Bianello Castle

Bianello Castle is one of the four Matilda fortresses, built on four successive hills of equal height and dominating the plain below.

Address and contacts

Strada Provinciale, 23 - 42020 Quattro Castella
Comune tel. 0522 247824
Castello di Bianello

For more information or reservation:
cell. 338-6744818
cell. 339-2943736

Opening times

Orari stagione 2019

Entrance fee

Full € 5.00
Reduced € 2.00 (residents in the municipality of Quattro Castella, young people up to 18 years old, students up to 26 years old and schools in the municipal area)
Free for children up to 12 years old

School class on reservation, residents from other municipalities € 70.00 (for each class group)

How to get there

Situated in the hills of the Province of Reggio Emilia, this town is about 17 km. from the town of Reggio Emilia. Provincial Road 21, which runs through the entire territory, passing through the village of Puianello on the way to San Polo, divides the hill region from the plains. bus SETA extraurbano n.48

Access to the monumental area and the naturalistic oasis is forbidden to all motor vehicles. The castle can only be visited with a guided tour.

Historical notes

The castles were defensive outposts in a first line of defence for Canossa against attack coming from the direction of Lombardy or the alpine passes. Over the centuries Bianello was both stronghold and home to the Canossa family until the mid-18th century when it became a noble residence. The castle is a compact building, its outer walls built to a polygonal plan. A stone tablet at the entrance to the castle walls bears the inscription: "Comitissae Matildis opus", but the castle, and the other three, are in fact of earlier construction. The origins of the castle as a lookout tower can be traced back to the 10th century. Matilda herself resided almost habitually at Bianello and it was here that she hosted a penitent Henry V before the historic meeting of 1077. Popes and princes were guests at Bianello and in 1111 Matilda received Henry V after his coronation in Rome and was herself proclaimed by him Imperial Vicar in Italy. These were the beginnings of the peace established at the Concorde of Worms ten years later. After the death of Matilda the castle remained in the Canossa family. The castle then underwent numerous transformations which changed it into a noble residence, but it still conserves some interesting elements of the original stronghold and in one of the rooms a painting of the 14th century depicting Matilda holding a pomegranate flower and the words "tuetur et unit". From the castle there is an exceptional panorama of one of the most fertile valleys in the world.

Matilda's residence and Henry V's visits are commemorated in a celebration of the events which has been repeated annually for the last twenty years, and which has seen the creation of the "Matilda Prize".  At the foot of the hill is a church, restored several times over the years, which conserves an interesting carved lunette, an architrave decorated with floral patterns and a hand raised in blessing, and several stone fragments decorated with the simple, refined art typical of buildings, especially religious buildings, of that time.

© fotografo IBC Emilia Romagna_AndreaScardova