Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore

He’s a socially conscious, deep-thinking chef. She’s an art dealer turned restaurateur, author and hotelier. Together, food power couple Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore are changing global food culture, whether it’s via their world-famous Osteria Francescana restaurant, or Food For Soul, an organisation committed to feeding the hungry. When they’re not travelling, these global citizens live in Modena, a town in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. These are the places they most feel at home.

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A Contemporary, Casual Trattoria

For casual dining, visit Franceschetta. It’s very Italian, busy and fun. It’s a former tyre shop turned contemporary trattoria. There are cutting boards for tables, walls decorated with plates and mixed vintage coloured Murano glasses on the tables. The little sister of Osteria Francescana has Francesco Vincenzi at the helm with a staff of energetic, talented and dynamic women in the kitchen and dining room.

“One of The Best Beef Tartares I’ve Ever Eaten”

For a traditional Modenese kitchen, we recommend Trattoria Bianca. It serves handmade pastas such as tortellini in broth, pumpkin tortelli and small cushions of gnocco fritto served with salumi. Be sure to try the trattoria’s exquisite amarena cherry conserve. It also makes one of the best beef tartares I’ve ever eaten. If you go in the summertime, its lovely garden will be open to enjoy.

Retro-Style Antipasto

For an ‘80s-stye antipasto Italiano, nothing beats Da Panino, our mini-spot across from Osteria Francescana. It’s both adorable and delicious. You’ll find top notch products, friendly and fun service, and tables outside in the summer. There’s also always a surprise behind the bar.

Our Favourite Bars In Modena

Archer is one of our favourites for its selection of natural wines as well as the lovely street it is on. Marina the sommelier is really top of her game. Our dear friend Jan has a wine bar called Ristretto. It’s a tiny spot on a tinier alley with a view of the Ghirlandina bell tower. The bar has an amazing cheese selection, a beer list from all over the world and wines from Italy and France. This is where Osteria Francescana staff go for a drink and a bite to eat after work.

Drinking Coffee In The City

Mon Café is the hot spot for coffee, a light lunch, dinner or just aperitivo drinks around the corner from Osteria Francescana. It’s stylish and very popular so it might be hard to find a seat. It’s run by an ex-Osteria Francescana chef, Alessandro Bertoni.

Rival coffee shop Menomoka Coffee & More is a shop and bar that doesn’t have the kitchen of Mon Café. It’s young and dynamic and has portraits and quotes of famous personalities from literature, music and the arts decorating the walls.

Flour Power

Antica Pasticceria San Biagio is crowded and tiny but is one of our favourite spots in town. It also makes the best amaretto cookies in the world. Pasticceria Cibo is a delicious bakery in front of the entrance of the duomo in Modena famous for its creamy bombolone. Mercato Albinelli is a beautiful market in the centre of Modena. Just outside of the market is Schiavoni, a cute sandwich shop.

Day Trips From Modena

There are some lovely towns and destinations just 15 minutes outside of Modena and wonderful places to visit. Hombre Farm is the Panini family’s Parmigiano Reggiano dairy farm with an antique Maserati car museum. In Spilamberto, there is the Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Vignola is the cherry capital of Italy and famous for its crumbling castle and torta Barozzi chocolate cake. Finally there’s Castelvetro di Modena: a medieval town on a hillside with panoramic views and lovely country driving.

Guide last updated June 2020

Our guides are fact-checked and updated regularly. Read more here.

Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore

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