Modena is a city that has always shown an interest in antiques, since the time of the Dukes d'Este who expanded the activity of collecting with the prestigious Estense Gallery, a collection of works by artists of immortal fame.
Every year in February, the trade fair district hosts Modenantiquaria, one of the most specialised expressions of antique art market in Europe and the longest standing and best attended high-end antiques fair in Italy. This is a cultural event of world-renown that sees participation by prestigious gallerists from many Italian and international cities and the display of highly valuable works, synonym of a pan-European historic, artistic and cultural life that enhances a renewed spirit attentive to new dynamics and the most recent needs of the market, antique dealers, collectors and the general public.
A highly efficient layout, incoming services and easy access (such as shuttles linking the city with the fair and special prices on Trenitalia trains) create an integrated system of good deals and packages in the city to promote art and beauty.
Collecting is also a fundamental occasion for rediscovering and preserving evidence and traces of the artistic and cultural history of populations.
Two specialist shows held to coincide with Modenantiquaria provide a more detailed look at the special characteristics and specificities of two interesting segments in period collecting. The first is Excelsior, a collection of 19th-century Italian Paintings, one of its kind in Italy that stands as a prestigious showcase of refined works by the major artists from the different Italian and European regional schools. The second is Petra, a show of antiques and decorations for parks, gardens and renovations that provides ideas and suggestions for turning normal everyday places into original habitats full of character. These parallel events, combined with temporary exhibitions, see the presence of fascinating solutions and spectacular ideas from the top antique dealers and designers of the moment for enhancing and creating unique, exclusive locations.
In November, Modena hosts another event dedicated not only to antiques, but also to unusual original objets d’art, again in the trade fair district: 7.8.Novecento: Gran mercato dell'antico, an antiques fair where a keen eye may even spot hidden treasures on the various stands, like for example, miniature books, rare jewels and many other interesting articles.
Every fourth Saturday and following Sunday of the month, with the exception of July, antiques regularly come in the centre of Modena with L’Antico in Piazza Grande, organised by the Mercantico Association. This fair is held in Piazza Grande, Piazza Torre and Piazza XX Settembre, with stands by antique dealers and artisan restorers. The result is a unique antiques event of quality in the heart of the city, featuring exclusive merchandise, where visitors can buy objects, furniture, toys, fabrics, watches and books, all expressions of a culture and art belonging to our past.
Coinciding with the dates of the antiques market, in May and October, the Antique, Rare and Out-of-print Book Market takes place under the arches in Via Farini, again in the centre of the city, with curios and hard-to-find editions for book lovers and collectors. The same location is then the venue for the Natale del Libro Christmas market of rare antique Modena and collectible books, on the first weekend in December.
Again in December, the week before Christmas is when the Sogni di Natale (Dreams of Christmas), the Christmas antiques market, is held under the arches in Piazza Grande.
Other cities in the province also have their own markets, large and small, with antiques and original examples of collectibles and articles from the past.