Discovering the Charm of Casa Maria Luigia in Modena, Italy

In the picturesque outskirts of Modena, just a short 20-minute drive from the city center and a mere 10-minute journey from the Modena Sud exit on the A1 highway, lies the enchanting country house, Casa Maria Luigia. This historic 18th-century residence, once left abandoned, was brought back to life by renowned chef Massimo Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore.

The Transformation Journey of Bottura & Gilmore

Having purchased this grand property at a court auction for 700,000 euros after five failed attempts, the couple had a vision. They wanted to offer guests the experience of the tranquil Italian countryside paired with world-class dining. They invested an additional million euros to restore and transform the once-decrepit villa into an exclusive guesthouse, which quickly became the go-to spot for corporate gatherings and group dinners.

Every corner of this villa reflects Bottura and Gilmore’s passions. From art installations by acclaimed artists like Andy Warhol and Doug Aitken to its Gucci wallpaper and decorative mirrors, Casa Maria Luigia exudes luxury and taste. The 12-room residence is spread over three floors, complete with a standalone bungalow, a tennis court, and a swimming pool. For music lovers, the listening room, boasting a vintage LP collection and Alessandro Mendini’s iconic Proust armchair, is a treat.

Gastronomic Delights: Francescana at Maria Luigia

Nestled within Casa Maria Luigia is its gem, the Francescana restaurant. Headed by the talented Canadian chef, Jessica Rosval, a veteran of Bottura’s Osteria Francescana team, this eatery offers an array of Bottura’s signature dishes. From a tasting menu with highlights like “Una compressione di pasta e fagioli” and “Tortellini come gesto sociale” priced at 330 €, to its wine pairing option for an additional 150 €, the culinary experience here is unparalleled.

The difference between this establishment and Osteria Francescana downtown? While the latter only serves newly created dishes that rotate biannually, Francescana at Maria Luigia celebrates Bottura’s iconic creations from over the years.

A Morning at Bottura’s

Mornings at Casa Maria Luigia are a delight. Guests are greeted with a hearty breakfast reminiscent of traditional Modenese farmer snacks. Picture freshly baked bread and focaccia from a wood-fired oven, paired with locally sourced ricotta. Not to mention, the variety of local specialties like cotechino, erbazzone, and aged Parmigiano Reggiano, ensuring guests start their day on a gastronomic high.

An Experience Beyond Stay & Food

But the surprises don’t stop at food. Venture into the playroom and you’ll discover a treasure trove of limited edition Ferrari cars, vintage Ducatis, Maseratis, and Lamborghinis. A nod to Bottura’s love for “slow food and fast cars.” The experience is further enhanced with a tour of the adjoining acetaia, where over 1,200 barrels of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena are aged.

Luxury Stays

For those looking to immerse themselves in the full Casa Maria Luigia experience, accommodations range from the Festina Lente rooms priced at 340 € to the expansive Luigina bungalow at 2,500 €.

Known to attract a star-studded clientele, it’s rumored that celebrities like David Beckham and actor Patrick Dempsey have enjoyed stays here. So, whether you’re seeking a lavish escape or a gastronomic journey, Casa Maria Luigia awaits.

The Ducati museum in Bologna: fun for everyone!

Once you have had a chance to visit some of the Cultural and Culinary treats that await you in Bologna, it is time for a visit to the Ducati Museum and Factory to experience Italian motor engineering and style at its’ best! Ducati has been making motorcycles since 1946, and at the Ducati Museum, located at the factory headquarters, you can learn how their product has evolved over the course of the last 70 years. This is no stuffy old-fashioned museum, but a modern and award-winning attraction that will delight young and old alike, so do not miss it!

The Ducati museum in Bologna

The DUCATI Museum Collection

The museum, which opened in 1998 has been arranged to represent an illuminated racetrack, featuring 33 iconic motorcycles from various periods of the company’s history; Adding to the WOW factor, the spectator area is situated inside a massive red helmet! After you have had a look at the cycles on the “track” you will proceed through 7 themed rooms, where you can learn all about the Brand, the dream and the reality that is Ducati today. You will see the history of the company, its’ most important innovations and an overview of the 30 years before the first motorcycle was produced. You will learn about the Ducati motor racing heritage and the people who made it all happen.
The story starts with the Cucciolo, (puppy, in Italian!) the first engine produced by the company in 1946 (designed by Aldo Farinelli) after World War II, when there was a desperate need for a cheap form of transport to boost the economy. The Cucciolo was basically an ordinary bicycle fitted with a very economical 4-stroke engine, which could carry two people up and down the many hills in the area. You will then follow innovations which resulted in Ducati becoming the envy of the motorcycle industry and won them many prizes at Superbike World Championships. The final exhibit is of the Desmosedici cycle, which introduced a new generation of racing engines from the company.

Factory and Museum Tours

Tours of the Factory and the Museum are conducted by a Ducati guide 4 times each day, and need to be booked in advance. Plan to visit from Monday to Friday is possible, as the factory tour is not available on Saturdays unless you are a member of the DOC – Ducati Owners Club! Times are 9.15, 11.00, 13.45 and 15.30 and it will cost you €10.00 to visit.
Bookings can be done online at or by telephone: +39(0)516413343.

Getting There:

Bologna is easily reached from all parts of Italy by train, plane or car. It is just 1 hour from Florence, 2 hours from Milan and Venice and 3.5 hours from Rome. If you are flying into Bologna airport, you can get a taxi which will take you to the factory in 10 minutes.
From the centre of Bologna, the best way is to take a suburban train, which will only cost you about €1 and takes just 10 minutes. Then grab a taxi for the short ride to the factory. You can also take a bus from the centre of Bologna; although this takes quite a bit longer (40min) and requires a change of busses along the way, you can get off at “Borgo Panigale” stop and then walk just 200 metres to the Company. Take a no 36 or 39 to Via Lame and then change to No 13 going towards Borgo Panigale.

Organised Ducati tour in Bologna.

For those not fond of fiddling with reservation and Italian publish transport, Emilia Delizia can organise a chauffeured Ducati museum and factory tours. We will book and reserve spots for you and provide transport, you can also combine the Ducati factory and museum visit with the other super car factory and collection in the area.

Super bike collection at the Ducati Museum.