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Canalgrande Hotel

Canalgrande Hotel - Canalgrande Hotel


The palace of Hotel Canalgrande dates back to 1530, when the monks belonging to the  Canons Regular of the Lateran Congregation moved to Modena after their monastery, the so-called Monastero della Trinità, was demolished. They built thus the Convent adjacent to the church of S. Maria delle Asse.

In 1762 the Canons Regular of the Lateran Congregation, also called Rocchettini, had to abandon their church on ducal order. The Augustinian monks moved there, as they also had to leave S. Agostino church. In 1782, the Augustinians had to leave the monastery, the orchard and the church, too. These were given to the Patrimonio degli Studi, which placed the so-called “lower schools” in the monastery until 1787, while the adjacent church was given to Confraternita dell’Annunciata.

In the following year, 1788, the Patrimonio degli Studi decided to sell the building to the famous singer Caterina Bonafini, a friend of the more famous Chiara Marini whose long-lasting relationship with the Duke Ercole III is well-known. Caterina Bonafini immediately started the works to turn the monastery into a palace, following the project of the architect Giuseppe Soli. She also asked the Municipality “to extend the width of 7.5 fathoms in order to create a new building shaped as a small archway garnished with marble columns, balustrades and upper terrace, according to the model realized by the same architect, which will be the house entrance”.

We do not know how much of Architect Soli’s work for Mrs Bonafini was accomplished, but we do know that her unidentified property was passed on to Doctor Spezzani between 1789 and 1790. A few years after the death of Doctor Filippo Spezzani, who did not have direct heirs, the palace was sold to Marquis Giuseppe, the son of the late Doctor Pietro Schedoni. Since then, the building became Palazzo Schedoni and belonged to the Schedoni family until a few years ago. Its last owner sold the whole palace to an entrepreneur who, between 1960 and 1970, turned it from a sumptuous manor to an elegant and comfortable hotel.

The building we can see today has been inevitably adapted to its new functions of luxury hotel but has kept its sober external architectural lines, while the halls on the mezzanine floor still look like those of a sumptuous patrician house, rich in pictorial decorations. The most important hall, near the main entrance, displays several large rectangular canvasses and twelve ovals, all original works from the XVII and the XVIII centuries. These depict the full body of the following: Alfonso IV Duke of Modena, Anne of Austria Queen of France, Ludovic XIV King of France, Philip of Orleans Duke of Tuscany, Henriette Anne of England. In the ovals, there are Rinaldo I and Francesco I Dukes of Modena, Leopold I, Ludwig II King of Germany, Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy.


A roman colony in 183 B.C.  Modena was the stage of the battle between Decimo Bruto and Mark Antony (43 B.C.) which marked the rise of Octavius and the birth of the second Triumvirate. The city was halfdestroyrd during the 4th century, and abandoned in the 5th and 6th centuries because of the wars and floods. The city rose again at the time of the episcopacy rule (8th-10th centuries) was able to enjoy imperial privileges and enter the sphere of influence of the Canossa lords. It was in this climate thet the building of the Duomo was begun (1099) and that the first signs of municipal government thet were to lead to Modena as a commune (1135-1389) began to appear. The Este family ruled 1289 to 1306, from 1336 to 1510 and returned to the city again in 1527, after a period of imperial rule followed by papal rule. In 1589 the Court of Ferrara was transferred to Modena, which  thus became the capital and saw the rise of the new Ducal Palace (1634). In 1796 French troops entered the city, thus beginning a rule which lasted, on and off, until 1814. From that year the Austro-Estense dukes, Francesco V, who succeded the latter, ruled the State until 1859.