Modena is located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, on the Pianura Padana. It is Italy's equivalent of the "motor city" as Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, and other Italian sports cars like Lamborghini, Maserati and Bugatti were all conceived and built around Modena.
Modena is easily accessible by train; its railway station, dating from 1859 is part of the Milan to Bologna line. Two secondary links get you to Verona and Sassuolo.
Our map is centered on Modena's fabulous Piazza Grande, which contains the World Heritage Cathedral, the Duomo di Modena, whose first stone was laid in 1099. Mouse over the map markers to see what they represent.
Modena may surprise you. It's not a popular tourist destination, but its central city is quite pleasing, the restaurants good (although seemingly few in number) and the food is quite earthy and satisfying. The regions favorites include Cotechino and Zampone, two types of sausage traditionally served with polenta. Pasta favorites include tortellini and tortelloni, stuffed pastas.
Restaurants? Try the stinco al balsamico--pork shank with the region's celebrated balsamic vinegar--at Da Enzo (Via Coltellini, 17), we also liked the tortellini in brodo and the bollito misto at Da Enzo. Try anything at Osteria Ermes (Via Ganaceto, 89) at lunch, Ermes is closed at night and on Sundays.
Want to head over to the current best restaurant out of the World's 50 Best Restaurants? That would be Osteria Francescana, the brainchild of skinny Italian chef Massimo Bottura. Reservations are essential. Phone: +39 059 223912.
Recommended Places to Stay in Modena
Best Western Hotel Libertà is a three-star hotel in the pedestrian zone of Modena, between the Palazzo Ducale and the Cathedral. There is free wi-fi in the rooms. The hotel is 550 meters from Modena's train station.
Hotel Castello is a luxury three star hotel 4km ouside of Modena built in a former noble residence. The hotel is convenient to the Ferrari Factory and Museum, which is 20 minutes drive away.
For those looking for a hotel room with kitchenette, the Residence Masone is conveniently located in the heart of Modena and highly rated by folks who've stayed there.
For other places to stay in Modena with locations and current prices, see the map below.
Top Things to See in Modena
Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari - The boyhood home of Enzo, a new museum in Modena that traces the life of Enzo Ferrari and holds examples of some of Italy's most famous classic cars. Well worth a visit.
Did you know you can test drive a Ferrari for up to an hour in Modena and then head for the restaurant where the "other" test-drivers hang out? Check out the Viator Tour:
Palazzo dei Musei - Once an alms house, now a complex of galleries and museums which includes the Galleria Estense, which shows off the collection of the Este family, the archaeological museum, and the important Biblioteca Estense and its collection of ancient manuscripts.
Palazzo Comunale - It's the town hall, but you can see beautiful historic frescoes and tapestries here.
The Associazione Nazionale Partigiani d'Italia is headquartered in Modena. In the Piazza Grande there is a memorial dedicated to Italian Partisans, interesting for the style of dress at the time among other things.
Modena offers a temperate climate with hot and humid summers with very little rain but frequent thunderstorms and cold, damp winters. Rain falls mostly in spring and fall.
Ever wonder what it's like to teach English to Modenese kids? You'll get a good idea with Never Trust a Thin Cook (A Review of Sorts).
Massimo Bottura has written a tome with a similar title: Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef