Palazzina dei Giardini - Civic Gallery

Modena - corso cavour 2

Palazzina dei Giardini - Civic Gallery


(except free entrance exhibitions) € 4,00 - reduced € 2,00 - free for persons younger than 18 and older than 60 years old.


Always open
Winter hours: Tuesday to Friday 10.30-13 and 15-18, Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10:30-18 Spring Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, including holidays 10.30-13 and 16-19.30. Guided tours by appointment: tel. 329/6198421,


Telephone: +39 059 2032911
MOBILE: +39 059 2032911

One of the city’s key public institutions since 1959, over the last 50 years the Galleria Civica di Modena has become one of the most authoritative cultural centres on the national contemporary arts scene.
In spring 1995 it moved into the recently restructured Palazzo Santa Margherita, set in one of the most enchanting areas of the town’s historic centre, and thus acquiring both larger and more articulated exhibition and service spaces. In 1983 it also started to make use of the prestigious Palazzina dei Giardini, an ex hunting lodge in the Giardini Ducali in Modena, a short distance from Palazzo Santa Margherita, currently undergoing thorough renovation works.

Palazzina dei Giardini
Build in the 17th century, commissioned by Francesco I d’Este as a summer house – a place of entertainment for the d’Este court – within the gardens of the Palazzo Ducale, and then donated the following century along with the park to the townspeople, it fell into disuse over the years, to the point that in the 20th century it was used only as a hothouse and tool shed. As may be seen from the documents of the day, as far back as the second half of the 16th century there was already a little garden here near the 14th-century castle, the Modenese residence of the d’Este family, dukes of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio.

In 1598, after the devolution of Ferrara to the Holy See and the following transferral of the d’Este capital to Modena, Duke Cesare called for the enlargement and embellishment of the garden, while his successors undertook a further extension of the garden areas, designing them also from a scenic point of view for dances and performances.

In 1739 Francesco III bequeathed the gardens to the town, declaring them to be of public property. As part of the general expansion process, both the exterior and interiors of the Palazzina – then hosting dances and musical performances – were refurbished to take on a typically 18th-century conformation. The side wings were extended and joined to the central pavilion with a terrazzo roof, which could be accessed via curved staircases at the two ends of the building; the facade was decorated with the creation of recesses at the sides of the windows featuring busts of Roman emperors, while a later intervention, apparently dated to 1790, led to the addition of the two triangular tympana. In the interim, 1772 to be precise, the garden area previously occupied by a knoll became home to the University Botanical Gardens, which throughout the 19th century continued to expand and encroach on the other gardens.

After the unification of Italy, the garden became property of the Royal Household, and so in 1865 it was then formally purchased by Modena City Council. At that time a series of renovation works were also undertaken on the Palazzina: hothouses for exotic plants were built along the sides, the cupola was replastered, while inside the building the vault was decorated in the central room, which was also furnished with tables and sofas for the public.

Yet by 1893 the signs of poor maintenance had begun to become apparent both in the garden –despite the various extensions and improvements – and in the Palazzina itself, which in 1916 was relegated to be used exclusively as a hothouse and tool shed, and in 1923 most of its stuccoes and other decorations were removed.

In 1937, due to its precarious state, the cupola was completely demolished and then rebuilt. After the second world war, a project was undertaken to restore the gardens, which came to a head in the 1960s with the installation of a play park for children, and a small zoo was also built for educational purposes.

Towards the end of the 1970s, as part of a project aimed at enhancing the town centre promoted by the local council, the gardens were restored to their original role as a public park area. The Palazzina was also subjected to a radical overhaul, meant to guarantee its conservation and reappraise its original scenic role. When the restoration was completed in 1981, it was initially used occasionally and then on a permanent basis by the Galleria Civica as an exhibition venue.

Palazzo St. Margherita
Found in one of the most enchanting streets of the historical centre of Modena, corso Canalgrande, Palazzo Santa Margherita stands on an area which once featured a church dedicated to St. Margaret. Used from the 12th century firstly as a convent and later as military barracks, in 1874 it became the headquarters of the Patronato dei Figli del Popolo. As well as the Galleria Civica, it is now used to host a number of other cultural services such as the Biblioteca Delfini, the Museo della Figurina and the Istituto Musicale Orazio Vecchi. The spaces dedicated to the Galleria Civica include the Sala Grande, the large room and the hub of the gallery’s activities; the upper rooms, which were opened in November 2004, a space designed to hold study workshops, run in collaboration with the Education Councillorship of Modena City Council, and a bookshop.

Fonte: redazione locale di Modena


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