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The charming city of Modena, in Italy’s gastronomic triangle, combines a slow pace of life with a heritage of fast cars. International brands Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini are from the city and its surrounds. Modena's foodie credentials include being the original home of balsamic vinegar, which is still produced in the verdant countryside surrounding the city. Take your time marvelling at the historic centre’s architectural treasures, before tucking in to a home-cooked plate of tortellini pasta, washed down with sparkling Lambrusco red wine.
In Modena you can stay in a century-old countryside farmhouse, surrounded by vineyards, orchards, artisanal cheesemakers and balsamic vinegar producers. Relax in a hammock or deck chair in the garden, or escape the sun in the comfortable common room. Choose a Modena hostel with an on-site bar and you’ll have the perfect place for a sundowner at the end of the day. You can expect to find private twin and double rooms, as well as family rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Corso Canal Grande runs from the Ducal Gardens to Via Masherella, and is a contender for the most beautiful street in Italy. Built along the path of the Roman walls, the street is lined with brightly painted palazzos, jazz clubs, fashion boutiques and cafés. The Piazza Grande, once Modena’s trading centre, is home to the Cathedral and Torre Ghirlandina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Piazza della Pomposa is the place to sit out on a balmy evening with a cool drink before bar-hopping through the surrounding streets.
The Enzo Ferrari Museum will be the first stop for fans of fast cars and Formula One, where visitors can see the Enzo’s childhood home and a display of timeless models. Food lovers should book a trip out to an acetaia to learn more about the production and ageing of balsamic vinegar, finishing with a tasting. To soak up the local lifestyle, wander through the Albinelli Market to browse the stalls selling salami, locally grown vegetables and cheese.
Modena has a reliable public bus system and extensive network of cycle paths to help you get around. The train station, Stazione di Modena, is north of the historic centre and connects with destinations such as Bologna, Parma and Milan. The closest airport is Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport, which is 40km away. Milan Malpensa and Florence Airport are both a few hours’ drive away.