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The Municipalities (Comuni)

The Municipalities

The Emilian Apennines

The Emilian Apennines is a beautiful, panoramic, natural environment. 969 square Km of mountains and hills which, with Mount Cusna (“Il Gigante”) reaches to over 2,000 meters in height. The mountain community consists of thirteen municipalities which are situated in three main valleys created by the rivers Secchia, Enza and Dolo.

Baiso (540 meters)
The name originates from the fact the area was the feudal possession of the Da Baiso family. The municipality is located in a panoramic area overlooking on one side the Tresainaro valley and on the other the Secchia valley. The castle and church of San Lorenzo found in Baiso date from the 12th century. In the municipality hamlets such as Visignolo and Colombaia have fine examples of case a torre (tower shaped houses) dating back to the 16th century. Today the production of Parmigano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) is still the driving force of the local economy although the production of ceramic tiles also makes a contribution to the wealth of the area. It is not by accident that clay quarries are found in the area, providing the raw materials needed for the ceramics.

Busana (850 meters)
Dating back to Roman times, Busana was an area noted for water mills and beautiful chestnut woods. The village of Cervarezza is renowned as a thermal spa and is also home to the Parco Flora with the Santa Lucia thermal springs. Every year a traditional pilgrimage takes place at the end of July to the chapel of Santa Maria Maddalena, found on the slopes of Mount Ventasso at 1,500 meters.

Carpineti (562 meters)
Steeped in the history of Queen Matilda, her castle, recently restored and open to the public, looks down from its hill onto the chestnut woods and the middle ranges of the Apennines. The area is a haven for those seeking peace and tranquility. The area is also of interest architecturally, having more than forty tower shaped houses scattered in the many villages of the municipality such as Romagano and Saccaggio. There is Marola, with its restored Abbey which is well worth a visit and the Romanesque church of Saint Andrea.
Carpineti is situated at the foot of the ridge which divides the Secchia valley from the Tresinaro valley. In the last few decades it has become an important health resort and tourist attraction.

Canossa (219 meters)
Canossa is historically the most important commune of the province, it is the home of the medieval castle of Queen Matilde whose family dominated the region from the 11th Century to midway through the 15th Century. The castle is the focal point of the community and of great interest to tourists. Recent excavation have revealed that what remains of the castle, although still magnificent is just a portion of what Henri IV saw as he waited three days in the open as a penance before being granted an audience with Pope Gregory VII who revoked the order of excommunication, mainly due to Matilde’s diplomacy. Close by the castle of Canossa is another, Rossena, perched high on a volcanic outcrop. Today the castle is also used as a hostel for small group who wish live the ‘medieval experience’ The Rossenella tower also forms part of the defence line created by the Queen Matilde
Incredibly there is also a Tibetan cultural centre in Votigno which is worth visiting. The area is also know for its tower shaped houses, old mills, small ancient churches and stone houses all of which draws the more discerning of tourists every year.

Casina (574 meters)
Casina developed due to its proximity to the road used by the military between Gaultieri and Aulla. The road nowadays is the SS63, which is one of two roads that lead up to the mountains from the regional capital Reggio Emilia. The area is rich in history having a number of medieval castles: Leguigno, Paullo and Sarzano. In fact Casina was first recorded in 958, as part of a defence system of the castle of Sarzano. A jewel of Romanesque art is also located here; the oratory of Santa Lucia. Romans, Celts and Etruscans all had settlements here. The area is rightly recognised as one of the leading producers of Parmesan cheese and the chestnut fair at the beginning of August is also well worth a visit. The original mule tracks used for centuries by pilgrims have in recent years been regenerated and now form a network of walks which take the visitor through a world of medieval churches, hamlets, castles and always with the Apennines as spectacular backdrop to their journey. Casina is noted for its verdant plateaus with woods, a beautiful resort in summer and close enough to Febbio for skiing in the winter
Casina is ideally situated, 30 minutes by car to Reggio Emilia and well served by local transport. Saturday is market day, which complements the varied and interesting shops of the town.

Castelnovo Ne’ Monti (702 m)
The town is recognised as the major town in the Reggiano Apennines. It has a modern hospital, new well equipped schools and institutes and attractive hotels. The level of services and the modern infrastructure ensures that it can provide the most up to date technology, everything from ADSL broadband to computer consultancy. However it still retains its traditional industries such as Capanni’s bell foundry, famous throughout the world for the quality of its products. The town has recently reopened its theatre which also provides a first class cinema.
The jewel in the crown as far as Castelnovo né Monti is concerned is the magnificent Bismantova plateau, a large sandstone plateau. It forms the backdrop for the town and really captures the tranquil beauty of the Apennine mountains. Minutes away from the ski resorts of Appenninia, Ospitaletto, Ventasso and Febbio, it is an area which boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna and offers numerous facilities and attractions: mountaineering, cycling, fishing, potholing, canoeing, horse riding to name but a few.

