Heart and cradle of the city, medieval Main Square is definitely the most favourite spot all across the town by Modena citizens, here still gathering to hear the latest news. Don’t be alarmed if they will start talking to you: that’s just how eager they are to be sharing the beauty of their town with you!
Flanking the square all throughout its width is the majestic Romanesque Cathedral, still looking imposing and superb after one thousand years. All white marble-built, the building is still extraordinary faithful to the original 11th century project by medieval architects. It’s no chance it was called a ‘marble Bible’, being adorned by hundreds of precious marble carvings, including monsters, gryphons, mermaids and gargoyles, scenes from Holy Scriptures and Aesop’s Fables. This is Middle Ages just at their best. I will be sharing with you all the Duomo secrets, as well as revealing the reason why Arthur and Round Table Knights make an appearance on one of its gates. Together, we will definitely be solving some of its most intriguing and cryptic medieval symbols!
Peaceful and serene from the top of its 86 meters elevation, Ghirlandina bell tower looks down on the lively square underneath. That is the truest symbol of the city, and all citizens look fondly at it. At its bottom, the City Hall hosts one the most unusual memorabilia and war trophies of all medieval Europe. It’s not gold or diamonds, but a simple a wooden bucket stolen from rival Bologna town during the so-called ‘War of Wooden Bucket’ in 14th century. This definitely marks Modena people peculiar sense of humour!
Albinelli Food Market is definitely the most spectacular and peculiar food market of all Italy: its beautiful Art Deco cast-iron building hosts food stalls, booths and delicatessen shops coming with a lavish collection of local foodstuffs, raging from cheese to hand made pasta, from sausages to wine and seasonal vegetables. It will literally be leaving you just begging for more! Just close by is the ancient Jewish ghetto area, where the Temple is still located nowadays.
As unusual as it may sound nowadays, Modena was capital of its own state, before Italy was unified. And indeed, Este Dukes built a majestic and imposing Ducal Palace for themselves, intended to be competing with French, Austrian and British courts. I will be revealing you all about the gossip, etiquette and extravaganza of the Baroque court and the reason why the castle and its mesmerizing works of art, seemingly out of a Cinderella movie, are now inaccessible to the public, being kept secretive.
Just before leaving the city, it is mandatory to be reaching Comunale Theatre, where a special monument has been dedicated to one of the most illustrious citizens of the town, worldwide-beloved tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Make sure to be taking a selfie with the Maestro himself, as a memory of his beloved hometown!