Collections of Antique Musical Instruments
Itinerary

Collections of Antique Musical Instruments

From Modena to the Apennines
Means of transport
KM73

Travelers passionate about music and its history will find lots to interest them on this tour!

A number of institutes and museums in and around the City of Modena preserve antique musical instruments. These objects, made with the most disparate of materials, recount a fascinating history.

From Modena to Sestola, a vivacious town in the Apennines, this is a splendid journey through the music of the past.

Musical Instruments in the Palazzo dei Musei

The tour sets out from the Palazzo dei Musei in Modena’s historical center. The Estense Gallery and the Modena Municipal Museums are housed here, and both contain examples of ancient and beautiful musical instruments.

The Estense Gallery, for instance, exhibits such unique examples as the “Este Harp,” commissioned by Duke Alfonso II from a Roman harp builder and made of maple, pear, and pine wood.

Credit for the presence of these splendid pieces goes to Francesco II of the House of Este. A lover of all the arts, the Duke was also deeply interested in curious and bizarre objects. As a result, beginning in 1686, be began to assemble musical instruments made partly of marble and partly of wood that were commissioned more for their beauty than for practical use. What remains of that collection is housed in the Estense Gallery, and three instruments inlaid with Carrara marble (a flute, a guitar, and a harpsichord), along with a violin and a cello with wood inlays, are of particular interest.

The Modena Municipal Art Museum (part of the Modena Municipal Museums) houses Gennaro Fabbricatore’s lyre-guitar in wood, brass, and bronze; a rectangular, single-keyboard spinet harpsichord that dates to between the 16th and 17th centuries; Pietro Termanini’s 18th-century wooden harpsichord; a late-18th-century serpent (a bass wind instrument) in wood, leather, and brass; and Antonio Apparuti’s B♭ brass horn.

Itinerary

Iniziamo il nostro tour dal centro storico di Modena, più precisamente dal Palazzo dei Musei, dove si trovano 2 dei luoghi da visitare per andare alla scoperta di alcuni bellissimi esemplari di strumenti musicali antichi. Stiamo parlando della Galleria Estense e dei Musei Civici.

The Estense Gallery

The Estense Gallery, one of the oldest and most important museums of its kind in Italy, displays the collections of the Este dukes, including musical instruments.


The Estense Gallery
The Estense Gallery
The Estense Gallery

In the embrace of music in the Apennines

The second day is set entirely in the Apennines—in Sestola, to be precise, about fifty-five kilometers from Modena (roughly ninety minutes), where the Museum of Mechanical Instruments is located inside the ancient Rocca. You’ll spend the day in a beautiful mountain location and, in addition to visiting the museum, can explore the town and its surroundings. Be sure to take time for a sumptuous lunch of local specialties.

The Rocca or fortress, located on a high spur of rock, is the symbol of Sestola and offers a breathtaking view of the mountains and the entire river plain. After being rebuilt by the city, it became a multipurpose cultural center and is now home to the Museum of Mechanical Instruments, the Museum of the Mountain Dweller, and a series of other permanent exhibits. At the end of your visit, don’t forget to climb to the top of the tower to enjoy the splendid view or visit the adjacent park for a relaxing walk in the healthful air of a pine forest.

Itinerary

The Museum of Mechanical Instruments

The Museum of Mechanical Instruments was founded in 1995, and its exhibits of musical instruments largely date to the 19th century. About 120 pieces come from the Eduard Thoenes collection, including accordions; pianolas; barrel, player, and carillon pianos; mechanical dolls; and gramophones.


The Museum of Mechanical Instruments
The Museum of Mechanical Instruments
The Museum of Mechanical Instruments