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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert’s guide: where to stay in Venice

An expert’s guide: where to stay in Venice

Venice has been depicted and described so often that on arriving in the city you might have the slightly anticlimactic feeling that everything looks exactly as …

14 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 highlights that make Genoa Italy’s most delicious city

7 highlights that make Genoa Italy’s most delicious city

Genoa is way off most travellers’ itineraries, but it’s time this northern Italian beauty – and its outstanding local cuisine – gets the recognition it …

10 Aug 2016 • Natasha Foges insert_drive_file Article
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Florence

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Florence

If one city could be said to encapsulate the essence of Italy it might well be Florence (Firenze in Italian), the first capital of the united country. The moder…

05 Jul 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month