Modena, that sounds like strong engines and empathetic music. The city has a high value in abitability. The entire city center of Modena is surrounded by a park like a green ribbon. The avenues around the historic centre are covered with large shady trees. The trolley buses, through which the city seems like sound-insulated, are particularly pleasant.
A lot has happened in Modena in recent years. New museums have been created, such as the Enzo Ferrari Museum, his birthplace and later his production site, and the museum of the home of Luciano Pavarotti. His birthplace can be visited where you can find almost everything still original from the life of the great tenor.
In addition, the manufacturers of the famous vinegar Balsamico di Modena have opened their companies to visits and tastings.
At the tourist office in Piazza Grande (behind the cathedral) one can book a guided tour in English and buy a Unesco ticket, with entry to the Torre Ghirlandina bell tower, the cathedral museum, the historic halls of the town hall and the communal production of balsamic vinegar.
The center of Modena is located around Piazza Grande with the town hall and the cathedral. The most important street is Via Emilia, which already existed in Roman times as Decumanum and is now a beautiful shopping street with arcades.
In the historic centre, the palaces are reminiscent of the richness of the Este family, who inhabited the Palazzo Ducale. Today, the Military Academy is housed in Palazzo Ducale.
In Modena there are three sights that are listed as a World Heritage Site: Piazza Grande, the Duomo and the neighbouring bell tower Torre Ghirlandina.
See and experience Modena
The Cathedral of Modena
Modena Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Santa Maria Assunta in heaven and to the patron saint of San Geminiano, whose relics are kept in the crypt.
The architect Lanfranco built the Romanesque-style cathedral in the late 12th century.
Especially beautiful are the relief sculptures, which can be found in many places in the church as well as on the façade.
From the central apse you can go up by stairs to a crossing called “Il pontile dei maestri campionesi”, a bridge whose railing is adorned with reliefs from the life of Christ, including the Last Supper.
The Cathedral of Modena has been included in the World Heritage Site of Humanity.
Torre Ghirlandina Bell Tower
If you don’t shy away from the 200 steps, you can enjoy a nice view over Modena. This is about half the height of the 86m high tower. Here was the room of the “Torresani,” which operated the bells of the tower.
In the lower tower is the room of the Holzeimer, “Secchia rapita.”
Palazzo Comunale – The Town Hall
The beautiful historic halls of Palazzo Comunale can be visited.
In a small room, the “Camerino dei Confirmati,” there is one of the landmarks of Modena: The Holzeimer “Secchia rapita.” It commemorates the glorious victory against Bologna at the Battle of Zappolino in 1325. Alessandro Tassoni tells this story in his poem “La secchia rapita.”
One attraction in Modena is the market hall. It was built in 1931 and the previously market in Piazza Grand moved into a permanent building. The Albinelli market is one of the most beautiful in Italy. Here you will find the best the region has to offer: Fresh fruits and vegetables, Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma ham and Culatello, freshly caught fish and high-quality meat and, of course, the handmade tortellini. Once tasted, you’ll never want to eat tortellini from the supermarket again.
The fresh market is open Monday to Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, you can sample the regional dishes from 6 p-m.
In the triangle Modena-Bologna – Maranello are several world-famous manufacturers of fast cars and motorcycles: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati.
The museums of the manufacturers can be visited, even visit the Maserati factory on some dates a year.
In Modena itself, near the station is the Enzo Ferrari Museum, its former birthplace, which has been converted into a production facility and where the engines and cars are now on display.
In Maranello there is a second Ferrari Museum with the racing cars.
With a combined ticket you can visit both museums or book a tour, which also includes a demonstration of balsamic vinegar and a visit to Luciano Pavarotti’s birthplace.
The most famous culinary product from Modena is undoubtedly the balsamic vinegar. Only a few strictly controlled manufacturers are allowed to call their product “Aceto Balsamico di Modena Tradizionale.” And that comes at a cost.
The vinegar is stored in wooden barrels for 12 (or even 25) years and thickened further and further. Depending on the grape variety and the wood used, the taste of balsamic vinegar changes. It should have a perfect harmony of sweetness and acidity and tastes excellent even to strawberries.
Some of the traditional manufacturers offer guided tours and tastings in their companies. However, you have to sign up beforehand. When you book a guided tour with us, we will take care of this for you and organize a guide speaking your language.
A typical wine of the region is the slightly sparkling Lambrusco, which is also the starting product for balsamic vinegar.