Top 8 things to do in and around Modena

May 18, 2020Niry Fidelis
Duomo Modena

The Covid-19 virus spreading everywhere has interrupted for a while our incredible journey around the world. Now, after years of staying at home, Italy is slowly beginning to reopen. At this stage we are no longer forced to stay at home. For the moment we can go around the region in which we live. So, here we go!! It’s time to see what’s happening around us.

We had to cancel many of our flights and vacations abroad and I know you had to do the same, but for now we are pretty happy about the idea that we can finally get out of the house (with proper precautions, obviously)! While waiting for the entire world to recover, let me write something about Modena, the city that I really love.

Things to do in Modena

Most tourists don’t think about Modena as a touristic destination and many just stop in Bologna but believe me, it is a big mistake to miss it. Modena and the cities of its province really offer a lot. Modena is absolutely unbeatable, especially when it comes to food: remember that the world famous number 1 restaurant is in Modena!

Considering its strategic geographic position, a stopover during a road trip in Italy is not a problem at all.

Here are my top eight things to do in Modena.

Modena Cathedral

Duomo Modena

The cathedral in the city centre, located in the middle of the Piazza Grande it is fascinating inside and wonderful outside. Remember that as usual in most of the cities in Italy, it is closed during lunch time. The entrance to the church is free but you pay € 3.00 to visit the tower (ghirlandina).

Even if you are not directly headed to Modena, as I said before, a stopover while driving from Bologna to Milan or vice versa is really worth it.

Read also: Best Luxury Hotels in Italy

Luxury hotels in Italy

Salse di Nirano

Fiorano Modenese

My second favourite is the Salse di Nirano. It is such an unusual place! It is a real geological wonder made of cold mud volcanos located in a small town called Fiorano Modenese.

Not more than 20 minutes by car from the city centre of Modena, you can easily arrive at the bottom of the national park by car and walk up until you get close to the volcanos. Believe me, it is a must when you are in the area, especially if travelling with children.

The admission to the park is totally free for self-visitors. There are some newly built trails inside the park for doing some hiking or simply a pleasant walk.

Motor Valley

Visit Maserati factory

Modena is known as a Motor Valley: You can visit so many car museums here. What you can learn here about motors has nothing compared to the information you get out of the city. This year in particular, I learned about the Panini private collection (HOMBRE). Mr. Umberto Panini has bought the whole Maserati collection during its time of crisis in order to keep the collection inside the country.

You also need to see the abandoned “Automobili Bugatti” factory; not only for the style in which it has been built but also for its history. There are then the Ferrari Museums and Horacio Pagani in San Cesario. The Maserati factory has also recently opened its door to visitors.

Parmesan cheese and Traditional balsamic vinegar

things to do in Modena

How many of you know that Modena is a motherland for the world-famous Parmesan cheese and the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar?

Both of those things can be bought for a very “cheap price” here. Yep, while I was in Milan I saw some crazy prices! The 30-month-old Parmesan costs not more than € 18.00. It’s said that the best Parmesan comes from San Dalmazio, a hill village close to Modena, but I’m sure you can also buy a good one at the Albinelli Market in the city centre of Modena, which is open from Monday to Saturday in the morning only. It’s a century old market selling local products that you may want to add to your list of things to do in Modena.

Food tour

modena food tour

As I told you first, when it comes to food Modena is unbeatable. I suggest you eat at Trattoria Ermes in Via Ganaceto. It is the oldest restaurant in the city centre (1963). This restaurant was once run by an old couple, Ermes and Bruna, but now, due to Ermes’ bad health conditions, they’ve had to let others take over. Bruna is still in the kitchen and sometimes Ermes comes just for a visit.

There are so many other food options in the city centre of Modena: Aldina, Taverna dei Servi, Tagliatella, and Il Fantino are all great choices for trying the traditional food of Modena. In case you are looking for a dining option off the beaten path in Modena, my suggestion would be the Touring in Fiorano Modenese, especially if you like fish and seafood.

Musei Civici (Central Museum)

Modena Musei civici

Some people love visiting museums, they get excited just thinking about seeing art work. That is not the case for me but I have to admit that the Museo Civico in Modena city centre which is beneath the Este Gallery has some great masterpieces.

Moreover, there are areas that occasionally host some interesting exhibitions. Last time Alessandro and I were there to see Steve McCurry’s photo exhibition which we really enjoyed.

