Things to See and Do in Modena, Italy
Modena is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, best known for its automotive industry, particularly Ferrari and Maserati. The city also has a rich history, with many monuments and attractions that draw visitors from all over the world.
1. Ghirlandina Tower
This iconic bell tower stands guard over the Modena skyline. Built in the 12th century, it is the symbol of the city and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower is open to visitors who can climb the spiral staircase to the top for sweeping views of the city and its surroundings.
2. Piazza Grande
The main square in Modena is the Piazza Grande, a large cobblestone space surrounded by palaces, churches, and other historic buildings. It is the ideal spot to wander and take in the local atmosphere, sample some of the local delicacies, or simply observe the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
3. Cathedral of Modena
The Duomo di Modena is a stunning Romanesque cathedral located in the center of the city. It was built between 1099 and 1184 and is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy. The cathedral is home to a wealth of artwork, including sculptures, frescoes, and stained glass windows.
4. Palazzo Ducale
The Palazzo Ducale is a former ducal palace located in the heart of Modena. It was built in the 1500s and is now home to the Civic Museum of Modena, which contains a vast collection of art and artifacts from the city’s past. The palace is also a popular venue for concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events.
5. Jewish Ghetto
The Jewish Ghetto of Modena is a small area near the center of the city that was home to the local Jewish community until the 19th century. It is now a quiet residential area with a few historic sites, such as the Synagogue and the Jewish Museum, worth a visit.
6. Torre della Ghirlandina Park
The Torre della Ghirlandina Park is a peaceful green oasis in the heart of Modena. It is a great place to take a stroll, relax in the shade of the trees, and admire the views of the Ghirlandina Tower. The park is also home to a café and a playground for children.
7. Modena Market
The Modena Market is an outdoor market held every Saturday in the city center. Here, visitors can find fresh produce, flowers, local crafts, and other items. It is also a great place to sample some of the local delicacies, such as culatello and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
8. Enzo Ferrari Museum
The Enzo Ferrari Museum is located just outside of Modena and is dedicated to the life and career of the legendary Italian racecar driver. The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits, as well as a collection of cars, engines, and other memorabilia related to the racing world.
Carpi is a small town located just outside of Modena. It is home to several interesting attractions, such as the Renaissance-style Palazzo dei Pio, the Church of San Francesco, and the 16th century Torre dell’Orologio. Visitors can also explore the local markets and sample some of the delicious local cuisine.
10. Castelvetro di Modena
Castelvetro di Modena is a small village located about 30 minutes from Modena. It is known for its production of balsamic vinegar, a traditional specialty of the region. Visitors can tour the vineyards, sample the local delicacies, and explore the cobblestone streets of this charming village.
Places to Avoid in Modena
1. La Notte Bianca
La Notte Bianca (or “White Night”) is an annual event held in Modena where the city’s streets are filled with music, food, and entertainment. While this event can be great fun, it can also be quite crowded and chaotic, so it’s best to avoid it if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.
2. Modena Train Station
The Modena train station can be a bit chaotic, especially during peak travel times. Pickpockets are also known to frequent the area, so it’s best to be extra vigilant when in the vicinity of the station.
3. Modena’s Red Light District
The red light district of Modena is located near the train station and should be avoided. This area is known for its high crime rate and should not be visited by tourists.
4. South of the City Center
South of the city center, the streets become less safe at night. Try to avoid walking around in this area after dark, as there have been reports of muggings and other crimes.
5. San Vito Park
San Vito Park is located on the outskirts of Modena and is a popular spot for drug dealers and other criminals. It is best to avoid this area, as it can be dangerous.