The Este family governed here for three centuries and gave the city the appearance it has today: a uniquely planned city, harmoniously fusing Mediaeval and Renaissance, Europe's first modern city. It is precisely these characteristics that secured its UNESCO World Heritage status.
It's a peaceful city to wander on foot or by bike, every step re-living the magical atmospheres of the past.
Visit the many museums. Far from being simple repositories for works of art, Ferrara's collections stand out because of the way they cross-reference with the reality outside, whether that be legacies of the past or reminders of the present.
Finds from the legendary city of Spina, vestiges of the Greek and Etruscan worlds, are displayed in the rooms of Palazzo Costabili. Great paintings of the 15th & 16th Centuries are in Palazzo dei Diamanti, and in Palazzo Massari there is the art of Boldini, de Pisis, and their contemporaries. (Palazzo Massari is temporarily closed).
Sights include Palazzo Schifanoia with its splendid Hall of the Months, frescoed in the 15th Century by the painters of the Ferrarese School; the Estense Castle, former residence of the Este dukes; the harmonious Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral and its museum with precious artworks, including an organ screen showing the Annunciation and Saint George killing the dragon by Cosmè Tura (1469), the master of the Ferrarese school. On the left side of the cathedral as you face the piazza, the Loggia dei Merciai has held shops since the mediaeval period.
Going deeper into the mediaeval part of town you can discover jewels of religious art like the Monastery of Sant’Antonio in Polesine with its Giotto-esque frescoes, or the Church of Santa Maria in Vado, a pilgrimage site since a Eucharistic Miracle that took place in the 12th Century.
Ferrara features on the "Via delle Corti Estensi” and “Via del Grande Fiume” (Este Court and Great River Po Trail) parts of the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori (Food and Wine Routes) gastronomic trail. At nightfall the mediaeval streets around the cathedral come alive for the customary aperitiv; on one of them you will find the oldest osteria in the world, mentioned in Ariosto as well as the Guinness Book of Records.
For those who prefer cycling, the best is the circuit around the bottom of the walls, and this can be extended onto the “Destra Po” cycle track by crossing the Urban Park to the north of the city.
For those who love the sea, there are the Comacchio Lidi, seven beach towns that boast wide beaches and a huge choice of entertainment.
A paradise for naturalists, biologists, scientists and birdwatchers, the Po Delta Park is one of the most important wetland areas in Europe, a vast green area surrounded by ancient woodland, pinewoods and reserves, studded with architectural gems inherited from the golden age of the Este family.
44100 Ferrara (FE)
Tel. ++39 0532-209370
Fax ++39 0532-212266
Opening: Open troughout the year
How to reach
Stop in Ferrara
Connections from and to the town
Last update: 26/01/2016