Art and culture

Cathedral Museums

Via Lanfranco, 6 - Modena - MO - 41121

Phone: + 39 059 4396969


Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 am-12.30 pm/3.30-6.30 pm - closed on Mondays. See the website for info about special closures or openings The ticket office closes half an hour before the closing time given. Special openings can be requested in certain cases.

Price: full-price 4.00; reduced 3.00: all students up to the age of 25, the over-65s, groups of more than 15 people, priests and members of religious orders; 1.50: students in school groups. No charge: children up to the age of 6, the disabled and carers, tourist guides and interpreters, teachers accompanying school groups, AMEI members (Associazione Musei Ecclesiastici Italiani - Italian Ecclesiastic Museum Association).

All-inclusive Ticket: A single € 6.00 ticket gives entry, during the times shown on the ticket, to: Ghirlandina bell tower, the historic rooms in Palazzo Comunale, Municipal Vinegar Factory, Cathedral Museums.
No charge for children up to the age of 5, the disabled and carers, guides and interpreters, teachers accompanying school classes of any age. The ticket has no expiry, so it can be used on different days. With each visit, the relative part of the ticket will be annulled.
All-inclusive tickets can be bought from: IAT tourist and info offices in Piazza Grande, Ghirlandina bell tower, Cathedral Museums, historic rooms in Palazzo Comunale (only on Sunday afternoons).

For info about guided visits, contact Modenatur tel.
+39 059/220022.


The Cathedral Museums, inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Modena are of fundamental importance as they are closely linked to the history of the cathedral. They are divided into two collections, made up of fragments of sculptures from the cathedral and earlier buildings, together with works and implements bearing witness to the vigour of the Modena church over the centuries.


The Epigraphic Museum

The original nucleus of the Epigraphic Museum dates back to the end of the nineteenth century and comprising sculpted remains found during digging work and restoration of the cathedral. The collection includes sculptures and relief work from Roman times, mainly recycled during building of the cathedral, fragments of early medieval cathedrals, finds from the Romanesque period and ancient, medieval and modern inscriptions. The exhibition highlights the pluteuses from the early medieval cathedral, the Sarcophagus of San Geminiano, the fine series of metopes comprising eight sculptures by a maestro working in the workshop of Wiligelmo, depicting imaginary monstrous beings, together with one of the column-bearing lions from the Porta dei Principi doorway, whence it was removed and replaced with a copy after it was damaged during World War Two.  


The Cathedral Museum

Inaugurated in 2000 for the Great Jubilee, it houses a valuable artistic and liturgical collection dating from the Romanesque period to the nineteenth century. This includes implements, sculptures, ancient reliquaries, clothes, paintings and codices, with which the city of Modena has, over the centuries, decorated the domus Clari Geminiani.

Among the oldest of the Cathedral’s treasures are the precious portable altar of San Geminiano (eleventh-twelfth century), the Book of the Gospels written in the scriptorium in Nonantola (late eleventh - early twelfth century) and characterised by a refined binding in silver and ivory, the Relatio, a text from the twelfth century that chronicles construction of the cathedral and the ninth-century Staurotheke with gold binding, probably from Constantinople. One room is also dedicated to the rich heritage of the Capitular Archive, a collection of the oldest documents regarding the history of the cathedral. On display are the parchment, complete with seal, with the privilege granted to the bishop of Modena in 782 by Charlemagne, the so-called Leges salicae codex (late ninth - early tenth century), illuminated texts containing the legislative codices of five Germanic populations, among which the decrees of Charlemagne and other manuscripts, some of which finely decorated. The latter are periodically replaced by facsimiles to ensure optimum preservation of the originals).

Special mention must be made of the two large Flemish tapestries with Stories from the Genesis, part of an exceptional cycle numbering twenty pieces from the sixteenth century and used, until the 1960s, as decoration in the cathedral.


40 audio guides in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish about the cathedral, Ghirlandina bell tower and Piazza Grande, plus the historic rooms in Palazzo Comunale and the Cathedral Museums can be rented together with an illustrative leaflet giving maps of the monuments from the Cathedral Museums and the Tourist Information and Assistance Office. Rental cost: one for €4.00 or two for €6.00.