What to visit in Modena: our tips

Modena is a beautiful city, rich in history and culture, and we know it well! It has always fascinated its visitors with three irresistible protagonists: art, food and engines. Do you agree? With this in mind, today we want to tell you about some of the wonders of our territory: what to visit in Modena? From squares to museums, from palaces to unique gastronomic traditions, we will take you on a journey to discover some of the secrets of our city and the most beautiful places to admire.

Piazza Grande: the artistic heart of Modena

In 1997, Piazza Grande was awarded the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO, confirming its unparalleled beauty.
The Duomo, the Ghirlandina Tower and the Palazzo Comunale form a spectacular backdrop, making this square one of the most fascinating in the world.

The history of Modena is intertwined with this square, where markets, festivals and other popular events took place.
Still today, but obviously with the characteristics of another era, this location often hosts events of different calibre. Therefore, if you want to know what to visit in Modena, Piazza Grande is one of the stops to mark on your itinerary. Works of art such as the Ringadora Stone add unique value to this interesting square.

The Cathedral of Modena, a masterpiece in the Romanesque style

The architect Lanfranco created a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture in 1099: the Cathedral of Modena. Its sculptures and reliefs tell biblical stories, while the crypt houses the body of St Geminianus, the patron saint of Modena. The Duomo is an extraordinary testimony to medieval art and spirituality in the city, and offers visitors a truly immersive experience in history.

The Ghirlandina Tower and the Town Hall

Next to the Duomo rises majestically the Torre Ghirlandina, the symbol of Modena. This imposing structure was built between 1160 and 1319. The tower houses treasures such as the Stanza dei Torresani and the Cathedral Museum. Its architecture and the history it holds make it a must-see point for those who want to know what to see in Modena.

Still talking about what to visit in Modena, it is worth saying that the Palazzo Comunale is a true 17th-century masterpiece.
In addition to its imposing façade, its interior rooms, such as the Sala del Fuoco and the Sala degli Arazzi, narrate the history and culture of Modena. The Palazzo Comunale is certainly another unmissable place for those who want to get to know our city in depth.

A visit to the Estensi Galleries

The Gallerie Estensi, with their three collections, house an extensive artistic heritage from Modena, Sassuolo and Ferrara. They house works by artists such as Raphael, Correggio and Velázquez. This extraordinary collection offers a journey of art through the centuries and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of Italian art and beyond.

What to visit in Modena? The Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro

A short distance from the Duomo, the Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro stands like a Renaissance jewel. The works of art inside, such as the frescoes by Girolamo da Vignola, and the Spezieria narrate the rich artistic and cultural history of the city. A visit to this abbey is practically a must for anyone coming to Modena: it allows visitors to step back in time and appreciate the magnificence of Renaissance art.

All the elegance of the Doge’s Palace

Those wondering what to visit in Modena certainly have another stop to add to their list: the Palazzo Ducale di Modena. This historic residence is distinguished by its elegant façade and Courtyard of Honour. The interior rooms, such as the Galleria dei Bronzi and the Sala del Trono, convey the opulence and history of the Estense Court. It was in fact the seat of the Duchy of Modena and Reggio between the 17th and 19th centuries. Since the unification of Italy, the Palace has housed the Military Academy of Modena and the Geophysical Observatory of Modena. A visit to the Ducal Palace is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of the Dukes of Modena of the past and beyond.

Museo Enzo Ferrari: the myth of Italian cars

As you know, Modena is renowned for being the birthplace of prestigious car brands, and the Enzo Ferrari Museum celebrates this legacy. In addition to legendary cars, the museum tells the personal story of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari. The interactive exhibits and vintage cars make this museum a paradise for motor fans and a recommended stop for everyone. Indeed, it is very interesting to discover the history of the world-famous flamboyant car and its creator. Isn’t it? This museum is certainly a must-see for anyone who wants to know what to visit in Modena.

Modenese cuisine and its unforgettable flavours

In addition to the historical and cultural stops, it is also important to value the Modenese cuisine, which offers a riot of authentic flavours and unique organoleptic experiences. From fresh pastas, such as tortellini and tagliatelle, to local cured meats, each dish reflects the culinary tradition of the region. Cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, and desserts, such as torta Barozzi, complete the culinary experience within the territory, making it absolutely unforgettable. Therefore, our advice is this: do not leave Modena without stopping at one of the restaurants offering typical dishes… Otherwise, it will not be a complete visit!

The authentic taste of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO

Obviously, we have not forgotten balsamic vinegar, also because it is very interesting for those who want to know what to visit in Modena. We have included it last, but not least: only because we will conclude this little voyage of discovery through Modena by recommending the best way to discover how balsamic vinegar is made and taste it just a few steps away from the cask where it has rested before being bottled…

Balsamic Vinegar Production

Modena’s culinary tradition is renowned for its Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. This Black Gold, jealously guarded by expert local producers, is the fruit of an artisanal process that has been handed down for generations, interwoven with passion, patience and skill. Production begins with the very essence of the Emilian land: the grape. Two grape varieties, Trebbiano and Lambrusco, are carefully selected and harvested when they reach perfect ripeness. These precious fruits are the foundation of a product that requires time and dedication.

The cooking of the must

The must obtained from pressing the grapes is the main ingredient of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO. This must is cooked for a long time over low heat in wooden cauldrons until it reaches a high density and syrupy consistency. During this delicate cooking phase, the must releases its deepest and most intense aromas, giving the future balsamic vinegar its characteristic profile of sweetness and complexity.

Acetification and ageing

After cooking, the must is transferred to fine wooden barrels, traditionally oak, where the acetification process begins. It is here that the mother of vinegar, a culture of acetic bacteria, does its magic work, slowly transforming the must into vinegar. This process takes place thanks to the oxygen that penetrates through the pores of the barrel wood, allowing the bacteria to perform their transformation task.

But Balsamic is not only the result of fermentation, it is also the fruit of long ageing. Barrels, carefully arranged in attics or cellars, are the essential resources in this maturing process that can last from twelve to over twenty-four years for Traditional Balsamic. During this time, the balsamic vinegar slowly absorbs the flavours and aromas of the wood, developing a unique complexity and depth of flavour that make it a true gastronomic gem. Visiting a local acetaia is the best way to discover the production process and taste authentic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

What to visit in Modena: the vinegar cellar guided tour

In short, Modena enchants its visitors with its extraordinary artistic beauty, rich history and excellent culinary tradition. The city is a true gem that combines art, food and engines in a unique experience, and not far from the historic centre you can also find our acetaia, inside which you can see how we make balsamic vinegar. So, if you wanted to know what to visit in Modena, you now have a good itinerary at your fingertips and all you have to do is book a guided tour of the acetaia! You can find more information about our guided tours by clicking QUI.