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Saturday, 01 May 2021

Slow Traveling in Emilia Romagna, Italy

Written by Russ & Emily Firlik
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On our last slow travel road trip before the devastating Covid 19, we rented a studio in the historic center of Reggio Emilia (pop. 171,000), in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy, and spent six weeks visiting the neighboring cities of Parma, Modena and Bologna.

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Some years ago, we spent six weeks during the summer living in a studio in the historic center of Reggio nell’Emilia, while studying their internationally renowned Reggio Approach to early childhood education. We returned twice more to learn more. It has been thirty years since the publication in Newsweek that pronounced the Reggio Emilia preschools as one of the best in the world. Since then, thousands of educators from every corner of the world have visited their schools and learned about their unique approach to early childhood education. The "International Centre for Children Culture and Creativity Loris Malaguzzi”, was dedicated to its founder, Loris Malaguzzi, and the center is an internationally renowned meeting place for researchers and teachers, but also for children and families.

 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the creativity of Reggio citizens expressed itself in the construction of sumptuous palaces and many religious buildings, prominent among which was the 17th century Basilica della Ghiara. Located on Corso Garibaldi, the Basilica della Ghiara’s facade was made from the local rusty-reddish rock, with white marble insets; later we learned the rock was called laterite. The lower story of the facade showed Doric columns, while the classical Ionic style served the top story. Inside were evidence of the late Renaissance style, with decorations in gold, marbles and frescoes covering the domes by the influential Baroque School of Carracci. The interior also contained precious masterworks including the Guercino's "Crucifixion", as well as a cycle of frescoes illustrating the female figures of the Old Testament.

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The Town Hall hovers over the Piazza Grande. Nearby was the Baroque Basilica of St. Proposero, and the magnificent painting “The Holy Night” by Correggio, who was born 20 kms from Reggio Emilia.

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A couple of visits to the Scala de Tricolore, located at Piazza Camillo Prampolini, one of the major squares of Reggio Emilia, to extend our limited knowledge about the flag's origin in Reggio Emilia, and its history of the tricolor Italian flag. The Sala del Tricolore and Museum explores the historical events with Napoleonic memorabilia and relics of the Risorgimento (“Rising Again”). Reggio Emilia, the first site of the Italian parliament, saw the birth of the "Tricolour,” and the future Italian flag adopted in 1797.

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As Reggio historic center is a walkers’ delight, we lingered around the Piazza Fontanesi, where families and children played, adults were talking with a few parts of their extremities, and enjoying the sunny and warm days. At the entrance to Parc Alcide Cervi with its giant oak and majestic plane trees, children were playing, and dogs were running freely. Inside the park was a beautiful sculpture dedicated to the Teachers of Italy. Strolling down Via Garibaldi we unexpectedly found an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s - “Last Supper.” We had a very knowledgeable guide, Amanda, that explained all about the painter and his two masterpieces: “Marilyn” and “Last Supper.” We spent a considerable amount of time with her and learned a great deal about the artist and his life.

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Last modified on Saturday, 01 May 2021

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