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How to Have the Ferrari Experience in Modena

28 December 2023
by Stefania Fregni
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The blockbuster movie takes place in this culinary mecca in northern Italy 

Modena, a small city in Emilia-Romagna just a half-hour from Bologna, is renowned not only for its culinary excellence but as the luxury car capital of Italy. Modena sits in the heart of northern Italy’s “Motor Valley,” where its most impressive sports cars are born. 

The new movie Ferrari, directed by Michael Mann, tells the story of Enzo Ferrari, the legendary race car driver-turned-automaker who built his iconic company in Modena. Filmed mainly in Modena and the surrounding region in 2022, this big-budget Hollywood production transformed the streets of the city's historic center, turning back the clock to 1957 with antique cars, street dressing, and hundreds of local extras in vintage costumes. 

The movie is a great introduction to the city’s historic architecture and local charm. If you were inspired by the gorgeous shots of Modena’s streets and surroundings to start planning your visit, we've created this itinerary based on pivotal scenes in the movie. For more information on these and other locations, check out this walking tour map put together by the Modena tourist office. And if you’re hungry for more of the Ferrari experience, don’t miss the MEF – Enzo Ferrari Museum, where Ferrari’s father’s workshop has been preserved as a museum alongside the company’s futuristic workshop. 

Modena Train StationModena Train Station  

If you arrive in Modena by train, you will find yourself immediately immersed in one of the first scenes of the film: the train station. It's impossible not to recognize the classic yellow facade captured right at the beginning when Maserati driver Jean Behra arrives in the city.  

Address 
Piazza Dante Alighieri 

 

Piazza Roma

Piazza Roma 

Here, in the shadow of the majestic Palazzo Ducale, a fueling pit stop takes place during the climactic Mille Miglia race. On this piazza also you’ll find Oreste, the restaurant chosen to recreate the dining scenes and typical Modenese lunches Ferrari enjoyed at Cavallino restaurant. Originally established in Maranello in 1950 opposite the Ferrari factory, Cavallino held a special place in Ferrari’s heart: this was where he entertained VIP clients, Formula 1 drivers, and even royalty. He could be found here regularly—sometimes even twice a day!—until his death in 1988. Cavallino closed its doors in 2019 and was reopened and reimagined by Massimo Bottura in 2021.   

Address 
Piazza Roma  

  

Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande 

In the Piazza Grande, you'll find the Modena Cathedral and the Ghirlandina Tower, a historic complex that was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Here, in the heart of the city, the racing cars speed through the Mille Miglia on a route bordered by hay bales. A beautiful shot captures the cars coming from the small Calle dei Campionesi alongside the facade of the cathedral, offering a glimpse of its Romanesque grandeur.   

Address 
Piazza Grande

  

Hotel CanalgrandeCorso Canalgrande 

Corso Canalgrande is an avenue with ancient charm lined by imposing, historic buildings. Several scenes in the film were shot here, starting at number 6 at the Hotel Canalgrande, located inside the 16th-century Palazzo Schedoni. Keep your eyes open for world-famous local chef Massimo Bottura, who has a small cameo in the film as the concierge at the hotel’s reception desk.   

Address 
Corso Canalgrande, 6 

 

Ferrari came for more than 26 years to have his beard and hair cut in the barbershop at number 73. Fun fact: the current owner and manager of the shop, Alessandro D’Elia, is the grand-nephew of Ferrari’s original barber and played him the movie.   

Address 
Corso Canalgrande, 73  

 

At number 85, you'll find the Pavarotti-Freni Municipal Theater, the main theater in Modena. Today, it is named after two great opera singers, Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni, but it was designed by the court architect of Duke Francesco IV and inaugurated in 1841 as the Teatro dell'Illustrissima Comunita. In the film, Ferrari and the other protagonists attended a performance of La Traviata here.  

Address 
Corso Canalgrande, 85 

 

Largo Garibaldi

Largo Garibaldi 

Head to Largo Garibaldi, where Enzo Ferrari used to live at number 11, to see where one of the first movie sets in the city was created: billboards, lampposts, and traffic lights in the style of the '50s recreated a Modena of days gone by. Providing a splendid backdrop is the Fountain of the Two Rivers, a work by Giuseppe Graziosi representing Modena’s two rivers: Secchia, the female figure, and Panaro, the male figure.   

Address 
Largo Garibaldi  

 

San Pietro Church 

At the grand Church of San Pietro, a scene of the Ferrari workers attending mass was filmed. A little movie magic was used to make it appear that the Modena racetrack is nearby enough for the Ferrari officials to hear a test-drive’s start signal during the ceremony. In fact, the church is in the heart of the historic center and houses precious Renaissance-era works by the Modenese sculptor Antonio Begarelli.   

Address 
Via San Pietro, 7  

 

Monumental Cemetery of San Cataldo

Monumental Cemetery of San Cataldo 

Finally, just a few minutes by car from the city center, you'll find the Monumental Cemetery of San Cataldo, the historical part of the Cemetery of Modena. The Ferrari family grave is located here. One of the very first scenes in the film shows Enzo Ferrari in front of his son Dino's grave here. Enzo opens up about his life and the delicate relationship with his wife, as if he were seeking answers there. 

While you’re here, be sure to visit the new section of the cemetery and the ossuary cube designed in 1971 by Aldo Rossi. The technical drawings of this famous work of postmodern architecture are preserved in the archives of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.   

Address 
Strada Cimitero San Cataldo  

 

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