The Duomo and la Ghirlandina
The people of Modena are right: la Ghirlandina really is the most beautiful bell tower in the world. Standing 86 meters high in the heart of the city centre, it’s an immediately visible part of the Modena skyline and an historic symbol of the city.
The tower and the cathedral it belongs to — the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo and San Geminiano, otherwise known as the Duomo — are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two of the greatest examples in Italy and Europe of Romanesque art.
The architect Lanfranco and sculptor Wiligelmo are just two of the illustrious artists who helped create these twin masterpieces — and the intricacy of these Modena-made creations are a timeless testament to the skill of the creators involved. Expect to take many, many pictures...
The Piazza Grande and Town hall
The Duomo is in the Piazza Grande — the lively heart of the city, a meeting point for tourists and locals, and a beautiful spot worth visiting in its own right.
As you stand in the piazza, it’s impossible not to be seduced by the beauty of the Palazzo Comunale, an elegant 17th century building with arcades aplenty, where you can take a tour through the different historical eras the building has witnessed over the centuries.
You’ll also spot a large boulder — called the ‘herring stone’ — which is believed to date back to Roman times, when it was considered a stone of dishonour. So if anyone in your party has been misbehaving, you’ll know where to send them...
Ducal Palace of Modena and Estense Gallery
The Ducal Palace is the historic Estense Court — the seat of power for Modena’s ruling family until the late 1700s — and home today to Modena’s Military Academy.
Breathtaking and imposing, it was commissioned by Francesco I, one of the Dukes of Modena, who demanded a sumptuous palace to rival Europe’s finest.
In the same spirit of opulence and beauty, the Estense Gallery houses a unique collection of precious works of art — including works owned by the Dukes of Este, and countless other masterpieces that were acquired later.
Arguably the most memorable of all is the Estense Harp — made of maple, pear and pine wood, and adorned with delicate tempera paintings, it has to be seen to be believed.
Journey into the attic of Modena town hall, and you’ll find the Municipal Acetaia — a collection of three batterias (the Italian word for an assembly of barrels in steadily decreasing sizes) created by the Consortium for Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
A fascinating insight into the patient production method behind Modena’s distinctive black gold and a living piece of Balsamic Vinegar history right in the heart of Modena, it’s a must-visit for any discerning foodie.
Talking of batterias, there’s no better place to learn about Balsamic Vinegar of Modena than at Casa Mazzetti.
Based in Cavezzo, a trip to our sprawling and beautiful home is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture, history, craftsmanship and flavour of Modena’s most-famous export.
Join us for a guided tour, and we’ll reveal all the secrets of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI — and give you the chance to taste our products too. And what could be more authentically Modenese than that?