Fairs and markets: 10 top events in the province of Modena
Discover ten unmissable fairs and markets in summer and autumn seasons in the Terre di Castelli territory in the province of Modena
Lavender, the Middle Ages, nativity scenes, the oddest objects one can find: here are the most interesting events in the province of Modena, from C for Castelnuovo Rangone to Z for Zocca.
The most genuine soul of a place can be found during its festivals and celebrations: events from sacred to profane, but also occasions to become one with local community, absorb their moods, observe their personality, even understand their take on the world. And discover the original features of the places. You did not think that a simple market could mean so much, did you?!
The province of Modena, as a territory known for exploiting every opportunity to make life a more pleasant experience, does disappoint even from this perspective. And the Terre di Castelli, the territory south of Via Emilia including eight municipalities between the plains and the Apennines with all their artistic treasures and stunning landscapes, are second to none when it comes to fairs and markets. Indeed, these occasions reveal and recount the many peculiar customs and traditions of a territory all to be discovered. Are you curious? Here we share ten which take place from April to December.
Bargains at flea and recycle markets
If secondhand goods and domestic recycling are your passion, you have two great opportunities in Castelnuovo Rangone, home to the tastiest salami, a local specialty which is a source of pride for the community and celebrated in the modern and interesting Museum of Salumeria. The Festival of San Celestino, in April, and the Festival of San Martino, in November, are "twin markets" dedicated to reusing things; basements are emptied and the village is transformed into a large bazaar where you can find furniture, books, old magazines, objects for the house and yes, even some bizarre objects, whose use and origin only the owner will be able to explain!
Castelnuovo Rangone is also the theatre of the May Fair, a festival that dates back to the 19th century: not just a market, but seven days of stands, events and music, where the whole community celebrates and where every year the thousands of people attending the event can find selected products, from gastronomy to crafts.
Herbalists to the rescue in Savignano sul Panaro
In May, if you want to find out how to use fresh herbs, whether in the kitchen, for body care or for simple everyday use, then it is a really good idea to visit Savignano sul Panaro at the fair “Un grande prato d’erbe” ("A big meadow of herbs"), an event to celebrate organic produce, where you can find quality food and body care products proposed by Italian and foreign producers united by the philosophy of environmental sustainability.
The art of meat curing
In Castelnuovo Rangone, Meat curing is sustenance, tradition, memory and culture. At the MuSa - Museum of Salumeria, founded by the historic Villani company and housed in the premises that are part of the factory, it is possible to retrace how a craft can shape a community, its history and its mentality. A multimedia path that will excite you like the best saga.
Black gold on display
Masterpieces should be put on display and be admired. This is what they must have thought in Spilamberto when they decided to dedicate a museum to the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The museum takes the visitor on a sort of journey inside the alchemy of ingredients together with gestures, traditions and patience, the true elements from which this most precious condiment originates.
A magnificent view among the vineyards
If you are touring the autumn festivals, you are in the best position to appreciate the landscapes of a territory that give their best in this season. This is the case of the village of Levizzano Rangone, in the municipality of Castelvetro di Modena: immersed in the Grasparossa vineyards. It offers beautiful panoramic views in the heart of the Modena hills, to be admired in particular from the old castle battlements dominating the town
Mercurdo: the "oddest" market you will see
With the arrival of June moving towards the summer in the Terre di Castelli. In Castelvetro, between a couple of glasses of Lambrusco Grasparossa, you can immerse yourself in the oddities of Mercurdo, the Market of the Absurd. No spoilers - it would be impossible to do so anyway, given the uniqueness of the event - but know that here the most bizarre objects and shows take shape, for the joy of all ages and tastes! Between one absurdity and the other, the artisan market, which rises from the lower part of the village up to the summit of the charming medieval old town, is full of bargains, especially for those who love original and handmade crafts.
In Spilamberto "fair" means San Giovanni
There is a moment, towards the end of June, when the town of Spilamberto comes alive, buzzing like a coastal town, yet in the heart of Emilia. If you do not know why, come and see for yourself: the reason is the Fiera di San Giovanni! This is a popular traditional event for the town that for four days becomes a great outdoor meeting point, with stands, markets, food outlets, shows and fun ways to pass time together organised by local associations.
The heart of the fair is the Palio di San Giovanni, a competition organized by the Consorteria of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Spilamberto, which rewards the best family-produced balsamic vinegar.
As the event draws to a close there is a bit of nostalgia which is why Spilamberto propose another important event: Spinalamberto, a celebration of craft beer, held in the first two weeks of July, which gives you the opportunity to taste the produce of the best Italian breweries.
Provence? No, Monteombraro di Zocca!
Going up towards the Apennines and further into the summer, we find a wonderful lilac-colored surprise. Who said that lavender, with its characteristic and intense colour, is a product you find only in Provence? In July, the Festival of Lavender in Monteombraro, near Zocca, is the most colourful and perfumed fair in the Apennines, celebrating the precious local cultivation with markets of this fragrant plant, conferences, social events, concerts and – the unmissable - food stands. Surely the most fragrant festival there is.
Autumn, time of flavours
The first yellow leaves in the Terre di Castelli unleash the desire to taste traditional specialties in company. In fact, in rapid succession in the weeks of September and October, we find events such as the Grape and Lambrusco Grasparossa Festival, dedicated, as the name suggests, to the magnificent sparkling red wine of Castelvetro di Modena; the Chestnut Festival of Zocca, a perfect opportunity to celebrate the typical poor man’s ingredient of mountain cuisine and symbol of the autumn season; Autumn in Vignola, where the city of cherries offers many opportunities to taste typical specialties at the food stands which fill the medieval old town; Mast Cot, an event that recalls the ancient ritual of boiling the must in the open and that becomes a pleasant excuse to enhance and promote agricultural production and local products.
The late season also brings a celebration of the Middle Ages. Crafts and food stands with costumed characters animating the streets of Savignano sul Panaro at the end of November, in the days of the Medieval Markets. These enliven the old town in its dominant position on the Panaro river, bringing with them a bit of Christmas atmosphere, thanks to the handicraft stands and nativity scenes along the streets.
Who said that life in the province is boring?!