Modena v. Ferrara

We're planning our fifth visit to Italy and I'm looking for thoughts on the differences between Modena and Ferrara. We like staying in the historic center, wandering around, visiting museums, checking out churches, eating good food, people-watching and sweeping panoramic views. I speak reasonably proficient Italian. We slightly prefer Medieval over Renaissance architecture and aren't too crazy about Baroque.

Examples of places we've particularly enjoyed: Orvieto, Assisi, Trastevere, Bergamo, Verona.

I'd love to hear thoughts from those who have been to either or both, since Rick doesn't address either in his books.

Posted by Janet
Boise, ID, USA
620 posts

Haven't been to Modena yet, but we really enjoyed Ferrara - and the five places you mentioned as well. It's flat, and people bicycle everywhere. The ramparts are great. We would go back and spend more time (were there three nights).

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1775 posts

Have been to both more than once on days trips from Bologna. Ferrara's centre is the prettier of the two. And has a wine bar patronised by Copernicus when he studied at the University. Great place to have a plate of cured meats and cheeses with a bottle of wine. Modena seems a bit more austere in appearance. However, I never tire of visiting the 12C cathedral in Modena, it and its surrounds are designated a World Heritage Site because of the architecture. Also in Modena is a wonderful covered marketplace with a large variety of fresh fruit/veges/meats for sale.

Posted by Bets
3357 posts

You could stay in Bologna and day trip to both on different days.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6726 posts

Thanks, Bets. We've stayed in Bologna before, and we're not big on daytrips, preferring instead to get to know the place we're actually staying in.

Posted by Denny
Columbus, OH, USA
1078 posts

Last month, while staying in Ravenna, we took a day trip to Ferrara. It was very nice. The TI in the castle provided an excellent walking guide which delineates several walks. One walk concentrates on the medieval section, another on the Renaissance area of the city, etc. We enjoyed the extensive medieval walk a lot. I cannot comment on museums in Ferrara as we did not, oddly, visit any that day. If you have time, try a day in Ravenna. Safe travels!