Modena is a modern, bubbly city, full of wonders of the most authentic Italian tradition. Discover with us how to visit this city like a local!
Modena is a beautiful and ancient city, located near one of the most famous Roman roads, the Via Emilia. Its Historic City Center is a real gem, characterized by the soaring architecture, typical of Italian Gothic. Streets and alleys invite tourists to discover every corner and admire every glimpse. Modena holds some of the treasures of history and popular culture dearest to Italians: in fact, it is the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari and Pavarotti. Modena's gastronomic specialties are famous all over the world: who has not heard of its famous tortellini and balsamic vinegar of Modena?
Below you can find a tips for discovering the most authentic Modena, with all the places and flavors that make the hearts of Italians flutter.
What they calls “Bologna” is a big thing, stretching from Parma to Cattolica. Really, people live in Modena, work in Bologna and in the evening go dancing in Rimini
7. Take a tour in the Motor Valley
The Motor Valley is not only a place where luxury and racing cars are built, but also a place where legends are born. At the beginning of the last century, in these lands Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto gave birth to the myth of Maserati. In 1929 the Scuderia Ferrari with its unmistakable little horse was born in Viale Trento Trieste. Today the Motor Valley is home to many museums, factories and private collections of vintage cars and motorcycles, a true paradise for motor lovers. In addition to the famous names already mentioned you can visit the Modena racetrack and the Lamborghini and Ducati factory-museums.
6. Taste all kinds of tortellini from Modena (or Bologna?)
Modena is famous in the cookbooks of all Italians for its stuffed pasta, especially during the Christmas season. Like many Italian cities that are geographically contiguous, there are ancient feuds between Modena and Bologna that in modern times are often reflected in culinary disputes. Where was tortellino born, in Modena or Bologna? According to history, this delicacy's birthplace is Castelfranco Emilia, a town once in the province of Modena and now of Bologna. Today the difference between Bolognese and Modenese tortellini is very subtle: the former, when cooked, have the meat filling still raw while the filling of the Modenese tortellino is browned even before cooking. This Modenese tradition is related to the fact that, since the tortellino is prepared at Christmas but must last until the Epiphany, browning the filling first keeps the meat better. Another bone of contention between the Bolognese and Modenese is the finger with which the tortellino dough is closed: for Bologna it is the little finger, for Modena the index finger. The only thing they all have in common is the broth, which must absolutely be capon.
If you want to visit Modena as local, you cannot fail to go in search of the perfect tortellino, possibly on different occasions, both for lunch and dinner!
5. Discover Historic city center and quality of life
Modena is a beautiful city and have a very lived-in historic city centre. If you want to visit the city like a local, stroll through the streets of the center, watch the children playing and older men chatting outside the bars, sit on the benches of Corso Como and admire the beautiful cathedral. We also recommend going up the Ghirlandaia tower to admire the city's urban grid from above: a truly unique experience! In recent years, Modena has consistently ranked among the top cities with the best quality of life in Italy. This of course also has a positive feedback for the world of tourism: the services are better, life is not too expensive, and the municipality pays attention to the care of streets and parks.
4. Visit the Municipal Vinegar Factory and Private Vinegar Factories
The city of Modena is world famous for its unique balsamic vinegar. With its dark color and balsamic aroma, it has become a must-have on the tables of Italians, a product of the highest standard and unparalleled taste. The tradition of vinegar production is very old and even dates back to the beginning of the last millennium although it will become "balsamic" only in 1747 at the Estense court in Modena.
To discover the secrets of this wonderful product, start with the Acetaia Comunale (Municipal Vinegar Factory) located in the attic of the Palazzo Comunale. You will find all the secrets of the production of balsamic vinegar of Modena, the tools for its production and storage. In the countryside around Modena you can also visit the vinegar cellars of historic producers that offer guided tours and tastings, some even have actual museums.
3. Retrace the steps of Pavarotti, the people's tenor
Modena was the birthplace of one of the most beautiful voices of this century, tenor Luciano Pavarotti. In Modena you can retrace his story by visiting the birthplace of the great tenor where as a child he became passionate about the art of singing, following in his father's footsteps. The house is located just outside the city walls on Via Stradello Nova: today it has become a museum. If you love opera, don't miss one of the performances that the theatre puts on, or treat yourself to a simple guided tour inside the structure. On Largo Goldoni Street, a short walk from the theater, you will find the massive bronze statue erected in honor of the great tenor. To complete your personal Pavarotti Tour, don't miss the Novi Ark Archaeological Park where the famous Pavarotti & Fiends shows took place from 1992 to 2003. If you want to pay homage to the famous tenor's grave you will find it at the Monumental Cemetery in Modena.
2. Shopping at Albinelli Market
What could be more local and authentic than a real local market, where city dwellers meet to chat and buy 0 km foods? The Albinelli Market, in the heart of Modena, is one of the most beautiful covered markets in Italy. The structure was built in the early 1900s and some parts have remained basically unchanged until today: you will have the sensation of taking a real trip back in time! When the Albinelli Market was built, it was a truly avant-garde solution: fish was displayed on easy-to-clean marble stalls, all the stalls had running water, and the viability was great! Today you can stroll among the stalls and savor with all your senses the scents, flavours and wonders of 100% made in Italy products. Every Friday and Saturday evening, you can also taste irresistible local dishes prepared directly on site.
1. Reliving the 1990s in Italy through Panini World
Regarding collectable figurines, all Italians born before 2000 have only one brand in mind: Panini. This brand is part of Italian culture and was born right here in the city of Modena! You cannot miss this museum if you want a total immersion in the Italy of the 1990s with its football legends!
In 1997, the Panini brothers donated their collection of 500,000 stickers to the municipality of Modena, so the municipality decided to create a real museum to pay tribute to them. Today, inside the Museo Della Figurina (Figurine Museum), you can admire 2,500 of these specimens, but that's not all: you will also find earlier figurines dating back to the 1800s. Inside you will also find photo collections, art and graphic design collections.