You don’t see too many hotels topped with battlements and with a front door like a castle portcullis. But then there aren’t many around like Reggio Emilia’s Hotel Posta. “Reggio where?” you say? Allow me to elaborate…
Reggio Emilia is one of the prettiest towns in northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, a part of the country known for its culinary produce (see our destination guide for details). Small but perfectly formed, it’s a lovely combination of rustic charm and bustling urbanism. Head west by road from Bologna airport and you’ll be there in 45 minutes.
If you’re looking for smart and characterful accommodation here, you’ll do well to check out the four-star Hotel Posta. Even in a town overflowing with beautiful medieval houses, it’s distinctive. It’s also conveniently slap bang in the middle of everything (main square, market, art museums, concert hall, high street), plus the bar next door (Il Tropical) does a potent Aperol spritz. Perfect if you need a pre-dinner stiffener.
Talking of dinner, I recommend the Trattoria La Morina, a great little street-corner restaurant, barely five minutes’ stroll away. With its green leatherette booths and gingham tablecloths, it has a reassuringly 1960s feel. It’s the sort of place where you half expect a gang of mods on Lambrettas to turn up outside.
Although the facade had raised my expectations, the baroque reception area didn’t disappoint. On entering, I spied a cosy wee bar tucked to the side of reception. With olive walls and golden fittings, it looked like the sort of place Toulouse Lautrec might have dropped into for an absinthe. Even the Euro-house muzak softly pumping through the lobby couldn’t moisten my mood when I spotted it.
Dating back to 1280, the hotel was first a nobleman’s house, before becoming a locanda (or inn) in 1515, and was restored to its current state last century. I certainly felt a sense of history as I walked down its long, tall corridors. For some, the flowery carpets, floral motifs and gilded cherubs might be overly ornate — and some of its website’s pictures do give that impression. But, trust me, when you’re there it just… feels right.
My suite, which included a separate living room, was tastefully decorated with period artworks, and the high ceiling enabled those super-tall windows you just don’t get in modern buildings. A bowl of fresh fruit (none of your plastic stuff for the Hotel Posta) was a small but thoughtful touch, offering a refuge from the endless parade of cured meats I’d been eating. Oh, and the Wi-Fi (or wiffy, as the Italians pronounce it) was free and worked a treat.
Possibly due to a lack of natural light in my bedroom, it took me a while to realise that my window opened onto a balcony with views of the square below. At first it seemed I’d hit the jackpot. But Reggio Emilia is a vibrant town, and I hadn’t reckoned on the amount of noise a piazza full of young Italians on a Saturday night can generate.
The shouting, singing and chanting went on till beyond 2am, while the sound of a street-cleaning truck at 6am was an unwelcome bookend to my night. So, while I did love the Hotel Posta, I’d recommend a room away from the front to all but the heaviest of sleepers.
Dining: The ‘art nouveau’ dining room on the first floor doesn’t serve dinner, but I can vouch for the breakfast: an impressive spread, particularly rich in cakes. There’s also a snack bar, serving light bites including toast, chips, peanuts and drinks, from wine to orange juice. Meanwhile, if you’re planning a private event in the Capitano del Popolo room you can book a catering service, which will whip up a gala dinner or banquet for your party.
Address: Piazza del Monte, 2—42100, Reggio Emilia, Italy, +39 0522 432944, www.hotelposta.re.it
Radio Times Travel rating 8.5/10: Masses of history and character make this the ideal base from which to explore one of northern Italy’s most interesting towns.
Radio Times stayed at the Hotel Posta as a guest of the Art Cities of Emilia Romagna Region Tourist Board. All of our contributors maintain editorial independence at all times and conduct first-hand research.