To Visit in Modena

La Guida di Modena

To Visit in Modena

Modena at a glance


The Province of Modena is a local authority which is 2,688 square kilometres wide and, with 691,281 inhabitants, the second most populated in the Emilia-Romagna Region, just after the neighbouring capital Bologna. It is extended from the Apennines in the South (Mount Cimone is 2,165 metres high and a famous ski resort) to the Po Valley in the North. Two of its tributaries, the Secchia and the Panaro rivers, make this land extremely fertile.

Modena is one of the most economically developed areas in Italy. The per capita income is one of the highest in the Country thanks to the several firms operating in the agriculture and food, engineering, biomedical, ceramic (Sassuolo) and textile (Carpi) industry.

In the middle of this area, and in particular in a flat 34-metre above sea level position, Modena is the provincial capital, populated by 179,087 inhabitants.

The history of Modena is more than 2000 years old, because it was founded in 183 BC as a Roman colony. After the dark centuries of the early Middle Ages, the rebirth of Modena is marked by two main events: the construction of the Romanesque Cathedral (started in 1099) dedicated to the Bishop Saint Geminiano (dead in 397) and the establishment of the free City-State. After many ups and downs, the town, subdued for decades to the Este family (one of the richest of the Italian Renaissance), became the capital of the Estense Dukedom in 1598. Its dominions reached the present provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia and even the Tyrrhenian Sea. After centuries of great splendour, however, the Este left Modena in 1859 with the Italian Unification.

Traces of this fascinating history are the rich Baroque and the 18th century churches in Modena, the prestigious museums in Modena (such as the Estense Gallery, one of the finest in Italy), the incredible palaces (such as the enormous 17th century Ducal Palace), the University (founded in 1175, one of the most ancient in the world).

Exactly at the heart of the city centre, the Duomo di Modena (the Cathedral) which was designed by the architect Lanfranco and decorated with the sculptures of Wiligelmo. It is entirely covered with white stones, like its bell tower Ghirlandina (90-metres high, among the best in Italy). The Cathedral, together with the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) and Piazza Grande, was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO!

Moreover, three excellences make Modena famous all over the world.

First of all, the car industry, the so called land of motors​: the most glamorous cars in the world are made here. A wonderful museum in Maranello, near the factory, and another recent one in Modena, where the Drake was born (Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari), are dedicated to the Ferrari car racing stable, founded by Enzo Ferrari and winner of several world championships. Even the Maserati headquarters and other car collections (Stanguellini, Panini etc.) can be visited.

Secondly, the typical modenese ​cuisine. The Province of Modena has the highest number of foods protected by seals of quality in Italy. For example, Lambrusco wine, the most exported in the world; Parmesan cheese, still made following ancient techniques; the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, aged not less than 12 years in wooden barrels. Salami (such as the prosciutto of Modena), sausages (zampone and cotechino), first courses (tortellini) and backery (tigelle and gnocco fritto) are excellent and very famous in Italy as well.

Finally, Modena is renowned as the capital of the opera bel canto. The greatest opera singers of the 20th century were born or worked here. Luciano Pavarotti was the most famous tenor of the century. He died in 2007 and now the Municipal Theatre is dedicated to him. The soprano Mirella Freni teaches in the school she has founded; Nicolai Ghiaurov and Raina Kabaivanska are also famous singers.

Modena is so one of the Italian towns with the strongest personality, jealous keeper of its traditions, proud of its excellences and glad of the very high standard of living which have always characterized it.


Modena historic centre has been divided into four quarters. Here is a list of the respective points of interest.​
Click on the image to go to the map page.



Duomo Churches Churches Churches Churches
Ghirlandina San Biagio°° San Bartolomeo°° Sant'Agostino°° San Domenico°°
Piazza Grande San Vincenzo°° San Pietro°° San Barnaba°° San Giovanni Battista°°
Palazzo Comunale San Giorgio° San Carlo° Santa Maria delle Grazie Chiesa del Voto°
Musei del Duomo°° Sinagoga San Francesco° Sant'Eufemia Santa Maria della Pomposa°
Piazza Torre°° Tempio dei Caduti Santa Maria delle Assi (Cristo Redentore°) Santa Maria degli Angeli
Arcivescovado       (Cimitero San Cataldo°)
  Museums Museums Museums  
  Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari°° Musei Universitari Galleria Estense°° Museums
  Museo dell'Accademia Militare°° (Museo dell'Auto Stanguellini) Musei Civici°° Aedes Muratoriana°
  Galleria Civica (Casa Museo Luciano Pavarotti°) Palazzo dei Musei (Musei)° Novi Ark
  Museo della Figurina   (Museo d'Auto e Moto Panini) Fondazione Fotografia
    Historical Palaces    
  Historical Palaces Collegio San Carlo°° Historical Palaces Historical Palaces
  Palazzo Ducale°° Mercato Coperto Albinelli°° Palazzo dei Musei (Palazzo)°° Foro Boario°°
  Teatro Comunale Pavarotti°° Convento di San Pietro° Palazzo Solmi Archivio di Stato°
  Giardini e Orto Botanico°° Università degli Studi°   Palazzo Sant'Agostino°
  Palazzo D'Aragona Coccapani° Convento di San Geminiano Streets and Squares Accademia di Belle Arti
  Palazzo Santa Margherita° Teatro Storchi Corso Canal Chiaro°°  
      Via Emilia Centro°° Streets and Squares
  Streets and Squares Streets and Squares Piazza Sant'Agostino°° Piazza della Pomposa°
  Corso Canal Grande°° Corso Canal Grande°° Piazzetta San Giacomo° Piazza San Domenico°
  Piazza Mazzini°° Via Emilia Centro°° Rua Muro° Corso Cavour
  Piazza Roma°° Via dei Servi° Via Sant'Eufemia Piazza Matteotti
  Corso Vittorio Emanuele II° Viali di Circonvallazione°   Via Ganaceto
  Via Farini° Piazza XX Settembre    


[Images signed with '' are by the Author. The others are kindly given by the respective Institutions (at the end of the pages, the copyrights). In any case, none of the images from this website is freely available]