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Town guided tours - From the via Emilia to the old "corso del Crostolo"

From via Emilia to the old "corso del Crostolo" street. Via Emilia Santo Stefano, Corso Caribaldi, Via Guido da Castello, Piazzale Roversi.


42121 Reggio Emilia
Route in the town centre

Route characteristics

Route in the town centre along: Via Emilia Santo Stefano - Corso Garibaldi - Via Guido da Castello - Piazzale Roversi

Route description

From piazza Battisti, travelling the Via Emilia on the west side, towards Parma, on the right you will find number 3, Casa Venturi, where the physicist and mathematician Giambattista Venturi kept paintings which he collected between the eighteenth and nineteenth century, while on the left, once past Via Guido da Castello, at number 6 you can find Casa Camellini which still today preserves the decorative tempera paintings done by the young Antonio Fontanesi, who later went on to become a protagonist of European landscapes.
On the opposite side of the road, at number 5 you can see a pretty building, which now hosts the offices of the Istituto Nazionale Assicurazioni (National Institute of Insurance Companies), built at the end of the eighteenth century and restored in the nineteenth century by Domenico Marchelli. Proceeding along the road, we recommend making a deviation in Via dell’Aquila where the old, recently restored synagogue stands at number 3, built between 1857 and 1858 by the architect Pietro Marchelli. Back on the Via Emilia, we come to Piazza Gioberti, characterised by the obelisk erected in 1843 in honour of Adelgonda of Baviera, Duke of Modena Francesco V's wife.
Now we come to the spacious Corso Garibaldi high street, which used to be the route of the Crostolo torrent flowing through the city. Here, on the 29th of April 1596, before a picture of the Virgin Mary, the miracle of Marchino occurred when a young deaf and dumb man started speaking. Less than a year later the fame of the miracle led to the construction of the Basilica della Ghiara Shrine, one of the most famous temples of Mary in Italy. The Basilica has made Corso Garibaldi (previously called Corso della Ghiara due to the gravel bed left by the torrent) one of the most visited routes of the town and the core of numerous initiatives. Along with the fair, in the first week of September, the Palio di San Prospero (Saint Prospero horse race) and the Quintana (Quintain) took place here, as well as religious processions.
Not by chance, right next to the Basilica della Ghiara, in 1784 the construction of the Palazzo del Governatore began (architect Pietro Antonio Armani) finished by Pietro Marchelli in 1839; today the building houses the offices of the Prefecture and the Provincial Administration.
Continuing along Corso Garibaldi we come to n. 29, Palazzo Magnani, today known for the name of the last owner, the musicologist and collector Luigi Magnani. The building, owned by the Provincial Administration and a prestigious hall for exhibitions, is extremely old: in 1608 it belonged to the Becchi family, but the marble two-faced Janus, on the corner of Via Vicedomini (attributed to Clemente) bears the date 1576.
Turning into Via Vicedomini and walking down the first part of Via Fiordibelli we reach Piazza San Lorenzo, a small and charming square dominated by Palazzo Calcagni, an important sixteenth century building, with its terracotta cornice with ovoli and dentils.
Continuing along Via Fiordibelli, on the corner of Via san Pietro Martire, you will find the house of Antonio Casotti, the architect from Reggio who lived in the second half of the sixteenth century. He designed the house himself and you can still see the frescoes by Nicolò dell’Abate inside. From Via San Pietro Martire you reach the piazzetta di San Giovanni square where you will find the church bearing the same name with a sober half-finished facade in terracotta. The church is more commonly known as “San Giovannino”. Inside you can find some prestigious works of art, realised by the artists who would later go on to decorate the Basilica in the first decades of the seventeenth century. The paintings on the tribune are by Sisto Badalocchio from Parma, the painter of Visione di san Giovanni Evangelista (Vision of Saint John the Evangelist) in the dome, which recalls the illustrious past of Correggio; the vault of the central nave contains frescoes by Lorenzo Franchi done in 1614 and now part of the illusionistic scenes painted by Tommaso Sandrini from Brescia. The two large paintings by Alessandro Tiarini (painted in 1624) at the sides of the presbytery are very impressive: they have recently been restored and depict Il transito di San Giovanni (The passage of Saint John) and il Martirio di San Giovanni (the Martyrdom of Saint John). In the second chapel on the left you can find a polychromatic group from the sixteenth century in terracotta depicting the Mortorio di Cristo (The Entombment of Christ), referable to the studio of Guido Mazzoni, with the exception of the seventeenth century Christ
In order to get back to Corso Garibaldi we can now choose to walk along a stretch of Via Guido da Castello, where at number 21 on the right you will find the house built at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the architect-scenographer Giovanni Paglia, characterized by the balcony with Ionic columns at the sides. Further on (at number 25) Casa Rossi were you can see the typical “collo” (neck), which was frequently used in the fourteenth century houses of the city.
Here we are again back in Corso Garibaldi high street which we will walk down on the left hand side in order to observe Palazzo Panciroli Trivelli, at the corner of Via Farini, which has an interesting and spectacular interior and two courtyards with perspective decorations. The palazzo is also known as “palazzo dell’Imperatore” (The Emperor’s Palace): this in fact, is where Napoleon slept during his stay in the city.
We are now near another charming square, piazza Roversi (better known as Piazza del Cristo), dominated by the elegant Oratorio del SS Crocefisso (Oratory of the crucified SS), designed by Giambattista Cattani in 1761, with three sculptures above the facade. To the right you can see the impressive Palazzo Rangoni, in a sober mannerist style, which an unconfirmed tradition attributes to the sixteenth century architect Jacopo Barozzi called the “Vignola”. On the other side of the square from the building, it is possible to make a small deviation through the narrow via Bardi which will take you to the Chiesa di S. Agostino (Church of Saint Augustine), the interior of which was designed by the architect Gaspare Vigarani (built on medieval and existing Renaissance buildings). The facade however, was designed by the architect Alfonso Torregiani from Bologna and built by G. B. Cattani (1746), while the bell tower, originally part of a project by Antonio Casotti, dates back to the end of the fifteenth century.
Returning to piazzale Roversi, we turn down Via Farini, where we will finish our tour with a visit to the Chiesa di san Giorgio (Church of Saint George), the construction of which started in 1638. The church follows the model of the Chiesa dei Gesuiti (Jesuits’ Church), with a single hall and lateral chapels. The bell tower is worthy of note and above all also the dome (built between 1737 and 1743 by Alfonso Torregiani, with a high drum and windows), a strong point of the town’s profile.
In front of the church you can see the Panizzi Municipal Library, the centre of the town's cultural life, in the building which used to be an old Jesuit convent, built in 1638 and linked to the church by an underground passage.