If you’re looking for a place to visit with your children, Modena has it all!
Whether it’s the 3,500-year-old villages of the river-valley; the speed and technology of modern racing cars; the mysteries of Modena's Cathedral and its monsters carved in stone; the timeless collection of trading cards at the Panini Museum; or the ancient tower that houses the “stolen bucket” (the name of a famous early 17th-century Italian epic poem), Modena’s many intriguing possibilities offer originality and variety that will entertain young and old.
Start in the heart of Modena to discover Modena's beautiful Romanesque-style Cathedral. The complex that includes the Cathedral, the Ghirlandina Tower, and Piazza Grande was established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The Modena Cathedral is often called a “book in stone,” and, on its fascinating exterior, you’ll see mysterious and monstrous creatures sculpted onto the door posts, the architraves, and the bas-reliefs that decorate the walls and, high above you, the roof (the originals of the famous “metopes,” eight sculptural reliefs, which originally appeared on the roof projections, are now housed in the Museums of the Cathedral).
Once you’ve immersed yourselves in architecture and history, head to the Ghirlandina Tower. Following the “Ghirlandiamo” map, you’ll discover the mysterious “stolen bucket” of Italian literary legend and climb the tower’s 200 steps to admire a splendid 360° panorama of the city.
Leave the past behind for a moment and, after enjoying a breather in one of the quiet cafés nearby, jump into the world of collectible cards at the famous Museo della Figurina.
This extraordinary museum, which began with Giuseppe Panini’s donation of his private collection in the early 1990s, will amaze both young and old.
The museum is dedicated to illustrated and collectible cards and other items, including stickers, postcards and sports cards, advertisements, matchboxes, calendars, small vintage prints, envelope seals, banknotes, menus, albums for collectors of trading cards, and more. Passing through the “wonderland tunnel,” you’ll enter the exhibition hall where some 500,000 examples of collectible cards are on display.
Walk through the Ducal Gardens to reach the Museo Enzo Ferrari - a mecca for automobile enthusiasts—only a few minutes by foot from the Museo della Figurina. The building that houses the Museum is a futuristic structure with a spectacular and unusual roof in the shape of a giant yellow car hood. nside, the vast salons display marvelous vintage and contemporary cars, and music and video help make your visit an experience to remember.
Here, for a fee, you can take a souvenir photo of yourself behind the wheel of a Ferrari racing car or climb into a simulator to experience the thrill of piloting a single-seater.
The last stop of this adventure-filled day is the Modena Civic Museum whose striking collections won’t let anyone’s attention flag.
In the Archaeological section, you can deepen your understanding of the history of the Etruscans and their so-called “talking urns.” An exhibit dedicated to Amazonia highlights the handmade bows and arrows of its indigenous peoples.
Finally, head to the Municipal Museum’ Art Section for the last part of your visit. There, you’ll find displays of 17th-century decorated paper with peacock and marble designs, tooled leather goods, the Serpentone (a spiral-shaped horn made of wood, leather, and brass), the statuette of a fearsome mermaid-siren, and musical instruments of many kinds.
if you’re in the mood for something different, from April to October you can visit the Terramara di Montale Open-Air Archaeological Park and Museum a few kilometers from town. The experience is a chance to dive into the past as you tour the reconstruction of a prehistoric village just as it was 3,500 years ago.
Much of the Terramara village has been rebuilt on an embankment and features a moat, a protective rampart, and two homes furnished with glassware and crockery, utensils, weapons, and clothing that show how people here once lived. But that's not all: activities and demonstrations offer opportunities for audience participation, including the production and firing of vases, the manufacture of weapons and tools in bronze, weaving with looms, and keeping the village’s fires lit.