Two Days in Modena | Emilia-Romagna | Italy / by Cindy Swain

Cindy Swain is a certified sommelier, publishes italicana kitchen, a bilingual food, wine and travel blog and writes for a variety of food and wine publications. You can find her on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterestVimeo and LinkedIn.

Modena is a historic city and province in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is an utopia for foodies, wine lovers and car enthusiasts.  

The City of Modena

The City of Modena



Modena is the heart of many of Italy’s most famous gastronomical delicacies. In fact, this area, as well as Parma and Reggio Emilia, is often nicknamed the “food valley”. Here you can view first hand the artisan production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena in antique attics, watch how authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is made, and discover the various varieties of Italy’s famous prosciutto and other cured meats. Not to be missed is a gourmet evening at Osteria Francescana, a 3 star Michelin restaurant located in the city of Modena that was recently voted as the number one restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine.

Fresh Pasta made in Modena

Fresh Pasta made in Modena

Vigna Del Cigno

Vigna Del Cigno


Lambrusco is both a red grape variety and the name of an Italian sparkling red wine principally made in Emilia-Romagna. Sweet lambrusco achieved great commercial success in the USA in the 1970’s and 1980’s, although in subsequent years it was seen as a cheap, low-quality wine. Luckily many Lambrusco artisanal winemakers who are focused on quality are helping to re-define lambrusco in the marketplace.  

There are more than 60 Lambrusco varieties, but those that are the most popular in the province of Modena are:

Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce and Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro.

Lambrusco di Sorbara – With a vibrant color, distinct bouquet of violets, and underlying minerality, Sorbara is the most acidic of the varietals, making it perfect for the local foods high in fat like lasagna, pork rinds and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce – This wine is known for its deep ruby color and characteristic foam. Like Lambrusco di Sorbara, Salomino di Santa Croce is bottled young and is enjoyed with hearty local specialties like cotechino (slow cooked sausage) and cappelletti in brodo (stuffed pasta in a broth soup).

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro – Considered the most tannic of the varietals, Grasparossa is known for its dark purple color and pronounced aromas of plums and black cherries. It’s also robust enough to pair well with hearty fare like zampone (stuffed pig trotter).

Car Tour Highlights

Home to Ferrari

Home to Ferrari

Emilia-Romagna is the center of Italian automobile production facilities and home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, De Tomaso and Ducati. Take a factory tour, visit one of the many museums or even drive one of the super cars on a racing track.  


10:00am | Acetaia Malpighi | Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Start your morning by learning about the production techniques used to make Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena by the Malpighi family since 1850. During the free “Malpighi Taste & Guided Tour”, you will have the opportunity to view the cellar filled with ancient barrels and casks as well as sample different ages of balsamic vinegars.

11:30am | Cleto Chiarli | Winery

Cleto Chiarli was founded in 1860 and is one of the oldest producers of Lambrusco wines in Emilia. In production for over 145 years, this winery continues to produce award-winning wines with a distinctive style. Of its 18 wines, not to be missed is the “Premium Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC” and “Vigneto Cialdini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvestro DOC”.

1:00pm | Ristorante Montana in Maranello

A must for Ferrari fans. This restaurant is located right in front of the Ferrari racing track and is packed with Ferrari memorabilia. Far from a tourist trap, its the go to spot for Ferrari race car drivers and their Principal Maurizio Arrivabene. A family-run restaurant, “Mamma Rosella” (nicknamed by the race car drivers) makes delicious homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas.

3:00pm | Ferrari Museum in Maranello

A true mecca for car enthusiasts, the Ferrari Museum in Maranello allows you to live a unique and memorable experience. Here you can learn about the history of the Ferrari and Formula 1 cars, understand telemetry and pilots’ driving behaviors, take a ride in a semi-professional Formula 1 simulator, get behind the wheel of a real Ferrari for a personalized photo souvenir, and even try your hand at changing a tire. Outside of the museum, there are various car rental shops to take a Ferrari for a spin.

8:00pm | Osteria Francescana | Restaurant

This three star Michelin restaurant has recently been voted the number one restaurant in the world. Although you may need to book months in advance, the dining experience here will be one that will never be forgotten. Chef Massimo Bottura leads you on a culinary experience that blends tradition, innovation, food and art.

Osteria Francescana | Photo Credit: Paolo Terzi fotografo

Osteria Francescana | Photo Credit: Paolo Terzi fotografo


Parmesan Cheese Factory

Parmesan Cheese Factory

9:30 | Caseificio 4 Madonne | Parmesan Cheese Factory

Rise and shine because t’s time to see the production of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, which happens only in the mornings. The visit includes a tour of the milk processing area, pre-salting & salting rooms and concludes in the aging storeroom where over 33,500 parmesan wheels rest on wooden shelves. You’ll have the opportunity to peruse the store and taste the different aged cheeses and other local products, like honeys and marmalades.

11:00 | Gavioli Antica Winery & Museum

This winery, with over 220 years of history, is deeply rooted in tradition. The stunning space showcases ancient instruments, agricultural and oenological tools, and vinification equipment. During your tour here, you have the opportunity to dive into the history of Lambrusco produced in this area. Try a glass of their Lambrusco vinified according to the Ancestral Method, where the second refermentation takes place in the bottle and the residual yeasts remains on the bottom. It’s a delicious slightly turbid wine with aromas of crusty bread.

1:00pm | Agriturismo Fiorinvilla  

Lunch at an agriturismo is an authentic Italian experience. The term agriturismo is a combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian. It’s a farm-style vacation house immersed in the countryside, where you can stay during your vacation or stop by to try the local homemade cuisine. A simple restaurant that feels like home.

3:30pm  | Museum della Salumeria

Italian cold cuts are renowned around the world, yet how are they prepared? At this charcuterie museum you will have the chance to discover the techniques passed down from generation to generation to produce these beloved delicacies. Choose from a free or guided visit with optional meat tastings.


Caseificio 4 Madonne | Parmesan Cheese Factory


Str. di Lesignana, 130, 41123 Lesignana MO

Telephone: +39 059 849468

Gavioli Antica Winery & Museum

Via Provinciale Ovest 55, 41015, Nonantola, Italia

Telephone: +39 059545462

Agriturismo Fiorinvilla  

Via Montanara 139, 41100, Modena, Italia

Telephone: +39 059 251246

Museum della Salumeria

Via E. Zanasi, 24

41051 Castelnuovo Rangone (MO) Italy

Telephone: +39 346 2557407


Acetaia Malpighi

Via Vignolese, 1487 – 41126 Modena (Zona San Donnino) Italy

Telephone: +39 059 467725


Cleto Chiarli Winery


Ristorante Montana in Maranello

Via XX Settembre, 3 - 41040 Spezzano di Fiorano (MO)

Telephone: +39 0536 843910


Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Via Dino Ferrari 63 – 41053 Maranello (MO)

Telephone: +39 335 6422943.

Osteria Francescana

Via Stella 22, Modena, Italy

Telephone: +39 059 223912