The Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar


in short

The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Museum, the only one in the world devoted to this “DOP” product, was born in 2002; the aim of the new-born institution is to promote this product, so intimately bound with the Modena territory and its traditions.
Villa Fabriani
© Alessandra Chemollo
Logo: The Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

The Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

in detail

The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Museum, the only one in the world devoted to this DOP product (denomination of protected origin),  was born on the 24th of November 2002. The aim of the new-born institution is to promote this product, so intimately bound with the Modena territory and its traditions, and to make it famous not only in Italy but also worldwide.

Any visitor walking across the Museum halls will round off this journey step by step; they will be fascinated by this product summing up the history of a strip of land in the Emilia district.They will discover the complexity of this preparation that tome and experience have made perfect; they will consider how necessary it is to protect its name, control its genuineness and regulate its production so as to avoid any form of industrialisation; they will appreciate its uniqueness by taking part in the “acetaie” to those processes which were previously jealously kept private.They will share with us, in short, an exclusive little myth of Modena and  they will help us spread it and keep our secular tradition on respectfully.  

The visit starts with a video, which shows the production of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Just from the video, the visitor can understand that it is a very long process in which the man accomplishes very few and fundamental gestures, without adding any foreign element, unless the typical grapes of this territory.The tradition allows only typical grapes of this territory, such as Trebbiano di Spagna, Ancellotta and Lambrusco Grasparossa, all of them picked up and collected with finesse. The pressing of grapes, to obtain the must, is made in the evening and the following morning the must is cooked over the fire in the open air with a temperature of 90°-95° C. Then this cooked must can be placed into the largest barrel of a set of vessels.

After the video, the visitor enters a section in which he can see the processing steps for the production of Balsamic vinegar, from the grape harvest to the inlet of the cooked must into the barrels. The visitor can see the tools used in the grape collection, the pressing machines and the vats, the copper pot ready for the must cooking and the barrels under construction.In the attic reconstruction the visitor can smell the balsamic perfume of the vinegar in the barrels, among which the barrels of a very ancient set of vessels belonging to the Fabriani family, which lived here.The set of vessels has to be made of at least 5 barrels, up to a perfection of 11 barrels.After long term decantation, the cooked must naturally starts both to ferment and to undergo acetic bioxidation by yeasts and acetobacteria. This is followed by the maturing stage, of vital importance for the formation of the unique fragrances of Balsamic Vinegar.

Finally comes the ageing stage, during which the vinegar’s characteristics reach true perfection. These three stages take place in a series of barrels of different woods (cherry, chestnut, mulberry, oak, false acacia, ash tree and juniper) and decreasing size. Each type of wood gives to the vinegar a specific characteristic such as a certain colour, flavour or tasting.Only after 12 or 25 years of maturing the product reaches that surprising balance of aromas and flavours that allows it to bear the title of “protected origin denomination” (DOP).Walking into the following room the visitor can admire the tools used for the annual operations to carry on in the Acetaia. Here there is a 1785 bottle of Balsamic Vinegar, and its content was tasted few years ago.

The visit continues with the section dedicated to the scientific instruments, which had permitted to identify some peculiarities which distinguish this product from other type of vinegars. It is possible to taste the Balsamic Vinegar and to know the history of the Association “Coterie of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar” at the second floor of Villa Fabriani.The tasting of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a real rite, calmly executed in a silent place, taking the right time during the performance.Every years, during the competition called Palio di San Giovanni (St. John’s Palio) the Coterie’s expert tasters collect about one thousand samples of Balsamic Vinegar and they judge them thanks to their experience.It is only in this strip of land, between the Panaro and Secchia rivers, that the Balsamic Vinegar can be produced.

It is sure that the Balsamic Vinegar is anyway a unique product, born in these lands, originated from a tradition that has been handed down from one generation to the next one.

The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
is produced in the area of the ancient lands of the ducal family of Este.
With no addition of any aromatic substances,
it is obtained from cooked grape-must matured
through slow acetification resulting from natural fermentation
and progressive concentration by means of a very long ageing process
in a set of vessels of different kinds of wood.
Of a deep, dark and bright brown colour, an appropriate smoothness
and thickness show its density. It has got a peculiar and complex smell,
pervasive and definitely sharp, but at the same time pleasant and harmonious.
Its inimitable well-balanced sweet and sour taste allows itself
to be generously full, sapid and with downy nuances
in accordance with its own olfactory nature.
Fabriani Family Villa
A distinguished, well proportioned building, with all walls covered in frescos (early XX century), its name comes from its first owners: the Fabriani family, ancient and renowned bourgeois family that counts many great personalities in culture, science and administration from the XX century as, for example, Severino Fabriani: renowned historian and pedagogist, father of the one most used deaf-mute teaching method.
Another renowned Fabriani member was Pio Pacifico, whom we all should thank for having fixed on paper the method to “make the Modena vinegar”.The building is presently home of the Museum of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and of the Coterie of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
2,00/1,00 EUR; con degustazione - with tasting: 4,00/2,00 EUR (domenica dalle 9:30 alle 12 oppure su prenotazione/ tasting is possible on Sunday from 9:30 to 12 am or with booking); 0-18y gratuito - Free entry
The museum on google maps:


european cultural history, pet, art, wood, tradition, dance, copper, rivers, traditional, grape, vintage, pressing of grape, cooked grape-must, pail, ageing

Visitor entrance

Fabriani Family Villa
Via Roncati, 28
41057 Modena
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Opening Times

09:30 - 19:00
09:30 - 19:00
09:30 - 19:00
09:30 - 19:00
09:30 - 19:00
09:30 - 19:00
Chiuso il lunedì e tutti i giorni dalle 13:00 alle 15:00/
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