Modena stages a passion-fuelling spring motoring spectacular

May’s Motor Valley Fest lays out a veritable feast for vehicle enthusiasts – and that’s just for starters

Modena Motor Valley Fest will showcase the Italian city’s remarkable automobile heritage
Modena Motor Valley Fest will showcase the Italian city’s remarkable automobile heritage | Image: Modenatur

If the idea of combining exotic cars, exceptional art and architecture and some of the world’s finest food sounds appealing, the city of Modena is well worth visiting next month. From May 16 to 19, the Motor Valley Fest will give visitors the opportunity to discover the remarkable automobile heritage of a place that not only saw the birth of the Ferrari marque, but is also home to Maserati, Lamborghini and Pagani – as well as numerous other firms linked to the performance-car industry. 

Modena is home to top Italian marques such as Maserati
Modena is home to top Italian marques such as Maserati

The four-day programme will include a tribute evening on May 17, when historic Ferraris from around Europe will be on show prior to forming a parade the following morning to welcome competitors in the 1,000 Miglia classic rally before they pass through the city.

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There will also be an unprecedented exhibition of Pagani exotic cars to celebrate the maker’s 20th anniversary, along with Formula One pit-stop shows in the Novi Sad public park, the chance to drive – or be driven in – up to 100 new car models at the Modena race track and an 80-team automobile treasure hunt covering a 500km course.

Visitors can also explore the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, near Modena
Visitors can also explore the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, near Modena

The Piazza Novi Sad will provide the backdrop to an exhibition of classic vehicles, while Piazza Sant’Agostino will stage competitions using state-of-the-art car and motorcycle simulators – and give the opportunity to mingle with motorsport stars such as Marco Lucchinelli, Jean Alesi and Ivan Capelli. 

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But the festival is not only about vehicles. EXPO, which is happening in the city’s historic centre, will showcase everything from dream car collections to some of the finest art treasures, while the Casa Pavarotti museum will stage a range of opera-based events and a historic church will exhibit remarkable stage costumes created by the workers of the Teatro Comunale di Modena.

Foodies, meanwhile, may indulge in tasting the cuisine for which Modena and the wider Emilia-Romagna region is celebrated, including tigelle, parmigiano reggiano, Modena balsamic vinegar, the region’s ham, Lambrusco wines and Amarene Brusche sour cherry jam.

In addition to the official Fest events, visitors will be within easy striking distance of some of the automotive museums and 16 private car and motorcycle collections that are open to the public in the area – and could even round off their visit with one last culinary treat at Osteria Francescana, the triple-Michelin-starred Modena restaurant owned by chef Massimo Bottura.

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