Modena occupies a sweet spot in the heartland of Emilia Romagna, Italy’s breadbasket and economic engine. With many kilometers of cycling paths, a compact city center, and superb food to fit any traveler’s budget, the little city has long been on my bucket list of Italian places to go. Last week, I had the good fortune to spend several days there. The city was tastefully decorated for Christmas and the main sights were all within walking distance of my hotel, along arcaded streets blessed with options for good espresso.
The city’s virtues for the curious traveler are many. Its medieval heart is a superb example of architecture from the 12th century, a time in which religious and civic values were united in a Christian city. The Dukes of Este held court in Modena for almost five hundred years, and left their mark on the city’s architecture, arts and cuisine. Automobile innovator Enzo Ferrari and acclaimed operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti were both Modena native sons.
Modena is a great place to experience world-class Parmigiano-Reggiano, Lambrusco wine, and above all, the region’s signature product, aceto balsamico tradizionale. The gastronomic delights of the region merit their own post. For now, here is a sampler.
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Grazie mille! to Emilia Romagna Tourism for hosting my stay in Modena. Impressions and opinions, as ever, are my own.