Corso Canal Grande is, according to some, one of the most beautiful streets in Italy. It is one-kilometre long, dividing the old town in a north-south sense, approximatively where the walls of the Roman city stood. The palaces along it are imposing and of a great historical value.
Leaving the wonderful Palazzina dei Giardini°° behind you, through the gates of the park, and over the crossing with corso Cavour, on the left are the old Ducal stables, now used by the Military Academy. On the right, the east side of the enormous Palazzo Ducale°°, with gabled windows and a huge garden for the cadets.
The yellow edifice on the left is Palazzo Tardini, formerly the Convent of the Saint Francis’ Holy Stigmata; the red one is Palazzo Sassoli de’ Bianchi, where the well-known architect Francesco Vandelli (1795-1856) was born.
Number 103, Palazzo Santa Margherita°° houses the Public Library Antonio Delfini, the largest in Modena, the Museo della Figurina and the Galleria Civica. From there, via Carlo Goldoni (with a bust of the world famous playwright of Modenese origins).
At number 90, Ciro Menotti’s house: on the 3 february 1831 the Ducal troops fired cannon shots at the palace, and the patriot was forced to escape by jumping out of the back window.
At number 88 Palazzo Calori Cesis (or Cesi Cionini) dating back to the end of the XVIII century: commissioned by count Ferdinando and designed by Andrea Tarabusi, it has a wonderful staircase, and painted ceilings.
On the right, going south, the imposing Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti°° is distinguished by its marble portico with a balcony.
On the same side of the street (number 81), Palazzo Sabbatini Carbonieri is now the public prosecutors’ office. It was built in the XVIII century; has a valuable staircase, a remarkable courtyard (with statues representing the rivers Secchia and Panàro) and beautiful painted ceilings. The little street at the back is called vicolo Venezia.
At number 84, the Modenese seat of the Italian Central Bank stands at the corner with via delle Carmelitane Scalze, with a passage thourgh the pleasant piazzale Boschetti. On the right of the Canal Grande, the Palace with pilasters is the Courthouse, built in the XVII century by the world famous architect Guarino Guarini as a Theatine Monastery (the facade and the beautiful courtyard are from this period). The Theatines were actually the officiants of the adjacent church of San Vincenzo°°.
At number 73, there is a historical barbers’ shop: here Enzo Ferrari came for years (the shop is still working today with the same barbers and furniture).
At the corner with via Emilia°°, the palace with lions and black stone is now a commercial activity and encloses a particular interior and a beautiful staircase. On the other side, Palazzo Marchisio dates back to the XVIII century; from here the wonderful portico of the Collegio San Carlo°° begins.
On the southern part of corso Canal Grande, at number 30, stands the Palazzo del Principe Foresto (from the name of a son of Duke Borso d’Este, who commissioned Pietro Termanini with the project in the XVIII century): a sort of second ducal court after the bigger one in the Palazzo Ducale°°. Here Pope Leo X, Francis I of France, Lorenzo de’ Medici and King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy received hospitality over the centuries.
The house at number 27 belonged to Chiara Marini, lover of the Duke Ercole III (officialy married to Maria Teresa Cybo Malaspina). Not far there is the birth place of the XIX century-patriot Nicola Fabrizi. At number 20, Palazzo Seghizzi Coccapani (once attributed to Jacopo Barozzi, known as Vignola) was built during the Renaissance. The church of Santa Maria delle Assi stands on the left, next to Palazzo Schedoni, designed in the late XVIII century by Giuseppe Soli for Caterina Bonafini, a singer whose cultural drawing room was one of the most renown in Modena.
Finally, closing the long street, along via Mascherella (where, at number 11 you can see Palazzo Giovanardi, by the architect Francesco Vandelli), Palazzo Marchetti or the Belvedere, built from 1780.