Reggio Emilia was the birthplace and hosted some of the most significant and important personalities of Italian and International music. Let's retrace together the steps of the protagonists and their stories.
The first story we tell you has its roots in the early decades of the XIX century, when music such as waltz, mazurka and polka spread in the Emilian countryside. This new genre, called liscio (ballroom dancing), at Santa Vittoria di Gualtieri unexpectedly spread: humble labourers became, over time, real professionals, able to redeem their condition and build a better future.
Santa Vittoria thus became the town of the Hundred Violins, churning out a generation of extraordinary musicians. Spiritual heirs and continuers of that tradition are the Santa Vittoria Violins, a string quintet born in 2001, which has started a rigorous research for some years, bringing to light the original traditional matrix of ballroom dancing. As an in-depth study, Susy Blady admirably tells their story in her book: "The town of the Hundred Violins".
The second tour takes us to Novellara, birthplace of Augusto Daolio, founder and front singer of the Nomadi band, to whom the town has dedicated a big mural made in via Giacomo Matteotti 2 by the artist Alessio B. on the occasion of the Nomadincontro in 2019.
Every year, the town celebrates his birthday with a big musical event: the ideal opportunity for all fans from all over Italy to spend a special and convivial day. Wandering to discover the favourite places of Augusto, you can walk in the town centre of Novellara, which houses the Fortress, the XIX-century theatre and the Gonzaga Museum, with a wonderful collection of pharmacy jars and paintings by Lelio Orsi, a native painter of the town.
In the Civic Hall of the Fortress, on the first Sunday of each month, it is possible to admire the permanent hall with the works dedicated to the singer. Not far away, the Augusto Daolio Park hosts 10 literary benches decorated by the students of the Chierici Art Institute, after a careful study of the works, memoris and music of the Nomadi's leader.
The town centre of Correggio is very typical and lively. Among porticoes and squares, many places remind us of the life and music of Luciano Ligabue. A recurrent location in his videoclips is the Asioli Theatre, historical theatre that has also been home to concerts, presentations of his books, meetings and special events. Another important stop is Ligabue's native home, number 5 of Via S. Maria.
Among the favourite places of the artist is also the famous Bar Mario, located in the neighbouring San Martino in Rio. As a film director Ligabue shot the epic Radiofreccia and the recent Made in Italy, mostly set in our province.
Correggio is also home to famous personalities, such as the painter Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio and the writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli, a cultural reference for Ligabue himself, author of "Altri Libertini" ("Other Libertines"), a cult novel for young Italians of the eighties.
In Reggio Emilia you can discover a musical story that not many people know.
Dąbrowski’s Mazurka is the name by which the Polish national anthem is known; the commemorative plaque places in Piazza Prampolini reminds posterity that it was here that Józef Wybicki composed the famous anthem in July 1797.
The story is also inextricably linked to the history of the Italian flag and to the struggles that saw at that time the French armies opposed the Austrian ones.
Napoleon had in fact promised Polish independence if they fought by his side against Russia, Austria and Prussia. The Polish army then took to the field, entering Reggio Emilia from Porta San Pietro and suppressing the revolt against the Cispadan Republic.
To celebrate its success, Lieutenant Józef Wybicki wrote the famous mazurka and performed it, as a serenade, under the Bishop's Palace.
Even if he was born in Germany in 1965 and he now lives in Milan, the songwriter Vinicio Capossela grew up in Scandiano, in the hamlet of Cà de' Caroli, where he still has his residence of which he is very fond. The area is characterized by the profile of the Ciminiere (Chimneys), an important cement factory in the area now converted into a recreational club, and has the Reggio Emilia Apennine mountains behind it.
The lower hills of the Reggio Emilia Apennines, which Vinicio saw from the windows of his house since he was a child, have been called by the artist "the lost hills", a ridge where the Spergola Wine is now cultivated and where you can admire amazing landscapes.
If from the centre of Cà de' Caroli you take the road leading to the centenary Rondinara Oak, you take a stretch of the Spallanzani Path, a low/ medium mountain trail, about 125 km long, leading from Scandiano to San Pellegrino in Alpe.
Orietta Berti, the Cavriago nightingale, is a timeless and boundless icon, who goes beyond the generational limits to really please everyone, whose career is studded with many successes.
The singer still lives in Montecchio Emilia, a town in the Enza Valley that connects the province of Reggio Emilia with the province of Parma. Its most representative monument is certainly the medieval castle, dating back to the Matildic era.
Along the river and climbing the gentle hills, you can admire the other possessions of the Gran Countess Matilda, a fortified network of fortresses, towers and castles.
Continuing towards the Apennine ridge, you reach Ligonchio, Iva Zanicchi's homeland.
Next to the big power station, symbol of the town, is the start of the penultimate stretch of the Spallanzani Path, leading to the Battisti Refuge. Along the path you will find the Prati di Sara, one of the most enchanting places in the Reggio Emilia Apennines, to which Iva Zanicchi has also dedicated a book.