The beating heart of the city
Piazza del Duomo in Modena dates to the 12th century, but it is from the 17th century that it became known as Piazza Grande. It is overlooked by the Ghirlandina bell tower, the Palazzo Comunale, with its 17th-century portico and balcony of the Immacolata, and the Cathedral, with its Porta Regia and a 16th-century pulpit.
This was the city’s political and religious heart, home to a daily market until the early 20th century. It also hosts the so-called Pietra Ringadora stone table, now behind the apses of the cathedral, on which unknown corpses were laid for identification. The square is still a meeting place and, together with the Cathedral and Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At the heart of Modena, the most important city events have always taken place here, from the burial of the patron saint San Geminiano in 397 to executions, from freedom fights during World War II to Carnival celebrations. On Maundy Thursday, Sandrone, the traditional mask of the town, makes a speech from the balcony of the Town Hall, on the corner of which you can see the female sculpture of the Bonissima, a symbol of Modena.