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Places we love in Ferrara

Ferrara was highly rated for Old Town exploring by 135 guests from the United Kingdom! Ferrara travel guide

A Renaissance Rival to Florence

Ferrara was a haven for the arts during the Renaissance and much of this is still evident today. The powerful Este family held court in the multi-turreted Estense Castle, protected by a moat and drawbridge, and they were illustrious patrons of artists and authors.

Bellini, Piero della Francesca and Titian all perfected their strokes here, and the university houses parts of Ludovico Ariosto’s original manuscript of his epic poem – Orlando Furioso – containing allegorical references to his sponsors. The family is also depicted in Palazzo Schifanoia’s detailed fresoces, and the Palazzo dei Diamanti gallery displays works commissioned from the School of Ferrara.

Some Este tombs are in Corpus Domini Monastery and another is in the ornate cathedral whose three-gabled façade overlooks the crenellated town hall. Both line Piazza di Trento e Trieste, the main square where locals come to socialise. Another popular square is green Piazza Ariostea.

The Este strengthened their position through marriage alliances with the influential Borgia, Medici and Gonzaga families, but they didn’t have it all their own way. Ferrara’s well-preserved city walls were built for defence, and ardent opponent of the Renaissance, Savonarola, was born in this UNESCO World Heritage city.

Surrounding cobbled streets house many luxury Ferrara hotels, cheap apartments and B&Bs near the train station, available on Booking.com.