Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

Hello sweet friends! Welcome to Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy; the third and final post in my mini-moon series! The previous two posts in the series cover all things Bologna and Ravenna, and they can be found here and here, respectively. Now though, let’s talk MODENA! I think, maybe, that we saved the best for last? For me, Modena was the real sleeper hit of the whole mini-moon; I was looking forward to exploring the town, but I genuinely had no idea how many delightful foodie moments we’d have there! To give you an idea of how much we enjoyed the food scene in Modena, alternative titles for this post were Eating Our Way Around Modena / Modena, A Foodie’s Paradise / Over-Indulging in Modena, etc. You get the gist. It was exactly what we were looking for in a mini-moon destination!

As usual, there’s a whole bunch of helpful information & recommendations listed below. This includes useful things to know before visiting, how to get there, where to stay, have coffee, eat, stop for a drink, and lastly, where to tourist. Let’s dive in!

Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

You know I love a good fun fact! Listed below are some of the best, but they also happen to be very useful to know before you go. Twofers of sorts, ya know?

• three of the main Modena landmarks – Modena Cathedral, Ghirlandina Tower & Piazza Grande – are listed together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, is a “supreme example of early Romanesque art”, while the tower and piazza testify to the faith & power of those who commissioned it! Together, they’ve been on the list since 1997.

• Modena is world famous for three mouthwateringly delicious foods: balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and Parmigiano Reggiano. While those are undeniably great, we also were very pleased to discover another Modenese specialty: gnocco fritto, literally ‘fried dough’ in English. These are little puffed up squares of light-as-air bread made of flour, water, and lard. We became obsessed with them during our time in town; they’re so tasty!! If you’re visiting, definitely have an open mind and try some! Mmm, lard.

• Modena is the birthplace of the world-famous racing car: Ferrari! Vroom vroom! Fun fact: the first time Husband and I ever visited Bologna together, we got talking to a couple in our B&B who were genuinely confused why anyone would travel to Bologna if they weren’t simply using it as a base for visiting the Ferrari museum in Modena. Lol.

• Modena is also the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti!

Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

As Modena was the third & final stop of our mini-moon, we entered the city via Bologna from Ravenna. I’m not normally a huge fan of connecting or transferring here, there or everywhere – but this was largely painless. Here’s how we did it:

• the day before we planned to leave Ravenna, we purchased our train tickets online on the Trenitalia website. Said tickets were emailed to us instantly, cost just €10.80 each, and were easy to display on our phones in the form of a QR code. Before we got onto the train on the day of departure, we clicked a button on the email for ‘self check-in’.

• from Ravenna station, we took a regional train to Bologna Centrale, where we disembarked to switch trains. This initial first train took 1-hour and 11-minutes, and we had a leisurely 38-min wait in Bologna Centrale before our next train.

• from Bologna Centrale, we took another regional train all the way to Modena; the journey was a quick 26-minutes.

• from Modena train station – which is rather nice, by the way! – we strolled the 15-minutes to our apartment, below.

Badia Apartment // a cozy apartment we found on The location was fantastic – about a 2-minute stroll to the Duomo – surrounded by heaps of great bars and restaurants. The host, Claudio, was wonderful; he was very communicative, attentive, and supplied us with many a great restaurant recommendation! He also left a couple bars of chocolate & a lovely bottle of local Lambrusco in the fridge for us to enjoy; which was such a nice touch! One slight downside of the apartment is that it’s located on the top floor of an old building – so there are a bazillion steps to climb up and down every time you’re heading out. Regardless: would recommend. Address: Via Badia 8, 41121 Modena

You guessed it: this is the lengthiest part of this whole guide. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it — we ate so well in Modena! Every single delicious morsel that passed our lips is listed below, divided into breakfast / lunch / dinner / gelato. I hope it doesn’t make you too hungry to read about! 😉

