The hill of Mucciatella rises isolated to the left of the Crostolo stream at the head of a long ridge that bores deep into the Apennines. It is located immediately above the hamlet of Puianello and on its summit stands the old parish church, which offers a beautiful view over the plain below and a long stretch of the foothills of Reggio Emilia.

Tradition has it that the place takes its name from an artificial esplanade that was built in an unknown time which effectively "cropped" the top of the hill to allow the construction of the ancient Parish Church of Puianello. Because of its strategic location overlooking the Crostolo valley where it opens into the plain, the place has been inhabited since ancient times, as attested by important discoveries dating to the Bronze Age, Roman times and the Middle Ages when a church was built to the Blessed Virgin, which achieved the rank of parish church and was first mentioned in a diploma of Otto II dating back to 980. By 1156 it had jurisdiction over a vast territory comprising the ancillary churches of San Giovanni di Gesso, San Pietro di Sedrio, San Michele di Salvarano, San Zenone di Montelocco, Santa Maria di Montecavolo, San Venerio di Mozadella and San Martino di Vezzano. The current building is the result of reconstruction that took place in the early eighteenth century, a period when the building was essentially rebuilt reversing the liturgical orientation and erecting the current elegant tripartite façade, which is one of the most remarkable among the eighteenth-century churches in the foothills of Reggio Emilia.

The hill where the church now stands was once the site of a castle, which in the fourteenth century belonged to the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, but of which there remains no visible trace.
Instead, on the hill to the west of the church there are still visible remains of the castle of Mucciatella, now adapted as a private residence, which was an important stronghold of the garrison system of Matilda's times, entrusted with monitoring the foothills and the major road from Mucciatella that led directly to Canossa along the ridge of Mount Pentile. The fortress, mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1037, long belonged to the Manfredi feudal family. This ancient past comes back to life in the important hiking trail (CAI 646 path), which from Puianello and Mucciatella reaches Canossa in about two hours, winding pleasantly along a ridge that reaches the top of a series of hills from which there is a panorama of some of the most remarkable landscapes around Reggio Emilia.

The Parish Church of Puianello dominates the hamlet of the same name below, whose houses straggle over alluvial soils which border the wide bed of the Crostolo stream on the left. This location was particularly important in Roman times, when it most likely served as an intersection between the routes that climbed the Crostolo stream from the Roman municipium of Regium Lepidi towards the Apennine hinterland, crossing at Puianello the other important route of Roman origin which instead ran along the Emilian foothills. Numerous archaeological sites date back to that period, showing the presence of a complex system of farms and country villas. The first historical mention of Puianello seems to be attributable to the year 898, while in 1072 it was one of the properties belonging to the Benedictine monastery of San Prospero in Reggio Emilia. The modern village offers many amenities for tourists, with popular eateries, a well-indicated set of cycle and hiking trails, and numerous retail outlets. The site is particularly popular during the traditional September Festival. The new parish church, built at the foot of the hill in recent years, conserves a valuable fresco that seemingly comes from the chapel of San Venerio near the Castle of Mucciatella.