Day 1 - morning
We begin in the old town with a visit to a group of Medieval Romanesque-style structures of unusual beauty: the Modena Cathedral, the Ghirlandina Tower, and Piazza Grande. Together, they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The UNESCO site is striking for its grandeur and for its historical significance. Give yourself the time to take in the details and be astounded by the mastery of the designers, artists, and architects who created these works. A gem of Romanesque-style art, the Modena Cathedral amazed Modena’s citizens when it was built and it still does today. On one flank stands the elegant Ghirlandina Tower, a symbol of the city beloved by all of Modena.
Once you’ve visited the museum’s many rooms, continue on to the adjacent Palazzo Comunale, the site of town hall since medieval times. There is so much to admire in the Palazzo’s beautiful historic rooms, and the Municipal Vinegar Cellar, managed by the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Consortium, is in the same building. Numerous “batteries” of barrels of precious traditional balsamic vinegar are stored here for aging.
And now let's think about lunch, next stop: the historic Albinelli Market!
From Piazza Grande, take a short walk across lively Piazza XX September, and you’ll find yourself at the Albinelli Market. Enter the market from its main entrance on Via Albinelli, where you’ll experience the excitement of everyday street life. Stroll among the stalls and stands where local specialties of every kind are on offer. Listen to the voices of people going about their days, and stop for lunch in one of the Market’s welcoming restaurants. You can choose either a quick bite or a more leisurely lunch to be savored at a table.
First stop: the Cathedral
The Cathedral is a symbol of faith and a place of worship for Modena’s Catholic community. In addition, it’s the “home” of St. Geminianus (San Geminiano), the patron saint of the city. The astounding architecture has been called a “Bible in Stone” for its astonishing depictions-in-relief of stories from the Bible and of life on Earth. Built as the bell tower of the Modena Cathedral, the Ghirlandina and its bells have always served both a religious and an important community function.
Second stop: Ghirlandina Tower
The Ghirlandina Tower is the bell tower of the Modena Cathedral, and it has played an important role in the life of the city for centuries: its bells told the city’s residents the time, signaled that the gates in the city walls were opening, and called people to safety when danger threatened. The summit of its eighty-six meters offers a breathtaking 360° view of the city as well as a special perspective on Piazza Grande below, the city’s eternal heart.
Third stop: The Museums of the Cathedral
A visit to the Cathedral's museums will make your experience here complete. The Museums, which closely follow the history of the Cathedral, are divided into two collections: the Lapidary Museum and the Museum of the Modena Cathedral.
Fourth stop: the historic Albinelli Market
The cheerful ambiance of this historic marketplace with its beautiful Art-Nouveau-style architecture has always represented the heart of Modena’s wine and food traditions.