From Spezzano Castle to the Salse di Nirano Reserve

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If your interests call for an itinerary that gives you and your family a chance to spend a day in search of art and nature, this is the tour for you. Who lived in all those castles and what were their lives like? How have ceramics been manufactured over time? Or what about the famous “mud volcanoes” of Fiorano Modenese?

In just one day, you can walk or bike through the landscapes of the hilly countryside outside Modena, visit a Renaissance castle, and tour a nature preserve, where a lot of your questions will be answered. 

At one point, in fact, if it weren’t for the green hills you can see all around you, you might have the sensation of walking on the Moon.

If you’re lucky, you’ll come across amphibians, reptiles, birds, and more ... there are even roe deer living in the area.

You can drive to these two stops as well: Spezzano Castle has a large and convenient car park.

  • Length
    24 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop - Castello di Spezzano Fiorano Modenese

    Our tour begins with Spezzano Castle, one of the many castles found around Modena, evidence of a past marked by wars and by the comings and goings of noble families. This castle, though its origins lie in the Middle Ages, was transformed into a noble residence in the 1500s by the Pio family of Savoia.

    It’s worth stopping off in the Sala delle Vedute, where a large series of frescos depicts the more than fifty towns, towers, and castles in the area, and in the Galleria delle Battaglie whose frescoed panels depict scenes of battle featuring Marco Pio in the Hungarian War.

    Before you leave, be sure to stop in the pentagonal tower, which was once a prison. Today, it’s the home of the Municipal Vinegar Cellar. On the last Sunday of each month, expert vinegar makers are on hand to reveal the secrets of balsamic vinegar, Modena’s “black gold,” and to guide visitors through a delightful tasting.

    Don’t leave without seeing the Fiorano Museum of Ceramics, dedicated to the history of local ceramics production, still an important sector in the industrial economy of the Modena-Reggio area. 

    Once you’ve left Spezzano Castle, you might want to stop in the splendid park and picnic area that surrounds it. After a bite, you’ll be ready to push on to the Salse di Nirano.

  • Second stop - Salse di Nirano Fiorano Modenese

    Starting in the Spezzano Castle parking area, cross a small bridge and turn left. A few meters on, follow the path on the left along the river, which will take you to the entrance of the Nature Reserve. Take the Sentiero della Libellula (the “Dragonfly Trail”) until you arrive at Cà Rossa and the ecomuseum, and then return on the paved road to the entrance of the Salse di Nirano, where you’ll take the boardwalk. The many educational panels and exhibits will explain how the Salse were formed as well as introduce you to the plants and animals of the Reserve. If you’re lucky, you might meet up with a few.

    The landscape at the center of the Reserve often reminds visitors of something lunar. The famous “mud cones” are formed by underground sea water (the salty water is why the area is known as the “Salse”) that rises through cracks in the earth to mix with methane and petroleum. The cold mud, which mingles with surface clay, gives rise to flows and “eruptions” that resemble small volcanoes.

    The path continues to the Cà Tassi Visitor Center where you can take a break to admire the beautiful surroundings. 

    Beyond the Visitor Center, the path continues until it reaches a short section of paved road. Turn left on the Sentiero del Tritone (the ”Newt Trail”). From then on, walk downhill on the Sentiero del Capriolo (the “Roe Deer Trail”), which will take you back to where you started in the Spezzano Castle parking area.

Last update 04/12/2023

For more information

Editorial board Modena e pianura

Information offices

IAT Maranello
Via Dino Ferrari, 43 - Maranello (MO)
+ 39 0536 073036 Opening: all year round

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