In 2018, Modena experienced a boom in tourism which has shown that the city is well worth a visit even if it is just for the weekend.
Recent data has shown an increase of more than 2.4% compared to the previous year and it’s a trend that has only continued to grow in recent years. According to the Osservatorio del Turismo of Emilia Romagna, between 2014 and 2018, there was an increase in tourism of 46.6% while overnight stays grew by 31%. But what should you do during your weekend getaway? Let’s see what to do in the city.
Cars: a symbol of excellence all over the world
Famous for Ferrari, balsamic vinegar and its many culinary delights, this Emilian city has a long list of things to do and see. Let’s start at the museum of a car manufacturer known and loved for the high quality and style of his products: the Enzo Ferrari Museum. Dedicated to the life and work of the founder of the most famous prancing horse in the world, this museum is sure to impress visitors from far and wide. Within the museum itself, there is an area dedicated to shopping and food, complete with a wide range of official merchandise, a bookshop (that collects the most important Ferrari publication), and the Giallo Modena coffee shop. Here, among the exclusive dishes, you can try the ‘Signora Cesira’ tortellini which is made exclusively by hand, following the same recipe that was once served to Enzo Ferrari.
Jumping into the past with architecture and art
Well, if you are more interested in architecture and art, we recommend a trip downtown! After all, did you know that Modena was once the capital of the House of Este?The city is full of parks, canals, museums and, of course, great food. At the centre of the city, you can find Piazza Grande, which is a well-known spot for meetings and markets. Here, you can see the Preda Ringadora, which is the stone table of the merchants and public speakers and, at the same time, was the place where people were sentenced to death. It is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Torre della Ghirlandina and the Piazza Grande which were all named UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.
Speaking of the cathedral, like every other Italian city, Modena has one which dominates the square and dates back to the XI-XII century. The museums of the Duomo (the Museo Lapidario del Duomo and the Museo del Duomo which are part of the same complex) are definitely worth a visit. The first museum (the Museo Lapidario del Duomo) hosts the findings that emerged during the demolition of the XV and XVI century buildings, built near the Romanesque Cathedral while the second museum is home to works ranging from the 11th to 20th centuries. The truly unmistakable tourist attraction is the Ghirlandina which was born as a bell tower of the Cathedral and has now become a symbol of the city. For centuries, it has played a religious, political and defensive role in Modena. In Piazza Sant’Agostino, there are the civic museums, the Palazzo dei Musei and the Galleria Estense for all those who love art and archaeology.
Indoors and Outdoors
For those who want to live like the locals, here’s what to do in the city. Well, we recommend the covered market in Via Albinelli, where there are artisanal shops and stalls with typical products and antiques. Among the typical dishes that you can taste in every restaurant, the classics remain the same whether you are in the centre or the suburbs: crescentine, focaccine (a round bread that is served hot), fried gnocco, borlenghi (a thin flatbread) and don’t forget the traditional Modenese wine, Lambrusco!
However, you can’t miss a gastronomic tour based on balsamic vinegar, which is perhaps the most well-known local product. More or less every vinegar in the area has a different taste and aging time depending on the producer. A gourmet experience for connoisseurs could be a real guided tour of the most important and famous acetaie of the area. They are, for the most part, organised by the category consortia including the Consorzio Produttori Antiche Acetaie, Consorzio tutela aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena, Consorteria dell'aceto balsamico di Spilamberto and Consorzio Aceto Balsamico di Modena.
Are you still not feeling satisfied and want some more ideas of what to do in the city? Well, we suggest that you embrace the outdoors. This city boasts a number of parks including the one dedicated to Enzo Ferrari, the Novi Sad park where markets and antiques fairs are often held, and the park dedicated to Sandro Petrini.