Discovering the medieval churches in the Apennines

A two day immersion in the history of the Reggio Emilia Apennines

Logo CC

The Reggio Apennines are a historical area, which still preserves its cultural heritage of the Middle Ages, a legacy of the centuries in which the Canossa family dominated northern Italy, as a protagonist of European history in disputes between the Papacy and the Empire.

Medieval churches emerge as authentic gems that tell millennial stories of devotion and art among hills and woods of this fascinating territory. It only takes one day to visit some of them, moving between picturesque views.

  • Duration
    24 hours
  • Interests
    Culture & Castles
  • Target
  • First stop - Paullo Parish church Casina

    The first stop is the San Bartolomeo Parish church in Paullo village, in the municipality of Casina. It is easy to reach it following the SS63, that leads from Reggio Emilia to the mountains of Reggio Emilia and then arrives in Tuscany.

    We are in a small village and this rural church is one of the oldest in the whole Province: it is a precious example of Romanesque architecture, dating back to the ninth century but repeatedly restored, which has become one of the places in the heart of the FAI.

    The facade in local stones has a hut-like profile, and at the top there are two windows. This parish church still has inside it its original three naves, divided by six round columns with capitals, of Romanesque character.

  • Second stop - San Vitale Parish Carpineti

    About 30 minutes away from Paullo, it is possible to see the monumental area of the medieval San Vitale Parish church, located on a grassy plateau about 4 km from the village of Carpineti.

    The year of its foundation is not known, but according to some scholars it dates back to the Byzantine period.

    The church, already existent in 1083, had three naves, bordered by semicircular apses, separated by two colonnades. The building was abandoned around the middle of the eighteenth century, and today we see only a part of its facade that, partially recovered, houses inside a small but impressive museum with sculptures and original medieval stone friezes.

    Surrounded by large green meadows, all around there are other buildings that form a complex with a restaurant and hostel, a great place to stop for lunch with traditional recipes.

  • Third stop - Santa Maria Parish Church Toano

    The last stop is a 30-minute drive from Carpineti, on the other side of the Secchia valley. According to the scholar Alcide Spaggiari, the Parish Church of Toano is "the perfect monument, complete and intact, of Canusina art in the Apennines".

    The first document in which this church is mentioned is a diploma of the Emperor Otto II of the year 980, but the exact foundation is unknown. In the Middle Ages it was inside the walls of the ancient castle area, which stood on this hill overlooking the modern village of Toano.

    In 1200 it was very damaged by the fights between Guelphs and Ghibellines losing its importance, and finally destroyed by a landslide in the eighteenth century.

    Thanks to recent archaeological excavations, the history of the parish church has found new depths of knowledge. The complex is open to the public every Sunday, except in the winter. It can also be visited by appointment, calling the municipal offices.

Last update 12/12/2023

You may also like...