Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta


Ferrara architecture

Ferrara is located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is located a few km away from the city of Bologna. The town grew up on a ford over the Po River and became a center for art and culture which attracted several artists and intellects to the town in the 15th and the 16th centuries. The famous House of Este in Ferrara had been decorated by well known artists like Andrea Mantegna, Jacopo Bellini and Piero della Francesca. The concept of an ideal city became a reality in Ferrara and can be seen in the neighborhoods that developed in the area from the 15th century by Biagio Rossetti. The concept of town planning and urban cities had developed in Ferrara.


Ferrara had been included in the list of world heritage sites by UNESCO for its exception beauty and its important place in the culture and art world of Italy. Industrial activity has flourished in the town in the modern times. Ferrara was also made headquarter for the prestigious Italian Hermitage Museum in 2006 because of its historical importance. It is only the fifth city which has been able to have its name linked with this prestigious museum. The Hermitage Italy Foundation was formed based on this union.


Via Guglielmo degli Adelardi, Ferrara
Ph. depositphoto.com/vvoennyy


Some of the most well known monuments and buildings in Ferrara are as given below.

The Castel Estense or the House of Este

The House of Este is also known as the Castle of Saint Michele or the Castle Estense and is one of the most important buildings in Ferrara. It is a medieval structure with a moat and is located in the center of the town. the castle has four corners and is a large block of buildings. Each corner is marked with a tower.

The architecture of House of Este

The façade of the castle represents the vision of Girolamo da Carpi who had designed it in the 16th century. The structure is surrounded by a moat and has drawbridges and three entrances. The draw bridges are flanked with brick work ravelins. According to the original design there had to be a fourth entrance but it was never made to allow enough room for the kitchen rooms.


Symbols of Ferrara: lions and tower

The building still looks like a medieval fortress, especially at the bottom. Higher than that, the battlements were replaced with balconies which were elegantly made with white stone. Another storey was added and was covered with a skew roof. The towers had then been improved and were made graceful with their roof top terraces.


The courtyard of the castle is quite austere but had been frescoed. There were beautiful portraits of the ancestors of the Este family. Only a few of those frescoes still survive today and have been removed and placed under the castle's portico. The castle is mainly known for its beautiful interiors and its many elegant rooms, the most noteworthy of them have been mentioned below.

The Gothic Rooms of the castle

There are four beautiful living rooms which are collectively known as the Gothic Rooms. These rooms have beautiful cross-vaulted ceilings and the first one is the most noteworthy of them all. The first room has beautiful rich decorations which run along the vault. The portrait of Nicola II d'Este has been placed facing the entrance and the room has been dedicated to him.

At the center of the room is a mini model of the castle as it looked in the earlier years of its construction. The remaining three of the Gothic Rooms have been dedicated to Borso, leonello and Alberto. There is a series of different panels which show the cultural and the political life of the area in the earlier centuries.

The Loggia

The Loggia was converted to its current characteristics and its present day size by Alfonso I and it evokes a strong sense of ancient day court. The walls of the hanging garden were constructed based on the design of Girolamo da Carpi. Various old documents were found which have good observations about the gardens and had allowed the recreation of the garden and their different details and arrangements like the large flowerbeds and the small paths leading up to them. In the original 18th century design only citrus plans were included.

The Chapel


Estense Castle in Ferrara

The chapel inside the castle is known as the Ducal Chapel and is a small elegant room which has geometric designs and lines. It is believed that the room had been ordered by Renee of France who was a Duchess and wanted the room without any type of sacred images. However, the ceiling of the room has Four Evangelists with a white eagle that was the symbol of Este.


The Renaissance Palaces

Apart from the House of Este, Ferrara is also known for its many Renaissance palaces. Many of these palaces still have terracotta decorations. There are not many towns in Italy that have such a large collection. Among the ones which are especially noteworthy are the ones in the northern quarter of the town and is called Addizione Erculea since it was added by Ercole I in the 15th century. One of the best known renaissance palaces in Ferrara is the Palazzo dei Diamanti.

Palazzo dei Diamanti


Cathedral of Ferrara

The Diamond palace or the Palazzo dei Diamanti was named so because of the diamond points in which the stones of the façade have been cut. The National Picture Gallery is now housed in the palace and has a large collection of art works of local artist. The artists rose to fame towards the end of the 15th century. Some of the most noted artists of the School of Ferrarra are Dossa Dossi, Girolamo da Carpi, Benvenuto Tisi and Lorenzo Costa.


The Casa Romei

One of the most well preserved buildings in renaissance style in Ferrara is the Casa Romei. The building was the residence of the famous Giovanni Romei who was related to the family of Este. The building was inherited by nuns who lived there because of which it has been well preserved. Many of the decorations inside the palace have been saved.

There are several beautiful frescoes inside the room, especially in the Room of Sibyls. The room has an original fireplace made from terracotta and has the coat of arms. The Room of the Prophets has various Biblical scenes and some of the other rooms had been painted by Cesare Filippi in the 16th century on the orders of Ippolito d'Este.


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