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48 Hours in Modena and Maranello

48 Hours in Modena and Maranello

Milan is known for its beautiful sights around the city, but it is also the perfect home-base to depart from for day and weekend trips. One quick and easy weekend trip is to the cities of Modena and Maranello, which is just a short train ride south of Milan. Planning a day trip like this on your own can be a bit overwhelming if you are not sure what to do and what not to do.

Day 1 Itinerary: Exploring Modena

You will start by taking the train from Milano Centrale to Modena. You can either buy your tickets online in advance on Trenitalia, or you can buy them at the station on the day of. Remember that either way, you need to validate your ticket before you get on the first train of the day, because if they check your ticket when you are on the train and it is not validated, you could get fined. You will have one connection on that route, but all together the train ride lasts about three hours. If you choose to do so or if you have time, you can stop in the cities along the way, such as Parma and Emilia Romana. For my trip, we did not block in enough time to stop on the way there or on the way home, but I will definitely be going back to see what those cities have to offer, as well.

Once you are in Modena, the bus system can take you pretty much anywhere you need to be in the city. However, it is also super walkable, which is what we opted for. All-in-all, I walked a collective of 10 miles, which is about 16 kilometers, in Modena and Maranello together, but by no means should you feel obligated to do that, because public transportation is extremely easy to use. 

Modena is well-known for its balsamic vinegar. There are many acetaia, which are essentially farms in which balsamic vinegar is produced and aged, on the outskirts of the town that you can access by bus to visit the factories, see how the vinegar is made, and also to taste test. They have restaurants on many of these farms as well, and most are locally, family-owned, which makes them super welcoming and home-like. Antica Acetaia Cavedoni Dal 1860 is the oldest balsamic vinegar factory in Modena, so it is well-known for its balsamic tours and is highly respected in the community, but there are also many others to choose from.

Balsamic Vinegar / Photo from Antica Acetaia Cavedoni Dal 1860

It all depends on how close to the city you would like to stay. Modena lacks access to taxis and Ubers, especially during the winter months, so keep that in mind if you are planning a trip to the outskirts, and make sure you plan your mode of transportation ahead. We quickly learned that although it is only an hour walk, the streets turn to highways and make them unsafe for pedestrians to walk on, so the bus system is the easiest, cheapest, and safest bet if you are choosing to go to one of these farms.

Another important feature of Modena is the Enzo Ferrari Museum. Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena in 1898, so as you can imagine, the city dedicates a great deal to him, and this museum is nothing short of a beautiful dedication to the man who put so much back into his city. The museum is on the grounds of what was Ferrari’s family home. This museum is dedicated to Enzo and his life’s work, as well as the humble beginnings of the Ferrari brand. Here, you can test drive a Ferrari in a simulator, watch a documentary about the life and work of Enzo, see many years worth of rare, antique Ferraris in the showroom, and grab a bite to eat at the quaint bar inside of the museum.

Enzo Ferrari Museum / Photo from Wikimedia Commons

If you want to learn more about Formula One and Scuderia Ferrari, this museum is not the place to do so. Although they do have some iconic imagery of one of Michael Schummacher’s championship winning Formula One cars, the Scuderia Ferrari museum is in Maranello, so this museum in Modena is mostly dedicated to Enzo himself. 

Modena is also a great city for shopping. They have blocks of stores and shops for everything you could possibly need and more. The streets surrounding the Piazza Grande have great places to shop, or even just gaze into on your way past. The architecture in the Piazza Grande is a must-see, as well. While you are on that side of town, stopping into Mercato Albinelli to shop for produce, fresh balsamic vinegar, and wine is worth the trip. Another historic place in Modena is the Duomo, which is filled with beautiful art and architecture.

Tip: Be prepared to get good sleep the first night of your trip, because Modena, although easily accessed by bus, still requires a lot of walking.

Duomo di Modena / Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Day 2 Itinerary: Exploring Maranello

You can take a bus directly from Modena to Maranello for only €2  and it takes about half an hour to get there. The bus will drop you off about a 15 minute walk from the Ferrari Museum. On your walk there, you will pass the test track, the entrance to the Ferrari Factory, as well as many restaurants and shops dedicated to Ferrari. If you are not a Ferrari fan, there is not a great deal for you to do in Maranello, as the small city is overtaken by Ferrari-themed activities and businesses.

Ferrari Factory / Photo by Alessio Montemurro

At the museum, the majority of the employees speak both Italian and English, so if you have questions, they are extremely helpful and willing to answer anything. The exhibits in the Ferrari Museum change periodically. On my trip, I had the opportunity to see exhibitions like the Roaring 50s, the Complete History of Scuderia Ferrari, and Supercars– the Evolution of Uniqueness. There is a great deal of reading material in this museum, so you can take your time and really immerse yourself in the history of the brand and the Formula One team. They also have hundreds of cars, both regular and Formula One, old and new. You cannot touch them, but they are beautiful to look at. 

Exhibition at Ferrari Museum / Photo by Renata Testa

At the end of the museum, you have the opportunity to pay €30 to drive the Formula One car simulator for seven minutes. You get to choose between a variety of Formula One circuits, both in Italy and beyond, and you can choose between the manual and automatic settings. Fair warning, your first lap will likely consist of you trying to figure out how to work the breaks, and that is okay. This experience gave me a greater respect for Formula One drivers, as the difficulty of the simulator is only a fraction of what they experience inside the car. 

Another must-do in Maranello is eating at the famous restaurant, Ristorante Montana. Reservations are highly recommended because this restaurant is heavily sought after, as all of the Ferrari greats have eaten dinner at this restaurant and frequently go there to see Mamma Rossella, chef and owner. What makes this restaurant special, other than Rossella herself, is the beautiful collection of Ferrari memorabilia that has been collected over the years, and the changing menu, which is different each day. 

If you are legally allowed to and of age, you can test drive a Ferrari (not the Formula One car, unfortunately), through the streets of Maranello. There are many different agencies to do so at, so if you are interested in this, do your research on companies before you go so you can map out pricing and the legalities of it. 

Finally, if you get the chance, you can also see the monument of “Cavallino rampante”, Ferrari’s signature prancing horse that is the emblem on all of their vehicles. It is a large, silver statue in the center of town. 

Cavallino Rampante / Photo by Storem

Tips for Your Trip

If you are choosing to go to both Ferrari Museums (which you likely are if you are going to Maranello), it is less expensive if you purchase the tickets online as package. You end up saving about €10 if you purchase them together rather than separately. 

Another thing that is easier to buy ahead of time are your tickets for the buses. Many of the long-trip buses from Modena to Maranello and vice versa do not have active credit card stations, so they only accept cash or prepaid transportation cards.

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Bring a portable charger with you. The only places with access to charging stations are the cafes inside of the Ferrari museums and the train from Milan to Modena. The buses, although they are larger charter buses, do not have a place to charge your phone on them. You will likely drain your battery in these cities because there is a lot to take photos of.

Article by Savannah Dawson for Easy Milano

Featured image by Grigorii Shcheglov

Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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