THE CASTLE OF BIANELLO
On the first hills of the Reggio Apennines, the natural balcony of the plain, from which you can see the Alps on clear days, the Middle Ages leave the vestiges of a glorious and fascinating past, perfectly integrated with modern life and its comforts.
Quattro Castella, still considered today as a privileged holiday resort due to its natural peculiarities and proximity to Reggio Emilia, hosts four hills whose names, from east to west, are Monte Vetro, Bianello, Monte Lucio and Monte Zane. Four castles stand out upon them, of which only that of Bianello has been preserved intact in its structure of magnificent historic residence.
On the hill of Bianello, perhaps as early as the first half of the 10th century, there was a watchtower or some kind of defensive building, but we have certain statement of its existence only from the year 1044. Its history, however, is closely linked to the one of the castle of Canossa and, above all, the events that had as a protagonist the Countess Matilde di Canossa (Matilda of Tuscany), who hosted the Emperors Henry IV and Henry V in that castle.
Built on a polygonal plan with a “shoe” base, the castle is composed of a quadrangular main body with an inner courtyard and an appendix on the north-western front; its structure shows developments and aggregations in chronological succession, starting from the original nucleus consisting of the tower located on the western side, which is built in five levels.
The context in which the group of castles of the Reggio hills is located is marked by a commendable integration between Medieval constructions and geological features, which gives rise to a landscape with unique characteristics in the regional context: a close connection between naturalistic-environmental values and architectural interventions that over the centuries have produced a unique and unrepeatable image.
The property as a whole, extended for 1,337,696 square meters, occupies a significant portion of the Municipality of Quattro Castella. The whole complex, acquired in 2002 to public property by the Municipal Administration, is subject to the protection constraint of the current Code of Cultural Heritage.