True artistic jewel, obligatory destination for whom passes from the Emilia Romagna, here is possible to admire buildings in perfect Romanesque style and the palaces rised under the Estensi; sole is the Cathedral, one of the most renowned and whole romanesque examples that was built in 1099 on project of the architect Lanfranco. Main also the ancient Library of Duchi d'Este, one of the most valued libraries of Italy for its collections of minitaure codices and works ad the Bible of Borso d'Este. Near Modena, at about 17 kilometre from the chief town, find the Natural Reserve of the Salse of Nirano, placed in the hilly part of the territory of the Common of Fiorano Modenese, that is extended for 200 hectares between courses of water Fossa and Chianca. Mosena is, in the world, synonim of good cooking and, in this town, eat good is an art handed down of generation in generation, is able to give life at dishes based on a genuine culinary and good plain tradition. Dainty are the cold cuts, first between all the raw ham, then, fabled tortellini in soup made with the stuffing at base of pork, ham and Parmesan.
This, in short, the story of the town:
Follow us in this virtual tour of the town: begin from the Museum Building, in largo Porta Sant'Agostino, to South of the Novi Sad Park: the Palace entertains the Estense Gallery, that contains printed books, sixteenth century incunabula, and numerous miniature codices from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The most precious text is the famous Borso d'Este Bible, a masterpiece of Ferrara illumination work (15th century).
In the same structure there is besides the Estense Gallery, between the most important Italian collections and reflects the Este family's interest in paintings and sculpture, but also archaeology and the minor arts. Valuable items include the marble bust of Francesco I d'Este by Bernini, the protrait of Francesco I by Velasquez, Saint Anthony of Padua by Cosmè Tura, the Madonna and child by Correggio, a Triptyque by El Greco and a Crucifix by Guido Reni. The nucleus of Po valley paintings from the fourtheenth to the eighteebth century is outstanding. Here there is also the Archaeological Ethnological Civic Museum contains the earliest evidence of the presence of human begins in the Modena area. Alongside materials from the Neolithic era, the Copper Age, the Bronze Age and the first half of the Iron Age, evidence may be seen of Etruscan, Celtic and Gallic rule and of Roman Modena. The ethnological collections include fabrics, ornaments, weapons and ceramics from New Guinea, from pre-Columbian Peru, from South America, Africa and Asia. In the Civic Art Museum paintings, ceramics, musical instruments, scientific instruments and weapons document the transformation of the city from the Middle Ages to modern times. The Count Gandini coollection of ancient fabrics is exquisite.
The historical centre of the town, can be identified with Piazza Grande on which is appeared the Cathedral; its construction began in 1099 and was consacrated by Pope Lucio III in 1184. It is one of the greatest masterpieces of the European Romanesque due both to Lanfranco's architectural structure and to Wiligelmo's sculptural work. Modifications to the original project were carried out between XII and XIV century by the Campionesi masters. The facade is divided into three sections that correspond to the naves. Beneath the rose-window (XII century) there is the Great Door, sculpted by Wiligelmo, who was also the author of the four stone panels depicting stories from the Book of Genesis. On the South side there is the Princes Door, a work by the so-called Maestro of San Geminiano and other followers of Wiligelmo, and the Regia Door (about 1178) in red Veronese marble. On the norhtern side, on the other hand, there is the Peschiera Door, evidence of the influence of Burgundy art. Inside of the Cathedral one may see, for instance, the rood-screen with relief work by Anselmo da Campione (about 1160-1180) and the Terracotta nativity scene by Antonio Begarelli of Modena (1527). The crypt contains the tomb of the patron Saint Gaminiano and the Madonna della pappa in painted terracotta by Guido Mazzoni (1480). The Ghirlandina Tower, which had already been built up to the fifth floors in 1169, was finished in 1319 by the Campionesi masters: 87 metres high, has had civic functions: from the tower guards signalled the opening of the city gates and guarded the coffers of the City Council.
Always on Piazza Grande rises the Town Hall and incorporated "faced" medieval buildings from the 17th century onwards. The Secchia Rapita (Stolen Bucket) is kept in the building. According to tradition, the Modenese took it from the Bolognese in 1325 (it became the emblem of civic values and inspired the famous mock-heroic poem "The Stolen Bucket" by Alessandro Tassoni). Also woth visiting are the Sala del Fuoco (Fire Room) with frescoes by Nicolò dell'Abate, created in 1546 and the eighteenth century Sala del Vecchio Consiglio (Old Council Room), where one may see the city elders' stalls and the banner painted by Ludovico Lana in 1633 as a thanksgiving for the end of the plague. The ceiling paintings are by Ercole dell'Abate and Bartolomeo Schedoni. The eighteenth century paintings of the Sala degli Arazzi (Tapestry Room) depict the preparation and signature of the Costance Peace Treaty (1183), the "manifesto" of municipal independence.
TEXTS AND IMAGES GRANTED BY THE TOURING SERVICE OF COMMUNE OF MODENA