During the eleventh century, the Apennines of Reggio provided the backdrop to some of Europe’s major historical events. One of the foremost figures in the many episodes of conflict and reconciliation between the empire and papacy was the Countess Matilda of Canossa, who had concentrated here the political and military base of a fiefdom that extended from Lombardy to Tuscany.
The immense power she wielded is still witnessed today by the numerous castles that remind travellers of a period of strong passions. Today little remains of the most famous castle of Canossa, except its ruins and a small museum, while the once formidable war machine of the castle of Rossena still stands. Other castles also remind us of Matilda’s times, such as Carpineti, which hosted two councils, Bianello di Quattro Castella and Sarzano di Casina.