from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
coat of arms
Modena (Italy)
Country Italy
region Emilia-Romagna
province Modena  (MO)
Local name Mòdna
Coordinates 44 ° 39 '  N , 10 ° 56'  E Coordinates: 44 ° 38 '46 "  N , 10 ° 55' 33"  E
height 34  m slm
surface 182 km²
Residents 186,830 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 1,027 inhabitants / km²
Factions please refer
Post Code 41100
prefix 059
ISTAT number 036023
Popular name modenesi or geminiani
Patron saint San Geminiano (January 31st)
Modena's Palazzo Comunale (town house) dates back to the 12th century. However, it received its current appearance in the 16th century. Part of the cathedral is visible on the left.
Palazzo Ducale - The former palace of the Dukes of Modena

Modena [ ˈmɔːdena ] (dt. Outdated Muden , lat. Mutina , in the Modenese dialect Mòdna ) is a northern Italian university town with 186,830 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019), located on the southern edge of the Po Valley. It is a modern industrial city with a historical center (Centro Storico), which is located in the Emilia-Romagna region and is the capital of the province of Modena of the same name .

The university (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia), based in Modena and Reggio Emilia, was founded in 1175. There is also an academy of science and art, a geophysical observatory, a military academy and a botanical garden . Modena is the seat of an archbishop .


Modena has its origins in the originally Etruscan settlement of Mutina . It was made at the beginning of the 4th century BC. Conquered by the Celtic Boians and came during the Celtic Wars in 222 BC. BC as Mutina in the possession of the Romans , whereby the Roman rule was endangered in the first years by uprisings of the Boier and the incursion of Hannibal in northern Italy. 183 BC Through Marcus Aemilius Lepidus , Mutina became the seat of a Roman colony in the province of Gallia cisalpina . The Roman city lay immediately southeast of the modern city and is several meters below. The city seems to have had a certain importance in the Empire. Their vineyards and pottery are mentioned by Pliny , with the latter operating a considerable export trade. The territory bordered that of Bologna and Regium, and in the south it seems to have extended to the Apennine ridge. During the civil wars, 78 BC persisted. BC Marcus Junius Brutus within the city walls against Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus . 43 BC During the Mutinensian War, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus , assisted by Octavian and the consuls Aulus Hirtius and Gaius Vibius Panza Caetronianus , successfully defended the place against a four-month siege by Marcus Antonius ( Battle of Mutina ). Mutina gradually fell into disrepair in the 4th century. The sackings of Attila and the problems of the Lombard period left it a ruined city in a wasteland. In the 7th century, perhaps due to a terrible flood, a new city was founded 6 km northwest on the site of today's Cittanova, Città Geminiana.

But towards the end of the 9th century, Modena was rebuilt and fortified by its bishop Ludovicus. When construction of the cathedral began in 1099, the city was part of the property of Margravine Mathilde of Tuszien . But when the building was bought by Lucius III in 1184 . was inaugurated, it was a free commune. In the wars between Frederick II and Gregory IX. she took the emperor's side, even if the papal faction was strong enough to confuse politics. In 1288 Obizzo II. D'Este was recognized as lord of the city. After the death of his successor Azzo VIII (1308) it regained its independence as a commune; however, by 1336 the Este family was back in power.

In 1452 Modena was constituted as a duchy in favor of Borso d'Este and enlarged and strengthened by Ercole II . When Ferrara was incorporated into the Papal States in 1598, it became the ducal residence. Francis I (1629–1658) built the citadel and began the palace, which was significantly embellished by Francis II . Rinaldo was driven out of the city twice during the French invasions (1737). In return, Modena annexed the county of Novellara in 1737 and overthrew the Gonzaga , who had previously ruled there and allied with France . The city owes many of its public buildings to Franz III. (1737–1780), who developed close ties to the Habsburg imperial family . His son Ercole III. (1780–1796) married the heir to the throne of the double duchy of Massa and Carrara and married his own heir, Maria Beatrice, to a son of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria , Archduke Ferdinand of Austria , the progenitor of the House of Austria-Este.

The territory of the Duchy of Modena grew as follows: 1527 Principality of Carpi and Novi (previously papal, before Pio), 1635 Principality of Corregio (previously Corregio), 1711 Duchy of Mirandola and Margraviate Concordia (previously Pico), 1737 Principality of Novellara (previously Gonzaga) and in 1743 the Duchy of Massa and the Principality of Carrara (previously Cibo).

