Just after the S. Pellegrino bridge, that can be reached from the city centre along the historic Umberto I boulevard, start by following the cycle path of the town’s Crostolo River park, which runs along the left bank for about 5 km passing through parks and alongside vegetable gardens sometimes close to the river bed.
There is an old fording area at Baragalla to cross to Canali, then pass under the south-east ring road and after 500 m leave the walls of the Este Ducal Palace on your left.
One branch of the path goes through the gardens to Rivalta, but if you continue along the main path for 4.5 km from the start you cross Via del Buracchione (Via G. Bedeschi).
Continuing along the trail on the high embankment (on the other bank), pass Villa Rivaltella until you come to a large flood barrier installed after flooding in 1973 roughly 6.6 km from where you set off.
A fork (recommended detour) leads to the nearby, historical artificial lake of Villa Corbelli.
THE ESTE FAMILY
While part of the state of Este, Reggio Emilia had its own little Versailles. Between 1724 and 1727, Francesco III d’Este had the Rivalta Palace built for his wife, Carlotta Aglae d’Orleans. The Palace was set in a large park that included the Rivaltella Villa and the villa located on the island at the centre of the Corbelli artificial lake, fed by the waters of the Crostolo River. There used to be a mooring for boats here that has since been buried. The Rivaltella and Corbelli villas are still intact but just one wing of the main Palace remained after the Napoleonic period, along with some of the statues from the gardens, allegories of rivers, two of which now adorn the bridge of S. Pellegrino and Piazza Prampolini in Reggio Emilia. A good part of the network of channels used in the eighteenth century to regulate the waters, as well as the canal that carried water to the villas at Puianello, still remains.
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