Not familiar with Modena? You will be after this post. This idyllic town located on the flat plains of the sluggish Po River is home to some of Italy’s most precious culinary traditions as well as an infinitely authentic, deeply magnetizing atmosphere that I have rarely seen in my travels.
PS I will not be held responsible for any spontaneous plane ticket purchase made after reading this post. Continue at your own risk!
Modena Travel – In Photos
Piazza Grande and Duomo di Modena
The view from atop the campanile
[left]Photogenic alleyways behind the Duomo[/left]
[right]The impressive walk to the top![/right]
It makes sense to start at the beginning, right? This is why I headed to Piazza Grande and the Modena Cathedral first thing in the morning; I knew the view from atop the soaring Ghirlandina tower would not only make for good photos (and it certainly delivered on that aspect!), but would also help me get the lay of the land.
Duomo di Modena was first built a whopping millennium ago and has since been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its exceptional architecture, a “masterpiece of human creative genius” that remains, to this day, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe.
Ducal Palace of Modena
Now home to the Italian Military Academy headquarters, the Palazzo ducale di Modena served as the residence of the Este Dukes of Modena (one of the most prominent European families) for over 500 years. The building’s striking Baroque features are enhanced by the vast and virtually bare piazza in front of it.
Hosteria Giusti, one of the oldest restaurants in Modena
Via Luigi Carlo Farini
Parrocchia Di Santa Maria Assunta Nella Metropolitana
Of course, one of Modena’s most popular and well-known features are the long and elegant arcades. I tried to find out where exactly this classic Emilia-Romagna feature might be from; after all, you don’t go through all the trouble of building countless ornate archways just for the sake of it, right? Was it because of weather issues, or simply because of Modena’s wealth as a major trading point between Northern and Southern Europe?
One of the best meals of my life was at Da Danilo in Modena. Tortellini is a local speciality, and each restaurant has its secret, mouthwatering filling that made me want to order second servings every time. Pictured here is a ricotta-spinach tortellini glazed in sweet balsamic vinegar. With a glass of local lambrusco, of course.
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pomposa
Modena Travel: Know Before You Go
- I stayed at Hotel Libertà just off Piazza Mazzini Giuseppe.
- If indeed you wish to stay overnight and discover what Modena’s tummy is made of, get a ticket for the Discover Ferrari & Pavarotti land shuttle bus that will take you to wineries, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar factories, Luciano Pavarotti house museum, Ferrari museum/factory and many more iconic Modena attractions.
- Personally, though, considering I got my driver’s licence at the ripe age of 28 years old I wouldn’t say cars are a passion of mine! But Modena is, nonetheless, a famous car town. Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti and many more are headquartered there – so if you’re a car enthusiast, this is definitely the place to be.