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The area of Modena


CATHEDRAL - Canalgrande Hotel

It was begun in 1099 and consecrated in 1184. This cathedral represents one of the greatest Romanic works in Europe, both for Lanfranco’s architecture and for wiligelmo magnificent sculpture. Beneath the rose window is the main portal sculpted by Wiligelmo, who also made the four marble slabs depicting stories from the book of Genesis. On  the  south side are the Princes’ Door and Regia Door (1178) in Veronese red marble; on the north side is Fishpond Door with  Burgundian influence. Inside one may admire Anselmo da Campione’s  rood screen (1160-1180) and the nativity in terracotta by  Modenese artists Antonio Begarelli (1527). In the crypt are the tomb San Geminano, city’s patron saint, and the Madonna della pappa in painted terracotta by Guido Mazzoni (1480).



The Cathedral Museums

The entrance hall, fitted out focusing on the theme of the crucified and resurrected Christ, anticipates and summarises the message of faith transmitted by the works of art exhibited in the other halls. The visitor can admire five canvases depicting the appearances of Christ painted by Bernardino Cervi in 1621 for the destroyed Chapel of Resurrection and a rich 17th century altar in silver composed of a cross and six candlesticks, used as the major altar equipment during the solemnities.
The second hall is dedicated to San Geminiano and contains effigies of the Patron made in different eras and of different materials, among which stands out the large 14th century image in repoussé copper created by Geminiano Paruoli, once located in the arcade of Porta Regia.
Of great devotional and artistic significance are the liturgical furnishings by tradition attributed to the Saint, such as the portable altar of the Roman Age and the 16th century pastoral.
The Saint's altar is richly endowed with candlesticks, palm vases and silver lamps, donated to the cathedral by the Modenese community and realised by the goldsmith Geminiano Vincenzi on design of Francesco Vandelli in 1833.
The third and fourth halls host the treasury of the cathedral, consisting of liturgical parameters, altar silverware and reliquaries. To be pointed out is the quarto wall of the Mantovani canon, adorned with very fine embroidery with biblical figures on a background of flowers and leaves and dateable to the second half of the 18th century.
The tapestry hall holds two of the tapestries with Stories of Genesis woven in Brussels around 1560-70.
The last hall hosts the permanent exhibition of the codes of the annexed Capitulatory Archive, exhibited in rotation in order not to compromise their proper preservation.

Lapidary museum
The Lapidary Museum of the cathedral preserves 150 works among which sculptures and architectural fragments, all originating from the cathedral and dateable between the 6th and 15th century.
The works were moved several times during the course of the first half of the 20th century until Roberto Salvini, the then curator, in 1956 promoted rearrangement and fitting out in a hall near the present one, subsequently revealed as too cramped.

The route of the visit starts from the section dedicated to reutilisation, which holds the marbles of Roman Age reused in various different ways during the construction of the Roman cathedral. It then continues on the wall in front of the entrance with a series of stone fragments adorned with the typical upper-medieval decorative repertoire of bands, originating from the buildings that came before the current Roman cathedral, also these often reutilised during the construction of the latter.
Next to the fragments is the Arch of San Geminiano, a magnificent marble embedding, placed - maybe already in the Roman Age - above the sarcophagus of the saint, transformed into an altar and removed in the second half of the 19th century.
In the second hall the findings of the Roman Age are exhibited with some reliefs produced by the great workshop of Wiligelmo, like for example, the column-bearing lion originating from the Porta dei Principi and others attributable to the Campionese Masters, a famous family of builders and sculptors from Como Lake, to whom the work of the cathedral was entrusted from the end of the 12th century to the beginning of the 14th century.

The hall is dominated by a series of eight "metopes", large sculptures bearing unusual images of monstrous and fantastic creatures - originally positioned outside the cathedral - on the tops of the diaphragm arches of the central nave, where they are now copies reproduced in 1948 by the sculptor Benito Boccolari.

The route ends with the section of works of the Modern Age, among which some reliefs originating from the destroyed side chapels of the cathedral, and with the inscriptions which constitute an epigraphic corpus of great importance for the history of the Modenese cathedral.

40 audio guides in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish, illustrating the Cathedral, Ghirlandina and Piazza Grande, and also the historical rooms of the Palazzo Comunale and the Duomo Museum, can be rent, accompanied by a folding leaflet with maps of Monuments, at Duomo Museum or at the Tourist Information Office


Palace of Museums

The building, built in the mid-eighteenth century, initially housed the military arsenal.
Designed by the duke Francesco III d'Este to house the General House of the Poors, was renovated by Pietro Termanini in 1769. In 1788 it was turned into the House of the Crafts and into the building were set up works and factories. After the restoration, the building housed a military hospital, a prison and accommodation of officers; in 1828 received the Lapidary Museum set up by the duke Francesco IV of Austria-Este.
Italian unification marked a new stage in the history of the building, that was partially purchased by the Public Administration in 1881, in order to reunite the art  and bibliographic collections left by the Este to the town, and the civic and cultural institutions.

