The City of Emilia Romagna
is situated along the directrices of Via Emilia, between the
Secchia and Panaro Rivers. It’s the seat of a university
and of a renowned and historical Accademia Militare (Military
Founded as an ancient Etruscan Garrison, Modena
was subsequently conquered by the Romans in the 3rd Century
BC, becoming old Mutina, thus assuming the laws of the Colony
of 183 BC. In 43 BC, the so called War of Modena occurred,
an episode of the civil war following the death of Cesar.
The ancient urbanistic plan, usual of Roman Cities, is still
recognizable from the central nucleus of the City and in particular,
in the current day Via Emilia, which relates to decumano Massimo.
The City was impoverished during the barbaric invasions and
began to flourish again only at the end of the 9th Century;
it then became a free council and member of the Lombard League.
The medieval part was added in the occidental quarters, defining
its suburban characteristics by irregular roads, wide porches
and variable dimensions. From the 14th Century to the Unity,
the City continued to grow without problems, apart from short
interruptions during the dinastia degli Este (Dynasty of the
Este). After a period of French occupation between the 18th
Century and the beginning of the 19th Century, it became the
centre of insurrectional revolts, amongst which that unfortunate
one of C. Menotti (1831). In 1860, for plebiscite reasons,
it adhered to the State of Sabaudo.
The Roman Cathedral is the symbol of the city: dating back
to 1099/1323, being projected by the architect Lanfranco (his
name, together with that of the sculptor Wiligelmo, is remembered
by a plaque of dedication placed on the external wall of the
building). The Cathedral and its decoration are to be considered
amongst the most highly architectural expressions of Roman
sculpture in Italy. Both its exterior and interior are austere
and suggestive. On the exterior, the most notable sections
are the façade, an ornate protiro (arched hood) and
a large rose-window, the arched area being mighty and majestic,
the Porta Regia (door) and the Porta della Pescheria on two
sides of the building. The Campanile (tower) completes the
complex, also known as The Ghirlandina, 88 metres in height,
and of a slim Gothic completion.