In 1766, work began to build Via Giardini and connect Modena to Tuscany: the road will pass through Maranello, boosting trade and development of the city.
The history of Maranello is intertwined with that of important roads. In Roman times, the settlement was reached over Via Claudia, but in the 1700s the town saw the construction of a precursor to the modern motorway: the Via Giardini.
In 1766, Duke Francesco III d’Este had many projects in the context of urban planning. He had already built the provincial road of Via Vandelli that goes through via Torre Maina to connect Modena to possessions of the Este family in the Massa-Carrara area. Its construction, entrusted to abbot Domenico Vandelli, whom it was named after, took from 1734 to 1751. Now, it was time for a more ambitious project: building a road linking the Duchy of Modena to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
On March 20, Francesco III named Pietro Paolo Giardini as director of works for the Emilian track. The new route would pass through Maranello and then climb the mountains into Tuscany, whose track was designed by abbot Ximenes. For the Emilian track, 3,000 workers were employed, and 2,000 worked on the Tuscan track. The cornerstone was laid on April 28 and the works were completed within ten years.
Immediately, tax cuts and incentives were issued to populate the new route with stations, taverns and shops, so as to make the ride smoother and provide the main services. In Maranello, the presence of the important new road boosted trade as well as nearby settlements, and caused various famous people to pass through. Emperor Joseph II in 1775, the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Beatrice d’Este in 1780, General Bonaparte’s conquest of Italy in 1769, his sister Elisa Baciocchi with Pope Pius VII in 1804 … and many others, including the Dukes from the Este family who spent their summer holidays in Pavullo.
With the Unification of Italy, Via Giardini became national road. And still today, it is there to bear witness to a piece of history.
Silvano Soragni, “Maranello, dal Feudo Calcagnini… alla Scuderia Ferrari”, Artioli Editore, 2004