In the course of the cataclysmic French Revolutionary Wars, however, these connections were of no use to the last Este duke, in 1796 the city and duchy of Modena were occupied by the French and initially converted into the Cispadan Republic , in 1797 incorporated into the Cisalpine Republic (Lombardy), which later became Napoleonic "Kingdom of Italy" transformed. Ercole III. d'Este died in exile in Treviso in 1803 , the German Duchy of Breisgau and Ortenau , which he had been awarded as compensation due to Austrian advocacy, ruled briefly by his son-in-law Ferdinand of Austria until 1805.

After the fall of Napoleon in 1814, the eldest son of Ferdinand and Maria Beatrice, Franz IV of Austria-Este (1814–1846), received the status of Estensi back. After his mother's death in 1829, he inherited the duchies of Massa and Carrara, and in 1847 his son added the small duchy of Guastalla (previously to Parma) and Fivizzano (previously to Lucca) to the union of states . The rule of Francis IV was partly subservient, partly scheming, but domestically reactionary and despotic. The duke tried in vain to become king of Sardinia himself by marrying a Sardinian princess and fighting against the heir to the throne, Karl Albert , the progenitor of the later kings of Italy . At the outbreak of the July Revolution in 1830, Francis IV is said to have briefly been inclined to encourage the revolutionary movement in Modena and to use it for his dynastic ambitions. But no sooner had the Austrian army put an end to the uprisings in central Italy than he returned to his earlier policy and executed those leaders of the Modenese liberals with whom he had previously secretly negotiated.

His son and successor Franz V. Ferdinand (1846-1859/60) essentially followed his father's policy. After being forced to leave his countries by the revolution in March 1848, he returned under the protection of Austrian troops in August 1849 and led a ruthlessly reactionary, widely hated regime. In June 1859 - after Austria's defeat in Italy against France and Sardinia - Francis V had to flee for good, not forgetting to take his most precious art treasures and his political prisoners with him to Austria. In March 1860 the Modenese states became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and in 1861 they became part of the unitary state of Italy.

When the overthrown Duke Franz V died childless in exile in Austria in 1875, the young Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863–1914), a nephew of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I , inherited his fortune and the title of "Archduke of Austria-Este" was heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary since 1896 and his assassination in Sarajevo in June 1914 formed the immediate cause of the First World War .

A sister of Franz V, Maria Theresa of Modena († 1886), was the wife of the last aspirant to the throne of the Bourbons for the French royal crown, Count Heinrich von Chambord († 1883).

San Geminiano Cathedral with Ghirlandina Tower
The Modena Synagogue in Piazza Mazzini


The Modenese are proud of the Piazza Grande with its Romanesque cathedral San Geminiano (Duomo) and the 88 m high campanile (Torre Ghirlandina). In 1997 this architectural ensemble was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The cathedral, consecrated to St. Geminianus, the city's patron saint, was begun in 1099 by the Lombard builder Lanfranco and the stonemason Wiligelmo da Modena . It is the most important building in the city. The marble-clad brick facade of the church is structured by typical Romanesque style elements such as dwarf galleries and blind arcades. The magnificent Gothic wheel window and the two attached turrets as well as the two simple side portals were created by stonemasons from Campione. The migrant workers from the northern Italian town near Lugano were involved in the construction work for over seven generations; the cathedral was completed among them in 1322.

The landmark of Modena is the Torre Ghirlandina (small garland). The free-standing bell tower, which is typical for Italy, was begun in the Romanesque style at the beginning of the 12th century and completed with a Gothic spire in the 14th century by the Maestri from Campione.

Opposite the cathedral is the Palazzo Comunale (town house), the secular counterpoint to the Duomo. The clock tower is from the original building from the 12th century, but like the entire palace, it was heavily modified during major renovations in the 16th century. The stone grandstand in front of the building, the so-called "Pietra Ringadora", served as a lectern from which speeches were given to the people. In addition to this function, the stone block also served as a pillory. Delinquent debtors were sentenced to three times touching him with their bare buttocks as a sign of humiliation. The bodies of unknown drowned people were also laid out here in the hope that they would be identified by a passerby.

Other sights include the Palazzo Ducale, which is located away from the historic center of Modena. The construction of the ducal palace was commissioned by Francesco I. d'Este in 1634, but was not completed until the middle of the 19th century. Behind the long and imposing façade is the most traditional officers' school in Italy, the Accademia Militare .

The city's lifeline and at the same time one of the most popular promenades is Via Emilia , which runs through the historic center of the city. The Roman road is a total of 262 kilometers long and runs through Bologna, Modena and Parma to Piacenza in the Po Valley. Its construction began in 187 BC. Under the consul Emilius Lepidus. The name of the Emilia-Romagna region goes back to the Via Emilia.

