Returning to Reggio

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Piazza Prampolini in Reggio Emilia

This is our second stay in Reggio Emilia, a typical Italian town midway between Bologna and Milan. The city is located in the Po River Valley along the Via Emilia (an ancient Roman road) and dates back to the second century B.C. It has an old city center with beautiful architecture and churches that were built in the 15th and 16th centuries. There’s no major museum, but there are smaller museums, galleries and three lovely theatres that offer everything from opera to musicals.
Reggio is known for several reasons. It’s where the Italian Flag was first flown, so it’s called, the city of the Tricolor. There’s a small, beautiful museum that gives an excellent history of the flag. Reggio Emilia is also the source for the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, which is not the same as Parmesan cheese in America. I’ll write more about this later. Reggio is also known for it’s non-profit educational center called Reggio Children. Soon after WWII, the community started an educational method that has been adopted in America as well as many other countries. The center has a library, museum and various classrooms (Ateliers) that draw an international group of educators each year.
If you like to shop, Reggio is an ideal town. Because of its proximity to Milan, it offers a wide variety of fashionable shops and stores. When we stroll down the streets during the evening passeggiata, it seems like almost everyone has a bag or two from a nearby store. But after shopping, you can always stop at an outdoor Café or gelato shop.
We love to visit any of the many piazzas to relax or shop an open air market. Reggio is rarely mentioned in the guide books, which is fine with us. It’s very bike friendly and an easy city for walking. There’s an excellent language school here (Reggio Lingua, where I like to study) and we can easily hop a train to many interesting towns along the Via Emilia. Because it’s not a major tourist town, it’s a good place to practice your Italian.
Right now, our friends, Anne, Jeff and Kathy are visiting from Jasper, Indiana. Anne’s brother, Marty is living nearby in the city of Verona. So, we picked them up there and we’ve had a car for this first week. But, you hardly need a car with the very efficient train system here. We’ll be using our bikes and the train starting in a few days.
Every city has something special to offer. For us, Reggio is the quintessential Italian town—the perfect place to enjoy La Dolce Vita.
Below: The evening passeggiata, Bob & Anne enjoying Piazza Farnese, the steps of the Duomo with Kathy, the organic Farmer’s market on Saturdays

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About msraaka

I am a writer, ESL teacher and desktop publishing consultant living in the Pacific Northwest. After our first visit to Italy, my husband Bob and I have found ways to spend more and more time there. We love the people, the language, the food, architecture, art and the history of this amazing place.
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