Modena, city of balsamic vinegar, Pavarotti, Ferrari and Masarrati and that’s just for starters!

Our route from Lake Garda down to Figline Valdarno, south east of Florence took us past Modena. So, having used balsamic vinegar of Modena for many years it would be rude not to stop and say hello to its origins.

Unsure where best to park, we happened upon the rail station and decided it was as good a place as any to start. The way to the centre was straight forward and slightly uninteresting. However the centre was fascinating.

It was clearly off the tourist track.

Very much a small town feel, where you got the impression everyone knew everyone else. The roads circled around the main square and were all covered porticos shielding us from the bright sun.

No souvenir shops, all the shops were serving the community with useful products, on which I could easily have parted with a lot of cash, had I not left it, wisely, in the car!

My nose soon found the market hall and what a display of produce there was.

So many things we had no idea what they were, some attractive to the eye and others not so. It was very busy with locals doing their shopping and interesting to see which stall were busiest… the ones selling ready prepared anti pasto, followed by the cheesemonger. The aromas were heady and it was a good job we had had a good breakfast before we set off.

Pausing a while for a coffee in the main square it was interesting to see the world go by while gazing up at the duomo.

We could easily have spent more time in this delightfully unassuming city, but we had a good distance yet to travel so the museums of Pavarotti, Ferrari etc will have to wait for another time.

We did however, find a small shop en route back to the car, where the enthusiastic owner gave us a detailed lesson in balsamic vinegar, there was even a bottle there that was aged for 100 years, sorry Sally the price tag of 480 euros was the killer here! I had no idea that there were different types of vinegar to go with just about everything, green salad, mixed salad, vegetables, cheese, meat, fruit and of course white for fish.

Arriving at our destination and mobile home for the next five nights, we were somewhat taken aback by the fact that we had to park the car and descend 50 steps down to our accommodation. Not only that but it was rather disappointing, rather than the fantastic views of the Tuscany hills promised, we have a view of the roofs of other homes and a chimney. First thoughts were to stay the night and find somewhere else but after sleeping on it we decided that we may as well stay and make the most of it, we have plenty of plans to visit around the area which will distract from the disappointment.

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