The Covid-19 virus spreading everywhere has interrupted for a while our incredible journey around the world. Now, after 3 months of staying in quarantine at home, Italy is slowly beginning to reopen. At this stage we are no longer forced to stay at home. For the moment we can go around the region in which we live. So, here we go!! It’s time to see what’s happening around us.
We had to cancel many of our flights and vacations abroad and I know you had to do the same, but for now we are pretty happy about the idea that we can finally get out of the house (with proper precautions, obviously)! While waiting for the entire world to recover, let me write something about Modena, the city that I really love.
Most tourists don’t think about Modena as a touristic destination and many just stop in Bologna but believe me, it is a big mistake to miss it. Modena and the cities of its province really offer a lot. Modena is absolutely unbeatable, especially when it comes to food: remember that the world famous number 1 restaurant is in Modena!
Considering its strategic geographic position, a stopover during a road trip in Italy is not a problem at all. Here are my top seven things to do in Modena.
1. The cathedral in the city centre, located in the middle of the Piazza Grande it isis fascinating inside and wonderful outside. Remember that as usual in most of the cities in Italy, it is closed during lunch time. The entrance to the church is free but you pay € 3.00 to visit the tower (ghirlandina). Even if you are not directly headed to Modena, as I said before, a stopover while driving from Bologna to Milan or vice versa is really worth it.
Salse di Nirano
Not more than 20 minutes by car from the city centre of Modena, you can easily arrive at the bottom of the national park by car and walk up until you get close to the volcanos. Believe me, it is a must when you are in the area, especially if travelling with children. The admission to the park is totally free for self-visitors. There are some newly built trails inside the park for doing some hiking or simply a pleasant walk.
3. Modena is known as a Motor Valley: You can visit so many car museums here. What you can learn here about motors has nothing compared to the information you get out of the city. This year in particular, I learned about the Panini private collection (HOMBRE). Mr. Umberto Panini has bought the whole Maserati collection during its time of crisis in order to keep the collection inside the country.
You also need to see the abandoned “Automobili Bugatti” factory; not only for the style in which it has been built but also for its history. There are then the Ferrari Museums and Horacio Pagani in San Cesario. The Maserati factory has also recently opened its door to visitors.
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Parmesan cheese and Traditional balsamic vinegar
4. How many of you know that Modena is a motherland for the world-famous Parmesan cheese and the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar? Both of those things can be bought for a very “cheap price” here. Yep, while I was in Milan I saw some crazy prices! The 30-month-old Parmesan costs not more than € 18.00. It’s said that the best Parmesan comes from San Dalmazio, a hill village close to Modena, but I’m sure you can also buy a good one at the Albinelli Market in the city centre of
Modena, which is open from Monday to Saturday in the morning only. It’s a century old market selling local products that you may want to add to your list of things to do in Modena.
40 ml traditional 24 year Balsamic Vinegar of ModenaProduct on sale
5. As I told you first, when it comes to food Modena is unbeatable. I suggest you eat at Trattoria Ermes in Via Ganaceto. It is the oldest restaurant in the city centre (1963). This restaurant was once run by an old couple, Ermes and Bruna, but now, due to Ermes’ bad health conditions, they’ve had to let others take over. Bruna is still in the kitchen and sometimes Ermes comes just for a visit.
There are so many other food options in the city centre of Modena: Aldina, Taverna dei Servi, Tagliatella, and Il Fantino are all great choices for trying the traditional food of Modena. In case you are looking for a dining option off the beaten path in Modena, my suggestion would be the Touring in Fiorano Modenese, especially if you like fish and seafood.
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Musei Civici (Central Museum)
6. Some people love visiting museums, they get excited just thinking about seeing art work. That is not the case for me but I have to admit that the Museo Civico in Modena city centre which is beneath the Este Gallery has some great masterpieces.
Moreover, there are areas that occasionally host some interesting exhibitions. Last time Alessandro and I were there to see Steve McCurry’s photo exhibition which we really enjoyed.
7. Among the things to do in Modena there is the helicopter tour. It is one of the best ways to appreciate the scenery of Modena and the cities of its Province. I always had the idea that helicopters are for thrill-seekers and I was definitely wrong. It is for everyone who wants to soar above the city. Since it flies lower and slower than an airplane, it is a great way to enjoy the view from above. I saw my city like never before. A helicopter ride is a magical way to see the world. I cannot help but recommend it for your visit to Modena. It is going to be the “thrill” of your lifetime.
Luciano Pavarotti Home Museum
8. Modena is famously known for its opera heritage. Recently the house of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti has been turned into a museum: Luciano Pavarotti Home Museum. I highly suggest you a visit to this place. It is such an emotional journey between the life and career of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti that you will for sure appreciate.
These are my must-see suggestions for Modena. I really hope it will help those visiting the area. There is much more to see and do, of course, but I want to stop here since my intent is to satisfy that fast stopover in Modena.
If you want to go deeper into things to do in Modena, I suggest that you also read Stefania Fregni’s blog about Modena. She writes quite a lot about her city and I do believe it could help.