Nestled in the heart of Modena’s Old Town and just a stone’s throw from Piazza Grande and the Ghirlandina Tower, you’ll find the small but perfectly formed Quartopiano Bed & Breakfast.
Run by Antonio and Alessandro, this duo like to think of Quartopiano as a “home from home,” and it’s safe to say they’ve done a good job. Hidden away on the 4th floor of a residential building this 2 bedroom B&B oozes charm and draws you inside with the promise of home comforts, eclectic decor and rooftop views over the city.
We’d come to Modena to celebrate fp’s birthday at Osteria Francescanca, the restaurant of innovative Italian chef, Massimo Bottura. A table at this restaurant had been on our bucket list for a while, and after managing to reserve a table (just a causal 3 month waiting list which I almost forgot to get us on) we needed somewhere to stay.
When travelling we like to get a local experience rather than a toursity one, and this usually starts with staying in a B&B rather than a hotel. There’s something lovely about arriving at someone’s home and being warmly invited inside, usually with the offer of a cup of tea or glass of wine; it’s relaxing and familiar and exactly what you need after a long journey. We’d heard about Quartopiano 6 months earlier during our stay at Albero Capovolto in Sardinia. (Alessandro, the owner, has the most beautiful home which you should absolutely stay at if you’re in the area.) We were chatting with him about visiting Modena and he recommended Quartopiano. With his impeccable taste and eclectic sense of style, we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed and booked in without hesitation.
Finding the B&B can be a little tricky if like me, you have no sense of direction and rely solely on googlemaps to get from A to B. The Old Town is a traffic restricted zone so any navigation device will do its best to stop you from entering. Very gallant, but slightly annoying when you actually do need to enter! Once you find it, there’s a parking space right outside which is really convenient and takes away the added stress of finding a parking space. Antonio will take a picture of your number plate and pass it onto the authorities so you don’t get fined; a rather Italian process 😉
He met us outside and we took the lift to the fourth floor where Quartopiano is located. As soon as we entered, I knew we’d made the right choice. I felt immediately relaxed and at home and inspired by their beautiful design choices. The furnishings and accessories were found at street markets in both Provence and Italy and perfectly display their unique sense of style. I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d come and design my home too!
We stayed in the beautiful Guerriero room which was inspired by the Italian countryside and managed to be bright and cosy at the same time. As expected, the decor was beautiful. I loved the unique touches like the display of manuscript paper to add privacy to the bathroom.
Talking of which, this was definitely unique. The bathroom is part of the bedroom, surrounded by glass walls which reminded me of a conservatory or green house. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and although I personally loved it, I couldn’t help but think that such an open bathroom slightly detracts from the romance of a weekend away; perhaps avoid this room if you’re a new couple, or simply like a little privacy in the bathroom department! You know what I’m saying…
Overall, the bedroom was beautiful and I inevitably wished it was mine!
The kitchen is found up a small staircase in the living room. It’s a small space, but feels like a real kitchen in a Modenese home. There’s a small window with a direct view of the Ghirlandina Tower; a lovely backdrop to watch the sunset with a glass of wine. This is where breakfast is served, unless you decide to have breakfast at their bistro, Mon Cafe, which is just a short walk away. We had breakfast at Mon Cafe on both days and couldn’t recommend it enough.
Mon Cafe is just as beautiful as Quartopiano, and an exceptional find in Italy which doesn’t really cater for the brunch scene. We had breakfast here both days and enjoyed a spread of pastries, bread & jam, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee whilst watching the local Modenese people come and go. In the evening it transforms into a cocktail and tapas bar, and it fast became our favourite spot in the city. These two are just so on the ball, and the menu was undoubtedly the best cocktail menu in town, and easily matched those of London. My pre-dinner drink of choice was a London Mule, followed by an Espresso Martini after dinner. It’s as if they knew I was coming!
We left Quartopiano both utterly relaxed and completely in love with Modena and its people. You know it’s been a good stay when you leave with a heavy heart and a longing to return. Thank you Antonio and Alessandro; we’ll be back!