The idyllic city of Modena lies on the Pianura Padana next to the rivers Secchia and Panaro. Both a city and province of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, this rustic setting paradoxically sits alongside its title as 'capital of engines', being home to the car manufacturers Ferrari, Lambourghini, Pagani, Bugatti and Maserati.

Although the original ancient settlement of Mutina (with origins reaching back to the Iron Age) was buried by a great flood in the 7th century, the current city was founded just a few miles to the northwest. Divided into four districts (the historic centre of San Cataldo, San Lazzaro, Buon Pastore and San Faustino), Modena is strongly in touch with its past, and particularly the Este family, who dominated the city from 1288 practically up to the Risorgimento's arrival in 1859.

Home to the opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, Modena is a fine choice for anyone wanting to get some culture or simply relax.


Located in the Piazza Grande, the Cathedral of Modena should be the first port of call for visitors. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this beautiful building was started as early as 1099 and completed in 1184. To this day, it remains one of the greatest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe, and the aesthetic is aided by the adjoining Gothic-styled 13th century campanile (the Torre della Ghirlandina). The interior houses the nativity scenes by the great Modenese artists Antonio Begarelli and Guido Mazzoni, while the remains of the patron saint Germinianus can be found in the crypt.

Elsewhere, the 18th century Palace Museum in the Piazza St. Augustine represents the gallery and museum centre of Modena. Formerly established by the Este family as a Poor Hostel, it now contains the Estense Gallery(containing works by the Old Masters Tintoretto and Veronese), The Estense Library and the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art among other impressive museums.

For a relaxing walk, the Modena Botanical Gardens (founded in 1758) are located on the viale Caduto in Guerra, while the La Piantata natural reserve is on the Via Marconi.

All car enthusiasts should be sure to check out the Righini car collection, found in the 15th century Castello di Panzano and containing some 500 exhibits (including early Ferraris). An exhibition of luxury sports and super cars is also held in Modena annually during early April or May.

Football is naturally a part of Modenese life, with Modena FC currently playing in Serie B at the Stadio Alberto Braglia. However, volleyball is also extremely popular and the Panini Modena team have been hugely successful.


As well as the standard choice of typical high-street shops, local produce like fine wine and food can be found down the Via Diena, Viale Corassori and Via Schedoni.

An antique fair is held each month on the weekend in the Parco Novi Sud.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Modena is the proud producer of balsamic vinegar, so don't expect much deviation from that as the base in Modenese cuisine. Dishes include tortellini, cotechino and zampone (pig trotter stuffed with finely ground meat) and an annual culinary fair, the Asso di Gusto, is held every October. Restaurants, cafés and sandwich bars are littered across the city.

Modena also has a decent selection of clubs and bars, like Condor on the Via Palestro and La Crepa on the Via Barchetta.

If you're looking for high culture, the main Municipal Theatre of Modena is located on the corso Canalgrande

Tourist Information

IAT Tourist Information OfficePiazza Grande, 1441100ModenaTel: +39 (0)59 203


Modena is served by Modena Marzaglia Airport near the centre. International and domestic connecting flights are readily available.

Taxis and buses to the centre can be easily found.

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