Strada dei vini e dei sapori - Colline di Scandiano e Canossa
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Canossa and the Enza valley

Mappa itinerario Canossa


Canossa and the Enza valley

Between castles, stories and legends


After leaving the city of Reggio Emilia and a short tract along SS 63 Cerreto, the heart of Canossa territory is easily reached by turning toward the Enza valley and the towns of Quattro Castella, San Polo d'Enza and Canossa.

This is the territory where the castles that witnessed the great history of the middle ages, the events involving Countess Matilda, still stand.


An impressive system of fortifications protected the state that Matilda governed in the 11th and 12th centuries. The origin of these castles went back to the Attonidi family from which the countess descended. The defensive structures represented a guarantee of safety but were also important as visible symbols of authority.


It is likely the Matilda's castles were built, in part, by bolstering existing structures. Over time they suffered destruction, first by the independent communes and then during the wars among the feudal dominions. Nonetheless, the chain of Matilda's castles is still quite visible and represents an important cultural and tourist attraction.

Castello di Bianello, once Countess Matilda's prestigious residence, is the only castle to have survived integrally of the four that gave origin to the place name.


During a visit to the castle, it's possible to admire the famous painting that depicts Matilda of Canossa with a pomegranate flower in her hands, the symbol of her reign and wisdom. Frescos of the 17th and 18th centuries have been conserved in the first storey halls.

Castello di Canossa is a short distance away in the direction of the Enza valley, perched above a steep cliff where the panorama of the valleys below can be admired. Traces of the walls and temple crypt are what remain of the original structure. After Matilda's death, the castle entered a period of decline that ended with its destruction by the city of


Reggio in 1255. In 1557, Ottavio Farnese at the head of 5000 foot soldiers and 800 horsemen, launched a cannonade attack on the fortress and destroyed it again. There's a small national museum, recently restored, inside the castle. Among other exhib its there is a fine baptismal font of the 12th century.

Castello di Rossena, not far from Canossa, is the most beautiful and best conserved of the castles.


It stands on a volcanic crag of a particular ruddy colour, dominating an unforgettable landscape that ranges from a wide swath of the plains to the backbone of the Apennines. The castle has three storeys. The armoury level includes the prisons, the armoury and the refectory, connected by irregular passageways with stone and brick steps. The armoury level incorporates the original nucleus of the defensive system from which to enter the tower, through a 19th gateway. After recent restoration, decorations from the second half of the 18th century were found in many rooms on the wall plaster.


On the third storey, reached through a passage excavated in the walls, there are other important findings. Continuing along the road from San Polo d’Enza, the city of Montecchio Emilia, the most important in the Enza valley, is not far.


Now an important industrial node, Montecchio is a place of great historical interest. The territory was first dominated by the Etruscans, then by the Romans. Many traces are still visible and many important findings continue to emerge.



All companies on this route

via Emilio Roncaglio, 29
42025 Cavriago (RE)
Ph.: 0522371801
Castello di Canossa, 1
42026 Canossa (RE)
Ph.: 0522 877239
via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 2/A
42020 Quattro Castella (RE)
Ph.: 3358053454
via Carlo Marx, 19/A
42020 Quattro Castella (Puianello) (RE)
Ph.: 0522889120
via F. Menozzi, 27
42020 Quattro Castella (Puianello) (RE)
Ph.: 0522880702
via Roma, 45
42030 Vezzano sul Crostolo (RE)
Ph.: 0522 606303
via rivasi, 27
42049 Sant'Ilario d'Enza (Calerno) (RE)
Ph.: 0522679190
via Matilde di Canossa, 1/A
42027 Montecchio Emilia (RE)
Ph.: 3358224870
via Val d'Enza Nord, 95
42026 Canossa (Ciano d'Enza) (RE)
Ph.: 0522878185
via Louis Pasteur, 5
42020 Quattro Castella (RE)
Ph.: 0522 887021
via Enrico Cavicchioni, 11
Reggio Emilia (Codemondo) (RE)
Ph.: 349 1216371
via Fratelli Bandiera, 1/2
42020 Quattro Castella (RE)
Ph.: 3358355511
strada Barco, 2/4
42027 Montecchio Emilia (RE)
Ph.: 0522864105
via Dante Freddi, 396
42020 Quattro Castella (RE)
Ph.: 0522 371475
Strada Sant'Ilario, 68/B
42027 Montecchio Emilia (RE)
Ph.: 0522942135
via Francesco Lolli, 45
42030 Vezzano sul Crostolo (Montalto) (RE)
Ph.: 0522858432
via Fratta, 10/A
42020 San Polo d'Enza (RE)
Ph.: 0522873574

Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori - Colline di Scandiano e Canossa -