MODENA – Day One

DSCN8955My 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.DSCN8956DSCN8960Modena is an easily walkable, mostly flat, city.  DSCN8965Piazza 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.  DSCN8967DSCN8974Throughout 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.DSCN8968DSCN8975DSCN8976DSCN8979The 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.DSCN8980DSCN8981DSCN8982DSCN8984DSCN8985In 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.DSCN8986DSCN8991DSCN8994DSCN9006DSCN9010DSCN9011DSCN9013DSCN9014DSCN9015The 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.  DSCN9175DSCN9023DSCN9021DSCN9025DSCN9036DSCN9037DSCN9046DSCN9058DSCN9063DSCN9082DSCN9087DSCN9089DSCN9091DSCN9060DSCN9064DSCN9065In the nearby Piazza XX Settembre, I was utterly charmed by this small fountain!DSCN9067DSCN9069DSCN9071Just past Piazza XX Settembre is where you will find Modena’s current marketplace!  DSCN9072DSCN9074DSCN9076DSCN9081Earlier 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.  DSCN9092DSCN9096DSCN9095DSCN9097DSCN9098DSCN9099The 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.DSCN9107DSCN9114DSCN9115DSCN9121DSCN9126DSCN9134DSCN9137DSCN9138DSCN9143DSCN9148From her spot on a corner, La Bonissima looks down on all who pass below.  DSCN9153DSCN9157DSCN9159DSCN9160DSCN9161DSCN9162DSCN9163DSCN9167DSCN9172DSCN9173I 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.  DSCN9190Once 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.DSCN9199DSCN9200DSCN9178My last stop for the day was going to be the Museo del Duomo/Diocesano.  DSCN9177DSCN9212DSCN9216DSCN9220DSCN9227DSCN9204DSCN9208

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.

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