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Reggio dell' Emilia

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Suffragan of Modena in central Italy. The city is situated just where the ancient Via Æmilia is crossed by the small River Crostolo, which flows into the River Po, through a very fertile territory. The principal industries are silk, straws, and osiers. The cathedral is Romanesque, of the twelfth century, restored in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and has some remains of thirteenth century frescoes. In the museum is the scientific collection of Abbate Spallanzani, an illustrious philosopher, prehistoric antiques, and an art collection. The library has about 1000 manuscripts. There are also the state archives. Near Reggio is the famous Castle of Canossa.

Regium belonged to the Boii and was reduced into a colony by the consul Æmilius Lepidus (187 or 178) and was by him named Regium Lepidi. In the Treaty of Quiercy Reggio was included among the towns which Pepin had in mind to give to the Holy See, but it never came into possession of the latter, except later, and for a short time. In 962 it was given with Modena to Count Azzo of Canossa. After the death of Countess Matilda (1165) the popes claimed the town as a part of her inheritance, while the emperors claimed the same as a fief of the Empire. Pending these disputes the town was governed in a communal way; at first they had consuls and in 1156 they had a bailiff, named mostly by the emperor. Reggio took part in the wars between the Lombard cities, especially against Mantua and Milan. It was mostly on the side of the Ghibellines, although in 1167 it entered the Lombard League and in 1193 the league against Henry VI. After the misfortune of Frederick II, the powerful Pico, Fogliani, Carpineti, and Coreglio were disputing the mastery of the city, which fell into the hands of Obizzo d'Este, Lord of Ferrara, but revolted against his son Azzo VIII (1306), became again a commune, accepted the vicars of Henry VII and Louis the Bavarian; was subject to the pope under Cardinal Bertrand du Poyet (1322); and later (1331), John of Bohemia, who recognized the suzerainty of the pope over Reggio as well as over Parma and Modena, was made lord of the city, but sold it to the Fogliani, from whom it passed to the Gonzaga of Mantua (1335), who sold it to Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. In 1409 it returned again to the House of Este of the line of Modena, until 1859. The popes, however, always claimed to be its suzerains. After the Ferrara War, Reggio spontaneously submitted to Julius II (1512-15). By the Peace of Barcelona (1529) Charles V bound himself to give back Reggio to the popes, but he did not do so. In 1848 Reggio proclaimed its annexation to Piedmont, completed in 1859. Christianity entered Reggio probably from Ravenna; a local legend makes the first bishop St. Protasius, a disciple of St. Apollinaris, in the Apostolic age. Admitting his existence, also five or six historical bishops, predecessors of Faventius in 451, it would seem that the episcopal see dates from the first half of the fourth century. St. Prosper was the successor of Faventius; he died between 461 and 467. Among other bishops were: Thomas (c. 701), Nodoberto, ambassador of Louis the Pious at Constantinople (817); Azzo II, murdered during the Hungarian invasion in 900; Thenzo (978), who rebuilt the Basilica of St. Prosper and other churches; Nicolo Maltraversi (1211), much praised by the chronicler Salimbene and often ambassador to Frederick II; Enrico de Casalocci (1302); Battista Pallavicini* (1445), the sacred poet; Marcello Cervini (1540), later Pope Marcellus II; Cardinal Alessandro d'Este (1621); Angelo M. Ficarelli (1821), who repaired the damages of the revolution.

The diocese has 246 parishes, 531 secular priests, 175,600 inhabitants; 4 houses of monks with 29 priests; 11 houses of nuns, 5 educational institutions for boys and 13 for girls, and a Catholic weekly.

University of Reggio

Reggio was recognized as a studium generale as early as 1210; and a doctoral diploma of 1276 has been preserved, showing that there were a regular College of Doctors, regular examinations, and a Universitas scholarium (Tacoli, "Memorie storiche di Reggio", pt. III, Carpi, 1769, 215-16). But at the beginning of the fourteenth century there was no longer a single doctor in the city; and the studium generale had evidently lapsed before this.


CAPPELLETTI, Le Chiese d'Italia, XV; SACCANI, I Vescovi di Reggio (Reggio, 1902); Chronicon regiense in MURATORI, Rer. ital., XVIII.

About this page

APA citation. Benigni, U. (1911). Reggio dell' Emilia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Benigni, Umberto. "Reggio dell' Emilia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the Christian Community of Reggio dell' Emilia.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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