Recently, it seems as though the whole world is talking about Modena! Home to Massimo Bottura and his famous Osteria Francescana the city is continually being profiled as a culinary treasure by the New York Times. No small compliment!
I’ve never seen the city with so many tourists, but then again I wasn’t living in Modena during Pavarotti’s lifetime. Il Maestro organized a yearly Concert, “Pavarotti and Friends” that brought some of the words biggest and best musicians to the city, and along with it thousands of tourists.
It seems as though the World is ready to rediscover Modena and finally, there is a new tour open for tourists that truly showcases the excellence of the territory and pays homage to some of the best products and people this land has produced.
Balsamic Vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Enzo Ferrari, the Ferrari car, Pavarotti; these are just some of the things associated with Modena and the surrounding area. One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed for tourists visiting Modena is that they arrive, visit the 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites located in the Piazza and then ask themselves….now what?
What to do in Modena
When I got married three years ago all of my family and some dear friends came to Modena for our wedding. I really wanted to show them everything about the city that I now called home, but found it so difficult to plan anything. We were a really large group, so transportation was an issue, however, many of the places worth visiting are located out of the city centre.
If you are planning a trip to Modena at the last minute and you are a family, group, couple or single – search no more! You can now explore the area with Discover Ferrari and Pavarotti Land Modena tour that covers all of main experiences you would want to have in Modena from Balsamic Vinegar tasting and a visit to an Acetaia, to stepping into the home of Pavarotti!
Discover Modena – the Land of the Ferrari and Pavarotti
This is a web of experiences and destinations that are all connected with their own private chartered bus line. There are 4 coach lines that cover different activities within the area surrounding Modena.
You can hop on, hop off these bus lines using your Passport, which is valid for TWO NON CONSECUTIVE DAYS. Which means that after the first day of sightseeing you can CALL AND BLOCK THE CARD, and reactivate it a week…or even a month later!
There are a few reasons this is great for tourists such as the:
- Chartered coach buses with connections at the Reggio Emilia High Speed Rail Station, Modena Train Station and Bologna Train Station
- Visits to all the major Museums and Sights in the Area
- Luggage Drop off points
- An easy to understand bus schedule that is reliable and on time!
- Perfect for families, large groups or people who do not have a rental car
- Perfect for Tourist who do not speak Italian, but want to experience off the beaten path attractions.
10 Must Do Experiences in Modena
N°1 – Luciano Pavarotti’s Home
I will be writing more on this next week and can say this was an INCREDIBLE experience. For the first time Il Maestro’s home is open to the public and you will have the chance to enter into his private life to understand the man and his passions from panama hats to art!
It was an honor to be in his home as a “guest” and his Foundation did such a fantastic job in staying true to what made Pavarotti so special (besides the fact that he was the World’s greatest voice!!), his ability to mix “high” and “low” culture. Pavarotti brought pop stars into the Opera world and pop star audiences along with them. He was a man that did so much to bring appreciation for voice and music to the World with his duets and performances with Bono Vox, Celine Dion, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Sting, Zucchero, Bryan Adams, The Eurythmics and Frank Sinatra to name a few!
To commemorate the opening of his home to the public his Foundation has partnered with street artist / pop graphic designer Mauro Roselli to create a limited edition of accessories, notebooks, t-shirts and bags and it is awesome!
N°2 Eat Well!
At the Pavarotti Home there was a little kiosk Cafe, but it was out in the Sun with little shade so we decided to pop into the Restaurant Europa 92, located directly beside Pavarotti’s home and still managed by his best friend Cesare! This place is NOT CHEAP, and although we weren’t prepared to spend the 90 EURO lunch it was WORTH EVERY PENNY!
I haven’t had a meal this delicious since I ate this meal! But again, you get what you pay for and it is not cheap! Bring an extra 50/60 euro per person (including wine) and just go crazy, you will most likely never eat like this again. I had the risotto with fresh Porcini mushrooms and also the Porcini potatoes appetizer and a delicious dessert.
N°3 Discover the Ferrari
Two of the areas most important museums are the Ferrari Museum located in Maranello (a half hour away from Modena) and the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari, a new museum dedicated to the creator of the automobile legend and partially located in his original birth home.
Everyone seems to head for the Ferrari Museum in Maranello which is perfect if you love Ferrari’s, however I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND a visit to the Casa Enzo Ferrari. Aside from being an incredibly cool building, architecturally speaking, the exhibit was very well done, the display was incredible and the experiences literally moved me to tears.
I’ve never cried at cars before! And you can read about the full experience at the MEF !
N°4 Visit a Lambrusco Winery
We had the opportunity to visit the beautiful property of the Cleto Chiarli Estate where an award winning Lambrusco wine is produced. This visit also includes a tasting and you can read all about it here. I suggest wearing something nice and taking a few family photos around the Estate’s property, which is just breathtaking!
N°5 Visit to the Ducal Palace in Sassuolo
I highly recommend a visit to the Ducal Palace in Sassuolo which is now open daily. This is a very rare occasion to visit one of the areas most important historical and artistic attractions because it is usually closed!!! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen pictures of the breathtaking interior, but I also suggest you may your way around to the gardens in the back, which make a great backdrop for some pretty photos!
N°6 Eat Charcuterie
Emilia Romagna is known for its cold cuts so why not head to Castelnuovo Rangone which has a bronze pig in the centre of the town, to honor the animal that gave them deli meats! Here you will find the Private Museum of the Villani company, MUSA the Museo della Salumeria, which explains the history behind mortadella, salami and prosciutto in an interesting, interactive and quite beautiful way.
I didn’t realize this was a private Museum, and although it was very well done, it did focus extensively on the history of the company. If you love mortadella and prosciutto, than you will enjoy this and there is also a store attached to the museum, so bring some money!
N°7 A Visit to the Hombre Farm
A visit to the Hombre Parmigiano Reggiano dairy farm and factory, owned by the Panini family, makers of the famous Panini collectable stickers is fun for both kids and adults. Bigger “kids” will enjoy the private collection of luxury and historic cars that are in the company’s private museum, also located on site. You can also purchase Parmigiano Reggiano cheese directly from their on-site store.
N°8 Visit a Balsamic Vinegar Acetaia
An Acetaia refers to a place that makes “aceto” the Italian Word for Vinegar. Many of you will know that Modena is home to the precious Traditional Balsamic Vinegar which I’ve explained before here in an interview and feature on a local producer.
N° 9 Explore Modena’s Surrounding Towns
To truly Discover Ferrari and Pavarotti Land you should plan to spend some time exploring the city centre’s of the surrounding smaller towns such as Nonantola which has a stunning Abbey, Sassuolo where the Ducal Palace is located and Maranello where the Ferrari Museum is located.
N°10 Enjoy Modena’s Centre
Modena’s beautiful historic centre is home to the Piazza, Duomo and Ghirlandina Tower, all three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I have a whole section on the blog dedicated to what to do and where to go in Modena, which is a lovely town to explore by foot.
The Discover Ferrari Pavarotti Land experience, in my humble opinion, is exactly what Modena was MISSING and is a great way for tourists to see all of the things I’ve mentioned and have a very authentic experience. Feel free to pass this along to anyone planning a last minute trip to Emilia Romagna who may enjoy the food. culture and cars in bella Mòdna (Modenese dialect for Modena!) or feel free to pin this picture for later.
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