Less smug than some of Emilia-Romagna’s provincial cities, Ferrara retains much of the austere splendour of its Renaissance heyday when, as seat of the Este family, it was a force to be reckoned with.
The Este dynasty ruled Ferrara from 1260 to 1598, its political and military prowess matched by intense cultural activity. Petrarch, Titian, Antonio Pisanello and poets Torquato Tasso and Ludovico Ariosto all spent time here under the patronage of the Este dukes.
When the Este fell in 1598, Pope Clement VIII claimed the city, only to preside over its decline. Ferrara recovered importance during and after the Napoleonic period, when it was made chief city of the lower Po. Today’s local government has carefully restored much of the centre, which was battered during WWII.
Ferrara destination guides
Veneto Bike & Boat
An enchanting cycle journey from the magical city of Venice along the canals and waterways of the Po River