Entire territory Home / Discover the area / Tourist locations in Rubiera

Rubiera

Rubiera is a small town located at the intersection of Via Emilia with the Secchia River. It is an important industrial town and corresponds to the ancient "Corte de Herberia” dating back approximately to the XI century.

Information and contacts

Altitude: m 53.
Inhabitants: 14.853 (updated to December 31, 2018).
Postal code: 42048.
Weekly market day: Saturday.
Patron Saint: San Biagio (February 3).
Hamlets: Fontana, San Faustino, Sant’Agata.
Phone 0039 0522 622202 - Public Relation Office of the Municipality
Website Municipality of Rubiera

How to get there

Rubiera

By car
From Reggio Emilia: drive along Via Emilia (SS9) in the direction of Modena.

By train
From the Reggio Emilia Railway Station: Trenitalia regional train.

By bus
Public transport service bus No. 2.

What to see

In the town centre, whose main street is flanked by porticoes, is the Renaissance Palazzo Sacrati - formerly belonging to the Boiardo family -, in typical Ferrara-style, now the seat of the Town Hall. Also well worth a visit: the former Monastery of Minor Convent Friars, dating back to the XVI century, now Palazzo Rainusso; the Clock Tower and the Bell Tower (XVI century); the Annunziata Church, an oratory dating back to the XVIII century; the parish Church of the Saints Donnino and Biagio, a religious building dating back to the XVIII century renovated at the beginning of the XX century, and the Herberia Theatre, a typical late Art Nouveau construction.

In the town centre, whose main street is flanked by porticoes, is the Renaissance Palazzo Sacrati - formerly belonging to the Boiardo family -, in typical Ferrara-style, now the seat of the Town Hall. Also well worth a visit: the former Monastery of Minor Convent Friars, dating back to the XVI century, now Palazzo Rainusso; the Clock Tower and the Bell Tower (XVI century); the Annunziata Church, an oratory dating back to the XVIII century; the parish Church of the Saints Donnino and Biagio, a religious building dating back to the XVIII century renovated at the beginning of the XX century, and the Herberia Theatre, a typical late Art Nouveau construction.

Not to be missed

The monumental complex of the Corte Ospitale (XV century) was built for the refreshment of travellers and pilgrims near the ford of the Secchia River. Located at the crossroads between the road and the river, the hospice saw the continuous passage of pilgrims and travellers on the via Emilia, but it was also an important route which, running parallel to the water course, led to Sassuolo and Frassinoro and also passed, through the Apennines, to Lucca and Rome.

The Corte Ospitale is also an important theatre production centre, which organizes workshops and performances.

Keeping fit

The Secchia River Park was established in 1996 between Rubiera and the province of Modena, with notable naturalistic qualities. A visit can be made on foot, by bicycle or on horseback, preferably in spring and autumn in order to appreciate the nature  features, and in winter for birdwatching.

The Secchia River Floodplain is a nature area from artificial origin characterized by humid areas with an environmental education centre. The Secchia River Floodplain is located between the provinces of Reggio Emilia and Modena, in the areas of the towns of Rubiera, Campogalliano and Modena and, therefore, in the medium-high area of the Po River Plain.

In the vicinity

The Romanesque parish Church of the Saints Faustino and Giovita, one of the oldest Romanesque parish churches of the diocese, is mentioned in a document as far back as 945.

Events

June Festival. Second Sunday of June.
Traditional festival with funfair, stalls, markets and musical performances.

September Festival. Last Sunday of September.
Sporting, commercial, cultural and exhibition events.

Historical study

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, then 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 Emilia fell under the rule of the Gonzaga family in 1345, Rubiera 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 family 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 Boiardi 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 October 17, 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 XX 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 main street is outlined 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 Sacrati 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 the 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 XV 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 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 XV-century oratory of the Santissima Annunziata (named San Bartolomeo until 1460) had originally stood.

Still on the southern part of the centre are the remains of the former Parish Church dedicated to the 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”. All the work carried out to build the complex was done by local artisans in the mid-XV century.

Useful links

The Corte Ospitale
Churches in Rubiera
Where to stay in Rubiera
Where to eat in Rubiera
All files of Rubiera