The two-thousand year old Roman route divides the city centre in a east-west sense. Two huge squares at the ends still indicates where the gates of the enclosing walls once opened. Via Emilia is a street not to be missed.
Leaving the XVIII century Piazza Sant’Agostino°°, you enter Largo degli Erri, from the name of one of Modena’s most famous family of painters of the XV century: from here the historic rua Muro° begins.
On the left side, is Largo Muratori with its statue of the well-known historician, carried out in 1853 by Adeodato Malatesta. The two streets departing north from here are called Cardinal Giovanni Morone (bishop of Modena during the Council of Trent) and Nazario Sauro (you can see just the bell tower of the church of Santa Maria della Pomposa°).
On the right side of via Emilia, the imponent Palazzo Montecuccoli degli Erri (number 283), was rebuilt in the XIX century by Vincenzo Maestri on the site of the old church of San Biagio. At number 269 the imposing and prestigious Palazzo Solmi°°, formerly Bellentani-Rangoni. In front of it, via Ganaceto.
On the left, Piazza Matteotti is dominated by the two churches of San Giovanni Battista°° and Voto°. Branching right, the Cathedral can be reach along Corso Duomo.
In Piazza Torre°° rises the statue of Alessandro Tassoni (1565-1635), author of the famous mock-heroic poem La Secchia Rapita. You can also see the Peschieria door of the Cathedral, the presbyteries and a part of the Palazzo Comunale°°.
Walking along its portico, on the floor there is the old city coat of arms, in blue and yellow. On the left, the trees are those of the wonderful Piazza Mazzini°° (don’t miss the frescoed portico of Casa Levi). The little square in front of it is Piazzetta delle Ova, so called because poultry was once sold here. You can also check the time thanks to the transparent XIX-century clock by Ludovico Gavioli. Passing under the archway of the palazzo you reach Piazza Grande.Continuing along the via Emilia you cross the ancient via Scudari (formerly “Contrada de’ Molza”), where in the Middle Ages football was played. The medieval courtyard of Palazzo Comunale is to the rear.
The main crossroads of the city centre, when the Estense Dukes ruled Modena, is where via Emilia meets via San Carlo on the right (with the Collegio°° and church° of the same name) and via Farini° on the left (with a magnificent view of the Palazzo Ducale°°).
On the right, the 150 metres long portico of the Collegio San Carlo°° begins, where many historic shops, as well as modern business premises, flourish. Towards the middle of the portico, on the other side, via Modonella houses the beautiful palazzo of the Post Office, with a wonderful Art-Nouveau entrance arch.
Palazzo Marchisio-Rossi Barattini, on the left in the corner with Corso Canal Grande°°, dates back to the XVIII century. After the junction, look out vicolo dell’Albergo, a very narrow street on the right, so called as here an old inn once stood. The legend says that the jasmine still growning in the courtyard was given by Pope Pius VII while travelling to Paris for Napoleon’s coronation.
On the left, the imposing church of San Biagio°° and via del Carmine (to Piazzale Boschetti). The last two streets on the right are rua Pioppa and corso Adriano, both finishing at the church of San Pietro°°. The first one, with brightly coloured houses, in the second one, is largo Hannover, a romantic little square. Here the Ducal stables once stood; the name derives from the Duchess Benedetta di Brunswich-Luneburg-Hannover, mother-in-law of Duke of Modena Rinaldo I.
Toward Bologna, via Emilia opens out into piazzetta 29 Settembre and Largo Garibaldi.