At the junction between via Sgarzeria and corso Cavour, the yellow building with a central balcony – formerly part of the Dominican monastery – houses the most ancient State Archives in Italy. It was founded in 1862, just a year after the Unity of Italy. One of the most important in the Country, the Archives conserve the material which belonged to the Ducal collections: correspondance with all the European Courts, wonderful maps, rich books testifying to the power of the Este family through the centuries.
Here, you can also found a rare Imperial parchment dating back to the XI century. The Secret Estense Archive (with a diploma signed by Charlemagne in 781) and the court of the Inquisition (the only entire archive of its kind in Italy, together with the Venetian archives) are extraordinary.
The building was erected at the end of the XVIII century as the seat of various Ducal ministeries. It has wonderful frescoed rooms in neoclassical style (among these, you can still see the portrait of Napoleon, painted on the ceiling during his occupation of Modena!).
[Images by the Author with the kind permission of the Archives]