One day in Modena: the historical Albinelli food market

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When you walk inside the Albinelli Food Market of Modena for the first time, your mind immediately goes to the famous one of Valencia: despite the difference in size, they are both rich in history and traditions more than a century old.

The Albinelli market is the heir of the traditional market that from the Middle Ages revived the streets and squares of Modena. The project began in the 1960s, when the authorities of the city began to consider the idea of building a place where to sell food products. At the time, food was sold by street vendors who daily gathered in the nearby Piazza Grande and the other streets of the city, frequently exposing themselves to severe weather conditions and hindering the traffic of people and cars.

During the first decades of 1900, the mayor Luigi Albinelli started the renewal of the Contrada delle Carceri, where there were already the traditional “beccherie” (shops), the slaughterhouse and where the fish market took place. The Via delle Carceri became the current Via Albinelli, while the project for the construction of the Market was entrusted to the engineer Giuseppe Tubini. The Market would still remain on paper for many years: the construction works only started in 1929, with the demolition of the area between the former Contrada Carceri and Via Mondatora.

The construction of the market was carried out with great consideration for hygiene: it was provided with pink marble counters for the fish vendors, pipes that provided running water to all counters and a system of water drainage to clean the floor. A particular attention was also given to the aesthetic appearance, as revealed by the elegant iron volutes that link the supporting columns and the beautiful fountain named “Fanciullina con canestro di frutta” (Little Girl with a Fruit Basket) located at the centre of the market and made by the sculptor and painter Giuseppe Graziosi. Lastly, a wrought iron gate was erected to protect the access to the market.

The building was officially inaugurated on October 28th, 1931, the ninth anniversary of the march on Rome, and is now included among the monuments of national historical interest of Italy, because it preserves the most genuine values ​​that characterize the culture and the cuisine of Modena.

Mercato-albinelli-modenaWith 30,000 visitors every week, the Albinelli Market is a lively place to shop, where you can find typical products of great quality at affordable prices: tortellini, zampone, parmesan cheese and lambrusco are among the most valuable products, but there are many others like the ham from Modena and balsamic vinegar. By visiting the market, you can also meet the chef Massimo Bottura of the restaurant “La Francescana”, judged the best restaurant in the world for the year 2016.

From September 22nd, the Albinelli Market also offers a catering service on Friday and Saturday from 6 pm to 12 am. The “Sa Ghè” osteria, “Artigiani del Gusto” poultry shop and “Mozzabella” pizzeria offer the visitors delicious food and drinks, surrounded by the atmosphere of the historical market.

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Article written by: A. Bondavalli