On the ground floor of the Palace Museum, in the northern courtyard, there is a reception for all the cultural institutions hosted into the building, that is:
- Historical Archives
- Estense Library
- Municipal Museum of Art
- Municipal Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
- Este Gallery
- Public Library of Art "Luigi Poletti"

Since the end of 1800 to date the collections, kept on the top floor of the building, have several times changed arrangement dictated by diversified exhibition formulas. From Adolfo Venturi, first curator of the Gallery, to Serafino Ricci, Roberto Salvini and Rodolfo Pallucchini to the most recent curators, only a part of the works could be exhibited to the public: still today, after the environmental transformation of the seventies, entire nuclei cannot be viewed for reasons of space.
At present, the rationally upgraded Gallery is equipped with all the tools and systems required to best preserve the works.
The picture gallery comprises paintings, drawings, objects, bronzes and medals which belonged to the ducal family and came to Modena when the court moved to the new capital. Depauperated in 1746 following the sale of one hundred masterpieces to the elector of Sassonia for the sum of one hundred thousand sequins, it was subsequently enriched with new acquisitions. Today it holds numerous masterpieces, gold oddments, tablets of the Flemish masters and Venetian and Emilian painting. Among other things stand out the bust of Francis I by Bernini, the portrait of the duke of Velasquez, the triptych of El Greco and the paintings of Correggio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Guido Reni, Guercino, Salvator Rosa among the most well-known.

Estense lapidary museum
In its specificity the Lapidary Museum is the most important in the regional framework for the quality of the exhibits. Established upon wish of the duke Francis IV d'Este in 1828, important artefacts from the city and territory were added with time, which with numerous exhibits of high historical and artistic value enriched the permanent exhibition located under the portico of the internal courtyard of the Palazzo dei Musei.

Civic Gallery of Modena


the offices are open from Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 1.00 pm; Monday, Tuesday and Thursday also 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm. Saturdays and Sundays offices are closed. Information desk at ground floor is open from Monday from 2.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.; Tuesday to Saturday 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. For exhibitions opening times pls check on web site.

Founded in 1959 by the City Administration, the Galleria Civica of Modena is today one of the most authoritative centers of culture in Italy.
Through temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography, and thanks to the numerous co operations with prestigious museums, associations and galleries throughout the world, this museum has achieved international renown, particularly in recent years.

It has two exhibition halls:

  • Palazzo Santa Margherita in Corso Canalgrande 103, first and second floor, with broad, articulated spaces for exhibitions mainly of drawings and photographs, small personal exhibitions, cycles displaying and recognizing the research conducted by the last generation of artists.
  • Palazzina dei Giardini in Corso Canalgrande, a XVII century building, a suggestive site for monographic and retrospective exhibitions.

It also has some permanent collections:

  • the Collection of Contemporary Design
  • the Collection of Contemporary Photography
  • the Collection of Contemporary Graphic Art
  • the Museum of picture cards

In a specially prepared space, adjacent to the Sala Grande in Palazzo Santa Margherita, during art exhibitions and in cooperation with the Modena City Aldermanship for Education, specialists offer didactic workshops for children between the ages of 3 and 14. Starting from the work of art, these workshops use an original, fun-filled method to present the museum content to children, inviting them to freely interpret and express their own creativity and imagination through the use of an infinite variety of materials.

The Museum Casa Enzo Ferrari

The Museum Casa Enzo Ferrari - Canalgrande Hotel

The Museum Casa Enzo Ferrari inaugurated March 10 in Modena. Modena wants to remember one of its greatest citizens with a Museum that is a prestigious work of contemporary architecture, designed by Future Systems of London, which was held by the great architect Jan Kaplicky.

Casa Enzo Ferrari Museum is a prestigious work of contemporary architecture by Future Systems of London, directed by the great architect Jan Kaplicky. The interior design and art direction were instead designed by the architect Andrea Morgante of Shiro Studio, co-designer of the project.
The house where Enzo Ferrari was born in 1898, fully restored, hosts the memorabilia of Enzo's life from the beginning up to the creation of Ferrari, and its relationship with his pilots, his staff and the races.
The exhibition gallery, under the spectacular yellow "hood", hosts temporary shows of historic cars.

Where: Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari, via Paolo Ferrari, 85 - 41121 Modena

When: from 01/10 to 30/04 opened from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm; from 01/05 to 30/09 opened from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm. Closed on 25 December and 1 January, opened all year round.