The northern Italian city of Modena (around 184,000 inhabitants) is located in the Po Valley in the Emilia-Romagna region. The city looks back on a long history. As early as the 4th century BC, the Etruscans lived in a settlement called “Muoina” near what is today Modena. Modena later belonged to the Roman Empire. Anyone taking a study trip to northern Italy (perhaps with a focus on Tuscany) or a romantic trip to Venice should also pay a visit to Modena. Beautiful buildings can be admired in the old town!
The Piazza Grande with the cathedral and city palace
The heart of the city has been beating at the central large square for centuries! Here, in 1099, the citizens laid the foundation stone for the grandiose cathedral, which is dedicated to San Geminiano, the city’s patron saint. His remains are in the cathedral’s crypt. The Romanesque facade of the church impresses with its large rose window above the main portal. The outer walls are made of white marble! Inside the three-aisled church building, a marble parapet that separates the main nave from the crypt is particularly worth seeing. This parapet is adorned with ornate sculptures. The cathedral has an extra standing bell tower; the campanile is 88 m high and was built from 1169. The residents of Modena gave it the name “Torre Ghirlandina” (garland tower). He is the symbol of the city. The Palazzo Comunale (city palace) forms a beautiful ensemble with the cathedral. The originally medieval palace was expanded in the 16th century, and its facade with its arcades looks very romantic. The city palace is also adorned with a beautiful bell tower.
Palaces, places of worship – and a boulevard
The Palazzo Comunale is not the only palace in Modena! While the Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace, built in the 17th century) now houses a military academy and is not open to the public, the Museum Palace is open to all art lovers! This palace stands on St. Augustine’s Square; it was built in the 18th century. Among the museums that are located there today, the gallery in particular is very important; paintings by Tintoretto and other Italian Renaissance and Baroque artists are shown here. The Municipal Archaeological Museum and the Medieval Museum are also worth a visit. Close to the town square is the synagogue, built in 1873, which, with its neo-renaissance façade, is a pretty photo motif. Among the historic churches in the city, San Bartolomeo is particularly impressive. The baroque church is less worth seeing because of its actually quite inconspicuous exterior design than because of the large ceiling fresco in the interior. Many a tourist would like to do a little shopping at the end of their visit. The best address for this in Modena is without a doubt the historic Via Emilia street with its boutiques.
A trip to Tuscany is extremely popular. The capital Florence is visited by millions of guests from all over the world every year. A destination that no one misses is the Ufficien, one of the oldest and most famous museums in the world. The name Ufficien comes from Uffici, which means offices. In the middle of the 16th century, the Ufficien emerged under Cosimo I de Medici. This large building complex was originally planned as a central point for ministries and offices. An entire district was built. The architect Giorgio Vasari integrated existing houses, others were demolished. Cement was first used for this architectural masterpiece. Invisible arches were reinforced with iron. The blue-gray stone of the facades is pietra serena, a building material
The Ufficien look like an elongated inner courtyard. You are between the Arno River and the Palazzo Vecchio. The approximately 1,500 meter long Vasarian Corridor is a connection over the Ponte Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti, privately owned by the Medici. There is also a connection with the Palazzo Vecchio. In the past, workshops for goldsmiths and silversmiths were housed here, musicians played here, but perfume, poison and antidote were also mixed.
The world-famous Medici art collections are presented in 50 halls, including famous paintings by Italian, Flemish, German and English painters. “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera” are by Sandro Botticelli and adorned a Medici villa. There are self-portraits by Rembrandt and Raffael, for example. Leonardo da Vinci is represented with “The Annunciation”. The head of Medusa on a round poplar wood shield by Caravaggio is also part of the collection. Likewise, pictures by Titian, Giotto and Michelangelo. In addition to the painting collections, sculptures, tapestry carpets from the 16th century, antique marble objects and much more can be viewed.
When planning, you should take into account that the museum is closed on Mondays. To avoid long waiting times, it is advisable to reserve tickets online.