Collagna (1000 meters)
Collagna first gets mentioned in 1153 as a refuge for the many pilgrims traveling further south towards Rome. Today it welcomes visitors all year round for skiing in the winter and for the myriad of sports and leisure activities available in the summer. Or if you just feel like taking a gentle stroll in the mountains that is catered for too!
Collagna is the gateway to Tuscany. From Collagna the road (SS63) leads you through the awesome panoramas of the Gigante National Park, passing lakes Scuro and Cerretano on the way to the Cerreto pass and Tuscany. The area is noted for majestic mountain ranges such as La Nuda and Casarolo and by the sublime beauty of the valleys such as Fonti di Secchia, Riarbero and Schiocchi.

Ligonchio (1100 meters)
Ligonchio is the highest municipality in the region, on the road to the Pradarena pass, which like the Cerreto pass has been used by travelers for millennia. Ligonchio most important resource is water from which hydro electricity is generated, many of the centres have closed in recent years but one or two still remain open. One of the most noted hamlets of the municipality is Ospitaletto, reputedly founded as a hospital for pilgrims by Queen Matilde di Canossa. Ospitaletto is now an excellent family orientated ski resort. Some of the most interesting hiking trails and itineraries start from Ligonchio, the ones leading to the Ozola Forest, Sara Meadows and to the Lavvacchiello falls are outstanding examples.

Ramiseto (865 meters)
The third mountain pass that takes the visitor into Tuscany is the Passo del Lagastrello, found on the right bank of the River Enza in the municipality of Ramiseto. The area offers visitors the chance to undertake wonderful excursions to Mount Succiso or Mount Acuto, Mount Ventasso or Lake Calamone. Mount Ventasso is a popular and picturesque ski resort and well worth a visit.
Locally the buildings are typical of the mountains, in stone with many having marble. The marble probably came from Mass Carrara across the Emilian –Tuscan border, brought by the stonecutters who took refuge here and who passed down their skills from generation to generation.

Toano (842 meters)
Toano is a natural marvel, lying on the ridge, which separates the Dolo and Secchia valley. First mentioned in 907 but it was when it became Queen Matilde’s property in the second half of the 11th Century that it developed apace in terms of agriculture and architecture. The church of Queen Matilde’s castle, dedicated to Santa Maria, is one of the finest and best preserved religious buildings of the whole Apennine territory. Much more recently, the Ceccatis, renowned local wood artists, carved a magnificent wooden alter inside the chapel of the Madonna della Neve in Cavola, the municipalities largest village.
A mineral water spring at Quara was known and used by the Romans. Other points of interest in the area is the nice bell tower at Corneto and the excellent stone relief in the church of S. Michele Arcangeloin Massa depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. There is also an annual competition in Toano called ‘Ruzzolo’, completing a course while throwing a large round disc by means of a rope, the winner is the one who completes the course in the least number of throws!
The area is also noted for its beautiful Apennines woods with their fields of bluebells while the snow capped peaks of Mount Cusna and Mount Prampa offer a tranquility and natural beauty that is truly breathtaking. The ski slopes of Febbio are a short distance and the area has many family run Pizzerias and restaurants where gastronomic delights await you

Vetto D’Enza (442 meters)
Of Roman origin, Vetto owes its name to the Latin term vectus which means transported or lead, probably due to its important position in the road network of the day. The Enza shingle on the banks of the Enza river is used as a weekend ‘beach’ by the locals and the remains of the medieval Pontaccio bridge is still to be seen. The hamlet of Castellaro is worth a visit to see the 15th Century tower shaped house.

Viano (138 meters )
Viano is the municipality closes to the plain and the River Po basin. The area is notable for Nirano where miniature volcanoes throw out mud and hydrocarbons. Agriculture and the production of ceramics.

Villa Minozzo (800 meters)
The largest municipality in the region stretching from the Secchio valley to the top of Mount Cusna which at 2121 meters is the highest peak in the Apennines. Documents start to mention Villa Minozzo in the 9th Century and over the centuries it passed from the hands of one noble family to another.
The municipality has many facets worth noting: the church at Minozzo is one of the oldest in the municipality, the hamlets of Civago, Gazzano, Febbio, Roncopianigi and Monteorsaro are dedicated to both winter and summer tourism, due largely to the resort at Freebie and Civago and the opportunities for excursions to the Abetina Reale, where your journey can be broken by eating lunch at the wonderful restaurant there. Abetina Reale also provides camping facilities next to a waterfall which, in the summer, is popular for obvious reasons. At Gova the arched Cadignano bridge dates from the 17th century, while the mountain refuge of Signor Battisti is an unique experience in itself.
At a lower level the Triassic Secchio valley is a rich environment of caves, thermal springs, such as those found at Poiano and lush grazing which is why the area is at the very heart of Parmesan cheese production. The municipality is made up of four valleys: the Dolo, Asta, Lucola and Rio Re’s, the unpolluted environments of these valleys, the rich diversity of the flora and fauna and the snow capped mountains makes this a first class location for people who enjoy active tourism.


Name C C 2001-10-21










Reggio nell'Emilia





























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