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Restoration and Restructuring of Covered Market


Restoration and Restructuring of Covered Market
By Caterina Testa -

In every city there are places that embody the essence of an entire urban community, down the centuries distilling the very soul of the place.

For Reggio Emilia, a large town in central-northern Italy, that place is its covered market. A pivotal urban landmark since Roman times, it stands on the former Roman castrum at the crossroads of the two main thoroughfares, the cardum and the decumanum. 

In the early Middle Ages, it was the site of the church of Saint Thomas and subsequently a nearby Benedictine monastery. The area was later divided in two with the construction of the church of Corpus Domini. By 1700, the two churches had merged into a single religious system and once again formed a single urban plot. In later years before being finally demolished, the naves of the churches of Saint Thomas and Corpus Domini were used as a prison and then as a post office. In 1927 the buildings were demolished to make way for the new covered market. A mix of neo-classical and Liberty (Italy’s version of Art Nouveau), the interiors witnessed changes in the types of goods sold there, the original fruit and vegetable market giving way to a galleried arcade selling fabrics and clothes.

The project by architecture practice Corvino+Multari is more than a simple conservative restoration job. It is a strategic programme for the entire historic centre of Reggio Emilia that includes conservative restoration of the covered market’s gallery and nearby buildings that once housed a school and student hall. The removal of a series of inappropriate add-ons will allow direct connection between the covered market and the former student quarters.

The covered market structures have been altered only enough to return the old market to its former self, as a place of trade and socialization. The proposed functions for the restored buildings will allow a city monument to once again be a vital part of the town. The reorganization of the entrances together...

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