ELLE Escapes: Modena

There’s maybe no extra becoming strategy to arrive in Modena—situated within the coronary heart of Italy’s Motor Valley—than in a Maserati. I used to be invited to affix the posh Italian automaker on a street journey from Rome, via Tuscany, to Maserati’s hometown on the south facet of the Po Valley, in an effort to test-drive each the 2024 gas-powered GranTurismo Trofeo and GranTurismo Folgore, the model’s first-ever electrical sports activities automotive.

For the uninitiated, the Folgore, which interprets to “lightning” in Italian, is able to reaching 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, and after driving the automotive and feeling its torque pulse via my whole physique, I can verify it was simply as fast to speed up, if not sooner, as its gas-powered counterpart. In the middle of two days, I went from nervously saying, “We drive the vehicles ourselves?” to asking (er, demanding) my driving accomplice to forego his final driving shift so I might cruise via town behind the wheel myself.

It’s been mentioned {that a} ardour for racing and vehicles runs via the veins of Emilia-Romagna, and with the area (situated simply north of Tuscany) serving as residence to not solely Maserati, however Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ducati, and several other different automotive firms, it’s simple to see why. However Emilia-Romagna can also be well-known for its delicacies, and for good motive, as most of the most famed Italian meals—prosciutto di parma, mortadella, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar—originate right here.

Positioned in the midst of Emilia-Romagna, Modena is the right place to attempt all of them. It’s additionally an ideal leaping off level to discover the area, as Parma and Bologna are every inside a 30-minute drive. Right here’s a rundown of what to see, eat, and drink, and the place to remain, whilst you’re in Modena, regardless of the way you arrive.

What to See

Acetaia Pedroni and Osteria di Rubbiara

pedroni balsamic vinegar

Courtesy of Pedroni Household

Provided that balsamic vinegar originated in Modena, I knew I needed to go to an acetaia, or vinegar cellar, whereas I used to be on the town. A brief cab trip via lush grapevine fields introduced me to Acetaia Pedroni, which was constructed on the location of a former monastery that dates again to 1100. I took a tour of the grounds the place the Pedroni household has been producing conventional balsamic vinegar since 1862 and realized in regards to the varied steps within the manufacturing course of, together with that, in an effort to be an formally licensed Conventional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena beneath the European Protected Designation of Origin system, the vinegar should be aged for no less than 12 years. (I additionally had the pleasure of assembly the 87-year-old patriarch Italo, who nonetheless lives on website, although his son, Giuseppe III, is working the place now.) After the tour, I used to be given a tasting, the place I used to be capable of attempt a vinegar that had been aged for 25 years in a barrel that was 150 years outdated. It might have ruined all different balsamic for me; that is what it’s presupposed to style like? I had to purchase a bottle to take residence. Subsequent up was a scrumptious four-course lunch that includes native specialities with balsamic dotted on high, paired with a glass of Casa Pedroni Lambrusco. My favourite course was dessert: a wealthy vanilla custard drizzled with vinegar, a salty-sweet lover’s dream.

Maserati Manufacturing facility and Showroom

maserati modena factory tour showroom

Courtesy of Maserati

No go to to Motor Valley is full with out taking in a little bit of auto historical past. However slightly than visiting one of many extra conventional automotive museums on the town, I like to recommend taking a tour of the Viale Ciro Menotti manufacturing facility Maserati has known as residence because the Thirties. I’ve by no means thought of myself a lot of a automotive geek, however even I might get into how cool it was to see Maserati’s MC20 supercar being handcrafted by staff standing a mere 10-feet from me. Along with the meeting line—the place you see every custom-made MC20 constructed from body to the ultimate product being wrapped to ship out to its fortunate new proprietor—the tour additionally features a go to to the engine lab, the areas the place the vehicles are meticulously examined and, my favourite half, the place they’re painted by enormous robotic arms. Earlier than or after the hour-long tour, you possibly can go to Maserati’s showroom and admire (and hop in!) a few of its newest fashions and choose up some merch to take residence.

Mercato Albinelli

modena pasta

Kayla Webley Adler

There are few actions I really like extra when touring than wandering a meals market. Not solely is it an ideal, cost-effective introduction to native cuisines, however grocery procuring among the many locals all the time helps me really feel rather less like a vacationer and somewhat extra at residence. The stalls inside Mercato Albinelli, a big lined market within the coronary heart of Modena, overflow with the entire regional meals specialties: hunks of prosciutto, parmesan wheels, and freshly made tortellini. One store to not be missed is Je Suis Marisa, which sells recent pasta that’s nearly too fairly to eat (nearly). Cease by for a view of the colourful recent pasta case embellished with flowers and choose up some pasta to take residence, or get pleasure from a bowl of tortellini on-site. Don’t skip the sandwiches from Bar Schiavoni, simply exterior of Albinelli; you may acknowledge the sausage choice from the second season of Grasp of None.

