What it is and where it is
After bypassing the Modenese Apennines we arrive in the great Po Valley. We stay in the province of Modena and drive along the highway to Carpi, where we decide to stop to stretch our legs. It is another two and a half hours to our destination. We park near the Parco della Resistenza and walk along Via Fassi, looking for a good café. We turn left and the view opens up, initially only of the Torrione degli Spagnoli, then of the entire Piazza dei Martiri. We remain wide-mouthed: we are in one of the largest and most beautiful Renaissance squares in Italy.
Why it is special
The western side is entirely bordered by a single very long Renaissance portico of fifty-three columns, the center of community life and shopping. This is where the numerous businesses of the historic center open up, like gleaming set gems. On the other side of the long, narrow square rises the historical-cultural hub, represented by the Municipal Theater, the Torrione degli Spagnoli, the Museum and the Palazzo dei Pio. At the far end, towers the showy facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which borders the northern side of the square.
Every year since 2001, during the third weekend of September, the "Festival Filosofia" is held in Carpi, Modena and Sassuolo, a cultural event consisting of lectures, exhibitions, dinners, games, films and discussions regarding a wide variety of topics. The event is free and attracts, every year, tens of thousands of people from all over Italy.
A bit of history
As we sip our coffee at one of the cafes in the square, totally captivated by the beauty of our surroundings, we strike up a conversation with the gentleman sitting at the next table. If we had come in 2012, he tells us, we would have seen the tall crenellated chimneys collapsed to the ground from the violent earthquakes in May.
Legend has it that the Medieval Tower of the Little Bird, in the Castle, was inhabited by a beautiful lady, wife of one of the lords who ruled the city at the time, namely the Pio family. One day her husband, blinded by jealousy, killed her, throwing her from the highest window of the tower. It is said that the woman's ghost still roams the castle today, showing herself at night to the descendants of the Pio family, foretelling misfortunes and misfortune.
To make travel arrangements
Enter the Map of Italy's Undiscovered Wonders and find treasures where you least expect it... Inspire, Recommend, Share...
Discover places and related research