This was not the first time I visited the rooms of “Palazzo Comunale” (the City Hall of Modena). I was there in different occasions mostly celebratory and formal like weddings. Perhaps many people don’t know that it’s possible to visit these rooms almost every day of the week and the entrance is free. Therefore, a visit here is a “must” both for tourists and for citizens 🙂
The “Palazzo Comunale” is located on the north – east side of Piazza Grande and it is the City Hall of the city. It is easily recognizable from the outside by its Clock Tower and by the large arcade that frames the square. You can enter into the building taking the long Renaissance staircase, its main entrance, almost in front of the big stone you find in the square called “Preda Ringadora” (which in Modenese dialect means “the stone of the pleading”), a big marble stone used in the Middle Ages as a stage for speakers either as a place of judgment and dishonor. Go up the stairs and reach the balcony on the first floor. Take your left and you will find the entrance and the information point.
The visit to the historic rooms starts from the corridor leading to the room of “Torre Mozza” so called because it was the ancient city tower dating back 1046, whose brick wall is still visible, which was used to keep the important documents of the community. Today this is a pretty room with display cases containing some archaeological finds, a nice sitting area and several paintings of the first ‘900s made by Giuseppe Graziosi, Giovanni Forghieri, Alberto Artioli and Casimiro Jodi and some sculptures by Armando Manfredini.
Passed the corridors you will arrive inside the “Camerino dei Confirmati”, the room in which it is kept one of the city’s symbols: the famous “Secchia Rapita” (the Stolen Bucket, the original one! This is the reason of the glass case. Inside the Ghirlandina tower it’s placed a reproduction, as the legend tells 😉 ). The bucket, an ordinary wooden bucket, was the protagonist of the poem with the same name written by Alessandro Tassoni and for people of Modena represents the glorious victory over Bologna in the battle of Zappolino in 1325. In short, it’s an object of inestimable value ; )
On your right, facing the display case, there is the entrance to the “Sala del Fuoco” – the Fire Room – which takes its name from the large fireplace, where in ancient times it was preparing the coals that the street vendors were using to keep themselves warm during the winter. On the walls of the room there are paintings realized by Nicolò dell’Abate dating back to ‘500s. If you look up you would be probably charmed by the beautiful coffered ceiling with a central shield, yellow and blue, the city’s coat of arms.
Once you exit the Fire Room and passed again in front of the Bucket, you will find the entrance of “Sala del Vecchio Consiglio” – Room of the Old Council, so named because originally the city government met here. I’m sure that you will be hit by its wooden benches, its rich painted ceiling and its walls covered with decorated silk, especially the central one, in front of the window, where it’s placed the gonfalon made by Ludovico Lana realized to thank for the end the plague in 1633. It shows the patron of Modena, St. Geminiano, which symbolically offers in gift the Madonna and the Child the city.
Crossed the Room of the Old Council you will arrive at “Sala degli Arazzi” – the Tapestry Room. Here there aren’t some real tapestries, but large painted canvases, original from the ‘700s, which perform the same function, that portray the moment of the Treaty of Constance in 1183. This room was used over time as an archive, as headquarters of the conservatives and as Mayor’s office.
The last room you will find is “Sala the Matrimoni” – the Wedding Room, very spacious and bright. Immediately it hits by its long table, the great chandelier, the ceiling painted and the many paintings on the walls realized by Malatesta, the most important painter of Modena in the nineteenth century.
Visiting the historic rooms as a tourist has made me appreciate even more their beauty.
I have taken my time to take pictures and read all the information. Once leaving I have also signed the register and written a little thought 🙂
The story of my visit to the historic rooms of the “Palazzo Comunale” is also on Steller :
The Palazzo Comunale of Modena is in Piazza Grande 16 (first floor):
- from Monday to Saturday 9.00 – 19.00 (free entrance). Pay attention to Saturday that it’s the wedding day and the visit could be difficult.
- Sunday and holidays: 9.30 – 12.30 (free entrance) and 15.00-19.00 (euro 2 or the Unisco ticket 6 euro). Closed on Easter Sunday, Christmas and the 1st of January.
IAT -UFFICIO INFORMAZIONE ED ACCOGLIENZA TURISTICA – www.visitmodena.it – here the web site page dedicated to the rooms.
Piazza Grande, 14 – 41121 Modena
Phone: +39 059/2032660 – Fax: +39 059/2032659