Carpi, located in the Po Valley, is the second most important town of its province after Modena. The origin of the town's name is certainly linked to the reality of the landscape of the area in the early Middle Ages and the strong presence of woods and especially of the popular "Carpinus. Archaeological finds from the Bronze Age reveal that the area was inhabited since ancient times. But it is only with the Roman occupation that the first rustic farms and settlements were founded. The main centre was built by the Lombard king Astolfo (about year 752), which consisted of series of houses around the parish church of Santa Maria di Castello. Between the X century and 1331, the fiefdom of Carpi was ruled by several families, including the Canossa, the Torelli and the Bonaccolsi. In 1331 the Emperor ceded the fief to Manfredo Pio and from then till 1525, the town developed prosperity which became visible thanks to the construction of new fortified buildings and the construction of a new urban plan.
Sites of Interest:
- the Palazzo dei Pio, a complex of buildings which includes several towers, fortresses and bastions, erected in later periods, between 1312 and the XVII century, such as: the Old Fortress (despite its name is one of the newer buildings of the complex , named so because it was built on the remains of an existing Ghibelline tower dating from the period of Bonaccolsi domain); Bonaccolsi Tower (built in 1320 and built for defensive functions, in the XV century it became part of residences of the Pio Family and was embellished with frescoes); the New Castle (built by Giberto Pio in 1375, a noble residence not designed for defensive functions), the Tower of the Spanish or Pio Galasso (built in 1450 with traces of frescoes), the Uccelliera (originally emerged as a corner tower, built between the end of XV and early XVI centuries by Albert III and was transformed into an aviary for his personal collection of birds). After the expulsion of the Pio, the Palace was ceded to the d' Este family, and the whole complex submitted a period of decay and neglect, that did not permit the completion of the Clock Tower in 1625;
- the Parish of the Feast (or Santa Maria in Castello), whose construction goes back to the founding of the city by the Lombard king Astolfo (752). Of the original building remain only the foundations and crypt, however, the renovated parts date from the XII century, built in Romanesque style. The façade dates from 1515 when part of the parish was dismantled to complete the building of the cathedral, but later was rebuilt and features a fine stone portal of the XII century;
- the Cathedral of the Assumption, started in 1515 at the behest of Albert Pio and was completed only in the XIX century;
- the Church of San Francesco, renovated in 1681, but already present here since the XIII century, being part of the Convent of Friars Minor. The internal decorations were assigned in 1876 to the artist Argimiro Lugli. Very interesting is also a fresco of the XV century by Antonio Alberti;
- the Baroque Church of San Bernardino of Siena, with decorations of Agimiro Lugli and a precious altarpiece by Jacopo Palma il Giovane;
- the Temple of St. Nicholas, commissioned by Alberto III Pio, which is one of the most interesting religious buildings of the city, built on the remains of a small medieval church;
- the Church of the Holy Cross, built between 1761 and 1765, incorporates several different architectural styles;
- the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (or San Rocco), currently closed for worship;
- the Municipal Theater, which was started in 1857 and features a Baroque façade. The interiors recall Baroque lines;
- the Museums of Palazzo dei Pio;
- the Museum of Deportation, a historical itinerary between the Jewish synagogue, Palazzo del Portico del Grano, to the former concentration camp along the via Ramesina.