Toano is located in the southeast corner of the province of Reggio Emilia. It is situated on a beautiful and sunny panoramic hilltop, at an altitude of nearly 1000 m, that separates the Dolo and Secchia valleys and culminates with the famous church of Santa Maria di Castello.
The first confirmed reference to Toano can be found in a royal charter signed by King Berengar I, dated 6 November 907 in Pavia, that mentions the “Court of Toano”. In the 10th century, following the last barbarian invasions of the Hungarians, defences were raised, and fortifications were built around the parish church, and thus it became “an official member with a castle” under the dominion of Boniface of Canossa. In the first few decades of the 13th century it became a “free comune” under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Reggio Emilia.
The castle was also influenced by the battle between the Guelphs from Modena and the Ghibellines from Reggio Emilia.
Up to 1427 it was dominated by the Fogliani and subsequently passed under the control of the Este. For eight years it was controlled by the Testi marquise and upon his death returned to the Ducal Chamber; the last feudatory was Guerra Coccopieri Torretta of Massa Carrara.
During World War II, Toano, together with the municipalities of Villa Minozzo, Prignano, Polinago, Frassinoro and Montefiorino, became part of the Partisan Republic of Montefiorino, which lasted for forty days.