Travel Diary 55: Last Stop in Italy, Ferrara

by Agnes Felber November. 23, 2013 3557 views

During the reign of Ercole d'Este I, one of the most significant patrons of the arts in late 15th- and early 16th-century Italy after the Medici, Ferrara grew into a cultural center, renowned for music as well as for visual arts. The painters established links with Flemish artists and their techniques, exchanging influences in the colors and composition choices. Composers came to Ferrara from all over Europe.
Alfonso I, son of Ercole, was also an important patron; his preference for instrumental music resulted in Ferrara becoming an important center of composition for the lute. The architecture of Ferrara benefitted from the genius of Biagio Rossetti, who was asked in 1484 by Ercole I to redesign the plan of the city. The resulting “Addizione Erculea” is one of the most important and beautiful examples of renaissance city planning and contributed to the selection of Ferrara as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Alfonso married the notorious Lucrezia Borgia, and continued the war with Venice with success. In 1509 he was excommunicated by Pope Julius II, and he overcame the pontifical army in 1512 defending Ravenna. Lucrezia, together with other members of the Este house, is buried in the convent of Corpus Domini, where nuns are not allowed to speak except for one designated nun who opens the door and leads inquisitive tourists like us, to the grave of Lucrezia Borgia. She lies buried in a grave in the floor sharing her single sized tomb resting place with several other people.

Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna. It is situated 50 kilometres (31 miles) north-northeast of Bologna. For its beauty and cultural importance it has been qualified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

Cathedral of Saint George, begun in 1135, when the Romanesque lower part of the main façade and the side façades were completed. According to a now lost inscription the church was built in 1135 by Guglielmo I of Adelardi (d. 1146), who is buried in it. The sculpture of the main portal is the signed work of the “artifex” Nicholaus, mentioned in the lost inscription as the “architect” for the church. The upper part of the main façade, with arcades of pointed arches, dates from the 13th century, while the lower part of the protiro or projecting porch and the main portal are by Nicholaus. The recumbent lions guarding the entrance are replacements of the originals, now in the narthex of the church. The elaborate relief sculptures depicting Last Judgement gracing the second story of the porch above date from the 13th century.

The interior was restored in the Baroque style in 1712.

Castello Estense -The most iconic building of the town is the imposing Castello Estense: sited in the very centre of the town, it's a brick building surrounded by a moat, with four massive bastions. It was built starting in 1385 and partly restored in 1554; the pavilions on the top of the towers date from the latter year.

Ferrara gave birth to Girolamo Savonarola, the famous medieval Dominican priest and leader of Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was known for his book burning, destruction of what he considered immoral art, and hostility to the Renaissance. He vehemently preached against the moral corruption of much of the clergy at the time, and his main opponent was Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia).
(Ferrara is also the birthplace and childhood home of the well-known Italian film director, Michelangelo Antonioni.)

Wedding in Castello Estense

Via Cairoli

Locanda Borgonuovo, a very pleasant B&B steps away from Castello Estense

Parking lot used by guests in Locanda Borgonuovo

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There are 4 comments , add yours!
Yves Monast 7 years, 5 months ago

wonderful set have a good weekend...

7 years, 5 months ago Edited
Jacki 7 years, 5 months ago

I think the "film director" should not be flattered at the sculpture of himself!! Scary! Beautiful place...

7 years, 5 months ago Edited
Mikkal Noptek 7 years, 5 months ago

Great report !!

7 years, 5 months ago Edited
Maud - Normandie - France 7 years, 5 months ago

Merveilleux set, qui donne envie de retourner visiter l'Italie !! quel beau pays !!!

7 years, 5 months ago Edited