There are some cities where I've not even gotten out of the taxi from the bus/train station/airport and already feel stressed and hectic (Rio de Janeiro). Others where I feel refreshed and alive (Oslo). Others were I only think of how soon I can get to air conditioning (any city in Asia in summertime).
Modena is a city where, just by walking a few minutes from the train station to my Airbnb in the city center, I felt calm, relaxed, and immersed in a sensation of refinement.
The colonnaded walkways, the streets gently curving about. It's such an elegant city.
These features are also distinctive. Watching the second season of Master of None with no context or background, I knew it was Modena where Aziz Ansari went to study pasta making before they even said it.
It's a quick walk to the center of town, which is dominated by the Cathedral, and its bell tower named "Ghirlandina."
I was so happy to get a direct view of the Ghirlandina from my Airbnb room!
After dark, it was a delight to see people enjoying the evening on terraces, walking about, or just hanging out at the park.
Not really a place to sightsee, Modena is a place more to just be.