History and culture routes

A circuit of treasures

Modena - MO

Itinerary on the discovery of Modena’s gems

Dedicated to those who arrive in our city by train or by car


The starting point is the square in front of the train station. With your back to the station, turn left into Viale Crispi and continue about 200m as far as Via Guido Mazzoni; take this street and go straight (through a short underpass) as far as Via Paolo Ferrari. About 300m ahead on the left is the Enzo Ferrari Museum, which includes the house where the entrepreneur was born and an exhibition centre in the shape of a car bonnet. Besides the many cars on display, this futuristic pavilion also features an engaging film about the magical story of Enzo Ferrari’s 90-year-long life. Alongside is the Ferrari Motor Museum, inside the exquisitely restored workshop where Enzo’s father once worked. The itinerary continues southwards along Via Paolo Ferrari into Via Giuseppe Soli, turning right into Via Piave, then into Via Giovanni Muzzioli and later Viale Caduti in Guerra, crossing the Estense Ducal Gardens to arrive at the beautiful seventeenth century Palazzina Vigarani, a striking exhibition centre currently used for initiatives as well as food and wine events. Once outside the gardens, turn right into Corso Cavour and a little further on you’re in Piazza Roma.
This square is lined by the seventeenth century Palazzo Ducale, today home to the military academy, which can be visited by appointment on weekends. Continuing along Via Farini and turning right into Via Emilia, after a few
metres you enter Piazza Mazzini, at the end of which there is the Synagogue erected in the second half of the nineteenth century. Back onto Via Emilia, at the Chiesa del Voto church, take Corso Duomo to arrive into Piazza Duomo. Here stands the façade of the Cathedral, known as the Duomo, one of the greatest masterpieces of European Romanesque style both for Lanfranco’s architecture as well as for the sculptural decoration by Wiligelmo. Once outside the Cathedral, continuing along Via Lanfranco, you come to the Musei del Duomo and, just beyond, the Ghirlandina Tower, the city’s emblematic belltower. Next on route is Palazzo Comunale, a building made up of different parts erected over the centuries since the Middle Ages and now the seat of the city council. From here you can admire Piazza Grande, the heart of Modenese life with its famous "Pietra ringadora", a block of red veronese limestone which was used for addressing the public. The Cathedral, Ghirlandina belltower and Piazza Grande have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://www.unesco.modena.it). Across the square, it’s back onto Corso Duomo and Via Emilia. Turn left and continue until you reach Piazza Matteotti and its Church of San Giovanni, home to the late fifteenth century Lamentation in terracotta by Guido Mazzoni. Then in Piazza S.Agostino you can visit the eponymous church whose artistic treasures include the beautiful sixteenth century terracotta Lamentation by Antonio Begarelli. Still on the same side as the church is Palazzo dei Musei (http://www.palazzodeimuseimodena.it), the site of many prestigious cultural institutes, such as the Musei Civici (art, archeological and ethnological museums), the Estense Gallery, one of the Italy’s most important royal collections and reflecting the interest of the House of Este in the arts and in artistic craftsmanship, the Museo Lapidario Estense, with numerous findings of considerable artistic value, the Estense Library, which preserves precious illuminated manuscripts dating back to between the 14th and the 16th century, the Municipal Historical Archive, containing eight centuries of documentation on the history of Modena and its area, and the Luigi Poletti Art Library, specialised in the history of art and architecture. Back onto Largo Sant'Agostino, turn into Viale Berengario. On the left side of the street you can see the "Forum Boarium", now home to the Faculty of Economics and Commerce and one of the Municipal exhibition centres. The itinerary continues as far as Via del Voltone, which leads to the Church of Santa Maria della Pomposa and adjoining square. From here, take Via Taglio until you get to Largo San Giorgio and its eponymous Church. The itinerary concludes back in Piazza Roma, from which you can return to the train station by taking Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. This fine street was once skirted by the Naviglio canal, along which the Este family would travel to their summer residence in the province of Padua.