The building of the City Theatre, recently restored, was designed by Francesco Vandelli and officially opened in 1841.
The portal on the front facade, in meo-classical style, is surmounted by a balcony while a series of panels representing plays written by Modenese authors.
If you have the slightest interest in cars, this is a must see place.
They have a nice collection of cars on display, both street cars and race cars. Among others we saw an Enzo, a F50, a 550 Barchetta, a 360 Modena and the 2001 F1 racer.
The only negative thing I can say is that the entrance fee of EUR 10 is a bit high.
Piazza Matteotti & Piazza Mazzini
I do love a good piazza, and make sure I check out as many as I can when I visit a new town. Conveniently located just off Via Emilia are a couple of nice little piazzas to visit, apart from Piazza Grande of course.
Piazza Matteotti is a large leafy piazza, that at first glance looks like a nice place to relax and check out your map. I have read though that there are problems with drug use in the piazza and the sale of counterfeit good....perhaps a place to visit during the day, not evening.
Just along from Piazza Matteotti is Piazza Mazzini, which is across the road from La Torre Ghirlandia. This piazza also has a relaxed feel, with some shady benches to relax on for a while. There are some impressive buildings to photograph including a Synagogue. The piazza is sometimes used as a venue for markets.
Originally named Torre di San Geminiano, after the patron saint of Modena whose relics are within the cathedral, this 86-metre bell tower was begun in 1179. It was designed and constructed by the group of successive architects known as i maestri campionesi, who took over from the original architect, Lanfranco. Initially, the bell tower was entirely square, consisting of the first five floors with mullioned windows, but in 1319, the octagonal Gothic-style top was added, in part to increase its height to compete with the soaring towers of the archrival Bologna. Two carved white marble cornices crowning the top of the octagonal structure made it look as though it was wearing garlands (ghirlande), hence, some say, the tower came to be known as la Ghirlandina. Although this theory is possible, others believe the name derived from the tower's similarity to la Giralda of Seville. Unfortunately, when I visited Modena in April 2010, the tower was covered in scaffolding while undergoing a major restoration project due to be completed in late 2010. The scaffolding itself was a piece of modern art, designed by Domenico Paladino, but it completely obscured the tower within. Thus, I never really saw la Ghirlandina, but had to contend myself with examining it on a large poster pinned up nearby. A photo of this poster is the main one attached, while the rest show how I actually saw the tower. One day, I hope to return to Modena to see the unveiled Ghirlandina...
Monumento a Giuseppe Mazzini
As far as I can tell from the short biographies I have read of Mazzini, he never was in Modena or, more likely, he never did anything of note in the city. Still, Mazzini is an important figure in the history of Italy and there is likely a bust of him in every major Italian town and city. The statue dedicated to Mazzini in Modena is in the aptly named Piazza Mazzini in front of the Synagogue. Mazzini was a member of the secret society of liberals the carboneria and fought for the establishment of an Italian republic throughout the 19th century. He never accepted Garibaldi's creation (the Kingdom of Italy) and died in Pisa in hiding. The monument to him in Modena is not spectacular, but it does help round out the historical tour of the city.