The two cathedral collections
Located next to the Cathedral of Modena, the Cathedral Museums are the ideal complement to a visit to this iconic building, thanks to their precious testimonies. They are divided into two collections: the Lapidary Museum and the Cathedral Museum proper.
The first, which was inaugurated at the end of the 19th century, displays artefacts found during the restoration of the Romanesque church in the late 19th and early 20th century. The collection includes Roman sculptures and reliefs, mainly used as recycled material, as well as fragments from previous early-medieval cathedrals and various types of ancient, medieval and modern inscriptions. Since 1953, it has also housed the famous Metopes—eight Romanesque sculptures depicting fantastical and monstrous figures, created by the so-called Master of the Metopes.
The Cathedral Museum houses a valuable artistic-liturgical array of furnishings, sculptures, ancient reliquaries, textiles, paintings and ancient codices. These include the portable altar of San Geminiano, an exquisite example of Romanesque goldsmithing commissioned by Matilda of Canossa in 1106, an Evangelistary dating to the late 11th century, which features a refined silver and ivory binding, and the “Relatio”, a 13th-century text chronicling the construction of the cathedral.