5 things to do in Modena

 Modena is located in the heart of Emilia Romagna, a few kilometers from its capital – Bologna – and contains all the potential that the region has to offer: gastronomy, history, culture, engines and the beauty of nature that surrounds it in the ups and downs of its hills. It’s the homeland of Lambrusco, the most famous sparkling and drinkable wine in the world, of tigella and gnocco fritto, but also of tenor Pavarotti, starred chef Massimo Bottura and the legendary Ferrari. If you have included this wonderful city in your itinerary, here are 5 things to do in Modena, in a path that touches both its historic center and its surroundings. 

1. Explore the Motor Valley 

The name Motor Valley, in Italian Terra dei Motori, identifies an area that includes also and above all the territory of Modena and that has become the Italian - if not the world’s - epicenter of the engines that have made history. Among them, the car manufacturers Ferrari, Maserati, Ducati, Lamborghini and Dallara, but also circuits, museums, private collections and places of research and experimentation, where to train the professionals of tomorrow. In Modena, a tour of the Motor Valley cannot but include a tour of the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, but also a visit to the Ferrari Citadel in Maranello (not far from the city center) and the Modena circuit.

 2. A dinner in the best restaurant in the world 

Three Michelin stars and an absolute record – which is confirmed every year – as the best restaurant in the world: the Osteria Francescana’s fame is linked especially to its chef, Massimo Bottura, who took over the restaurant in 1995 and transformed what over time has been a humble tavern first and a brewery then into an excellence of world cuisine. At the Osteria Francescana, the watchwords are avant-garde and innovation, but in the sacrosanct respect of the culinary tradition of the land that hosts it (and that gave birth to the chef himself). Prices are – of course – high, and the waiting list is quite long but, in the unanimous opinion of critics around the world, it’s definitely worth it.

3. A tasting of Balsamic Vinegar in acetaia

Balsamic vinegar, in Modena, is a thousand-year-old culture rooted in the territory and its inhabitants. Once the batteries of vinegar were part of the marriage dowry, and still today many families in the city keep them in their cellars: over the years, the vinegar inside them is poured into smaller and smaller barrels and, as it ages, it grows exponentially in quality and value. The black gold – so it’s called – is produced in the so-called acetaie, institutions (open to visitors) often family-run that aim to carry on its tradition.


4. A tour of the city center  

Arcaded and characteristic, the historic center of Modena draws a path dotted with monuments and historical attractions that include, among others, the Duomo, the Ghirlandina Tower and Piazza Grande (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999), the Palazzo Ducale, but also the Gallerie Estensi, the Municipal Theatre dedicated to the memory of Pavarotti and the historical market Albinelli. The latter is a covered square in Art Nouveau style that preserves the food and wine culture of Modena, the food mecca of a city that has culinary tradition to sell.

5. Taste the gastronomic specialities 

The typical dishes of Modena are not so different from those of the other cities of Emilia, because they are based on a shared tradition of recipes and flavors that suffer from contamination and influences between the various provinces of the territory. In the taverns and trattorias of the city the Modenese eat crescentine (elsewhere known as tigelle), a kind of scone to be stuffed as you like – especially with cunza, the typical pesto of lard –, gnocco fritto, tortellini, rosettes with ham and cheese, the cotechino, the Parmigiano Reggiano accompanied by a few drops of balsamic vinegar, all served with the sweet taste of Lambrusco wine.   

Discover more about Modena with our guided walking tour designed for you!

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