Are you fond of music and would like to discover its history? Then this itinerary will certainly arouse your curiosity!
A journey under the banner of past music, from the centre of Modena to Sestola, a lively town of the Modenese Apennines. Modena and the surrounding areas teem with precious examples of ancient musical instruments, crafted from a wide variety of materials with a really fascinating history.
Let's start our tour from the historical centre of Modena, more precisely from Palazzo dei Musei, where two of the most important places relating to ancient musical instruments are located: we are talking about the Estense Gallery and the Civic Museum.
This huge gallery is home to such unique specimens as the Estense Harp, commissioned by Duke Alfonso II from a Roman luthier. A lover of all artistic disciplines, it was not unusual for the Duke to develop a passion for curious and bizarre objects.
As a result, since 1686 the collection has been enriched with beautiful musical instruments, commissioned more for their beauty than for any real instrumental needs. The remaining traces of this heritage are now to behold along the gallery's halls and corridors, including some wooden instruments (a violin and a cello), and three instruments inlaid in Carrara marble (a flute, a guitar and a harpsichord).
Among the marvels included in the musical instrument collection of Modena's Civic Museum we cannot but mention: the guitar lyre carved from wood, brass and bronze by Gennaro Fabbricatore, the rectangular spinet dating back to the 16th-17th centuries, the 18th-century wooden harpsichord by Pietro Termanini, the late 18th-century serpentone made of wood, leather and brass and the high-B♭ brass french horn by Antonio Apparuti.
Let's spend the afternoon exploring the Apennines, more precisely Sestola, about 55 km from Modena (an hour and a half by car), home to the Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments, now housed inside the ancient fortress.
Inaugurated in 1995, the Museum exhibits specimens mostly dating back to the 19th century, including about 120 items from the Eduard Thoenes collection, with organettos, pianolas, cylinder pianos and music boxes, mechanical dolls, roller pianos and gramophones.