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Quattro Castella

The town of Quattro Castella is located in the hillside and is rich in beautiful landscapes.

Information and contacts

Altitude: 161 m.
Inhabitants: 13.313 (updated to December 31, 2018).
Postal code: 42020.
Weekly market day: Tuesday.
Patron Saint: Sant'Antonino (September 7).
Hamlets: Montecavolo, Puianello, Roncolo.
Telefono 0039 0522 249211 - Municipality
Website Municipality of Quattro Castella

How to get there

Quattro Castella

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.
Transport Service SETA.

By car
Drive along the Province Road SP21 crossing along the territory through Puianello, in the direction of San Polo d'Enza.

By bus
From Reggio Emilia, Piazzale Europa: suburban bus No. 48.

 

Location

Quattro Castella is a municipality located in the hillside 19 km from Reggio Emilia.
On the foothills of the Reggio Emilia Apennines, a natural balcony on the plain from where you can see the Alps on clear days, the town still has the traces of a glorious and fascinating medieval past, while it is perfectly integrated with modern life and its comforts. Quattro Castella, still considered as popular holiday destination thanks to its natural characteristics and its proximity to Reggio Emilia, is surrounded by four hills, whose names, from east to west, are Montevecchio, Bianello, Montelucio and Montezane, on which are as many castles, of which only Bianello still exists.

Reasons to visit

Every year, in late May, the town hosts the famous Historical Matildic Parade, which takes its name from the parade with the participation of hundreds of people in medieval costume in the streets of Quattro Castella. The show involves the theatrical commemoration of the historical episode, with the characters of Mathilda and the Emperor Henry V impersonated by well-known stars from show business, culture and sport.

Not to be missed

Bianello Castle
Among the four castles that dominate the respective hills that give the name to the town, Bianello is the only one that maintains a building structure which is well conserved and reveals its architectural evolution. Matilda resided almost habitually at the castle of Bianello when she was not forced to travel in order to control her large possessions, and there she hosted the penitent Henry IV and Henry V after his coronation in Rome in 1111 proclaiming her Imperial Vicar in Italy. The castle remained under the property of the Canossa family until its extinction, passing then to the Este family, the Dukes of Modena and Reggio Emilia in 1814, and in 2002 it was acquired by the Municipality of Quattro Castella.

Events

Historic Matildic Parade - last Sunday of May
Commemoration in historic costume of an important episode in Europe's history dating back to the beginning of the XII century: the meeting between Countess Matilda of Canossa and Emperor Henry V. Participation of famous characters and hundreds of extras. Performances, tournaments, stands, medieval gastronomic and traditional stalls.

Scarpasoun Festival - second weekend of June - in the village of Montecavolo
Gastronomic event dedicated to Reggio Emilia Erbazzone.

October Festival - third Sunday of October
Itinerant market, hobby market, food and wine market, stalls, funfair, exhibitions and artistic performances.

Keeping fit

The Bianello Oasis is located immediately behind Quattro Castella and is an extraordinary example of a lower Emilian Apennine environment, at an altitude of about 300 metres. The Oasis has a visitor centre with a projection room, information materials and services. The Oasis has two trails: the first, through the oak wood, leads to the Bianello Castle (open to the public), while the second, starting from the visitor centre, leads to the Zagno and Lucio hills. Several events are organized during the year, such as the release of birds of prey, the observation of marine fossils, the cleaning and installation of nest boxes.

Historical notes

The favourable geographic position of the town of Quattro Castella has yielded a large concentration of archaeological material. Various hand-manufactured stone objects dating from the Paleolithic Age to the time of the Roman Empire have been found in the localities of Roncolo, Mangalano, Forche, Puianello, and Ghiardello. During the Middle Ages, organized communities were formed, and well-defined political and economic structures were set up. By the end of the Dark Ages, Mucciatella, Montecavolo, Roncolo, Salvarano, Monte Zagno, Monte Lucio, Bianello, and Monte Vetro were the main settlements in the territory of Quattro Castella. The religious organization of the territory revolved around the parishes of Bibbiano and Puianello, and the monastery at Canossa.

The four towers at Montevecchio, Bianello, Montezane and Montelucio were built between the X and XI centuries. This early fortified defense system facing the Po River Valley was to take on prime importance in relation to the historical events that unfolded across the territories of Matilda, Countess of Canossa. Bianello later became the property of Matilda, who expanded the village's fortification system and armed it. It was here in the "castrum Bibianelli" that Pope Gregory VII, upon intercession by Matilda, received Henry IV of Germany in 1077 and revoked his excommunication. It was also at Bianello that Matilda, by then quite elderly, was crowned by Henry IV vice queen of the Ligurian Kingdom or vicar to Italy for the emperor of Germany. After Matilda died in 1115, her lands were the object of disputes between the papal state and the empire. As a consequence, the territory was broken up into many small properties held by vassals and ecclesiastical bodies. In 1160 the House of Canossa was invested with the Bianello feud, which remained under their jurisdiction for various centuries. At the beginning of the XV century, the Duchy of Quattro Castella came under the rule of the Este family, who placed limits on the local nobility's independence. After the feudal system was abolished in 1796, the territory of Quattro Castella was joined with other territories to form an independent town. The Kingdom of Italy was set up in 1859, and Quattro Castella became a free Municipality.

The "Matildic Procession"

Every year in late Spring, Quattro Castella relives an important episode in the history of Europe, which took place at Bianello between May 6 and 10 of the year 1111. Henry V, son of Henry IV who had obtained the famous pardon of Canossa from Pope Gregory VII through Matilda's intercession, came to Bianello and crowned the Grand Duchess vice-queen of Italy. A chronicler of that era by the name of Donizone reminds us that this was the first step towards the Worms Agreement. The ceremony took place in the church square, only a stone's throw from where the present-day event is held. Hundreds of extras in traditional medieval costumes meet at the foot of the Bianello Castle to bring to life the exciting, spectacular pageant. Peasants and villagers, penitent monks, delegations of nobles, and knights from Matilda's army, can be seen in the streets of town in the early afternoon. Then the procession descends from Bianello, and knights, monks, and townspeople greet Matilda and Henry V on the field. The gonfaloniers invited from the various districts to participate in the games march in a parade, followed by heralds, castle drummers, armigers, and the "Gualdane" from Quattro Castella. Matilda, Countess of Canossa, is proclaimed vice-queen of Italy before her faithful subjects, and after the ceremony the Master at Arms calls for the games to begin. Nobles and valiant knights compete in the Game of the Bridge. The standard-bearers in their multi-coloured costumes perform in choreographed shows. At sunset, winners and losers, cheered on by the exultant crowd, follow Matilda in a procession through the streets of the old village.

Useful links

Bianello Castle
Churches in Quattro Castella
Where to stay in Quattro Castella
Where to eat in Quattro Castella
All files of Quattro Castella