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Home of the Union of Municipalities of the Ceramic District, Sassuolo is the world capital of ceramics, in fact, and a pleasant town located south-west of Modena.

Why visit it

Probably built on a Roman settlement, whose presence is confirmed by archaeological remains found on the hills of Montegibbio, Sassuolo was governed by the Canossa family until the first decade of the year 1000. It became then a free municipality. During the 15th century, it was first conquered by the Della Rosa and, afterwards, by the Este family, who gave it to the Pio of Carpi and then retook it in 1599. The period the Este ruled the city represented the time of its greatest economic and artistic growth, as made clear by the amazing Palace, which was transformed from a castle into an Este “Delight” under the domain of Duke Francesco I.

Lively and full of initiatives, Sassuolo is a very nice town to visit and experience. Rich in historical and cultural beauties, among which is the splendid Palazzo Ducale, or Este Delight, we recommend that you organize your visit here by taking some time to fully enjoy the discovery of local life, taking into account the various initiatives planned and of the many points of interest in the surrounding area, including the relaxing Terme di Salvarola, to which a day must be dedicated.

When to go and what to see

As for all the territories of the province of Modena, spring and autumn, given the milder temperatures, are certainly preferable to organize your visit here. In any case, given the liveliness of this location where initiatives and events are often organized, all periods of the year deserve to be taken into consideration during your programming.

Don't miss

The Ducal Palace, also known as the “Delight of the Duke of Este” (the summer residence and official headquarters of the court), is one of the most important Baroque residences in northern Italy. Its current appearance dates back to 1634, when Duke Francesco I d’Este commissioned the best artists of the time, like Bartolomeo Avanzini and Gaspare Vigarani, to transform the ancient and massive castle into the ducal residence. The palace, situated in the Secchia valley, was surrounded by a giant park enriched by fountains. Richly and beautifully decorated (inside and outside) by important artists such as Jean Boulanger, Angelo Michele Colonna, and Agostino Mitelli, it enchanted the duke’s guests, among them Queen Cristina of Sweden and the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez.

The Ducal Palace was famous for its park and its Italian style gardens. The Park is nowadays far smaller than it was in the past: during the 18th century it stretched for more than 12 km, joining the hills with the northernmost plains near Magreta. Apart from being a “garden”, it was used by the court and their guests for hunting. There was also an area for cattle breeding and sheep farming. Small buildings enclosed within it were then used for resting, like the Casiglia and the Belvedere of S. Michele. Everything changed when the French came: the centuries-old woods were razed, and the park was divided. At the entrance of the garden, on the south side of the Palace, stands the Peschiera (also known as “Fontanazzo/fish farm”): the monumental water theatre designed by Bartolomeo Avanzini and Gaspare Vigarani (1650) with the help of many specialists. This monumental fountain, made of raw materials like tuff, had to resemble a country home in ruin.

The Cavallerizza Ducale was built between 1781 and 1788 on commission by Duke Ercole Rinaldo III to remedy the lack of stables and lodgings for the “Dragoni Ducali” (armed corps) that followed the Estense Court when moving to the palace in Sassuolo. This building today houses the first museum dedicated to contemporary ceramic art: the Museo Bertozzi & Casoni, which brings together some of the most famous works of the artists Giampaolo Bertozzi and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni. It’s a unique exhibition of its kind, at times surreal, thanks to the placing together of objects and animals that seem real, alive, such is the artistic skill in each single detail.

The current shape of Piazza Garibaldi, known as “little square”, dates back to the 16th century, when Alessandro Pio ordered its construction by building on its sides the Palazzo della Ragione and the Osteria della Posta. In 1676 Francesco II of Este commissioned the ducal architect Antonio Loraghi to build the City Tower, known as the “campanone”. Twenty years after, the theatre. Piazza Garibaldi is currently what the ducal architect Pietro Bezzi (under Francesco III’s domain) created in 1775: arcades on the three sides and the two little canals. These canals are the last two remaining canals of the uncovered aqueduct which used to cross the city’s historic old town.

