Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reggio Emilia - April 2008

Emilia RomagnaEmilia Romagna is Italy's heartland; a corridor created by the Po Valley, separating the cold north of the Alps and the hot Mediterranean south. It is the most prosperous region in Italy - rich in industry, agriculture, education, history and culture. Strangely for all its middle-class wealth it was also an area that was a major bastion of Italian-style Communism in post-war Italy.

Most towns are not large - Bologna, the largest, boasts a population of 350,000, Reggio nell'Emilia is the fourth largest with around 167,000 inhabitants. In all the major cities and towns of the Region the Centri Storici (Historic Centres)are primarily pedestrian areas and bicycles are the preferred style of transportation. Though not as prestigious as Bologna, Parma, Modena or Ravenna, Reggio Emilia is a pleasant city showing its prosperity in a quiet way. I counted 12 bookstores and 14 men's clothing stores in Centro alone and there are extensive city works projects to restore streets, buildings and squares.

Teatro Valli - Reggio Emilia
Almost every city and town in Italy has an opera house - Reggio's Teatro Valli is a beautiful example of neo-classical design from the 1850s. It stands in a large Piazza sadly flanked on the left by a block of fascist era buildings.

The Franciscan Church
However the Franciscan Church on the right side has been left untouched. The Piazza is undergoing major restoration at the moment.

Piazza San Prospero
The Basilica of San Prospero dates from the 10th century - major reconstruction in the 16th century included the uncompleted bell tower.

Interior of San Prospero
My little Canon just doesn't seem to be able to capture church interiors; however I found the real candles that lined the nave unusual, so I've included this rather murky shot.

Pride of stone lions
A pride of rather whimsical stone lions guard the portals to the church ....

Market in Piazza San Prospero
... and keep an eye on the dealings of the market set up in their Piazza on Wednesdays.

Water spout dragon
While this dragon is one of several charged with keeping the water off a 17th century roof.

Cute little dragon
Sadly, down on the ground, this Disneyesque little guy just couldn't frighten off the graffiti artists.

Cocks in the window Cocks in the windowCocks in the window
I'm not sure if the merchants in this Galleria got together or not but "cocks" seems to be the theme for this season.

Pigeon guards
Whereas this merchant offers a solution for bothersome birds. According to the sign not only are they easy to install, they can also be used to deter things other than pigeons!!!!!!

Cathedral Tower
The Duomo is undergoing major foundation reconstruction but this Golden Madonna and Child continue to look down on the Piazza and ...

Adam and Eve
... an Adam and Eve who appear to be getting just a little too much enjoyment out of their forbidden fruit and the prospect of sin.

Chocolate cafe
Around the corner another sort of sin, this cafe serves 38 different kinds of hot chocolate. Hmmm... white chocolate with pistachio.

The major mode of transportation for young and old in Centro: bikes ...

... bikes ...

... and more bikes.

15 aprile - Sant'Annibale


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure cocks are the theme for most seasons.
Wait did you say white chocolate with pistachio?
(yes yes, that would be me - going right for the sex and candy jokes that barely skim the surface. But I'm only just waking up and it's too too early for deep thoughts)

sageweb said...

Ha ha ha you said cocks, oh I am so immature, all those beautiful pictures and cocks was what stuck in my head...although I love the dragon on the roof.

evilganome said...

Cocks. Is that all you can think about? Seriously, what a beautiful place. I am trying to imagine being there instead of trapped in my office dealing with everyones problems for them.

Thanks again for sharing the wonderful travelogues.

more cowbell said...

Oh Willym, I always look at your wonderful pictures with such longing and delight.

I feel out of place here.