|Art and Ferrara Those who wish to break up their sunbathing holiday with a visit to one of the most beautiful and well preserved artistic cities in Italy must visit Ferrara. The Mid- Renaissance atmostphere set by its buildings, museums, roads, and castle will certainly be of interest to any tourist.
The history of Ferrara is linked to the House of Este that once governed the city, for over three centuries, and created one of the richest and most modern cities of that time in Italy.
The House of the Estensi took over the city in the first half of the XII century, with Nicolò II, after whom came Lionello,Borso, Ercole I, Alfonso I, Ercole II and Alfonso II who enriched and improved Ferrara until it became the most modern city in Europe. It was surrounded by artists such as Pisanello, Piero della Francesca, Dossi, L.B Alberti, Cossa Garofalo, Mantegna, Cosme’ Tura and Guercino, whose works we can still admire today, and writers such as Ariosto and Tasso. On the death of Alfonso II in 1598 the Estensi had to leave Ferrara, which at that time joined the Pontific State and thence started the long period of decline.
The and most convenient point of departure for this visit is at Piazza Travaglio, here there is ample parking space, except for on Mondays which is market day. At the exit of the car park a left turn takes you into Corso Porta Reno road and in 5 minutes you are in the centre of the town: You will find yourself in piazza Trento Trieste where on the right you have the Cathedral with its solemn marble work and its three cusps.
It is considered the most important medieval building in the town, however of no less importance is the adjacent cathedral museum " museo del Duomo" that contains works of art by Cosmè Tura and Jacopo della Quercia. Opposite the Cathedral is the Clock Tower, "Torre dell' Orologio", which dates back to the 600 and the City Hall, " Palazzo Comunale" which dates to XIII century, which was then a ducal residence of the Estensi family. The small arch carries the statue of Nicolò III d'Este.
Following alongside the city hall and crossing Piazza Savonarola you reach the moat that surrounds the Estense Castle built in 1385 and completed in the XIV century. It is open to visits.
Crossing Corso Giovecca you arrive in the corso Ercole I d'Este, which is the main road of this renaissance quarter.
At number 12 there is a beautiful Renaissance doorway, at number 16 there is the palace of Giulio d'Este with its splendid courtyard. It dates to the 15th Century, at number 32 there is the Turchi di Bagno Residence also of the same date, opposite, number 23, there is the famous Diamante Palace, of the XV century.It is one of the most elegant examples of Renaissance architecture. It is now a National Gallery and hosts many National exhibitions.
At the end of corso Ercole d'Este on the opposite side of the road is the Massari Park. Turning right along Porta Po you reach Piazza Ariostea that in the months of May hosts the Palio of Ferrara.From Via Palestra you return towards Corso Giovecca that continues to the left until the crossroads with Ugo Bassi road. At this point , remaining in Corso Giovecca you reach the palace of Marfisa d'Este, which is open to the public. Following Via Ugo Bassi until the crossroads with Via Savonarola you reach the University in the Pareschi Palace, on your right.
Opposite the University at number 30 there is the Casa dei Romei. This is a typical upper class residence of the 15th century. It is open to the public and contains2 picturesque courtyards an open gallery and internal rooms, of particular interest the Sala delle Sibille.
Returning to Ugo bassi and turning right into Via madama and then left into Via Sacandiana as far as The Schifanoia Palace that is now home to the civic museum and is open to the public.