Day 2 - Sunday
On Sunday morning, you’ll discover the history of the Este dukes with a guided tour of the Ducal Palace, the residence of the dukes for more than two centuries and now the seat of the impressive Military Academy. Online reservations for Palace tours—which you can make on the Palace’s website or through the Modena Tourist Information Office—are required no later than the Wednesday before your visit.
The Palazzo stands on the site once occupied by the castle built by Obizzo d’Este, Marquis of Ferrara, in 1291 and then rebuilt half a century later. Modena’s canals, flowing from south towards the Po River, converged here in the moat of the fortress and then flowed out as one from the rear, along what is today Viale Vittorio Emanuele II. After Ferrara fell under the control of the Pope in 1598, Modena became the capital of the Este Duchy, and Duke Cesare of Este settled in the medieval castle, which seemed to be unsuitable for the needs of a European court. In 1634, his nephew, Duke Francesco I of Este, had a new palace built, designed by the architect Bartolomeo Advini. Additional contributions to the project came from Girolamo Rainaldi, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro Da Cortona.
Continue your journey to the time of the Estes among the spectacular works of art in the Estense Gallery at the Palazzo dei Musei.
In the afternoon, visit the exciting, avant-garde Enzo Ferrari Museum, only a short walk from the center of Modena.
The excursion comes to an end with a visit to the Luciano Pavarotti House and Museum, the residence of Maestro Pavarotti during the final years of his life. If you are interested in learning more about Pavarotti, check out our excursion dedicated to his life and work.
Located just outside the city, the Pavarotti House and Museum is an extraordinary place that brings the great Master to life, retracing his story in the intimate atmosphere of the rooms in which he actually lived. Get in touch with his human side, as you admire his personal possessions and discover his everyday habits, as well as with the personality of the great artist through photos, videos, and a display of the famous costumes that marked his career.
For an even more engaging experience at the Pavarotti House and Museum, choose one of the many special and exclusive events organized there, such as recitals by young opera singers accompanied by live piano. Check the events calendar before you go.
First stop: The Ducal Palace of Modena
Second stop: The Galleria Estense
Significantly reduced in size in 1746 following the sale of one hundred masterpieces to the Elector of Saxony (a member of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire) for 100,000 gold sequins, the Gallery’s holdings were later augmented with new acquisitions. Today, the Gallery houses numerous masterpieces, including “gold background” paintings, works on wood panels by Flemish masters, and paintings from Venice and the Emilia area. Particularly important are the bust of Francesco I by Bernini, a Portrait of Francesco I of Este by Velázquez, a Triptych by El Greco, and paintings by Correggio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Guido Reni, Guercino, and Salvator Rosa, to name some of the best known.
Third stop: The Enzo Ferrari Museum
The Enzo Ferrari Museum collections are displayed in the space that was once occupied by the workshop of Enzo Ferrari's father.