An extraordinary sequence of documents illustrates the small and large urban and architectural transformations of Modena at the end of the 1500s, in the passage from local city to headquarters of the Este court.
[Modena 1598. The invention of a capital] The death of Alfonso II d’Este led to the end of Ferrara’s reign as the capital of the Este state. Duke Cesare of the house of Este of Montecchio, heir to what remained of the holdings, settled in Modena, making the small city in the Po Valley his capital. The construction of the royal palace became the main focus of the dynasty, which called upon the most brilliant architects from the Emilia region and Rome, from Girolamo Rainaldi to Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Based on an extraordinary sequence of historical documents, the volume examines the minute, numberless modifications made to common constructions, reshaping the city as a reflection of the palace and the court. Publication of the inventories of the real estate holdings of the Molza family, one of the leading dynasties of the Modena scene, offers explicit evidence of one of the family strategies of urban settlement that made Modena a true “capital” in terms of architecture and urban planning.