For daily updated information about events in Modena, click here (it is the official website of the Municipality).
January - April
In January two important fairs are held in Modena. On the 17th for Saint Anthony the Abbot (Protector of animals); on the 31st dedicated to the Patron Saint Geminiano. The latter is the biggest: the whole old town is invaded with stalls which sell typical delicacies and particular household objects. In this occasion, the grave of the Saint in the Duomo is opened, so that the remains of the bishop can be seen (he died in 397. One can also kiss the relic of his arm).
From February (a part from August), every first Saturday of the month, there is “L’Antico in Piazza Grande”, an exposition of antiques (expecially furniture and books).
During the carnival, on the Thursday before Lent, a great ‘festa’ is prepared for the arrival in Modena of Sandrone, the city masker, accompanied by his wife Pulonia and their son Sgorghìguelo (the so-called “Pavironica family”). Born as a character in the first half of the 19th century, they make a speech (“sproloquio”) from the balcony of the Town Hall, making fun of politicians and commenting on the facts of the years. The event has a great tradition in Modena, as its carnival was, during the Dukedom, the biggest in Italy after Venice (as the ancient production of papier-mâché masks testifies).
In February/March there is BUK, the festival of the little and medium Italian publishing.
May - August
In April/May “Terra di Motori” is dedicated to wonderful vintage and modern cars in the city centre: exibitions and races are also organized (like the passing of the famous “Millemiglia”).
In May there is the most important event in the life of the Military Academy°° open to the public: the so-called “Mak Π 100”, a sumptuous ceremony to celebrate the last one hundred days to the end of the annual course. Gymnastic displays, an exclusive XIX-century ball and a dinner in the courtyard of the Ducal Palace°° take place. Expecially some years ago, the participation to the ball was, for the Modenese debutantes, really much-desired. The ritual also provides the passage from the oldest “cadetti” to the younger ones of the “stecca”, a gadget to clean the buttons of the uniforms.
In the second half of May, “Vie – Scena contemporanea festival”, together with Carpi and Vignola is dedicated to the theatre and to collateral forms of performances.
In July, the International Festival of Military Bands, similar to the one in Edinburgh, concerns orchestras from all over the world. Songs and events (usually in costumes, like carousels) remeber the old Estense Court.
September - December
On the 6th September, a concert for Luciano Pavarotti is organized in the wonderful Piazza Grande, coinciding with his death (occurred in 2007). In these days, in the whole city centre, the tenor’s arias are played under the porticoes, whereas shops shows his photos.
In the middle of September, the Festival Filosofia conquers more success every year. Togethr with Carpi and Sassuolo, hundreds of thousands of people hear philosophic lectures and talks free. Every edition has a different theme; experts from all over the world come in Modena. Many collateral events and exibitions are organized (dinners, extraordinary openings, performances and so on). The atmosphere is exceptional.
On the 29th September, a concert is dedicated to the Modenese phenomenon of the beat, whose singers are extremely famous within Italy: Francesco Guccini, Caterina Caselli, i Nomadi and many others.
Every fourth Saturday and Sunday of the month, in the Novi Ark park, right in front of the Palazzo del Foro Boario°°, the antiques market is hold, the biggest fair of this genre in the Region.
But Modena is the theatre of many other events, such as Modena in fiore, Ciccolato Vero, Stuzzicagente, Modena Organ Festival, the book presentations in the Forum Monzani (the most followed in Italy) and so on.
All this must be added to the season of the Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti°° and of the Teatro Storchi and to the prestigious events organized in ModenaFiere.