Modena is the ideal city: its admirable architectural treasures are a Unesco World Heritage Site, its hospitality focuses on cuisine and cultural life, all with a fascinating and characteristic blend of innovation and tradition. Visitors are pampered at table by the flavours of traditional balsamic vinegar accompanying local specialities and can stroll in the narrow city centre streets or Piazza Grande.

They will be enthralled by the mystical beauty of the Cathedral or fascinated by the modern products of Modena’s inventiveness such as Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani and Stanguellini motor vehicles.

Modena is pleasurable in every season and offers tourists extraordinary beauties, all concentrated in its graceful historic centre, that narrate the splendour of a city that for a long time was the capital of a duchy under the Este lords, who resided here from 1598. UNESCO has acknowledged the universal value of the city’s monumental treasures by declaring the Cathedral, Piazza Grande and the Ghirlandina Tower Unesco world heritage.


Ghirlandina – Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande is the heart of life in Modena and the place where the most significant and most-loved monuments are located.

Piazza Grande is also home to the Palazzo Comunale. Its construction took place over several different stages starting from the Middle Ages and is currently home to the Town Hall.

The Cathedral is the work of great architect Lanfranco and master sculptor Wiligelmo. It is one of the finest masterpieces of European Romanesque.

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Ducal Palace: Military Academy

Roman architect Bartolomeo Avanzini designed the “Palazzo Ducale”, whose construction began in 1634. The Palazzo housed the Este Court for more than two centuries and is today the headquarters of the Italian Military Academy. The elegant façade has three windows placed side-by-side and crowned by balustrades with statues. The central and lateral parts are raised.

The courtyard of honour with an elegant two-storey arcade is considered a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. From here you access the monumental staircase of honour adorned with Roman statues, which leads to the numerous rooms of the Estense Residence. Special mention should be made of the Sala del Trono, Salottino d’Oro, Salone d’Onore and the Sala dello Stringa.

Today the palace is the headquarters of the Military Academy. and can be visited only with a guided tour on Saturdays and Sundays upon reservation.

The guided tour also includes the visit to the Military Academy History Museum where weapons and armatures, memorabilia, relics and military items (flags, uniforms, drums, etc.) are on display.

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Via Emilia & Galleria Estense

Via Emilia, the important Roman road that crosses the city, leads to Piazza Sant’Agostino dominated by the Church of Sant’Agostino itself, the interior of which has an admirable and splendid “Lament for Christ Crucified” by Begarelli, a 1500s sculptor from Modena.

There is also “Palazzo dei Musei”, home to numerous cultural institutes and art collections, such as the Civic Museum of Art, the Archeological Ethnological Museum and the Estense Gallery an important collection that bears witness to the interest of the Este lords in all kinds of art, as well as the Estense Library, with precious XIV-XVI century codex with miniature illustrations.

Go to Galleria Estense website

Mercato Albinelli

The Albinelli Market keeps alive the tradition and heritage of the ancient market that since the Middle Ages has spiced up the streets and squares of Modena, safeguarding the city cultural and nutritional values and the personal and close customer relationship that has always characterized the retail sail.

With the October 28th, 1931 new Market inauguration, Modena retail trade left Piazza Grande, the original location which hosted it for centuries. The vendors who moved in became stable retailers, leaving behind their previous experience as street vendors for good.

The covered Market project had the goal first to relieve the pressure on the city center day in and day out full of stalls, to protect from severe weather and regulate the permanent piazza vendors then to discourage the activities of the street vendors considered socially dangerous because difficult to control.

Go to Mercato Albinelli website

Foro Boario

The ‘Foro Boario’ (that is an old name to indicate the cattle market) is 250 metres long and is one of the greatest example of its genre in Italy. It was built thanks to Duke Francesco IV, who awarded the commission to the architect Francesco Vandelli in 1833. Even if, for the dimensions of the Modenese agricultural economy, the “palace” seemed rathen small, here the commerce of cattle has gone on for decades.

Worth noting is the central area, where three arcades hide a clock on the ceiling, projected by Ludovico Gavioli. The subjects of the high-reliefs by Righi and Frugoni are pastoral. The plaque celebrates the inauguration by the Duke.

Nowadays the edifice is the seat of the School of Economics, dedicated to the expert in labour law Marco Biagi, killed in Bologna in 2002 by the Red Brigade.

Not to be missed is the view from the archeological park Novi Ark. The huge area was the Piazza d’Armi (the place where soldiers paraded and practiced), nearby the fortified Cittadella. There was also a Rotonda, a sort of little round temple with columns, built in the middle (a nice place for a smart stroll) and a race-course occupied the ring. Finally, popular events were held here, like the concert Pavarotti and friends.


Enzo Ferrari Museum

The Museo Enzo Ferrari is more than just a museum. It is a spectacular immersive experience that combines a dizzying mix of unique ingredients. Visitors not only get to admire the stunning cars displayed in the futuristic 2,500 square metre main pavilion but are also treated to a spectacular audio-visual show to tell the magical story of Enzo Ferrari’s 90 years. A story that spans everything from his childhood in the early years of the 20th century to his racing driver days, his time as the Scuderia boss and then a constructor in his own right with the great triumphs that brought.

This stunning piece of modern architecture is flanked by the workshop of Enzo Ferrari’s father which has been meticulously restored as the home of the Ferrari Engines Museum. A story within a story that further reveals just how absolutely unique the marque is.

Go to Enzo Ferrari Museum website

Massimo Bottura & Osteria Francescana

Massimo Bottura is one of the biggest monuments in culinary Italy.

Dining at Osteria Francescana is like exploring the dreams and visions of a creative chef. He creates dishes with references to his childhood, to travels and events of his live. His innovative cooking techniques are being counter balanced with some more classic Italian dishes.

Go to Osteria Francescana website