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The place to Eat

Franceschetta 58


Courtesy of Francescana Group

I want I used to be the sort of one who deliberate far sufficient forward to have secured a reservation at chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, which holds three Michelin stars and has been named the very best restaurant on the earth…twice. However when you’re like me—a last-minute Larry—don’t despair, seize a desk at Francescana’s informal and extra accessible household bistro, Franceschetta 58. Select from two tasting menus, one that includes seasonal fare and the second with the classics, or order à la carte. However no matter you select, be sure that to attempt the Emilia Burger; the patty is constituted of beef (chianina) and pork sausage (cotechino), layered with parmesan, and topped with a inexperienced sauce made with parsley, anchovies, and capers, and mayonnaise infused with balsamic vinegar. I’m nonetheless drooling.



Kayla Webley Adler

Previous meets new at Prospero, which takes native classics like tortellini served in rooster broth and modernizes the dish by making the broth lemongrass-flavored and including dots of pistachio cream to the pasta. I additionally particularly loved the asparagus carbonara. One other good contact: the restaurant places as a lot care into the music it performs because the meals it serves; you possibly can take heed to its playlists on Spotify.


bloom gelato modena

Courtesy of Bloom

This can be a daring assertion, however Modena simply may need the very best gelato in all of Italy—and that’s principally due to Bloom, which serves up all-natural gelato and sorbet that options creative components, like grapefruit marmalade, peach jam infused with juniper, and candied Sicilian tangerines.

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The place to Drink


archer wine bar modena

Courtesy of Archer

Archer is a comfortable, romantic pure wine bar that has an ideal choice of wines from Italy and close by international locations like France and Slovenia, together with a choice of small plates. Take pleasure in a glass of chianti with a plate of anchovies, butter, and toast, and benefit from the view of the Ghirlandina bell tower.

Cleto Chiarli

cleto chiarli wine modena

Courtesy of Cleto Chiarli

Cleto Chiarli is the oldest vineyard in Emilia Romagna and the primary to bottle and commercialize the area’s now-famous Lambrusco. Select from two kinds of the bubbling wine: the drier pink-hued Lambrusco di Sorbana, or the sweeter purple Lambrusco Grasparossa. You may go to Cleto Chiarli within the coronary heart of Modena, or at its vineyard within the countryside 20 minutes exterior town.



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Journey again in time at Cesare, a quaint tavern that dates again to 1934. The house, with wood tables and chairs, retro paneling, and outdated images, is a dive (in the easiest way) however the cocktails are high-brow. The “Lola Love,” made with vodka, passionfruit, vanilla, lychee foam, and lemongrass, is very tasty.

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The place to Keep

Lodge Rua Frati 48 in San Francesco

hotel rua frati

Courtesy of Lodge Rua Frati

I fell for Lodge Rua Frati 48 as quickly as I realized it’s set in a Renaissance-era palace. And certainly, every part about staying there was royal: There are a number of beautiful commonspaces, palatial visitor rooms, huge jacuzzi tubs, and an expansive breakfast unfold. Rua Frati 48 was additionally the one time I’ve encountered a “pillow menu” in my resort room, one thing I didn’t know I wanted and now should have at any future resort (a lady likes to have choices!).

Casa Maria Luigia

casa maria luigia

Courtesy of Francescana

Osteria Francescana’s Massimo Bottura turned his consideration to luxurious lodging, opening a rustic home resort in 2019 within the outskirts of Modena alongside together with his spouse, Lara Gilmore. Casa Maria Luigia is a superbly restored 18th-century farmhouse, surrounded by non-public gardens, that features simply 12 rooms, no two alike. The resort is exquisitely designed with a mixture of classic and up to date furnishings and items from the couple’s artwork assortment—Ai Weiwei and Damien Hirst, amongst others—dangle on the partitions. However maybe the very best half about staying at Casa Maria Luigia is having the ability to raid the kitchen, the place chef Jessica Rosval (who labored at Francescana for seven years) and her group go away salads, snacks, and recent baked bread for company to nibble on from 6 A.M. to midnight.

Lodge Cervetta 5

hotel cervetta 5

Courtesy of Lodge Cervetta 5

Nestled on an enthralling avenue stuffed with sidewalk cafés, simply steps from Piazza Grande, lies Lodge Cervetta 5, a not too long ago renovated boutique resort, smack in the midst of historic Modena. The 22 rooms characteristic stylish décor, luxurious furnishings, and all of the comforts of residence, together with recent baked pastries within the morning.

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Headshot of Kayla Webley Adler

Deputy Editor

Kayla Webley Adler is the Deputy Editor of ELLE journal. She edits cowl tales, profiles, and narrative options on politics, tradition, crime, and social tendencies. Beforehand, she labored because the Options Director at Marie Claire journal and as a Workers Author at TIME journal.