Reggio Emilia is a north Italian town sandwiched between Parma and Modena It’s primarily famous for its education method developed after WW2 called the ‘Reggio Emilia Approach’ (which is funnily enough why we were there), and it’s parmesan cheese. Which was also why we were there.
We arrived via our trusty rental car for what would become two nights in this wonderful city full of culture, architecture and delicious, delicious food. The tourist traps and crowds in Reggio are few and far between, and the inner city offers an authentic Italian experience. Mrs. R&R and I wandered the city while my mother-in-law (and travelling companion) fulfilled her mission at the early childhood education centre.
We arrived by rental car (see Verona blog for info), but it’s also possible to get to Reggio Emilia by train or bus from one of the larger cities. There is an airport, but it’s for private and club use only.
Trains from Milan take 1.5 hours and cost around €21, trains from Rome take around 2.5 hours but will set you back upwards of €45 per person.
Keep in mind you can use buses to get from nearby cities as well. As a very rough guide, a bus in Italy will take about twice the time and cost half the price of a train.
Pre-Airbnb we chose a newish hotel 2.8km (1.7 miles) outside of the city centre called Hotel Metropolis, which doesn’t have a website outside of booking.com, but was fairly good. I don’t remember exactly what we paid but it was less than the current rate of €84 for a triple room.
Currently on Airbnb you can find a room or a whole house, inside or just outside the city walls, for an average of €46 per night. There are also hostels in the city centre for €20 per person, per night.
Reggio Emilia is not a big place, but try to stay within a mile from from the city centre, as everything further away is suburbs and industrial buildings, and you will save on taxis.
The town centre is a gorgeous maze of 15th and 16th century buildings, facades and churches centred around the Piazza Camillo Prampolini. In this Piazza and in the adjacent square underneath the Cattedrale Di Santa Maria, there are fantastic food and bric-a-brac markets where you can pick up all kinds of amazing local treats, cheeses and meats. There’s also a huge market in Piazza Fontanesi.
Hire a bicycle from the depot near the train station and cruise around the town like a local. Try dining at one of the restaurants in the Piazza Di Prospero underneath the imposing Basilica della Ghiara at dusk; just a magical experience.
Also make sure to bar hop around the Piazza Dei Teatri or ‘Squares Theatre’ at night. All the locals come out to mingle around the brightly lit water fountains and stroll up and down the cobbled alleyways and avenues.
Hint – Italians like to eat many courses for dinner, and what would usually be the main course, is actually two separate dishes. First is Primo, which may be pasta, risotto or soup and second is the meat or fish course, called Secondo. You might get weird looks ordering Secondo and nothing else, as I did.
Reggio Emilia for two nights:
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