Modena, Italy. August 2014.
I didn’t know what to expect when I visited Modena, but I’ve found that small-town Italy rarely disappoints. It’s surprising because not all countries have charm enough for big and small cities alike. Luckily, the small towns I’ve been able to visit in Italy thus far have all delivered one way or the other, and that makes for a happy traveler in me (not to mention a snaphappy one at that).
Walking around–through the main square and the train station and through the streets–one thing I noticed is the cohesive color palette that runs all throughout the city. I wonder if that was a tourism/ mayoral effort? If so, artists thank you. I mean, just look at these streets.
I spy a cute little family meal happening al fresco. SO CUTE.
Some people might not agree, but I personally love grungy paint textures. It gives so much more character and interest than if the paint job had been brand-spankin’ new.
I love that little archway-lined corridor on the left. It feels so cinematic to me for some reason.
And perhaps even more than grungy paint, I just LOVE stone and brick walls, especially ones like this that are so textured and rustic, and paired with those shabby chic green shutters too! The more decrepit it is, the better, I think. At least from an artistic/ photographic standpoint. Haha
See that strip of exposed brick on the corner building? So freaking cool.
And I love how, after walking through the maze of rust-coloured streets (like a warm Instagram filter you can’t shake off), you come upon their Piazza del Duomo and it’s this gleaming pile of stones in shades of white, like a castle for a boss fight when you get to the end of a video game.
Seriously, like photoshop away that happy little family and paste an assassin or monk or something, and I think we’ve got a video game concept here.
There are also so many strange new architectural details and features, so unlike those in the streets. Look at this creature (I don’t know what it is but it seems mythological or something), and these really cool arch/pillar things over the duomo’s doorway. It’s like a lesson in mixing prints and patterns.
And then, over a side door, the details become quite Celtic, paired with this awesome Medieval-ish door.
I love odd little details like this. I think the figure on top is a griffin, and below him, a crouching Jesus.
Another strange, seemingly mythological creature, behind bars.
This is a great example of a structure that’s not exactly symmetrical or perfect, but because of that it becomes so much more interesting.
It almost looks like people kept adding new rooms or features, but not all at the same time.
This tower looks like it was made with whatever stones they could find, but it ended up looking mosaic-like and just so textured and cool.
Next to the duomo, a structure with a clock tower which I’m guessing means this used to be (or still is) city hall.
And right past the duomo, it’s rust-coloured, quaint streets again.
While walking through a corridor on the way back to the train station, I looked up and saw these amazing frescoes. They’re in such great shape considering they’re on a street where cars pass by and commercial establishments are operating just below it.
Back to the train station
We went to Modena primarily for Osteria Francescana (separate post soon), and also for the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari, but I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting and rich the town’s architecture and overall town aesthetic were. If you’re into design and architecture and that sorta thing, Modena is definitely one of those towns you can wander around in for hours and not get bored. And best of all, it’s a foodie town too! Modena is the originator of balsamic vinegar, and is home to the world’s 3rd best restaurant, Osteria Francescana. Not a bad number of punches for a cute little town.