Modena, history and typical cuisine
It is the ideal city: it knows how to be admired for its architectural treasures, it knows how to welcome thanks to its cuisine and cultural life, it knows how to fascinate for that mixture of innovation and tradition that characterizes it. The visitor can be pampered at the table, can walk through the collected streets of the center or in Piazza Grande; can remain absorbed in front of the mystical beauty of the Cathedral or fascinated by modern products of Modena like Ferrari cars, Maserati, Pagani, Stanguellini.
A day in Modena
When to go and what to see
of the Lords of Este, who resided here since 1598. Unesco has recognized the universal value of its treasures by declaring the Duomo, Piazza Grande and the Torre Ghirlandina World Heritage Site.
Start your tour from Piazza Grande, where you can admire the Duomo, dating back to 1099 known as the ``house of San Geminiano`` which is the patron saint of the city. The construction were started by the architect Lanfranco and the sculptor Wiligelmo and inside you can still admire some ancient and very ``narrative`` frescoes: there are depicted episodes of the Old Testament carved by Wiligelmo in white marble. This church holds a sort of illustrated Bible, with the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and the ark of Noah.
Raise your eyes to the Ghirlandina, the bell tower of the Duomo; whose name has a double derivation: the first from the garlands with which adorned the balustrades of the bell tower, the second from the Spanish fleeing from Seville in the year 500, who began to call it little Giralda in memory of the bell tower of Seville.
This tower, symbol of the city, is for the people of Modena a sort of ``lighthouse``, a reference point and, going up to the top, a point of sure interest also for those who are visiting the city. Moreover, you can also visit the Museums of the Cathedral of Modena, whose entrance is right next to the cathedral, to better understand its history and discover the curiosities of Modena.
Another symbol of the city is Piazza XX Settembre with its Albinelli Historical Market, leave behind Piazza Grande and head here, what will jump to your eye and leave you amazed are the colored facades of the houses surrounding the square. From number 29 you can access the market, a must-visit place, you will be enchanted by the magical atmosphere that you breathe and also by the gastronomic culture of Modena that you can find here.
Leaving the center you will meet the Palazzo Ducale and the Casa Museo Enzo Ferrari. The first was the historic residence of the Duchy of Este and is now home to the Military Academy, while the Enzo Ferrari House Museum with its characteristic yellow roof, built by the London studio Future System and designed by architect Jan Kaplicky, is the perfect place to find out where the Ferrari myth and the history of its founder are born.
Modena is also called the City of Belcanto; it was in fact the cradle of operatic voices such as Luciano Pavarotti, Mirela Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov and Raina Kabaivanska.
It is necessary to leave the city of Modena behind and reach Stradello Nava to visit the house museum Luciano Pavarotti. It’s a magical place full of memoir, of man and also a bit of the country. There are stage clothes, photos, videos and prizes, but also the stables of the house that have hosted races and riding courses.
The typical cuisine
An ideal menu from Modena can only open with cold cuts, first of all the Prosciutto di Modena. Among the first courses the place of honor goes to the tortellini. Among the latter, the zampone, a mixture of pork meats sausaged in the skin of the pig’s leg. Do not miss the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena served on Parmigiano Reggiano. To accompany the lunch, a good glass of Lambrusco, sparkling red wine. And as fruit, the delicious Vignola cherries.
The ciccioli, obtained from the processing of pork fat in the preparation of lard and Prosciutto di Modena DOP unique and valuable, born in the hills and valleys around the Panaro river, its production is local and very controlled. Excellent for vegetarians there are tortelloni, with ricotta, eggs, parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg, or risotto with balsamic crust of Parmigiano Reggiano with flakes of grana and balsamic vinegar. To conclude the visit a slice of Torta Barozzi, an exquisite chocolate cake of Modena traditions.
The recipe is secret but contains chocolate, almonds, coffee and should be tasted in the Pasticceria Gollini in Vignola. Every year in September, the Festival Filosofico animates the city for three days with lectures by the most enlightened philosophers and contemporary thinkers who entertain the public in the squares, theaters and churches of the city center; there are a lot of exhibitions and installations, readings and performances, shows and films, concerts, games and great lunches.
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