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Quattro Castella

The Town of Quattro Castella is situated in the hills, and in its beautiful landscapes host Corteo of Countess Matilda

Information and contacts

Altitude: 161 metres
Inhabitants: 13.313 updated to December 31, 2018
Postal code: 42020
Hamlets: Montecavolo, Puianello, Roncolo
Weekly market day: Tuesday
+39 0522.249211 Municipality
Municipality of Quattro Castella

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.
Transport Service SETA.

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.

Historical notes

The favorable geographic position of the town of Quattro Castella has yielded a large concentration of archeological material. Various hand-manufactured stone objects dating from the Paleolithic Period 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 10th and 11th centuries. This early fortified defense system facing the river-Po 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 fief, which remained under their jurisdiction for various centuries. At the beginning of the 15th 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 Comune.

 

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 6th and 10th 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 Concordat of Worms. 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-colored 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. The Historical "Matildic Procession" is held each year on the last Sunday in the month of May

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