An ancient town, and seat of an archbishop, it is known for its automotive industry since the factories of the famous Italian sports car makers Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati are, or were, located here and all, except Lamborghini, have headquarters in the city or nearby. One of Ferrari's cars, the 360 Modena, was named after the town itself.
Modena lies on the Pianura Padana, and is bounded by the two rivers Secchia and Panaro, both affluents of the Po River. Their presence is symbolized by the Two Rivers Fountain in the city's center, by Giuseppe Graziosi. The city is connected to the Panaro by the Naviglio channel.
The Apennines begin some 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the city, to the south.
The commune is divided into four circoscrizioni. These are:
Centro storico (Historical Center, San Cataldo)
Crocetta (San Lazzaro-East Modena, Crocetta)
Buon Pastore (Buon Pastore, Sant'Agnese, San Damaso)
San Faustino (S.Faustino-Saliceta San Giuliano, Madonnina-Quattro Ville)