30 hours in… Modena

30 hours in… Modena

The new chapter of the it-ER monthly column to discover the Emilia-Romagna region!

In the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region you will find Modena, a vibrant riverside city that combines history, art, music and gastronomy. Synonymous with good food, it was home to talents as diverse as the Renaissance painter Correggio and the 20th-century conductor Arturo Toscanini. It houses the University of Modena and Reggio-Emilia, a university founded in 1175, and now it is one of the automotive meccas.

Here you can find some tips to visit museums and traditional restaurants and to immerse yourself in its charm, among churches and fine-food boutiques.




During the morning

Let’s start full energy, head toward Piazza Grande, where you can explore the Duomo di Modena (Modena Cathedral), adorned with artistic works and intricate carvings that tell the city's history, and the Ghirlandina Tower. The bell tower, approximately 86 meters high, is the symbol of Modena. Climbing to the top of the Ghirlandina (3 euros per ticket), you can enjoy a beautiful view of Modena: the panorama ranges from the flowered terraces of the historic center up to the peaks of the Apennines. These buildings, known for their Romanesque architecture, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.


Modena Cathedral

At lunch

For lunch, we recommend one of the local trattorias where you can taste traditional fresh pasta dishes of all kinds: tortellini, cappellacci, tagliatelle, accompanied by a glass of Lambrusco, a renowned local wine.


In the afternoon

In the afternoon, a must-see for car enthusiasts is the Enzo Ferrari Museum, only a short walk from the center of Modena. Here, you can immerse yourself in the life of the legendary founder of this luxury brand and explore the halls showcasing a sublime collection of historic Ferrari cars. 

The excursion comes to an end with a visit to the Luciano Pavarotti House and Museum, the residence of Maestro Pavarotti during the final years of his life. Located just outside the city, the Pavarotti House and Museum is an extraordinary place that brings the great Master to life: you can admire his personal possessions, photos, videos, and a display of the famous costumes.


Enzo Ferrari Museum

At sunset

After your museum tour, take a sunset stroll through the lively streets of Modena. You will discover charming corners, shops and picturesque pathways.

For dinner, immerse yourself in the city's nightlife. Experience the flavors of a local osteria. Modena offers a wide selection of culinary specialties: you can savor Parma ham with fried gnocco or crescentina, Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) with a drop of traditional balsamic vinegar. Live music, lively bars, and the bustling Piazza Pomposa or Sant’Eufemia are some places where you can enjoy the evening.


A street of Modena



During the morning

To make the most of your day, have a quick breakfast and discover the stunning architecture and splendid art collection at Palazzo Ducale, the residence of the Este dukes for more than two centuries and now the seat of the impressive Military Academy. Continue your journey to the time of the Estes among the spectacular works of art in the Estense Gallery at the Palazzo dei Musei.

Be sure to check in advance for any exhibitions and events scheduled for the day of your visit.


Palazzo Ducale

At lunch

From Piazza Grande, take a short walk across lively Piazza XX September and enjoy Mercato Albinelli (Albinelli Market). The cheerful ambiance of this historic marketplace, the epicenter of local culinary traditions, is not to be missed. It is a historic indoor market where you will find not only fruit and vegetable stands, fishmongers and butchers, where you can shop for typical products, but also little places where you can stop for lunch or an aperitif.


Fresh pasta

In the afternoon

After lunch we recommend a tour through the production processes of traditional balsamic vinegar famous worldwide. You can take a guided tour of Modena’s Municipal Vinegar Cellar (reservations should be made through the Tourist Office) or of another private vinegar producer in or around Modena. Generations of families have made balsamic vinegar and the story of its production is deeply entrenched in Modena’s culture.


Vinegar cellar

After exploring the intricate paths of balsamic vinegar production, explore the paths around Modena. You can have a leisurely trip in a superb countryside setting and take a stroll to enjoy the colorful surroundings. Discover Mirandola, a little jewel near Modena: rent bicycles for free and discover the valleys of Mirandola.


We hope you enjoy your stay and live and discover the little treasures of Modena, not very well known but of great cultural value.


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