Official website: www.comune.modena.it

Modena is well-known all over the world especially for some symbolic characters, such as Enzo Ferrari and Luciano Pavarotti, and for some products of its gastronomy, such as tortellini, Lambrusco wine and parmesan cheese. But Modena is not only this, it is a town that, in 40 years, has become one of the richest and most advanced in Europe. A per capita income of more than 30 million Italian lire, an un-employment rate of about 5%, exports totalling about ten thousand billion Italian lire a year, more than 20 square metres of equipped green areas per citizen, 48 miles of cycling tracks, 16 cinemas, 25 libraries, one of Europe's most ancient universities. Certainly, it is favoured by some geographical and environmental factors: the town is located in the middle of the Po valley, in one of the most developed areas in the whole continent, along the main routes of the trading traffic between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. It is at the cross-roads between the Brenner motorway and the Autostrada del Sole, just a few miles from the important railway and airport intersection in Bologna. This leads tourists from all over the world to visit the art treasures in the town. First of all, the XII-century Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque art, that, together with Piazza Grande and the Ghirlandina tower, creates a complex of unique beauty, that UNESCO has included among the "Wealth of Mankind".

Not far from the Cathedral is the 17-century Ducal Palace - now the seat of the Military Academy -, where the Este court, after moving from Ferrara to Modena in 1598, used to live. Four centuries later, Modena celebrates that event with sixteen exhibitions, seven meetings, a baroque music festival and the traditional week of events dedicated to the Este family, covering the whole of 1998 and the first few months of 1999. These are not the only attractions for those who come to Modena. The collections in the Este Gallery and Library, that carefully preserve priceless works of art, are certainly worth a visit: among them, the portrait of Duke Francis I by Velasquez and the Bible by Borso d'Este, a masterpiece of XV-century Ferrara illumination.

The main courtyard of "Palazzo Ducale" But the whole of the historical town centre, with its arcades, churches, palaces and the typical colours of the Po town, offer attractions for tourists and lovers of Italian art alike. And not only for them: its restaurants offer excellent menus with typical Modena dishes; its shops offer the best of Italian and foreign products; its Municipality ensures an efficient service network, including a tourist information office at the ground floor of the Town Hall, in the very heart of Modena.


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