Bar Tiffany // such a fantastic local spot! We saw this place on Somebody Feed Phil, and I’m so glad we did – it was superb! The speciality here is the gnocco fritto sandwich with mortadella that you dip into your cappuccino. Now, I wasn’t ruining my perfectly delicious cappuccino by doing the dip, but our gnocco fritto was SO GOOD! Pillowy soft and wondrously salty, it was *chef’s kiss*. We also sampled both a crema + chocolate croissant and they, too, were great! Would recommend. Address: Via Canalino, 58, 41121 Modena

Mon Ca // a lovely cozy little cafe! We nabbed the last indoor table here one morning, and enjoyed ourselves so much we ordered another round of coffees! I went for my usual cappuccino + crema croissant, Husband went for his usual americano + chocolate croissant, and between us we shared a maple pecan plait – because you can never have too much butter in your life. Everything was delicious. Would recommend. Address: Corso Canalchiaro, 128, 41121 Modena

Bar Schiavoni // home to a truly marvelous sandwich: the panino di cotechino. If you’re scratching your head and wondering what the heckidy heck that is, allow me; a wonderfully crunchy & hot-from-the-press baguette, buttered generously with a mixture of mayonnaise + a vinegary green sauce, and filled with a soft melt-on-your-tongue sausage. It was, in all honesty, phenomenal. Maybe one of my favourite sandwiches ever? So juicy, crunchy, flavourful, and deliciously different! On the other hand, not so phenomenal aspects include rude staff, hectic/non-existent ordering system, 25-minute wait times, and a hefty price-tag. If you can look past all of that: would recommend. Address: Via Luigi Albinelli, 13, 41121 Modena

Trattoria Aldina // four words: you must eat here! This restaurant alone would be enough to entice us back to Modena the next time we’re in Italy; it’s amazing! We arrived around 12-minutes before opening time for lunch, and there was already a queue of people ahead of us. When the doors were finally opened, we were brought into the ’50s style Italian apartment-cum-restaurant of our dreams; which, I might add, was entirely full about 2-minutes after opening! Sensing greatness afoot, we decided to go big. We both ordered gramigna alla salsiccia to start, and shared a gnocco fritto platter with prosciutto, mortadella and salami for mains. Wow, wow, WOW! It was fantastic! The best meal of our trip hands DOWN. Added bonus: including a ½ litre house red wine, everything came to just €41. Beware: it’s cash only! A must-visit. Address: Via Luigi Albinelli, 40, 41121 Modena

Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

Trattoria da Danilo // I enjoyed this spot at the time, but now as I think back I’m realizing it was nothing special? We sampled: gramigna alla salsiccia and lasagna starters, and a main course of beef filet in balsamic vinegar to share, with a side of roast potatoes. We also shared a dessert of cantuccini soaked in walnut liqueur with mascarpone, which was rather awful. Everything except the dessert was eaten, and it was all fine, but there was nothing wow-worthy about it – you know? It was average. Address: Via Coltellini, 31, 41121 Modena

Osteria Stallo del Pomodoro // a fantastic little spot! When I came across this Osteria in the old NYT 36 Hours in Modena article, I was skeptical – but intrigued enough to book it for dinner. Spoiler alert: it’s still as fantastic as the NYT made it sound 12-years ago! We shared starters of tortellini in brodo and maccheroni pasta with wild boar; both were the best of either we’ve had anywhere in Italy. For mains, we shared roast pork belly with sides of chicory and patate al forno. Everything was, honestly, sublime; the pork was incredibly tender, the chicory was perfectly spiced, and the potatoes were drool-worthy. The only let down was a meh-ish brownie/custard dessert; we’d recommend skipping dessert and getting an extra side instead 😉 A must-visit. Address: Largo Hannover, 63, 41121 Modena

GIOELIA Cremeria // a fantastic gelateria! I went for a cup with half pistachio and half fior di latte, while Husband went for half chocolate and half hazelnut in a cone that had been filled with molten dark chocolate before our very eyes. Every flavour was a winner, and the gelato came topped with a little buttery biscuit! So delicious! A must-visit. Address: Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, 17, 41121 Modena