Helicopter Tour

Modena By Helicopter

Among the things to do in Modena there is the helicopter tour. It is one of the best ways to appreciate the scenery of Modena and the cities of its Province. I always had the idea that helicopters are for thrill-seekers and I was definitely wrong. It is for everyone who wants to soar above the city. Since it flies lower and slower than an airplane, it is a great way to enjoy the view from above.

I saw my city like never before. A helicopter ride is a magical way to see the world. I cannot help but recommend it for your visit to Modena. It is going to be the “thrill” of your lifetime.

Luciano Pavarotti Home Museum

Museo Pavarotti Modena

Modena is famously known for its opera heritage. Recently the house of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti has been turned into a museum: Luciano Pavarotti Home Museum. I highly suggest you a visit to this place. It is such an emotional journey between the life and career of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti that you will for sure appreciate.

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These are my must-see suggestions for Modena. I really hope it will help those visiting the area. There is much more to see and do, of course, but I want to stop here since my intent is to satisfy that fast stopover in Modena.

Just for your information, you have to know that the second season of “Master of none” takes place in Modena. You might want to watch that maybe? Anyways, if you want to go deeper into things to do in Modena, I suggest that you also read Stefania Fregni’s blog about Modena. She writes quite a lot about her city and I do believe it could help.

Modena Sinagoga

More around Modena?

If you love to join organized tours, here are some great ideas of what to do during your stay in Modena. Especially if you have only a short time to stay, they’ll enable you to leave the planning and organizing to others and just enjoy the city to the max*:

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Comments (15)

  • Harmony Skillman

    June 30, 2017 at 1:53 am

    I've been all over Italy but never Modena! Isn't everybody town just amazing and beautiful?

  • escapesanddiaries

    June 30, 2017 at 3:10 am

    I dislike queuing for foods especially when I'm totally starving, but in this case if it's worth to wait then I will. Haven't been to Italy but based on your post, seems like a wonderful place to visit! Definitely visiting in the future!

  • Unknown

    June 30, 2017 at 4:40 am

    I have travelled to much of Italy, but not Modena. I love parmesan cheese and of course balsamic vinegar so I will add Modena to my list when I next visit Italy. Thanks for sharing this great information

  • Ambuj Saxena

    June 30, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I am glad you have explored a less explored destination! There are so many potential tourist sites everywhere but people go only to the tried and tested ones!By the way, I wasn't aware that Modena is the land of Parmisan cheese!

  • Lisa

    June 30, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Unfortunately I didn't get to visit Modena when in Italy, but I spent plenty of time in the north, (Veneto), but I still managed to eat plenty of parmesan, pecorino, asiago (will stop now!) and aceto balsamico throughout my travels 🙂

  • Anj Yap

    June 30, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Wow! Though it is not a touristic destination, it still offers a lot of things to do here so you wiuld definitely enjoy your trip here!

  • Reena

    June 30, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Great read! Had no idea about all of those places!

  • Gillian Ong

    June 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I've never been to Italy myself, so I'll definitely take your recommendations into account.

  • Indrani

    July 1, 2017 at 4:02 am

    I remember my visit to Modena. It is listed in UNESCO World Heritage sites list and that made include it in my itinerary. I visited the cathedral and a beautiful park there. I wish I had the time to visit the museums you mentioned.

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    July 1, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Modena looks quaint and lovely. The fact that not many tourists head that way, makes the place more alluring. The cathedral looks lovely and the town too must be really picturesque. Italy is full of these charming little places that not many people are aware of.

  • JM Kayne

    July 1, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Never been to Italy, but planning to visit my in law soon. Hopefully we'll get a chance to visit Modena! Adding this on our list of places to visit.

    Thanks & God bless!

    JM Kayne | #InMyHeart♥

  • Neha

    July 2, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Looks like a very interesting place to visit. And the spots that you mentioned are so versatile and interesting. I had never heard of cold mud volcanos so I will definitely like to visit one. And the museums will definitely be of interest as well.

  • Ami

    July 3, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Did not know that Parmesan cheese comes from here. The city does have some intriguing facts that make it interesting. Must look up more on it.

  • Erica Poyauan

    July 3, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Museum and vinegar, though there is no apparent relation to this two, I like them. I think I'll enjoy Modena if I could go to a lit museum and I could have a tasty vinegar!!!

  • Nourishing Tweens

    May 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Modena sounds like a lovely city! We are planning to go to Italy next year and I am looking for ideas.

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