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Reggio Emilia-Guastalla Diocesan Museum

The museum is composed of three large halls on the ground floor of the Archbishop Palace, built by Bartolomeo Avanzini in the mid-XVII century.

Address and contacts

Via Vittorio Veneto, 6 - 42121 Reggio nell'Emilia
Telefono -  Phone 0039 0522 1757930 - Diocese
Email beniculturali@diocesi.re.it
Sito web - Website Museo Diocesano

Opening times

From September 2020
and Friday 9.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 9.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. / 3.30 - 7.00 p.m.


Free entrance

How to get there

Reggio nell'Emilia - Town centre

Historical notes

The museum is housed in several rooms of the Bishop’s Palace in a wing that was restructured by Cardinal Rinaldo d’Este, who was Bishop of Reggio Emilia from 1650-1660 using designs by the Roman architect Bartolomeo Avanzini (1608-1658).
The exhibition follows the history of the Church’s most typical structures and buildings such as the Cathedral, local churches known as pievi and monasteries in the area of Reggio Emilia starting from the Dark Ages. The works of art, which cover the period between the IV and the XVI centuries, are divided into four main sections which narrate the history of the Church in Reggio Emilia and its surrounding areas. All the religious elements which favoured the promotion of faith over the course of time in this area are on display: the Cathedral, which was a symbol of the community’s unity and the place where the faithful received the Bishop’s teachings; the Pievi, which were important churches where the priests lived and from which they managed and ran smaller local churches under the supervision of an archpriest, who answered directly to the Bishop. These pievi had the task of evangelizing and administering the holy sacraments and were where the baptismal fonts were located; the Monasteries which were centres of work, culture and where the faithful could be welcomed.

The exhibition starts on the ground floor with a room dedicated to items that were found in local monasteries, which were very important in the middle ages. The first thing one comes across is an altar in which holy relics were kept in small glass containers, these are also on display. The exhibition continues with a fresco called The Crucifixion which was painted in the 14th century by Bartolomeo and Jacopino da Reggio. There is also a wooden crucifix (Crocifisso) dating back to the 15th century.

In the second room, which is dedicated to the Pievi, there is a large collection of XII-century capitals from the Pieve of San Vitale, a small hamlet in the hills near Reggio Emilia. These seem to narrate the story of our Salvation. There is also a parchment signed by Matilde di Canossa dating back to 1101, some chalices and two splendid majolica plates dating back to the early 16th century which belonged to the Gonzaga family in Novellara.

The third room is dedicated to the Cathedral and is full of impressive works which aim to show the important and significant role it played in the diocese. The most remarkable works here are the 13th century Byzantine frescoes (Pantocrator e angeli) which were removed from the façade of the cathedral for safekeeping in 1959. There is also a 16th century silver cross known as Pace created by G.B. Campi (also known as Bombarda). The room houses the tombstone of Bishop Pallavicini (1466), a wooden model of the cathedral dating back to 1583, a helmet and rapier belonging to the Bishop when he was also Prince of Reggio, some seals and a beautiful painting by the local 16th century artist Bernardino Orsi, which was painted for the Canossa Chapel in the cathedral. Also worthy of note is the piece of marble which portrays a splendid Majestas Domini which used to be part of the original ambo in the 12th century. Traces of colour can still be seen on this marble. The exhibition in this room concludes with the Liber Figurarum, one of very few surviving books of drawings in the world. This splendid book was created by Joachim of Fiore (Gioachino da Fiore) in the XIII century and his pictures are said to have inspired Dante in his description of the Trinity.

The Museum continues upstairs, on the second floor, where there are some collections such as the Don Salami Collection which includes a number of interesting chalices and vessels and the Don Guasti Collection which includes a number of paintings as well as other collections donated to the Diocese. This room houses two very unusual wooden tabernacles which date back to the 17th century and a chasuble (sleeveless vestment) worn by Saint Charles Borromeo in 1581. There is one final room in which there
is a permanent exhibition of contemporary paintings by the local artist Marco Gerra (1925-2000).


PdfDownload the Guide of the Museum in Italian and English!


Sito web - Website Mosaic in the crypt of the Cathedral
Sito web - Website The Cathedral di Reggio Emilia
Sito web - Website "Coccapani Chapel" of the Archbishop Palace

Visite guidate

Join the guided tours on schedule every Saturday! Compulsory reservation, maximum 25 participants.