Gualtieri is first documented during the period of Longobard rule as Castrum Vultureno.
It then became Castrum Walterii, named after the Longobard Gualtiero, who lived here in the 7th century.
Yet it is from the second half of the 15th century that the story of Gualtieri as we now know it begins. The town belonged to the Sforza family until 1476, when the feud entered the domains of the Este family of Ferrara, who held it until 1860.
From 1560 to 1635, it was administered by the wealthy Bentivoglio family, who created the new town based on sophisticated late-Mannerist models with a rigid application of the laws of perspective. The result was a huge stage to magnify the power of the Marquis. In 1635, Enzo Bentivoglio, at Duke Francesco I d’Este’s behest, swapped Gualtieri for the town of Scandiano. From then until the unification of Italy, Gualtieri was directly owned by the Estes.
Gualtieri is also known for two major flood disasters, in 1765 and 1951, when water levels in the square reached 3.50 metres and 3.80 metres, respectively.