Destination Weddings in Modena

An ancient town is located on the south side of the Po valley, Modena is now best known as “la capitale dei motori” since Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati have their headquarters in the city or nearby. One of Ferrari’s cars, the 360 Modena, was named after the town itself.

Renowned people from Modena were Mary of Modena, the Queen consort of England, tenor Luciano Pavarotti and soprano Mirella Freni, Enzo Ferrari and the rock singer Vasco Rossi.

The territory around Modena was called Mutina in Latin and Muoina in Etruscan was inhabited by the Villanovans, Ligurians, Etruscans and the Boii of Gaul. It was already in existence in the 3rd century BC. In 218 BC, during Hannibal’s invasion of Italy, the Boii revolted and laid siege to the city of Mutina.

Following the siege the city was abandoned after Hannibal’s departure and in 183 BC Mutina was refounded as a colony of Rome and used as a military outpost by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, encouraging the Ligurians to sack it in 177 BC. It was rebuilt, however, became a center in the Cisalpine part of Gaul, because of its strategic location and because it lay on the crossroads between Via Aemilia and the road leading to Verona.

In the first century BC Mutina was again under siege twice. The first by Pompey in 78 BC, when Mutina was defended by Marcus Junius Brutus. The city surrendered and Brutus fled, only to be slain in the city of Regium Lepidi. The civil war that followed after Caesar’s assassination, found Mutina once more under siege, this time by Mark Antony, in 44 BC, and defended by Decimus Junius Brutus. Octavian enede up relieving the city with the help of the Roman Senate.

Cicero called it Mutina splendidissima in his Philippics.Until the third century AD, it remained the most important city in Aemilia, but with the fall of the Roman Empire Mutina collapsed.

Folklore has it that Mutina was never sacked by Attila, because a dense fog covered it but it was however later buried by a great flood in the seventh century and again abandoned.

The exiles of Mutina founded a new city Cittanova, but by the ninth century, Modena was restored and refortified by a bishop called Ludovicus. The Song of the Watchmen of Modena was composed at this time. Later Modena was part of the properties of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany and became a comune during the 12th century. During the war between Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX Modena sided with the emperor.

The Este family became the lords of Modena from 1288. After the death of Obizzo’s successor (Azzo VIII, in 1308) the comune of Modena reasserted itself, but by 1336 the Este family was permanently in control. Under Borso d’Este Modena was made a duchy of Italy.

Fortified by the famous Ercole II, it became the ducal residence when Ferrara, the main Este seat, fell to the Pope in 1598.

Some of the historic sites of modern-day Modena are:

  • The University of Modena, founded in 1175 and expanded by Francesco II d’Este in 1686 is the second oldest University  in Italy and the sixth oldest in the whole world.
  • The Cathedral of Modena finished in 1184.
  • The Gothic campanile from 1224-1319 or Torre della Ghirlandina.
  • The church of St. Francis built by the Franciscans about 1244.
  • Clock Tower or Torre dell’Orologio dates back to the  late 15th century.
  • Estense Gallery with art works of Guido Reni, Tintoretto, Correggio, Paolo Veronese, Cosmé Tura and the Carraccis’.
  • The Ducal Palace, created by Francesco I d’Este in 1634 and completed by Francis V, was the seat of the court of Este from the 17th to the 19th century.
  • The Town Hall of Modena completed in the 17th-18th century.
  • The Palace Museum located on the square of St. Augustine square.
  • The Estense Library with 3,000 manuscripts.
  • The Synagogue next to the Palazzo Comunale built in 1873.