Museums and libraries

Museums, Libraries and Archives

Culture is very much a trademark of Modena and its province.

The History of the city and the territory of Modena can be discovered by visiting its many museums and by exploring its bibliographic and archival heritage preserved in the libraries and archives of the city and the surrounding area, which bring together testaments to the community’s past and present events.

In the city, the civic and state museums house important historic and artistic collections that tell of the vicissitudes of the city and its surrounding area from prehistory to medieval times, through to exhibits from the Este period, which brought highly prestigious works to Modena.

The archaeology museums illustrate the history of entire communities, from the terramare to the Roman city, and the art museums showcase paintings, sculptures, pottery, glassware, precious musical instruments to tell the artistic and artisan culture of the city and its surrounding area.

Each municipality in the province boasts its own museum, which preserves and displays artefacts specific to the area. Numerous museums devoted to the Italian Resistance movement pay tribute to the heroism of those who liberated Italy, and keeping memory of those events alive.

Archaeological and artistic reproductions, such as stelae, sculptures and monuments become open-air museums, inside parks or along nature itineraries.

There are also many ethnographic museums dedicated to traditions and equipment from the rural world, to satisfy the interest of people of all ages children and adults alike in farming life, which is deeply rooted in our territory and an important aspect of our recent past.

Also of major interest are Modena’s university museums which study and exhibit a variety of materials from palaeontology to anatomy, botany to geophysics, offering visitors the chance to see scientific instruments and themed temporary exhibitions.

Motor enthusiasts can daydream as they admire vintage or modern vehicles in private or public museums devoted to racing and speed.

Then, to discover the origins of local cuisine and its outstanding produce, must-visits include the specialist food and wine museums, which promote these products and present displays that explain the history of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena and the tradition of wines like Lambrusco. The Charcuterie Museum gives visitors the chance to learn about and appreciate the preparation techniques involved in making Modena’s world famous salamis.

There are also industrial museums which display and illustrate the various and constantly changing phases of production and of the economy that mark the modern age.

The area also boasts private and ecclesiastical museums that preserve materials and collections, collaborating with local institutions in the promotion and spread of culture.

One important promoter of a wealth of culture and knowledge are the libraries of Modena and other municipalities, insofar as they preserve the written legacy of the men and women who made history. There are general libraries, others specialised in specific subjects like architecture, and others again for schools, not to mention also prison and hospital libraries.