Ghirlandina belltower

Ghirlandina belltower

Alongside the apse of the cathedral, standing 89.32 metres tall, is the Ghirlandina belltower, the symbol of the city of Modena. The Ghirlandina was given this nickname by the city's inhabitants due to the double ring of parapets that crown its steeple, "as light as garlands", ghirlanda in Italian.

Built as the belltower for the cathedral, this tower has however played an important civic function since its origins:the ringing of its bells marked the time for life in the city, it announced the opening of the gates in the city walls and acting as a warning for the people in situations of alarm and danger. Its mighty walls guarded the so-called “Sacristy" of the Municipality, which was home to the strongboxes, public documents and objects of great symbolic value like the famous fourteenth-century “Secchia rapita” or Stolen Bucket (a copy is currently on display).This humble yet supreme object of contention between the people of Modena and Bologna in the enflamed historic battle of Zappolino (1325) was raised to fame in the mock-heroic poem of the same name by Alessandro Tassoni.

Debate regarding the chronology of the Ghirlandina is still open because direct historic sources are missing for the initial building stages.By about 1160 the foundations were being dug and the tower was built to a height of 11 metres.Between 1167 and 1184, after a brief pause due to settlement of the site, building reached the fifth floor, topped by four corner turrets.In 1260 the sixth storey was built, which incorporated the turrets.In 1319, the tower was completed with the octagonal pinnacle, exquisitely gothic and originally decorated by numerous spires, to plans by Enrico da Campione.

The outside of the Ghirlandina is characterised by a rich array of sculptures and by stone cladding, the material salvaged from the Roman Mutina, as revealed by scientific investigations carried out during the recent renovation work, started in 2007 and completed in 2011.

Inside the Ghirlandina, on the fifth floor there is the so-called Stanza dei Torresani, once lived in by the tower custodians and where important capitals can be admired.

Together with the cathedral and Piazza Grande, the Ghirlandina belltower has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Opening hours

The Ghirlandina tower can be visited from Monday to Sunday.

From 1 April to 30 September:

Monday to Friday: 9.30am - 1.00pm / 3.00pm - 7.00pm

Slots: 9.45, 10.30, 11.15, 12.00,15.00, 15.45, 16.30, 17.15, 18.00.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 9.30am - 7.00pm.

Slots: 9.45, 10.30, 11.15, 12.00, 12.45, 13.30, 14.15, 15.00, 15.45, 16.30, 17.15, 18.00.

From 1 October to 31 March:

Monday to Friday: 9.30am -1.00pm / 2.30pm - 5.30pm

Slots: 9.45, 10.30, 11.15, 12.00, 15.00, 15.45, 16.30

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 9.30am - 6.30pm.

Slots: 9.45, 10.30, 11.15, 12.00, 12.45, 13.30, 14.15, 15.00, 15.45, 16.30, 17.15.

Access in groups of up to 25 people for each hourly shift, by reservation only

How to book

The reservation of the admission time is mandatory and can be made:

  • online on this page (recommended mode)
  • by telephone IAT tel. 0592032660
  • by e-mail to or

During the booking no payment is required and it is necessary to indicate the names of all participants

Tickets and admission

Ghirlandina Belltower full ticket: €3.00 per person
No charge for children up to the age of 5, the disabled and carers, guides and interpreters, teachers accompanying school classes of any age and journalists.

Reduced ticket: Euro 2,00 for children and students (between 6 and 26 years old), over 65, and groups of 10 or more people.

All-inclusive Ticket(NOT AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT) 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 and journalists.

Info: IAT Tourist and Info Office +39 059/2032660. 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.IAT tourist and info offices in Piazza Grande, Ghirlandina bell tower, Cathedral Museums, historic rooms in Palazzo Comunale (only on Sunday afternoons).

To know before you go

If you're coming with a group we suggest to contact us before your arrival to book one or more time slots to get inside the tower.

Virtual visit

On you can take a virtual visit around the Modena UNESCO Site, freely moving from the outside to the inside of the World Heritage monuments, taking a close-up look at the sculptures and works, all with dedicated information sheets provided.
Thanks to this tool, parts of the buildings not normally open for visits can be seen, such as the bell chamber and the steeple on the Ghirlandina.