977, it conserves objects and work instruments from the farming world, especially the production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

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