An afternoon in Modena
So far our morning was a fully packed romp through the wonders of Balsamic vinegar production but, the day was only half over. It was lunch time and our host, Simone, from the Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico di Modena, had a plan to take us to one of his favorite local eateries.
The restaurant, an unassuming place on a country road served good honest food perfect for refueling before our busy afternoon.
The specialty of the house was roasted meats and we could not resist indulging in some rabbit. First, we enjoyed a trio of pasta to warm us up. Then out came simple plates of perfectly cooked rabbit along with roasted potatoes and sautéed greens.
Add a couple of glasses of vini rossi to wash it all down and before we knew it we were back on the road into Modena.
Tour of Modena
There was a tour of Modena organized for us with a private guide to walk us through the history of Modena. Meeting her in the main square we wasted no time and started our two-hour journey through the historic part of Modena. Standing in the square we marveled at the wonky architecture of the cathedral that had been corrected of its many build mistakes during its erection. Starting from both ends and working towards the middle it was soon obvious that the church would not come together properly so some changes were made that show themselves with mismatched angles and broken lines. The bell tower had also begun to sink leaving it leaning noticeably to one side. Aside from its crooked construction, it remains beautiful inside and out with marvelous carvings and artwork.
One thing we found quite neat is around the bell tower where they used to have the town market, indentations are carved into the stone that would have been used to measure ricotta cheese.
Moving on we visited the city headquarters and mayor’s offices housed in a stunning group of halls that can be rented out for weddings and events. We walked the main piazza, Piazza Grande, down towards the military college with its imposing facade and classic piazzas while our guide explained some interesting anecdotes of the history and lore of the statues and construction. Modena is a cozy little town and it’s Centro Storico could easily be walked in a couple of hours but by now we were starting to get pretty tired as the sun slowly disappeared.
One more stop
One more stop was scheduled and it was definitely enough to give me my second wind and make the frosty walk to the Enzo Ferrari museum.
Housed in Enzo’s actual first home and shop in Modena the museum is a fantastic ode to the world’s most famous car maker. Mr. Ferrari’s former home and shop have been converted into a large room housing an ever-changing display of cars and interesting engines leaning more towards the racing heritage of a Ferrari. For a gear head like myself, it was a chance to see the artful engineering of a V12 engine up close and follow the history of the development of the most successful brand in racing history.
A few race cars
Amongst the machinery was, a few race cars and even a Ferrari powered race boat to marvel as well as some great trivia displays on how their logo came about and Enzo’s personal fanaticism. Leaving Enzo’s workshop building you walk across to the new modern museum with its sculpted roofline emulating the hood (bonnet) of a modern Ferrari. The lobby housed the gift shop, a race car simulator, and a cafe but parting a curtain into the main hall revealed one large display floor.
As we entered a multimedia show was being projected across the entire back wall. The theme of this installation was movie cars and the video was a montage of Ferraris that had a role in Hollywood over the years.
Standing patiently we stood and watched waiting for the lights to come back on so we could admire the rolling artwork around us. Finally with the video over the lights revealed a very modern all white room with a floor that sloped and curved as you walked from car to car. Perfect examples of historic race cars, Ferraris owned by movie stars and classic Ferraris from the recent past stood on pedestals allowing a 360-degree view of their beauty.
A twelve hour day
Nat, exhausted after what was now turning into a twelve hour day watched patiently as I moved from car to car mentally taking note of every detail from every angle. Reaching the last car and one of the newest (LaFerrari) I was blown away by its sculpted radical lines and outrageous design.
Our guide, still with us, happily added in some interesting side notes of each vehicle as she followed me from car to car giggling at my uncontrollable excitement. Like a kid who had eaten to much candy, the buzz slowly started to wear off and I started to crash but not before running back to a couple of my favorite cars to soak in their style one more time. Finally, it was time to go and our guide suggested we all take a cab to the train station only a few minutes away seeing we were both completely spent.
What a day! The Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico di Modena completely outdid themselves with one of the best days of our trip so far. A fantastic insider’s view of the making of balsamic vinegar, a delicious meal and a guided tour of Modena and the Enzo Ferrari museum. Could we ask for anything more? I don’t think so.
Disclosure: We were hosted by the Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico di Modena, as always, the opinions in this post are our own.