The town of Scandiano is located along the Tresinaro stream, south-east of Reggio Emilia.
Scandiano is one of the most important social-economic towns in the area between the hillside and the plain. One of the oldest places of human settlement in the province, it is rich in archaeological, historical and artistic interest. The famous “Venus” comes from the Neolithic village of Chiozza di Scandiano (found in 1940 and now kept inside Reggio Emilia-based Museum Palace). The first castle in Scandiano was founded in 1262 by Gilberto Fogliani from the powerful family to which Guido Riccio, immortalized by the pen of Simone Martini in Siena, also belonged. The Fogliani family was succeeded by the Este family, and after them, by the Boiardo family (1432), the most famous of which was the poet Matteo Maria. After the death of the last of the Boiardo family, Hippolytus, in 1560 Scandiano passed to the Estense Ducal Hall: there were then several investitures such as the Thiene, the Bentivoglio and the Mari until the direct dominion of the Este family until the Risorgimento (except for the time of the Cispadana, Cisalpina Republic and the Italic Reign). Scandiano is now a rich centre of economic, agricultural, commercial and industrial activities also due to its position at the foot of the hills and at the mouth of the Apennines valleys. The ceramic industry is particularly important.
There have been many famous people from Scandiano: Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1496), one of the greatest Italian poets, innovator (with his Orlando Innamorato) of the Italian epic-chivalric poetry; Antonio Vallisneri (1661-1730), renowned scientist and disciple of Malpighi; Lazzaro Spallanzani (1711-1778), naturalist and physiologist, defined by Pasteur as "one of the greatest experimenters".
Scandiano conserves interesting traces of its noble past: the Boiardo Fortress, a magnificent Renaissance construction inside of which was an important cycle of frescoes by Nicolò dell'Abate (XVI century), now kept inside the Modena-based Art Gallery; still in piazza Boiardo, the Santa Maria Church contains the polychrome group of the Virgin Mary of the Rosary, dating back to the XVI century) and the tomb of Lazzaro Spallanzani; in Piazza Duca d’Aosta is the XVIII-century San Giuseppe Church which contains an interesting tabernacle of the Ceccati school and the remains of frescoes attributed to Nicolò dell'Abate.
The Clock Tower, the ancient entrance to the Fortress, and the birthplace of Lazzaro Spallanzani with a typical XVIII-century façade, are also worth seeing.
On the main square, surrounded by ancient porticoes, is a beautiful statue depicting Lazzaro Spallanzani, made by G. Fornaciari.
The architectural structure of the Boiardo Fortress, the most important building structure of the town, was the symbol of the political power of Scandiano for eight centuries. It contains Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque elements.
The architectural complex, which covers a surface area of 5,000 square metres, has been subject to many renovations over time. It was built, in fact, in 1315 as a defensive construction by the Da Fogliani family, then transformed into a noble residence by the Boiardo family (1423-1560), and finally, turned into a Renaissance palace by the Thiene Marquises (1565-1623) and the Este princes (1625-1726). It is possible to find various architectural structures from different periods: Medieval (the postern tower of the north entrance and hanging arches in the courtyard), Renaissance (the courtyard gate) and Baroque (stairway, mullioned windows, lintel of the courtyard, plaster decorations in the Este family apartment). Until the XVIII century the Fortress kept an important cycle of frescoes by the painter Nicolò dell'Abate, today kept inside the Modena-based Art Gallery. Many artists worked in the Fortress, including Bartolomeo Spani, Giovan Battista Aleotti and Antonio Traeri.
Among the main products it is possible to find the “Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa” Wine with Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC), produced in different types including Bianco di Classico, Malvasia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Lambrusco Grasparossa, Marzemino and Sauvignon. It is a wine with a sweet and/or semi-dry taste, produced in the sparkling and spumante types.
Another renowned wine is the Scandiano Spergola, with Municipal Designation (DE.CO.) assigned to the wine produced from white grapes. The first written evidence of the Spergola vine dates back to the XV century, when it was mentioned by Bianca Cappello, the Granduchess of Tuscany.
It is obtained from the Spergola grape, a typical vine of the Scandiano-Ventoso-San Ruffino-Casalgrande area in the province of Reggio Emilia, which allows winemakers to obtain, in the sparkling or spumante version, a white wine with a straw yellow colour.
Zabaglione is an energetic and nutritious preparation accidentally invented in Scandiano. The name is from French origin and derives from “Buillon”, a term inherited from the French during the military occupations. Soon the name was transformed into “Janbujon” until it became “Zabaglione”, an Italian derivation of the ancient invention.
Centennial Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Handcrafted Fair. Third and fourth weekend of March.
Exhibition of agricultural, commercial, industrial and handcrafted products.
festivaLOVE-Lovers in Scandiano. Last weekend of May.
Sleepless nights with music, theatre, visual arts, artistic performances, installations, activities for children inspired by the theme of falling in love, drawing inspiration from the poem "Orlando in Love" by Matteo Maria Boiardo.
Santa Caterina Festival. Third and fourth weekend of November.
Handcrafted and gastronomic products, collectors’ market.
It is possible to ask for temporary permits for the Limited Traffic Area.
In Arceto, a village 5 km far from the centre of Scandiano, it is possible to find one of the oldest castles in the surroundings, already mentioned in 863.