In Piazza Garibaldi, right in the heart of Sassuolo, you should not miss a visit to the ancient Drogheria Roteglia, a Historical Workshop founded in 1848. The original furniture, the jars full of candies, the aroma of wood and spicy fragrances melted with the flavour of coffee and the creaking wood, will transport you back in time. Here you could taste the typical Sassuolo liqueurs, such as Nocino and Sassuolino, produced with a traditional method by the Roteglia 1848 factory, which is close to the shop. It is a unique opportunity to enjoy an authentic atmosphere and to look at old photographs while sipping a good cup of coffee.

Concentrated in just a few tens of kilometres, Ceramicland is home to numerous producers of Italian ceramic tiles: a product known worldwide, basically for its beauty and high quality. This enormous technological and scientific area is now opening its doors for the first time to visitors, offering them the opportunity to have access to laboratories and facilities to learn about the origins and the characteristics of this product.

On the table

Tradition and unexpected meetings create excellent products, such as Sassolino and Nocino.
Sassolino is a star anise-flavoured liqueur. On the other hand, Nocino: an infusion of unripe walnuts (harvested at the end of June), aged for at least 2 years with spices and herbs. Like the worldwide known and loved Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Lambrusco and Parmigiano Reggiano, the before mentioned liqueurs are protected under the PDO symbol.

Keeping fit

The Nature Itinerary along the Secchia River gives everyone the opportunity to do outdoor leisure and sport activities just by walking, running or cycling far from the city traffic to discover the natural charm of the river landscape.

The Mud Volcanoes Route is an emotional journey that connects places and excellences through the geological phenomenon of mud volcanoes, known as “Salse”, which are present in the districts of Maranello, Fiorano Modenese, Sassuolo and Viano. The Salse of Nirano is one of the most important in Italy and among the most complex in Europe.

Significant appointments

Concours d’Elegance (March)
A vintage car race curated by the Terme della Salvarola.

Sassuolo in Fiore (May)
A plant, flower and garden tool expo.

Notte Celeste (June)
The festival of spas in Emilia – Romagna, in which the Terme della Salvarola participates.

Giovedì sotto le Stelle (July)
Every Thursday evening in July, downtown is enlivened by concerts, markets, exhibitions, and other events.  

Festival della Filosofia (third weekend in September) In Sassuolo the Festival della Filosofia makes a stop, an event that has become famous also abroad in which every year an important program of masterclasses is offered, as well as events and exhibitions that have internationally known philosophers and intellectuals as their stars. 

Le Fiere di Ottobre (October)
Centuries old, Le Fiere di Ottobre are a long and complex event on 5 Sundays during which stores are open and the streets are full of people.  You go to the market stands with typical local products in the morning, then to the sporting events, social and cultural initiatives and the music shows. 

In the surroundings

MONTEGIBBIO: the name Montegibbio comes from the Latin words “mons gibbus/gibulus”, which means bumpy mount: a clear reference to the hills where the castle is located, approximately 6 km outside Sassuolo.The Castle of Montegibbio is currently not open to the public. It was probably firstly built at the beginning of 10th century and has belonged to the Municipality of Sassuolo since 1972. The court houses the Municipal Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Farm, which may be visited upon request (info: 0536880801). The fortress is surrounded by the park of Montegibbio (open all year round): a romantic English style garden which extends for approximately 30 hectares with its ancient trees: hornbeams, hazelnut, chestnut, and oak trees.

SALVAROLA TERME, on the hills, 3 km from Sassuolo, 8 from Maranello and 20 from Modena. Its waters and mud have been recognized since the Roman age, have been used by Matilda of Canossa in the Middle Ages and by the Este family during the Renaissance. All classical thermal cures are available in the ancient Liberty building, dating back to 1908. Balnea SPA, 2300 sqm of wellness, with thermal pools at various temperatures, sauna, steam room, relaxation area, solarium, 4 gyms and Sensorial Beauty Center. 

Information offices

Sassuolo tourist information
Piazzale della Rosa - Sassuolo (MO)
+ 39 0536 880920 Opening: all year round

Last update 02/07/2023

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