Ferrara Tourist Attractions
SituationFerrara, capital of the province of the same name, lies 5km/3mi south of the River Po in the fertile north Italian plain. The distance from Ferrara to the Adriatic coast is about 50km/31mi.Ferrara, see of an archbishop, and with a small university, was once the splendid capital of the dukes of Este and an important trading center. Its wide streets, forbidding castle and sumptuous Renaissance palaces still bear witness to the great days of its past.HistoryThe town first appears in the records at the time of the Great Migration. In 1332 it fell into the hands of the Este family, one of the oldest noble houses in Italy (961-1598), which reached its period of greatest splendor in the 16th century Ariosto (1474-1533), the greatest Italian poet of the day, and the poet Torquato Tasso (1544-95) lived at the brilliant Renaissance court. Girolamo Savonarola was born in Ferrara in 1452. In 1598 the town was incorporated in the Papal State and in 1860 it was united with the Kingdom of Italy.The flea market, Piazza Travaglio, opens every Monday.
St George Cathedral, Ferrara View slideshow
Address: Largo Castello, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
South of the Castello in Ferrara is the Piazza Savonarola, with a monument to Savonarola, the great preacher and reformer. Here, too, we find the Palazzo Comunale, once the palace of the dukes of Este (originally built in 1243, rebuilt in the 14/15th century), with a facade of 1924.
Address: Via Guglielmo Degli Adelardi 2, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
Over the narthex in the cathedral in Ferrara is the Cathedral Museum, with pictures and sculptures, among which are the "Madonna del Melograno" by Jacopo della Quercia, as well as a Dutch tapestry by J. Karcher, based on drawings by G. Filippi and Garafola.
Address: Via San Romano, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
About 500m/550yd southeast of the cathedral in Ferrara stands the church of San Francesco, a brick-built Early Renaissance building (15th century) roofed with a series of domes. Immediately east is the University (founded 1391).
Sights in the South
Medieval street in Ferrara
Schifanoia Palace and Municipal Museum
In Via Scandiana in Ferrara, is the Palazzo Schifanoia (late 14th century; remodeled in 1466-93), an Este summer residence, now incorporating the Municipal Museum (Museo Civico), with miniatures, medals and fine frescoes by Francesco del Cossa and his pupils (c. 1470).
About 500m/550yd south of the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara is the Palazzo di Ludovico il Moro (16th century; unfinished), with a beautiful courtyard and fine frescoes, early examples of trompe-l'oeil painting (c. 1500). It now houses the Archeological Museum (Museo Civico d'Arte Antica), which has a splendid collection of vases and other finds from the Greek-Etruscan necropolis of Spina, near Comacchio.
Address: Palazzo Bonacossi, via Cisterna del Follo, 5, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea
Southwest of San Francesco, in Via delle Scienze (No 17) in Ferrara, is the Palazzo del Paradiso, occupied from 1586 to 1962 by the university and now by the Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea, with Ariosto's tomb and some of his manuscripts.
Address: Via delle Scienze 17, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
Sights in the North
Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara
Palazzo Sacrati or Prosperi
In the north of Ferrara, at the intersection of Corso Ercole I d'Este with Corso Rosetti/Corso di Porta Mare, are two fine palaces. On the northwest corner is the Palazzo Sacrati or Prosperi (c. 1500), with a fine doorway.
Opposite the Palazzo Sacrati in Ferrara, to the south, is the Palazzo dei Diamanti, a superb example of Early Renaissance architecture (1492-1567) which takes it name from the faceted stones of its facade. It now contains the National Gallery, with works by 15th-16th century painters of the Ferrara school.
Address: Palazzo dei Diamanti, Corso Ercole I d'Este 21, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
At Via Ariosto 65 in Ferrara, is the house in which Ariosto lived; on the first floor is the room where the poet died.
Address: Via Ariosto 67, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
The Certosa in Ferrara is a former Carthusian house founded in 1452 and dissolved in 1796, now a cemetery; here also is a fine 15th-16th century church.
From the Certosa in Ferrara it is only a few steps to the building complex of the Palazzo Massari-Palazzina Cavalieri di Malta, which houses the Boldini Museum (Museo Boldini e dell'Ottocento Ferrarese) and works by other painters of Ferrara. Boldini (1842-1931) painted portraits and scenes of the Parisian street-life.
Address: Porta Mare 9, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
Municipal Collection of Contemporary Art
The Palazzo Massari in Ferrara contains the Municipal Collection of Contemporary Art (Civica Galleria d'Arte Moderna).
Address: Corso Porta Mare 9, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
Comacchio, Italy View slideshow
The surroundings of Ferrara include the town of Comacchio and the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria di Pomposa.
Abbazia Santa Maria di Pomposa
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