My next destination was the city of Modena. Again, I would stay for three nights, which hopefully, would enable me to get a sense of what this city was like. As soon as I was settled in my room, I ventured out to begin to explore this new place.Modena is an easily walkable, mostly flat, city. Piazza Grande is the city’s main square. Set, pretty much, smack in the middle of the city, it is a crossroads through which everyone passes. One side of it is taken up by the city’s Duomo. Throughout history, this square functioned as an important part of the city. For many years, it was the location of the city’s main market, the vast space filled with stalls selling everything from household goods, to food. Justice was meted out here. Public executions took place in this space. A reminder of some of the “darker” events which took place in this popular place is the famous Pietra Ringadora – a marble slab, which still stands today, on which bodies were displayed, awaiting identification by family members, or friends.The Ghirlandina, or bell tower of the Duomo is one of the symbols of the city. Standing 86 meters high, this beautiful tower was begun in 1179. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.In front of the tower, you will find the statue of the poet Alessandro Tassoni, by the sculptor Alessandro Cavazza. Tassoni was born in Modena, and he later died in the city, after traveling to Spain, and settling in Rome.The Duomo of Modena is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style of architecture. It was built on the site of the tomb of San Geminiano, who is the patron saint of the city. This is a magnificent church! Do yourself a favor, and take your time when visiting it! Walk around the facade, paying attention to the details that you see. The building was constructed with material that was found in the Roman ruins that seemed to abound in the area. In the nearby Piazza XX Settembre, I was utterly charmed by this small fountain!Just past Piazza XX Settembre is where you will find Modena’s current marketplace! Earlier in the day, I had purchased a ticket, costing E 6.00, which gave me admission to the Ghirlandina – or bell tower, the historic rooms of Palazzo Comunale, the Municipal Vinegar Factory, and also the Museo del Duomo. So, I headed over to Palazzo Comunale, to see what was on display there. The visit to Palazzo Comunale, or the Town Hall, includes a series of historical rooms, each full of frescoes, artwork, and history. One of the highlights, for me, was seeing the Secchia Rapita – or the stolen bucket – literally a bucket which was stolen from the people of Bologna in 1325, during the Battle of Zappolino.From her spot on a corner, La Bonissima looks down on all who pass below. I made my way back over to the Ghirlandina, hoping that later in the day, the school groups that filled the tower earlier, would be long gone, and the visit might be a bit nicer. Once inside the tower, you climb to the top via a small staircase. My timing was perfect, as I had the place pretty much to myself.My last stop for the day was going to be the Museo del Duomo/Diocesano.
Next up: a visit to the Palazzo dei Musei, and exploring more of the beautiful city of Modena.
Note: this blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear.