Located in the center of Emilia-Romagna, just over 20 kilometers from our farmhouse, Modena is the home of motors, good food and music, but it is also much more. Welcoming and lively, the city is a succession of architectural and cultural beauties just waiting to be discovered. Although Modena seems small, there are so many things to see that listing them all is almost impossible. Here we have selected 5 things not to be missed that will make you appreciate the city from different points of view.

Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande has always been the beating heart of Modena, where the city’s most beloved and significant monuments are gathered. Born in the 12th century, it assumed the name of Grande from the second half of the 17th century. Overlooking it are: the Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo and San Geminiano, one of the greatest examples of the Romanesque style, inside which important works of art can be admired; the Ghirlandina Tower, from whose summit it is possible to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city; and the Palazzo Comunale, where some rooms on the first floor can be visited, which offer a significant testimony to the culture and tastes of the Modena community between the 16th and 19th centuries. The square, together with the Cathedral and the Ghirlandina Tower, has been part of the World Heritage List protected by UNESCO since 1997.

The Albinelli Market

Located between Via Albinelli, Piazza XX Settembre and Via Mondara, the historic Albinelli Market is a riot of colours, scents and flavours. Inaugurated in 1931, it is the oldest covered market in the city and is considered among the most beautiful in all of Italy. This is where the Modena style comes to life and has been represented for decades in a seductive and contagious way. It hosts 65 stalls, each of which is dedicated to a specialty, such as cheeses, fruit and vegetables, meats, baked goods, spices, cereals and legumes, fish. Immerse yourself in its atmosphere and stock up on delicacies to take home. At some stalls you can also sit and drink an aperitif and eat something.

The Estense Gallery

The Estense Gallery in Modena is one of the oldest National Galleries in Italy. Established in 1854 by Francesco V of Austria d’Este, since 1894 it has been housed in the Palazzo dei Musei, the seat of the most important cultural institutes in the city. It brings together in four halls and sixteen exhibition rooms the notable artistic heritage accumulated by the Dukes of Este since the glorious years of the Ferrara lordship. It exhibits paintings, sculptures, art objects, drawings, bronzes, ceramics, medals, ivories and musical instruments. Among the works present, the Pietà by Cima da Conegliano, the Madonna and Child by Correggio, the Portrait of Francesco I d’Este by Velázquez, the Triptych by El Greco, the marble bust of Francesco I d’Este by Bernini and the Crucifix stand out by Guido Reni.

The Ducal Palace

Among the things not to be missed we could not fail to mention the sumptuous Palazzo Ducale. Wanted by Duke Francesco I d’Este, it was built starting in 1634 based on a design by the architect Bartolomeo Avanzini. According to many, it is the first Baroque palace in Europe. For size and splendor, it is among the most prestigious palaces in Europe. Once a sumptuous residence of the Dukes of Este, it currently houses the renowned Military Academy of Modena. The palace can only be visited with a guided tour on Saturdays and Sundays. The visit itinerary includes the Courtyard of Honour, the Parlor, the Grand Staircase, the Loggia, the Museum Hall of the Military Academy (the private Apartment of the Dukes), the State Apartment (the Apartment of Representation), the Scala del Circolo Unificazione and the Cortile Accademia of Turin.

The MEF – Enzo Ferrari Museum

Finally, the MEF – Enzo Ferrari Museum is undoubtedly worth a visit. In the futuristic pavilion of over 2500 square meters (designed by the brilliant architect Jan Kaplicky), in addition to admiring some of the most beautiful and successful cars ever, you can watch an engaging video projection that tells the story of the life of Enzo Ferrari. Next to the pavilion is the Ferrari Engine Museum, housed in the historic workshop of Enzo’s father, now perfectly restored. Among the many activities that can be carried out at the museum we cannot fail to point out the presence of a semi-professional driving simulator available to those who want to experience the thrill of driving a Ferrari Formula 1 single-seater on some of the most famous circuits in the world.

Photo Albinelli Market © Visit Modena | Estense Gallery © Visit Modena | MEF – Enzo Ferrari Museum © Ferrari

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