Modena - MO
The itinerary through the places and spaces that represent different historical stages of the Italian Risorgimento in our city winds along a route that begins either from Piazza Roma, for those who arrive by train, or from Piazzale dello Stadio/Piazza Giovani di Tien an Men, for the tourists who arrive by car or by coach.
The route covers a total length of about 3 km, and if the itinerary includes a visit to Palazzo Ducale, it can take a full day, with a break for lunch to allow visitors to sample the traditional famous Modenese cuisine in one of the many trattorias, restaurants, bars and fast food eateries that the city centre offers.
Leaving from Piazza Roma, the first place of major artistic and historical interest is Palazzo Ducale, home to the remarkable Museo Storico dell'Accademia and inside the State Apartment is the Sala Colleoni, the Salone d'Onore, where the Congress of the Cispadane Republic was held and the tricolour flag already adopted by Reggio Emilia confirmed, and the Salottino d'Oro where it said the duke signed Ciro Menotti’s death sentence.
Back in Piazza Roma is the Monument to Ciro Menotti, the Modenese patriot who was executed together with Vincenzo Borelli in 1831.
Taking Corso Accademia, with Palazzo Ducale at your back, on the left is the entrance to Corso Canalgrande.
Crossing it takes you into Via San Giovanni del Cantone and then, after a few metres on the right, next to a building, is Cesis Chapel, still private property today.
On the roof of this chapel, on the night of 3 February 1831, Ciro Menotti fell during his failed attempt to escape from the ducal guards.
Retracing your footsteps, turn left into Corso Canalgrande, and at number 90 is the building bought by Ciro Menotti in 1818.
Continuing along Canalgrande, on the right before arriving at Via Emilia is the Church of San Vincenzo, home to the Dukes of Este burial chapel. The chapel was designed at the behest of Francis IV to contain the remains of the Este Dukes, hitherto kept in the Church of Sant'Agostino.
Back onto Canalgrande, turn right into Via Emilia, and walking along the portico of the Collegio, you arrive at Palazzo Comunale; up to the mid nineteenth century, the second and third floor of the palazzo were used as prisons where some of the leading figures of the Modenese Risorgimento were held.
Back into Via Emilia and continuing along the route, you will come to Piazza Sant'Agostino.
The square is lined by Palazzo dei Musei, home to the Musei Civici, with objects and artworks dating back to the Risorgimento, and the Municipal Historical Archive, which hosts several collections of documents relevant to this period in history.
Opposite Palazzo dei Musei is the former Sant'Agostino hospital. Skirting this building takes you into Viale Berengario, and then into Via Bono da Nonantola and Viale Molza. Crossing Viale Monte Kosica, you arrive at the Monument to the Gallows of Ciro Menotti, a work by the Modenese sculptor Carlo Cremaschi.
The monument was erected in the place where the patriot is believed to have been executed.
Retracing your footsteps, take a left into Viale Monte Kosica, continuing as far as Piazza Giovani di Tien An Men.
On the left is what remains of the ancient citadel, demolished in the first decade of the 20th century, and where Ciro Menotti was imprisoned.
For those arriving by car, park in Piazza Giovani di Tien An Men where you can begin the itinerary.
BASIC CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
1814/1815 Congress of Vienna, Francis IV of Austria-Este accedes to the Dukedom of Modena and Reggio
1830 Ciro Menotti and Enrico Misley plan an insurrection, with the consensus of Francis IV
1831 The duke flees, fearing the probable arrival of Bolognese troops to assist the rebels. Biagio Nardi’s temporary government declares the Duke no longer in power. Francis IV returns to the city and Ciro Menotti and Vincenzo Borelli are executed
1848 Duke Francis V, who had succeeded his deceased father in 1846, flees, fearing the arrival of Bolognese troops but then returns with the support of Austrian troops
1859 Francis V leaves the dukedom and the city is unified with the Kingdom of Sardinia
1860 Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, officially sanctions Modena’s inclusion in his Kingdom
1861 Unification of the whole peninsula under the name of the Kingdom of Italy with Victor Emmanuel II as its first king