Rubiera

Its territory extends on both sides of the Via Emilia, starting from the detention basins of Secchia River where is a Natural Park. It's an important industrial center.

Information and contacts

Altitude: 53 metres
Inhabitants: 14,853 updated to  December  31, 2018
Postal code: 42048
Weekly market: Saturday.
Patron saint: San Biagio (February, 3rd)
Hamlets: Fontana, San Faustino, Sant’Agata
+39 0522.622202 Public Relation Office of the Municipality
Municipality of Rubiera

How to get there

Rubiera is 12 km from the Reggio Emilia exit of A1 motorway – National Road 9, Via Emilia –, and is located on the Via Emilia.

Historical Notes

Today’s municipality of Rubiera covers the territory that was known in ancient times as the “Corte (Princely Estate) de Herberia”. In 1033, the Estate of Rubiera was seized by Adalberto, Marquis of Tuscany, who intended to bestow it to the Monastery of Castiglione. However, when the Marquis of Tuscany went over to the House of Canossa, the family also became Lords of the Estate of Rubiera. A castle had probably been first erected in the centre of the holding, in the vicinity of the Secchia River. In Roman times, the emperors Gallienus and Valerian had built a bridge on the course of the river and though it was torn down several times, traces of the feet of the original piers still survive on the riverbanks (approximately 100 metres north of the present bridge). A memorial stone commemorating the destruction of the bridge by fire in 257 was discovered on the site and is now held at the Modena museum of inscribed stones.

During the struggles between Matilda, Countess of Canossa, and the Emperor Henry IV, the latter conquered Rubiera and entrusted the estate to his son Azzo, Marquis of the House of Este. Subsequently, Matilda regained it and placed it under the custody of her captains. From 1099, the Da Herberia family became well-known and some of its members took part in a court assembly held by Matilda. Upon Matilda’s death, the Fathers Superior of the Monastery of San Salvatore put forward their claim to the estate. Pope Eugene III resolved the issue in 1146 by granting half the estate to them and the rest to the Bishop of Reggio Emilia.
Around the year 1190, the Municipality of Reggio Emilia had a new castle built in Rubiera. In 1202, ownership of this new castle passed to Pico Manfredi, who successfully defended it against forces from Modena at war with Reggio for the waters of the Secchia River. The Municipality of Reggio Emilia soon decided to erect walls around the castle and built the first settlements inside the castle walls.
In 1284, the castle of Rubiera belonged to the Boiardi family (descendants of the Bianchi family from the Lunigiana area). It then became the property of Obizzo d’Este in 1290, and of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia in 1315. In 1326, the castle was occupied by the Apostolic Delegate, and subsequently conquered in 1329 by imperial representatives from Parma and Reggio Emilia who imprisoned the commander of the garrison Gherardo Boiardi in the castle. When Reggio fell under the rule of the Gonzaga family in 1345, Rubiera again became the property of the Boiardi family who successfully defended it against Modena. In 1354, the family sought the protection of the Visconti family and had one of their garrisons stationed inside the castle. In 1362, however, they drove out the garrison in order to receive the representatives of the Church and of the House of Este. As a result of these changes, the Boiardis established their rule over the whole territory of Rubiera and took part in the war against the Visconti fam
ily and Ottobono Terzi. Terzi was killed by deception near Pontalto, in the countryside just south of Rubiera near Bagnolo, by a bridge bearing the same name as the one in Rubiera. The Pontalto Bridge most probably crossed the Via Emilia over the Tassarola channel, a ditch that collected the waters draining in from the countryside south of the Via Emilia.
In 1423, the Boiardis exchanged Rubiera with Scandiano, and Rubiera came to be part of the estate of the House of Este, ruled directly by the Duke of Este and the community of Ferrara. In 1512, the Popes conquered Rubiera, entrusting it to Albert Pious of Carpi, but lost it again in 1523 to the House of Este, who subsequently built such strong defences around it as to make it one of the safest fortresses in the Duchy. The last episode in the wars for the castle took place in 1706, during the Spanish war of succession. On that occasion, the French, who were lords of Modena at the time and were thus responsible for the defence of Rubiera, were forced to surrender to German troops.
When the castle was occupied by the House of Este, it was used as a state prison for those accused or suspected of crimes of lese majesty. The patriot Don Giuseppe Andreoli, after being condemned to death, languished in the very same prison before going on the scaffold in front of the castle on 17th October, 1822. At the time, the castle on the Via Emilia was a massive building with four towers, looming over the entrance to the town with its walls and bastions. It was encircled by deep moats, filled by the waters of the Tresinaro River via a canal called Della Cerca. The drawbridge was on the eastern side facing in the direction of Carpi.
The castle was sold at auction in 1873 and subsequently divided into two lots, one of which became private property and the other municipal property. For reasons of viability, the middle portion of the castle was removed from the castle in the first quarter of the 20th century. In recent times, the side structures including the towers have been mostly turned into private accommodation and offices. In the present building, hardly any recognisable features of the original castle have survived. Even the historical parts, such as the prison where Don Andreoli and other patriots languished, have been sacrificed to modern requirements.

THE TOWN OF RUBIERA

The main street is lined by porticoes. For a time, the Town Hall was housed in the remains of the original bastions of the castle. Next to these is the war memorial, now sadly lacking the original bronze statue made by the sculptor Malagoli and inaugurated in 1925, melted down during the Second World War to make bombs and cannons.
In the town centre is the Palazzo which belonged first to the Boiardis and then to the Sacrati family who became feudal lords of the estate when the Boiardis moved to Scandiano. In 1445, the Sacratis renounced their title to the castle of Fusignano in the Ravenna area by the wishes of the House of Este and received the fiefdom of San Valentino in Castellarano in exchange. As a result, the Boiardi family, whose loyalty to the Lord of Ferrara was not particularly strong, found themselves squeezed between the estates of the Sacratis, who, by contrast, enjoyed the full trust of the Marquis of Ferrara.
After Italian unification in 1860, the building was purchased by the state and used first as the premises of an elementary school and in 1962 as the Town Hall. The old civic building which now houses the municipal library, many parts of which date back to the 15th century, was abandoned shortly before the Second World War and donated to the poor. As a result, the building became seriously run down and in recent years has been subjected to intensive restoration work.
Opposite Palazzo Sacrati is the lay oratory of the Santissima Annunziata, built between 1710 and 1713 after serious power struggles with Governor Donelli (1701). On the right of the building, in the direction of Modena, is the Parish Church built by the monastic order of Minor Friars in 1704 and completed in 1722 on the site where the old 15th-century oratory of the Santissima Annunziata (named San Bartolomeo until1460) had originally stood.
Still on the southern part of the centre are the remains of the former Parish Church dedicated to Saints Donnino and Biagio. The church has an interesting apsidiole with a bell tower rising above it, a reference to which appears in a deed dating as far back as 1302. Other buildings of interest in and around the town include the tower built in 1556 known as the bell-tower, the clock tower built in 1537, the former monastery of the Minor Friars now called Palazzo Rainusso, and the magnificent complex known as “La Corte Ospitale” which is currently under restoration. All the work carried out to build the complex was done by local artisans in the middle of the 15th century.

Useful links