Boiardo Fortress

The stronghold, first core of the town, was the symbol of political power in Scandiano for eight centuries. The complex includes medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque structures.

Address and contacts

Viale della Rocca - 42019 Scandiano
+39 0522 764290 - Comune

Opening times

Access ONLY with guided tour.

Morning at 10.15 and 11.30 / Afternoon at 3.15, 16.30, 17.45. 
Groups of maximum 25/30 people per visit.

opening days 2018:

  • Sunday and holidays (25/04, 1/05, 2/06, 15/08) until September 30.
  • Santa Caterina: Sunday 18 e 25 November

Entrance fee

3 € including entrance + guided tour (Rocca di Scandiano, Spallanzani house, church of Santa Maria (if it's open) and  the Clock Tower. Free children up to 15 years and over 65.

How to get there

By car: from A1 motorway Reggio Emilia exit, take SS 467 ring-road towards Scandiano-Sassuolo / from Modena, take SS 486 "Passo delle Radici" road towards Sassuolo, then at Veggia take SS 467 road towards Scandiano-Reggio Emilia.
By train: there are local trains for Scandiano-Sassuolo which leave from Reggio Emilia Station, TPER Reggio-Sassuolo
From CIM Piazzale Europa bus SETA extraurbano n.46

Historical notes

The architectural complex, which covers an area of 5000 square metres, has been rebuilt numerous times through its history. Originally erected in 1315 as a defensive stronghold by the Da Fogliano family, it was transformed into the noble residence of the Boiardo family (1423-1560) and later became the Renaissance palazzo of the Marquis Thiene (1565-1623) and the princes of Este (1625-1726).

The complex comprises coexisting structures from the Middle Ages (postern tower at the north entrance and the arches of the courtyard), the Renaissance (portico of the courtyard), and the Baroque period (staircase, two-light mullioned windows, architraves of the courtyard, stucco decorations in the Estense apartment). The entire history of Scandiano and its people took place around the castle. The poet Matteo Maria Boiardo was born in a room on the first floor; in the basement rooms the great scientist Lazzaro Spallanzani was known to conduct his experiments. Illustrious guests at the castle included the poet Francesco Petrarca, the reformer Giovanni Calvino, and Pope Paul III. Here on 10th October 1796, freedom and Napoleon were extolled, and Scandiano joined the Cispadane Republic. Once again inside the castle, the plebiscite was held on 11th March 18?0 which sanctioned the admission of Scandiano to the Kingdom of Sardinia. Up to the 18th century, the castle held an important cycle of frescoes by the painter Nicolò dell’Abate, which are now conserved at the Galleria Estense in Modena. Many artists worked in the castle, including Bartolomeo Spani, Giovan Battista Aleotti, and Antonio Traeri.
The grand staircase of the castle was conceived in its original configuration by Giovan Battista Aleotti in the early 1600s. The pincer-like staircase was added some years later and was probably commissioned by the Bentivoglio family. The terracotta statues probably depict distinguished members of the Thiene family and were created in 1619 by the Genoese sculptor Giova Battista Pontelli. The four surviving statues among the many created by Aleotti (including an equestrian one) probably depict, starting from the top of the staircase and proceeding anti-clockwise: Marcantonio, Ottavio I, Giulio, and Ottavio II Thiene. The latter statue (the most successful one) shows affinities with Classical statuary. It is not to be excluded that the stylistic archetypes of the other three warriors with their “monstrous armour” and demigod posture can also be found in Classical statuary.


Archivio Provincia di Reggio Emilia © Massimo Dallaglio