This industrial town in Northern Italy offers unexpected delights, including several noteworthy architectural gems and a cluster of interesting museums.
Enjoy the numerous cultural attractions in this charming northern town . Discover its vast, Renaissance-era piazza. Learn about the famous Pio family who once ruled over Carpi. Historic churches and fascinating museums are dotted throughout the city’s culture-packed core.
From the 14th through the 16th centuries, Carpi was ruled by the Pios, a powerful noble Italian family. Many monuments from this period still stand in the town’s historic center. Come to the vast Renaissance-era square of Piazza dei Martiri. Despite being damaged by a devastating earthquake in 2012, the square has been mostly rebuilt and renovated. Stroll around the square and survey the surrounding buildings.
Attractive porticoes line the side of the piazza. Look for several landmark buildings, including La Sagra cathedral, the Teatro Communale and the Torre della Sagra at the Pieve of Saint Maria. Venture inside the cathedral to explore the 12th-century interior, which features several frescoes.
Admire the grand Palazzo Dei Pio, a large complex featuring towers and turreted buildings. Step inside to view frescoes and exhibits detailing the history of the city. The palazzo holds the Museo Monumento al Deportato. Haunting exhibits document the plight of the people imprisoned in the nearby Campo di Fossoli while waiting to be deported to Nazi concentration camps. The camp, which is just a 15-minute drive north of Carpi, was used to house Jews and political opponents to Fascism. Wander around the remains of the complex and ponder the horror of humanity’s past.
Continue strolling around the town on foot to find more centuries-old churches, such as the Chiesa di San Bernardino da Siena. One of the most exciting times to visit Carpi is during October, when the Italian Marathon, which finishes in the city, takes place.
To get to Carpi, fly to Bologna and travel about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest to reach Carpi. Consider renting a car for easy access to nearby daytrip destinations such as Modena, Parma and Bologna.