Geography and location

Modena is a northern Italian town situated along the Via Emilia, between the two rivers Secchia and Panaro, about 160 Km. South East of Milano and 35 Km North West of Bologna.

Modena's climate is "continental" - on the cold side in Winter, muggy in the Summer. Fog tends to be a fixture of the Fall and Winter months, especially in the northern reaches of the province (though the warmer decades of the last part of the XX century have made fog a rarer sight).

(Very little) History

Modena has a long history, dating back from when the region where it is located (Emilia) was inhabited by a Celtic people.

The history of Modena, first as a Roman dominion, then as a commune and as the capital of the possessions of the D'Este family, is rather uneventful, as it can be expected from a town in the plains of northern-central Italy, whose principal activity is farming.

A few noteworthy events and characters are linked with Modena and his history:

  • at the end of the X century, the cathedral church (Duomo di Modena) is built. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of the romanesque architecture. Its belfry, the Ghirlandina, will become Modena's symbol. The complex of the Duomo has been named World Heritage by the United Nations Organizations.

  • Alessandro Tassoni writes in 1622 its heroic/comical poem "La secchia rapita" (The abduction of the pail) the - largely fictionary - story of a war, opposing Modena and Bologna, about the theft (on the part of Modena) of a Bolognese Wooden pail. The wooden pail itself can to this day be seen in the Ghirlandina;

  • Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672-1750) a scholar and the librarian of the town archives writes his work "Rerum italicarum scriptores", (1723-1751). He is considered the father of the Italian storiography.

Some economy

The economy of Modena is today largely detached from its farming past, its main resources being found in the areas of building material (the tiles district of Sassuolo), textiles (Carpi's district), medical/pharmaceutical supplies (Mirandola) and the mechanical industry (just about everywhere)

Modena's most recent claim to fame rests surely with its being home to the Ferrari racing and sports car maker, who has its headqueaters and birthplace in the Maranello village.

Famous People from Modena

In random order...

/msg me if you have people you'd like added to this node.

Tasty and traditional food from Modena

Modena is a small and quiet town in in the Emilia region of Northern Italy. Currently, the comune of Modena has about 180.000 inhabitants.
There is evidence of human presence in the area dating back to the paleolithic era, and the remarkable civilization of the terramare was active here around 2.500 BC.
In the first millenium BC the Etruscans were substituted by the Boi tribe of the Gauls; Modena was founded as a Roman military camp around 222 BC (with the name of Mutina), and the all-important Via Emilia reached it around 187 BC.

The town enjoyed the usual agitated Dark Ages events; invaded by the Goths, the Huns and the Longobards, it also was a fighting point in the wars between the Papacy and the Empire. Modena was initially subjected to the powerful family of the Canossa, then it became a libero comune and lastly, after bloody internecine conflict, in 1288 the Signoria of Modena was offered to Obizzo d'Este, Marquis of Ferrara. After an initial rebellion by the modenesi peace ensued, but ever since Modena was subjected to the dominion of Ferrara and the Este family.
There were, though, some interludes under different rulers. In 1514, for example, Pope Leo X actually bought the town for 40.000 gold coins.
In 1796 the town was conquered by Napoleon; after two wars (guerre di indipendenza) the town finally joins the Reign of Italy under the Savoia dinasty in 1861. At this point, the town of Modena has 35,000 inhabitants, while the surrounding are has another 20,000.

Modena wasn't much damaged by either World War.

Its rich and complex history left it with a beautiful romanic Duomo, the Ghirlandina tower and many medieval remains. A complete visit of Modena would take one day, two if you want to visit the museums as well.
From the tourist's point of view, Modena is a bit of a hidden jewel, often ignored due to the proximity of the wonders of Bologna and Venice.
The province of Modena is a rich one, famous for industrial tile production, food, wine (like the remarkable Lambrusco of Castelvetro) and even high-tech machinery (the very famous Ferrari car maker is in Maranello, in the province of Modena).

Modena is easily accesible, due to its being on the Via Emilia: it is about a half hour away (by train or car) from Bologna, and 1 1/2 hour from Milano. Modena has no airport, but there is one in Bologna.

Mod"e*na (?), n. [From Modena, in Italy.]

A certain crimsonlike color.



© Webster 1913.

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