Modena Food Guide: Traditional foods in Modena

Modena, located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, is a city known for its rich culinary traditions. From balsamic vinegar to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Modena is a food lover's paradise. Here are 10 must-try foods to experience in Modena.

Modena, Italy

What to eat in Modena, Italy

This is a list of the must have dishes in Modena. Ranked on best food score.


Tortellini is a classic pasta dish that originated in Modena. These small, ring-shaped pasta pieces are typically filled with a mixture of meat and cheese and served in a savory broth. Tortellini is a staple of Modenese cuisine and is a must-try for any visitor to the city.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, or traditional balsamic vinegar, is a specialty of Modena. Made from cooked grape must that is aged for at least 12 years, this vinegar has a sweet and tangy flavor that is perfect for drizzling over salads, meats, and vegetables. A bottle of this vinegar makes a great souvenir to take home.


Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine that is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region, including Modena. This refreshing wine is perfect for pairing with the rich and hearty dishes of Modenese cuisine. Be sure to try a glass or two while dining in the city.

Gnocco Fritto

Gnocco Fritto is a fried bread that is popular in Modena and throughout Emilia-Romagna. This light and airy bread is perfect for pairing with cured meats, cheeses, and other antipasti. Be sure to try it with a glass of Lambrusco for the ultimate Modenese experience.

Tagliatelle al Ragù

Tagliatelle al Ragù, or tagliatelle with meat sauce, is a classic pasta dish that is popular throughout Italy. In Modena, the meat sauce is typically made with a mixture of beef and pork and is slow-cooked for several hours to develop a rich and savory flavor. This hearty dish is perfect for a cold winter day.

Cotechino con Lenticchie

Cotechino con Lenticchie is a traditional New Year's Eve dish in Modena. Cotechino is a type of pork sausage that is boiled and served with lentils. The dish is said to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. Even if you're not in Modena for New Year's, be sure to try this delicious dish any time of year.


Tigelle is a small, round bread that is typically filled with cured meats, cheeses, and other savory ingredients. This portable snack is perfect for enjoying on the go while exploring the city. Be sure to try it with a glass of Lambrusco for a true Modenese experience.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano, or Parmesan cheese, is a staple of Modenese cuisine. This hard, aged cheese is made from cow's milk and is perfect for grating over pasta dishes, salads, and other savory dishes. Be sure to sample some of the best Parmigiano Reggiano while in Modena.


Zampone is a type of sausage that is made from a pig's trotter that is stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, fat, and spices. This hearty sausage is typically served with lentils and is a popular dish in Modena during the winter months. Be sure to try it for a taste of Modenese comfort food.


No trip to Italy is complete without sampling some gelato, and Modena has some of the best gelato shops in the country. Be sure to try some of the local flavors, like balsamic vinegar or Parmigiano Reggiano, for a unique and delicious treat.