Modena: art, pleasure & roaring motors
The modern capital of the Italian province of the same name is located to the south of the Po Plain. It disposes not only of a flourishing industry, but also of a time-honored university founded in 1175 and a lovely historical town centre.
Modena’s history began as the Etruscan settlement Muoina. Later it became a Roman colony that was of importance for a time because of viniculture and pottery. The 4th century was marked by decline and natural disasters, but in the Middle Ages the city was reconstructed.
To that time belongs for instance the worth-seeing center, which is composed of the square Piazza Grande and the Romanesque dome San Geminiano with campanile. In 1997 this architectural ensemble was declared world natural heritage by the UNESCO. Right beside it there is the Palazzo Comunale, a place for speeches, but also for pillory.
A landmark of town is a tower called Torre Ghirlandina (that means little garland). It is a wonderful free-standing belfry, which was built between the 12th and 14th century combining Romanesque and Gothic components.
The most popular promenade in Modena is the Via Emilia leading across the old town. The street itself doesn’t end on the edge of town, but follows the course of the ancient route about 262 kilometers from Bologna and Modena to Parma and Piacenza. So it probably was eponymous for the western part of Emilia-Romagna.
Apart from the many cultural monuments in Modena numerous branches of industry play a significant role, for instance the production of ceramics, cement, leather and foods. Moreover some of the most famous luxury car manufacturers have their headquarters in town or in the province of the same name: Ferrari in Maranello and Maserati directly in Modena.
In the surrounding area of Modena you’ll find agriculture, too. The largest acreage is taken up by cherry trees and Lambrusco grapes, which produce a good, ruby, partly sparkling wine. The famous balsamic vinegar and the popular cheese Parmigiano Reggiano are produced in this province of Emilia-Romagna, too.