Balsamic vinegar barrels in a Modenese attic - Modena, Emilia-Romagna

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If Italy were a meal, Modena would be the main course. Here, on the flat plains of the slow-flowing Po, lies one of the nation's great gastronomic centres, the creative force behind real balsamic vinegar, giant tortellini stuffed with tantalising fillings, and sparkling Lambrusco wine. It boasts backstreets crammed with some of the best restaurants no one's ever heard of, and one, Osteria Francescana, that everybody's heard of – it was awarded top spot on the coveted 'World's 50 Best Restaurants' list in 2016, and again in 2018, the first Italian restaurant to nab the honour.

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