The outstanding feature of the pink-and-white 12th-century cathedral is its three-tiered marble facade combining Romanesque and Gothic styles on the lower and upper tiers respectively. Much of the upper level is a graphic representation of The Last Judgment, and heaven and hell (notice the four figures clambering out of their coffins). The cathedral's interiors will be closed for renovation through 2019; after reopening, work on the facade will continue for five years.

Astride a pair of handsome lions on either side of the main doorway squats an oddly secular duo, mouths agape at the effort of holding up the pillars.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ferrara attractions

1. Museo della Cattedrale

0.07 MILES

This museum houses various artefacts from Ferrara's duomo, including a serene Madonna by Jacopo della Quercia, a couple of vigorous Cosimo Tura canvases,…

2. Palazzo Municipale

0.08 MILES

Linked to the castle by an elevated passageway, the 13th-century crenellated Palazzo Municipale was the Este family home until they moved next door to the…

3. Castello Estense

0.14 MILES

Complete with moat and drawbridge, Ferrara's towering castle was commissioned by Nicolò II d'Este in 1385. Initially it was intended to protect him and…

4. Casa Romei

0.33 MILES

This palace was once owned by Giovanni Romei, a top administrator to the Este clan – and his importance shows in the architecture. The austere brick…

7. City Walls


Only Lucca in Tuscany can claim a more complete set of walls than Ferrara, though with a total circumference of 9km, Ferrara's are longer and among the…

8. Pinacoteca Nazionale

0.45 MILES

Ferrara's art gallery, housed on the 1st floor of the late-15th-century Palazzo dei Diamanti, is the perfect spot to contemplate the genius of the 16th-…