Ferrari is a 2023 film directed by the famous American director Michael Mann, considered one of the masters of action cinema. Critically acclaimed, it boasts a truly exceptional cast including Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey and Gabriel Leone. The film, based on the book “Ferrari. The man, the car, the myth” by the American journalist Brock Yates, is set in the summer of 1957 and tells the story of the period of profound crisis experienced by the former driver Enzo Ferrari, after bankruptcy caused the company founded by him and his wife Laura only ten years earlier to capitulate. In this delicate climate, the great engineer attempts to redeem his Ferrari by participating in the twenty-fourth Mille Miglia.
Much of the film was shot in Modena, recreating the setting of the time on the original locations with as little use as possible of computer graphics. For those who want to relive the most exciting scenes of the successful film in person, here is a list of the most significant places in Modena shown in the film.
The “small” station of Modena
At the beginning of the film, the “small” station in Piazza Manzoni appears, so called to distinguish it from the Ferrovie dello Stato station in Piazza Dante Alighieri (also present in some scenes). Built in 1932 based on a design by the engineer Renzo Bertolani to serve the countryside and the suburbs, over time it lost its role as a terminus, becoming a through station. The tracks, together with the shelters with concrete overhangs, the pyzometric tower and the building for travelers equipped with a ticket office with wooden paneling, constitute an interesting architectural ensemble in eclectic style. On Mann’s set he returns to the style of the 1950s, in a blanket of thick fog, trains and period furnishings.
Largo Garibaldi was one of the first sets in the city. Here, precisely at number 11, was the private home of Enzo Ferrari. During the filming, this city space, with Giuseppe Graziosi’s monumental Fountain of the Two Rivers at its centre, was completely transformed to provide a scenographic backdrop suited to the story of the Drake. Advertising billboards, street furniture and style traffic lights have recreated a 1950s Modena. The interior shots of the apartment were filmed in a building in the historic center of Reggio Emilia.
Monumental Cemetery of San Cataldo
The tomb of the Ferrari family is located in the San Cataldo Cemetery. It is here that Enzo and his wife Laura go at different times of the day to pay homage to their son Dino, who passed away only a year earlier. The architectural complex, located in the suburb of San Cataldo, is composed of two clearly distinct parts: the historic cemetery (where the tomb of the Ferrari family is located), created by the architect Cesare Costa in the years 1858/1876; and the new cemetery, designed by the architect Aldo Rossi in 1971. Among the illustrious Modenese buried in the cemetery are the great actress Virginia Reiter, the Olympic gymnast Alberto Braglia, the playwright Paolo Ferrari and the entrepreneur Telesforo Fini.
Church of San Pietro Apostolo
In the ancient Church of San Pietro Apostolo, a sacred mass is staged in honor of the Scuderia Ferrari, where the mechanics, engineers, workers and the entire family of the car manufacturer gather. The church, overlooking the street of the same name, was rebuilt between 1476 and 1518. It has a splendid terracotta facade crossed by a valuable frieze composed of sea horses intertwined with winged satyrs. Inside you can admire a large number of works of art created by local artists between the 15th and 16th centuries, among which the terracotta statues by Antonio Begarelli stand out.
Pavarotti-Freni Municipal Theatre
The scene in which Ferrari attends a premiere of Verdi’s Traviata is set in the Storchi Theatre, of which, however, only the exterior is shown. The internal shots were instead filmed in the Teatro Comunale Pavarotti-Freni, the main opera stage in Modena and one of the most precious Italian theatres. Inaugurated in 1841, throughout its history it has kept its beauty intact and has not undergone any significant structural transformation. In its current guise it is the result of a careful historical-conservative restoration which has brought it back to its original splendor.
The Foro Boario was one of the sets of the race where Patrick Dempsey plays the role of the driver Pietro Taruffi. This majestic palace, approximately two hundred and fifty meters long and twenty meters deep, is one of the greatest examples of architecture of its kind. It was built by order of Francesco IV d’Este, based on a design by Francesco Vandelli, the ducal architect who designed some of the most representative Modena buildings of the Restoration. Imprinted on a sober classicism, it is characterized by a large central loggia, decorated with bucolic subjects and reliefs.
Some scenes set in a hotel were filmed in Palazzo Schedoni. Built in the 16th century to house the Convent of the Augustinian friars, it was then rebuilt at the end of the 18th century based on a design by the architect Giuseppe Maria Soli for the singer Caterina Bonafini, who however decided to sell it even before the completion of the works. Since then it changed ownership several times until 1960, when it was transformed into a hotel.
The historic barber shop in Corso Canalgrande
For Enzo Ferrari, the morning beard service has always been an indispensable ritual. Every day he went to the historic barber shop in Corso Canalgrande 73, a stone’s throw from Piazza Grande, where he abandoned himself in the hands of his faithful friend Antonio D’Elia, later joined by his nephew Massimo. And when the place was closed, it was they who moved to the engineer’s house, where a special barber station had been set up. The director did not overlook this aspect of his life, shooting a scene inside the historic barbershop, which is still in business today.
Photo © ModenaToday
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