Day 25: From Modena to Firenze

Mercato Storico Albinelli bustles in the morning and my stopping to look at things annoyed people working and shopping.

I noticed that the same balsamico is being sold for half the price I paid but without the wooden box and glass stopper. Now I feel I can’t throw out the box.

Palazzo dei Musei or Museum Palace, Largo Porta Sant’Agostino, 337, an example of civil architecture from the Este period, built as a Hostel for the poor, with the nearby Hospital in the late 18th century. Today it houses the main museums including Modena Gallerie Estense.

The collection lost a number of significant works when Napoleon conquered the area. Not all the works were returned. This theme repeats itself in every place I’ve visited this trip. Other works were sold because the Este family more recently needed to pay taxes. That sale included one of the great collections of Correggio.

The star of the collection is now Bernini’s bust of Francis I d’Este.

But some other great artists and not bad works include Velázquez portrait of Francis I

Correggio’s “Madonna and Christ Child”, an early work

a mobile triptych by El Greco, an early work while he was still in Venice

Cima da Conegliano’s Pietà

Organ doors by Veronese

Ceiling panels depicting Ovid’s Metamorphosis by Tintoretto

Next door is the church of Sant’Agostino.

There are other museums related to archaeology and the city as well as exhibition space.


The church of San Francesco D’Assisi was not open when I went there.

It contains the a work of the local terracotta master, the little known Antonio Begarelli. His life-size scene of the Deposition fills an entire chapel. Other churchs also feature his work.

Had lunch while looking at the Chiesa del Voto a 17th century church built to give thanks for deliverance from the plague.

Modena, like Bologna which is in the same Emilia Romagna region, has a lot of porticos. Not as many and none as large as many in Bologna but still plenty to stay out of sun or rain. I was avoiding the sun. Some of our perambulations have been limited because of rain but for the past few days, now the sun has become the source of discomfort.

Bloom gelateria moves towards the top of the list for chioccolato and nocciola.

I spent an hour sitting in the shade with a glass of wine while sketching. One of the benefits of sketching is you need to look closely at the subject of your sketch. The Duomo has a lot of different, not symmetrical, details.

Note to self: check the calcio i.e. football or soccer, schedule when booking trains, especially when the season is coming to a close. I arrived at Modena station and found it crowded with mostly men who had no luggage and many wear soccer jerseys or scarves or carrying large flags.

On the platform , I noticed some were carrying bottles or cans of beer. Then a group started chanting and setting off firecrackers.

When the train arrived, police stepped in front of those of us trying to get to the front of the train. Someone yelled he had a seat reservation. We were told to wait. Then a group of young men dressed in suits filed towards a car. Obviously the team. I was getting squished as people tried to get a look. “It’s Lukaku (a Serie A star on Juventus)”, someone shouted. That got a laugh. I don’t think Modena has a Serie A team.

But then we had to hurry to get to the cars ahead. I hopped on when the bells started chiming and made my way inside to the right car.

After surviving that, I failed to check the train number of my connecting train. My arrival in Bologna was late so I asked a Trenitalia agent where my connection was leaving from as I only had 3 minutes. He gave me the number but said it was late. The platform was a long way away and took me around 10 minutes to get there. When I got to the platform they were announcing it was soon departing so I jumped on. When I found someone sitting in my seat, I showed her my ticket and she pointed out I was on the wrong train. She went and got the train controller to help me find a seat and figure out what train I could get to get to Firenze. I was on the direct train to Rome.

I should have checked the train number. I’m learning the hard way.

To make things worse, the train I was on was really late so I missed two of the trains I could have taken.

Bologna has become my problem station and I have to go there again on May 12. I have learned that if you miss a Trenitalia connection, you can just get on the next Trenitalia train for where you want to go and show the conductor your ticket. You don’t have to pay as they can find out if the train was late although you may not get the seat you want.

This post is called to Firenze but it was after midnight when I finally got there. I guess it still is to Firenze as I spent something like 6 hours of the day en route.

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