Province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna
The province stretches from the Apennine mountain range to the down to the low plains south of the Po river. These plains are a particular characteristic of the province and are considered to some of the most beautiful in Italy. The highest peak in the province is Monte Cimone at just over 2000 metres and is part of the Tuscan/Emilian Apennines.
This ancient city is located on the south side of the Po Valley with the Apennine mountain range lying about 10 km. from its southern border. It is the capital city of the province of Modena in the region of Emilia Romagna. It has been nicknamed 'The Capital of Engines' due to the many factories of famous Italian sports cars that are based there. These include Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani and De Tomaso.
It is a university town and the University of Modena was founded in 1175 and it specialises in Economics, Medicine and Law. There is also the Military Academy of Modena which is housed in the Ducal Palace and trains Italian military officers.
The main square and centre of the city is Piazza Grande and most of the important buildings are in or around this area. There is a huge, covered market, 'Mercato Albinelli' which was founded in 1931.
Modena is a delightful city with an important place in history, to say nothing of its reputation for excellent food. Above all else Modena is famous for it production of Balsamic Vinegar.
Torre della Ghirlandina
The building of the Cathedral of Modena began in 1099 and after being consecrated in 1184 it was finally finished in 1319. It is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Europe and is a World Heritage Site together with its annexed bell tower, Torre della Ghirlandina.
The Ducal Palace, built in 1634 was the seat of the Este court between the 17th to 19th centuries and it occupies the site of the former Este Castle. The Palace is currently home the Military Academy, the Military Musuem and an ancient library.
The Town Hall of Modena was constructed in the late 17th, early 18th century from some already existing buildings. It has a late 15th century clock tower and originally had a second tower which was unfortunately completly destroyed in an earthquake in 1671.
The Museum Palace was originally built as a hostel for the poor, together with the nearby hospital. It now houses most of the main museums of Modena.
- The Estense Gallery which displays paintings by many famous artists including Tintoretto and Diego Velázquez.
- The Estense Library which is one of the most important libraries in Italy.
The Museum of Medieval and Modern Art.
- City Musuem of Archaeology and Ethnology.
There are other more specialised musuems within the Musuem Palace including musuems of headstones and plaster casts.
Away from this building the city has other musuems:
- The Museums of the Cathedral which has and extensive collection of artistic heritage, mainly furnishing and ornaments.
- The Musuem of Enzo Ferrari has a futuristic automotive dispaly and unpublished films of the live of Enzo Ferrari.
- The Museum of Picture Cards which was founded in 1838 by Giuseppe Panini. It has several classic collections of cigarette cards, matchboxes, stickers and calendars and a history of the development of picture cards over the years.
Some churches of note in the city are:
- Santa Maria della Pomposa is an ancient church whose exact date is unknown but it was mentioned as early as 1135. It has been renovated and rebuilt many times and very little of the origninal structure remains today.
- San Pietro which, according to legend, was erected temple of Jupiter Capitulinus. It is one of the few examples of Renaissance architecuture to be found in Modena and it has an invaluable 15th century inside.
- San Vincenzo, which was erected in the 17th century over the top of a 13th century church. It once had a beautiful dome but this was destroyed during World War II.
- Santa Maria della Pomposa is an ancient church whose exact date is unknown but it was mentioned as early as 1135. It has been renovated and rebuilt many times and very little of the original structure remains today.
- San Giovanni Decollato, built in the 16th century and modified in the 18th century.
- There is a large Jewish community in Modena and they constructed a synagogue in 1873. It is built in the Lombardesque style and can be found next to the Palazzo Communale.
This is a busy town with much industry and work, particulary in industry and craft. It suffered very badly in the two earthquakes of 2012 but has recovered well and is a nice town to visit.
Carpi is an open, lively town and has a stunning Renassance square, Piazza dei Martiri, which is the largest in the region of Emilia Romagna and is flanked by a portico with 52 columns.
The main sights of interest are:
- Palazzo dei Pio which is now the Town Hall but was once the castle and home of the Pio family.
- Carpi Cathedral which dates back to 1514 and has a Baroque façade which was added in 1701 and a cupola which was added in 1774.
Carpi Cathedral - Photo: Attilios
There are many interesting churches including:
- Church of Santa Maria in Castello designed by Peruzzi.
- Church of Sant'Ignazio which now houses the Museum of the Diocese of Carpi.
- The churches of Santa Chiara, Santissimo Crocifisso, San Bernardino da Siena and San Nicolò.
Best known as the home of Ferrari S.p.A. and the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One racing team. There is also a Ferrari museum here, 'Museo Ferrari and it is the starting point for the annual Italian Marathon.
The Fiorano Circuit, Ferrari's private testing track, is located on here, just on the border with the town of Maranello. It is also the finishing point for the annual Italian Marathon.
The town has some interesting historical buildings including the Castle of Spezzano, the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Castello, the ancient oratory of San Rocco Parish church of San Giovanni Battista and the Theatre Astoria. There are also many beautiful villas such as Villas: Villa Campori, Villa Pace, Villa Guastalla, Villa Coccapani, Villa Cuoghi and Villa Messori.
An extremely popular tourist resort Nonantola is also an important cultural centre.
Nonantola Abbey a Benedictine monastery was founded in 752 and up until 1083 it was an imperial monastery. After this it began to decay and despite coming into the possesion of several orders the decay continued until 1786 until it was finaly restored by Pius VII in 1821.
Nonatola Abbey - Photo: Sailko
There are several remains from the middle ages in Nonantola including the two towers called dei Modenesi and dei Bolognesi and the 9th century Pieve of S. Michael Archangel.
The main historical monument is the Abbey of San Sylvester which is a Romanesque basilica which was erected in the 8th century.