In Modena there is a synagogue from 1873, which is clearly visible and centrally located on Piazza Mazzini. On the night of December 12, 2003, she was the victim of what was described as the first Islamist terrorist attack on Italian soil. The perpetrator of Arab origin blew himself up in his car near the building with the help of gas bombs. It later emerged that he was poorly integrated in the local Islamic community and suffered from numerous psychoses and was treated with psychotropic drugs.

Panoramic picture of the Piazza Grande with the cathedral (Duomo) in the center and the Palazzo Comunale (town hall) on the right

An important museum in the city is the Galleria Estense , in which the collections of the Dukes of Este are shown. Although Francesco III. For the renovation of the ducal treasury in 1746, he had to sell an estimated one hundred paintings to the King of Poland and Saxon Electors, the Galleria Estense is still one of the most important Italian collections today. ) On display are paintings by Tintoretto , Veronese , Guido Reni , Jacopo Bassano , Correggio , Cosmè Tura , Tommaso da Modena , Lorenzo di Credi , Jacopo Palma the Younger , Dosso Dossi , Guercino , the Carraccis and the primitive Emiliani. The most famous works in the collection include the triptych by El Greco and two portraits by Francesco I d'Este , a marble bust by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a painting by Diego Velázquez . Other showpieces include ancient Etruscan and Roman objects, ceramics, examples from the Este medal collection and musical instruments, including the famous Arpa Estense , a harp.

In the Cimitero San Cataldo cemetery there is a cubic ossuary , which was built in 1984 according to plans by the architects Aldo Rossi and Gianni Braghieri .


The luxury car brand Maserati is based in Modena and is famous for sporty luxury cars. Here a Maserati 3500 GTI.

In the urban area and the surrounding area there are predominantly ceramic (especially wall and floor tiles), cement, leather and food industries as well as machine and vehicle construction ( Maserati ). In neighboring Maranello , 18 km south of Modena, the head office of the car manufacturer Ferrari ( Scuderia Ferrari ) is located. The history of the group is presented in the Galleria Ferrari and some of the Ferrari models and racing cars are exhibited. The office where Enzo Ferrari worked on Via Trento e Trieste in Modena is also shown. Test drives and engine tests of Ferrari and Maserati for test drives in the adjacent Apennines are carried out on the adjacent test track . 20 km east of Modena is Sant'Agata Bolognese , this is where Automobili Lamborghini is at home. The sports car manufacturer Pagani Automobili is also based in San Cesario sul Panaro near Modena. The Banca popolare dell'Emilia Romagna is one of the service companies based in Modena .

In the outskirts of the city, on the other hand, agriculture still plays an important role. There the most famous Lambrusco (Lambrusco di Sorbara), a ruby ​​red, sometimes slightly foaming (frizzante) wine, is pressed and exported all over the world. In addition, the area around Modena is home to the largest cherry groves in Italy. In addition, the Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar) as well as the Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano ( Parmesan cheese ) are other export items. Agriculture and the food industry in the province of Modena were badly affected by the earthquake on May 20 and 29, 2012 and reported damage of 400 million euros.


Until the death of Luciano Pavarotti in September 2007, the concert "Pavarotti and Friends" took place once a year in May in Parco Novi Sad, a concert by the Modena-based star tenor with famous pop and rock stars from all over the world.

Alternative life

Since July 2000 the "spazio sociale libertario / anarchico" Libera has been in the surrounding area, a social center that is known in Modena for its many festivals, the ecological commitment against the construction of a car dome and against the duplication of the local waste incineration plant and others Initiatives such as the squatting of the “Comitato per il diritto alla casa” and the USI Modena for three homeless Tunisian families have brought about. The alternative library “Un'idea” also exists in the historic old town.


Until the unification of Italy, the flag of the Duchy of Modena and Reggio was used in Modena . Today it is based on the colors of the city's coat of arms.


Modena is football club FC Modena resident who currently in the Serie B play.

Town twinning


Famous personalities of the city are included in the list of personalities of the city of Modena .

Web links

Commons : Modena  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Modena  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics of the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31 of 2019.
  2. Comune di Modena - elenco quartieri e circoscrizioni di decentramento
  3. Wilfried Koch : Baustilkunde - The standard work on European architecture from antiquity to the present . 32nd edition. Prestel Verlag (Random House), Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-7913-4997-8 , pp. 427 .
  4. Katharina Kort: The economic aftershocks. In: . May 23, 2012, accessed February 11, 2015 .