I had not planned to go to Italy, but after finding a super-cheap airfare, I felt compelled to take advantage of the opportunity. The flight arrived in Venice on New Year’s Eve when hotel vacancies would be precious and few, so the plan was to find a charming town I could get to easily for that first night. So I spent New Year’s Eve alone in Modena. At first, the place was pretty deserted, but at about eight o’clock the bars and restaurants started filling up. I found a gritty brown funky joint with cheap beer and sandwiches, had one of each, wandered outside some more and then returned for another beer.
Being extra tired from the travel day turned in early and was up early – too early. On Sunday morning nothing was open and nobody was up. About nine o’clock a cafe opened up for coffee and breakfast, so I had a cappuccino and a pastry. But that only took 15 minutes and I wanted to stay because it was very cozy there, so I played the “hey its vacation” card and had a glass of Lambrusco, for which the area is famous.
I had to kill another four hours before walking to the train bound for the Cinque Terre region, so there a whole lot more wandering and window shopping. There were a lot of high-quality stylish clothing shops and I would have bought something, but they were all closed.
In order to prep for the fairly long train trip, I poked about for a promising restaurant and settled on a small place on a touristy square. The gnocchi was not great, but the Lambrusco was stellar.
Modena is a classy, lightly-touristed beauty of a town with a big bang for the buck. Five stars all the way.