Historically it was a Roman colony named Mutina and from 1598 was for several centuries the capital of the duchy of Este (until it was annexed in 1859 to the entity state that two years later took the name of the Kingdom of Italy) and is an ancient university and the archbishop.
The Risorgimento was particularly supported by the Modenese, as Ciro Menotti and numerous groups Mazzini and the Carbonari of the city who voted compactly for the Unification of Italy in 1860.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth century Emilia (and in particular the province of Modena), became a bulwark socialist before and communist then. The phenomenon of land occupation was very strong and collided with the fascist violence.
After September 1943, Modena and its municipalities had to endure destruction, massacres, looting, humiliation at the hands of German occupiers and the Fascist militia.
In the postwar years Modena know with the economic boom, a period of unprecedented prosperity.
The success of the city is mainly related to the emergence of unique products from small industries in the world, such as Ferrari or Maserati or Panini, or as the poles of Sassuolo, textile Carpi and Mirandola biomedical, and exploitation of regional products.