Piazza San Prospero

The square in front of San Prospero Church is usually called Little Square (Piasa Céca in the local dialect).

Address and contacts

Piazza San Prospero - 42121 Reggio Emilia
GiraReggio

How to get there

The square is in the heart of the town centre.

Historical notes

The Basilica of San Prospero, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, is one of the most noteworthy examples of Baroque architecture in Emilia. The facade, which dates to the mid-seventeenth century, includes eleven statues of patron saints and Doctors of the Church. At the edge of the churchyard are six lions carved in red Verona marble, attributed to Gaspare Bisi and originally intended to support three classical vestibules (pronai). The church is on a Latin-cross floor plan and includes sixteenth- and seventeenth-century artworks in the side aisles. In the fifth chapel on the right-hand side, the Pratonieri chapel, a copy of Correggio’s “La Notte” is preserved in its original frame (the original painting having been sold in 1745 by Duke Francesco III d’Este and on display today in Dresden.) The presbytery is graced by a remarkable cycle of paintings by Procaccini, the “Last Judgement.” The wooden choir stalls (by De Venetiis, 1546) are a masterpiece of woodcarving, a well-established art in the city beginning in the mid-fifteenth century. Adjacent to the church is an octagonal tower that is one of the finest examples of high Renaissance style in Reggio Emilia. Designed by Giulio Romano, as evidenced by the seashell-shaped niches modelled after the ones on the Palazzo Te in Mantua, it remains unfinished.
Reggio Emilia owes its salvation to Saint Prosper: according to tradition, during the invasion of the Huns the saint invoked a thick blanket of fog, causing the Huns to pass by without noticing the presence of the city.