Would you believe, we actually found it rather hard to go out for a drink in Modena. Basically nowhere seemed to open before 6pm, and even then, many places didn’t open at all – despite what their signs said! We wasted a good bit of time walking around attempting to hit up places that were supposedly open according to their website or insta or Google listing, only to be disappointed. It was so frustrating that we actually gave up and bought some beers to have in our apartment instead! Below are the three places that were actually open during our visit:

CAFFETTERIA DROGHERIA GIUSTI SRL // a great spot for an aperitivo, with a lovely view of the Ducal Palace. We both opted for a glass of the ever-popular aperitivo, Aperol spritz, and they came with a wonderful grazing board laden with mini pizzas, olives, nuts and crisps; it was all superb! We whiled away an hour or so – sitting outside under a heater, enjoying the view, and watching the locals on their passeggiata. Would recommend. Address: Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 83, 41121 Modena

Birrlandina // a cute little craft beer place! We tried two pints of Meinel Brau, a new-to-us German lager, and rather enjoyed it! The space of the bar has a cool kind of industrial/sparse vibe going for it, there was rock music on, the staff were nice, and the beer menu was good. If you know Florence, it kind of reminded us of Archea! Would recommend. Address: Via Del Taglio, 21, 41121 Modena

Griffin’s Irish Pub // in truth, we stopped into Griffin’s as a matter of convenience; it’s rather handily located right next door to Osteria Stallo del Pomodoro, above, where we ate one night. However, we ended up rather enjoying our pints of Heineken here! The atmosphere was great, the place was packed, and there was loads of cheesy Irish memorabilia dotted around that had us chuckling. Would recommend. Address: Largo Hannover, 67, 41121 Modena

Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

We kept our tourist-ing level to an absolute minimum on this trip. The touristic highlights for us were absolutely 100% eating allll the food. If you’re looking to do some genuine tourist-ing, I’ve read that both the Ferrari and Pavarotti museums are great, but obvz can’t personally vouch for them. Below is an exceptionally short list covering the three genuine tourist attractions we did, and the one not-so-genuine.

Torre della Ghirlandina // aka: Modena bell tower. Husband braved his way up the bell tower alone while I, the scaredy cat height-fearing chicken that I am, waited in the safety of the Duomo below. It cost him €3 to go up, and he says it was worth it; there’s a great view over the Piazza Grande below and the city beyond, and the climb wasn’t too steep. Would recommend. Address: della Torre, 41121 Modena

Duomo di Modena // as cathedrals go, this was nice. It’s perhaps nicer on the outside than it is on the inside, but I enjoyed wandering around the peaceful space nonetheless. Would recommend. Address: Corso Duomo, 41121 Modena

Mercato Storico Albinelli // Modena food market! We spent ages wandering around inside this gorgeous covered market – they sell everything! Fruits and veg, fresh meats, fish, wine, chocolates; whatever you’re looking for, I’m positive they have it. Would recommend. Address: Via Luigi Albinelli, 13, 41121 Modena

Osteria Francescana // foodies will understand this one. I’m adding it to the list as a kind of joke, but Husband and I actually did stop by for a bit of a gawk one morning! Google informed us it was only a 3-minute walk from Mon Cafe, above, and it would’ve just been rude to not stop by! It was closed when we were there, duh, but it was cool to see nonetheless. Address: Via Stella, 22, 41121 Modena

There we are friends: Two Days in Modena | Our Mini-Moon in Italy. The third and final post in my mini-moon travel series – did you enjoy it? Have you visited the city of posh cars, parmesan and Pavarotti yet? If not, I hope I’ve convinced you to add it to your list!

Ciao for now!

Vicki xo

Two Days in Ravenna | Our Mini-Moon in Italy
Three Days in Bologna | Our Mini-Moon in Italy
Two Days in Amalfi & Positano | The Amalfi Coast, Italy

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