Dominating Piazza Grande, the twelfth-century Duomo is one of the finest products of the Romanesque period in Italy and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its most striking feature is the west facade whose portal is supported by two fierce-looking lions and fringed with marvellous reliefs – the work of one Wiligelmo, who also did the larger reliefs that run along the wall. Inside, under the choir is the plain stone coffin of St Geminianus, the patron saint of Modena – on his feast day, January 31, crowds come to visit his coffin, and a big market is held out in the main square.
There are two museums inside the Duomo: the Musei del Duomo holds the usual ecclesiastical artefacts, while the Museo Lapidario displays Roman-age marbles from the Duomo. On the other side of the church looms the 86m-high Torre Ghirlandina, which provides a bird’s-eye view of the city.