Things to see in Ferrara - What to see in Ferrara







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Things to see - What to see in Ferrara             (Back to Ferrara main information page)

The Castello Estense, a brick building surrounded by a moat, with four towers, built after 1385 and partly restored in 1554, dominates the centre of Ferrara, built at the time to be a major feat of military engineering. The Este court thrived artists like Piandello, Jacopo Bellini, Mantegna, and the poets Ariosto and Tasso.

Indeed, the visitor is brought back to the days of Este magnificence, especially in the rooms of ?Salone dei Giochi? (games rooms), decorated by Filippo with scenes of wrestling and chariot-racing.

The University of Ferrara, one of Italy oldest university, was founded in 1391 by Alberto V d?Este, and it is considered since an important cultural monument of the city  and of Italy alone. It has been serving the faculties of law, architecture, pharmacy, medicine and natural science. Its library has valuable manuscripts, including part of that of the Orlando Furies and letters by Tasso. The University is also famous as there took their degree the astronomer Nicolas Copernicus (1503), Paracelsus (Philosopher and a man of medicine), and Pico della Mirandola (Humanist and Italian philosopher).

The Palazzo Comunale, built in 1243 and rebuilt in the 18th century, was the earlier residence of the Este family. It hosts statues of the Este family on its fa?de.

Opposite the Palazzo Comunale, is the Duomo, a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles with a magnificent fa?de which decoration on its carved central portal (from a XII century by Wiligelmus), depict the Last Judgement. Inside, much of the church is magnificently decorated with sparkling chandeliers. The inside museum has a collection of a set of bas-reliefs illustrating the labours of the months, manuscripts, two organ shutters decorated by Tura, and a beautiful Madonna by Della Quercia.


Ferrara?s medieval quarter is one of the most characteristic in Italy. Structured as a beautiful long arcaded from the Duomo, with its rows of shops, to Via San Romano and to the arched Via delle Volte.

Here the visitor can appreciate a number of the Renaissance palaces once inhabited by Ferrara's families: Casa Romei, is a typical building of the time, with frescoes and graceful courtyards. The antique Monastery of Corpus Domini holds the tombs of Alfonso I and II d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia.

The Palazzo Schifanoia (the "Palace of Joy") is one of the most important of Ferrara's palaces. Belonged to the Este family, it includes frescoes depicting the life of Borso of Este, fine choir-books with miniatures, the signs of the zodiac and allegorical representations of the months, plus more frescos by Cosimo Tura.

Palazzo di Lodovico IL Moro hosts the Archeological museum, with finds from Spina, the Greco-Etruscan seaport and trading colony near Commachio, and a canoe from one of the prehistoric lake villages in the Po Delta.

The Palazzo dei Diamanti is nowadays used for temporary modern art exhibitions as well as being home to the Pinacoteca Nazionale, the Museo Michelangelo Antonioni and the Museo del Risorgimento e della Resistenza.

The Archivio Storico Comunale contains relevant historical documents from the XV century. The Archivio Storico Diocesano is more ancient, mentioned in documents in 955, and contains precious documents collected across the centuries.

Many libraries also enrich this town, which possesses a cultural heritage of extraordinary importance.

Other sights worth visiting are the historical theatre, the Certosa, the Church of San Francesco (by Biagio Rossetti), the Church of San Benedetto, the Church of Santa Maria in Vado,  the Church of San Domenico, the Church of San Paolo, the Church of San Giorgio, the Renaissance Church of San Cristoforo, The house of Ludovico Ariosto, erected by himself after 1526.

Ferrara hosts also some synagogues and a Jewish Museum, in the heart of the medieval centre.



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