With an international reputation for its quality of life, and particularly its nursery and primary school education, Reggio Emilia is a popular and successful city in northern Italy. Renowned in educational circles, the philosophy known as the ‘Reggio Emilia Approach’ for pre-school and primary school children was developed here shortly after World War II.
In terms of the local economy, a wide range of industries have helped it to become one of Italy’s biggest exporters, with one of its highest rates of employment. Agriculture has long been a mainstay, notably with its world-famous Parmesan cheese and Lambrusco wine. Fashion, including the Max Mara brand, and ceramic tile production are well-established sectors in the area. At the same time, contemporary art, ancient monuments and exhibitions such as Fotografia Europea have made the city rich in culture and social change—supported by the business community, services and the university. The city has a population of 173,000, with a hexagonal-shaped old town that reflects the outline of the ancient walls.
An outward-looking city, Reggio Emilia has established nine twinning agreements, six pacts of friendship and links to more than 200 international companies over the years. It also takes part in numerous European and international initiatives including the ‘Intercultural Cities’ project (Reggio is the only Italian city involved in this project). From a historical perspective, Reggio is the home of Italy’s tricolour national flag, created in 1797 in the current city hall.