FERRARA - EMILIA ROMAGNA - Travel Guide & Hotels
FERRARA TRAVEL GUIDE
Ferrara is an Emilian city of 132.526 inhabitants. Its origins date back to the seventh and eighth centuries, when there was a settlement named Ferrariola, but the first document mentioning the city dates back to 753, when Astolfo, king of the Longobard, speaks of it as one of the territories of Exarchate of Ravenna. The dominion of the Longobard was short, because in 774 Charlemagne donated the city to the Church, after having defeated the last Longobard king. Between the eleventh and twelfth centuries Ferrara knows a period of stability that leads to the construction of many monuments, and even the Cathedral is moved to its current location, in the center of the city. A rich period was also that under the lordship of the Este family, which led to numerous expansions of the city, up to "a golden age", during the second half of the fifteenth century, when the Ferrara court hosted famous artists like Piero della Francesca, Mantegna or Leon Battista Alberti. At the end of 1500 the city passed under the control of the Papacy until the arrival of the French in the late 1700s.
what to see and what to do in FERRARA
Ferrara, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is the ideal place to spend a weekend full of art and taste: it is very pleasant to walk through its streets and alleys, perhaps crossed by ancient arches, and at every corner you can admire particular and beautiful glimpses.
- It is worth going around the ancient walls, perhaps renting a bicycle, the favorite form of transportation of Ferraresi.
- Just get to Piazza della Cattedrale to find yourself in front of the magnificent spectacle of the Cathedral of San Giorgio, one of the most important buildings of the city: The façade in Romanesque style is decorated with loggias, bas-reliefs and arches, while the interior is in Baroque style, with paintings by Guercino and Garofalo.
- Very beautiful is the Church of San Cristoforo alla Certosa, anciently outside the city center, characterized by a magnificent cloister and a single nave interior with six side chapels, where works by Carracci, Rosselli and other Ferrarese painters from the 1500s are preserved.
- Very particular is Palazzo dei Diamanti, home to the National Art Gallery, which hosts numerous exhibitions throughout the year: its peculiarity lies in the 8,500 blocks of white marble in the shape of a diamond point that cover the façades and create plays of light and shadows.
- Another symbol of Ferrara is certainly the Estense Castle, with an imposing structure dating back to the fourteenth century: it developed around the ancient pre-existing watchtower, and its function was originally mainly defensive, as shown by the towers, the walls and drawbridges. Later, the castle was enlarged and gradually became a representative residence where the d'Este Dukes organized parties and banquets, (even if the underground prisons are never abandoned), and inside you can admire beautiful rooms frescoed by the greatest artists of that era.
Events in FERRARA
There are three main events taking place in Ferrara:
- in May there is the Palio di San Giorgio, one of the oldest in the world, during which more than a thousand participants parade through the city in Renaissance period clothes until they reach Piazza Ariostea , where shows of flag-wavers and the contest among the eight districts of the city are organized.
- The second half of August is the Ferrara Buskers Festival, an international festival of street artists during which the city becomes a gigantic stage for a week of music, shows and entertainment.
- In September the Ferrara Balloons Festival takes place, one of the biggest festivals dedicated to hot air balloons from all over Europe, which attracts visitors from all over the world: you can climb these giants and get up above the city, to admire it from a different perspective, and on Saturday evening a magnificent light show will be organized to illuminate the balloons with the rhythm of music.