The Italian city of Modena has had a tradition for decades that the municipality plants a tree in a park after the birth of each child
Modena used to be the capital of the Duchy of Este. Thanks to economic and industrial growth, this city is today one of the richest cities in Europe. It is best known for the famous Ferrari car, Pavarotti, ceramics and much more
Modena is known to music lovers because it is the hometown of the famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti. People who love speed and sports cars also love Modena because it is the headquarters of Ferrari cars. Art historians will mention Modena for the architectural buildings of the Romantic period. The city is known to business people because it is the center of ceramics production. Modena is also the gastronomic center of Italy and Europe. The most famous dishes and drinks (tortellini in soups, tigelle, zampone, parmigiano, salami, lamborghini wine, acceto balsamico) have their origins in Modena.
Modena is located in the center of the Italian region of Emilia Romagna. It is located at the crossroads of the roads that connect the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. There is one farm for every 10 inhabitants of Modena. Data from two decades ago say: annual income per capita is over 25,000 Euros, and annual earnings from exports to 183 countries of the world are over 7 billion Euros. Unemployment is below 3%. That is why Modena is one of the richest and most developed cities in Europe. After the Second World War, Modena grew into one of the largest industrial centers (production of ceramics, sanitary equipment, medicines, cars, food and clothing). Here on the Apennine peninsula, the inhabitants are known as cordial, hospitable, open, kind, but also great lovers of ecology.
In Modena, 27 square meters of greenery is set for each resident. There has been a tradition for decades that the municipality plants a tree in a park after the birth of each child.
Modena has excellent hospitals and schools. The university was founded in 1183 and is one of the oldest in the world. Modena has a Military Academy but also a rich cultural life. Over 1,500 cultural events and manifestations are held every year. Modena is a city with 14 theaters, 65 cinemas, 20 museums, 20 libraries and archives.
The city’s residents are big fans of Ferrari, Masserati and De Tomasso cars, as well as bicycles. The streets have the highest percentage of Ferrari cars in the world, even more than in Beverly Hills.
Modena is a city of motoring and sports. More than 40% of the population is actively involved in sports. Modena has about 177,000 inhabitants and over 500 sports fields, 3 sports halls, 36 sports centers, 10 indoor and outdoor swimming pools, 50 gyms, a football and basketball stadium, a hippodrome and a golf course.
The city was founded by the Etruscans in the 5th century BC. Modena originally had the name “Mutna”. The city is located in the heart of the fertile Padana plain at the foot of the Apennines between the Panaro and Sekia rivers. It is located at 34 meters above sea level. The city was conquered by the Celts in the 6th century and then by the Romans around 200 BC. The Romans called the city “Mutina”. They turned the city into a military fortress because of the city’s geographical location.
Then the “Via Emilia” was built, i.e. the road that connects the Adriatic coast (Rimini to Piacenza). Roman consul Emilio Lepido is responsible for this road built in 187 BC. The city begins to develop and become rich due to trade.
At that time, the city and its surroundings were intersected by numerous waterways that connected the city to the Po River. The names of the streets (in the city center) remain today as a memory of those ancient times. Names have the word “channel” in the name. The city of Mutina moved to Modena after the fall of the Roman Empire. Modena was repeatedly attacked by barbarian tribes.
Legend has it that the Huns attacked the city in 352 years. The then bishop Geminianno (later declared the patron saint of Modena) brought a thick fog over the city (which is a regular occurrence in this city during autumn and winter). That’s how he saved the city from the invaders.
Modena was in a major crisis until the 10th century due to frequent floods and epidemics. Around the year 1,000, the sudden development and flourishing of the city begins. In 1183 (after the death of Countess Matilda di Canosa), Modena was declared a free municipality governed by a consul. Modena falls under the rule of the Duke of Est after the defeat in 1289 in the eternal rivalry and constant battles with the nearby city of Bologna. The Duchy of Erst ruled the city of Modena until 1860, i.e. the unification of Italy. In 1598, the Vatican expelled the d’Este family from Ferrara. One member of Cezzara d’Este declares Modena the capital of the duchy. The rule of the Este was interrupted only after the invasion of the French in 1796, who remained in Modena until 1805.
Modena is visited by over half a million tourists every year, although it is rarely included in tourist offers.
Tourists come here for a reason, because the city has a lot to offer visitors. The heart of the city is Piazza de Grande, which got its present appearance in 1624. UNESCO included this part of the city in the list of world heritage due to its historical and artistic value. This stone-paved square is the place of all important events in the city (concerts, antiques fair, parades, celebrations, and until recently there was also a market). There are 3 most important buildings on the square – the Town Hall, the Duomo (cathedral) and the Girlandina tower – the symbol of Modena, which offers a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings.
Back in the 12th century, the construction of the Town Hall with porticoes (two rows of windows with a tower and a clock from 1378) began. The construction of the Duomo (cathedral) began on June 9, 1099 on the foundations of the basilica from the 6th century. Gradks Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Geminiana (the city’s patron saint, whose body is kept in the crypt and is exposed every January 31 on Modena City Day). The church tower of the Giralndina rises on the right side next to the apse of the Duomo. The construction of the tower was completed in 1319.
The most important historical monuments of the city are best visited on foot or by bicycle, as they are all in the city center. Ducale Palace is on Roma Square. It is a magnificent building from 1635 built by Duke Francesco I d’Este.
There is the Military Academy. It is advisable to visit other galleries, churches and museums because of their permanent installations or visiting exhibitions from all over the world. It is advisable to visit one of the 300 artisan shops for the restoration of furniture, paintings, books and jewelry.
A break is a good choice in one of the numerous parks or an extremely beautifully decorated botanical garden. In the evening, you can watch a concert or a theater performance at the City Theater or the Storcci Theater. Every April, the traditional manifestation of Modena – the land of motoring, which is dedicated to lovers of fast driving and expensive cars from all over the world, begins here. The entire city turns into a stage where various programs related to motoring take place, as well as an exhibition of relays and oldtimers. You can also tour the city during the Formula 1 races. The victory of Ferrari is noticeable by the happy shouts of residents and tourists and the red flags with the propped horse that are waved all over the city.
The famous french writer Stendahl (Marie-Henri Beyle better known by his pen name Stendhal was a 19th-century French writer. ) wrote about the city of Modena in 1816: I had an excellent lunch in Modena, the cleanest, greenest and most cheerful city I have ever seen in Italy.
Visitors to the city of Modena can arrive from the north, via the Brenero highway, or from the south, via the Roma-Bologna highway, by train or plane. The nearest airports are in Bologna and Parma. Driving a car or motorbike through the city center is prohibited. Walking or renting a bike is recommended to avoid large fines. Famous souvenirs of the city are Lambrusco wine, walnut liqueur, acceto balsamico (produced only in Modena), parmesan.