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Scarce birdseye view of the town of Modena.

Modena was founded in the 3rd century B.C. by the Celts. As part of the Roman Empire, it became an important agricultural center along the Emilia Road. Following the Barbarian invasions, the town resumed commercial activities and, in the 9th century, it was possible for it to build the first circle of walls, which would mark its development throughout the Middle Ages, until its transformation into a Libero Comune (free municipality).

Modena was ruled by Mantua in 1289, but later became part of the lands controled by the Ferrara House of Este from 1336 to 1796. It was during this time period that Modena flourished and the current streets in the City center were laid-out, according to the "chessboard model", coming from the nearby Ferrara.

In 1598 Modena became capital of the Este Dukedom and was embellished by numerous religious and civilian buildings, which gave a majestic and solemn look to the town. In the 19th century, the Auster-Este dynasty devoted itself to the town's modernization, which underwent a complete change of its layout, through the demolition of the walls, then substituted by the today still existing wooded ring road.

This map appeared in Albrizzi's Storia di tutti i popoli del Mondo, the Italian edition of Thomas Salmon's popular History of the World.