Modena’s district stretches from the low lands of the Padan valley (Bassa Padana) to the Modena’s Apennine, crossing many different landscapes.
The city is located in the plain and is an actual temple of the Italian Gothic architecture.
Modena is located in northern Italy, in the ancient historic region of Emilia. It is the chief town of the province that bears the same name, it is one of Emilia Romagna’s most important industrial and business area.
The city is surrounded by two rivers, Secchia and Panaro, and it is crossed by the Naviglio canal, that flows into the river Panaro.
The entire district is in the city’s orbit, it is flat to the North, hilly and mountainous going towards the Modena Apennine, to the South.
The good river system fosters a rich agriculture, especially in the Padan valley, to the North of the district: therefore the food industry plays an important role. Car industry is flourishing as well: the district is home to the bases of Ferrari and Maserati.
Modena’s historical centre deserves a visit, since three of its sights are part of the UNESCO world heritage: Duomo, the cathedral, Ghirlandina, the civic tower and Piazza Grande, the main square, famous also thanks to a song by a popular italian singer, Lucio Dalla.
Modena’s climate is the Padan valley’s one, with hot humid summers and severe winters.
In the district there are different climates though, since it stretches from the Bassa Padan valley to the Modena Apennine. Moving southwards, summers are less hot and winters more snowy, it is less foggy and more rainy.
Modena’s history has very ancient origins, there were pile dwelling settlements before the Etrurian arrival, in the 6th century B.C.. Etrurians called the town Mutina (raised place) and abandoned it in the 3rd century B.C., when the Galli Boi tribes arrived.
Romans reached Mutina in 200 B.C. and made it a prosperous colony thanks to the construction of the Via Emilia, which linked the city to other important locations in the region.
Longobards occupied the distric in the 6-7th centuries until the arrival of Charlemagne’s Franks and the annexation of the territory to the Holy Roman Empire. The emperor’s power was weak and not very well rooted in the area, thus allowing the growth of the episcopal power. The period of the barbaric invasions was a quite devastating one for the city, which lost much of its population also because of terrible floods. The city started growing again from the year 1000 on, thanks to more and more flourishing trades that fostered the development of a local authonomy that soon allowed Modena to become a free city-state. The citizens elected their podestà, (governor of the city) in 1177 already. The armony was not destined to last though, in fact the rivalry between the guelph and ghibelline families caused the city’s passage under the control of Este family, marquis of the city of Ferrara. However, they guaranteed the city’s wellbeing and development, which lasted almost without interruption until Napoleon’s invasion in 1796. The subsequent Restoration put the city under Este’s control again in 1815, until Modena as well became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
The city fiercely fought against the Nazi-fascism during the Second world war, thus gaining the Gold Medal of Military Valor for the Resistance.
Nowadays the district’s jewels are the sector of luxury cars and promotion of the local food products.
Modena and its distric are home to very important exemples or Romanic art, the most remarkable one being of couse the Duomo, which has been declared UNESCO world heritage in 1997.
The Ghirlandina tower, the Duomo’s tower bell, is the city’s symbol. It is in part Romanic and in part Gothic and it is included in the UNESCO world heritage as well.
Piazza Grande, the main square where both the Duomo and the Ghirlandina are located, is also part of the UNESCO world heritage: the result is an ensemble of inestimable beauty and architectural value.
Sport and nature
The city is home to many parks, and the surrounding district boasts many areas of naturalistic interest: from the Bassa Padan valley to the Modena Apennine, nature lovers can be in touch with different kinds of wildlife.
Ski lovers can enjoy four winter ski resorts on the Apennine, golf lovers will also be satisfied. There are also many riding stables.
Relax and wellbeing
On the hills surrounding the town of Sassuolo you can find the Salvarola Spa, where tourists looking for relax and wellbeing will enjoy special moments.
For the gastronaut
Among Modena’s many typical products, the most famous one is of course the balsamic vinegar. In the town of Spilamberto there is an actual museum dedicated to it, called Museo del Balsamico, where you can discover the history and the secrets of this Italian excellence.
You can also visit cheese factories and wine cellars, and you should try and enjoy the truffle hunting on the slopes of Modena Apennine.