Palazzo Schifanoia

Top choice in Ferrara

Dating to 1385, the Este's 14th-century pleasure palace suffered significant earthquake damage in May 2012 and the museum will be shuttered until 2020 for ongoing restorations and upgrades. Its highlight – the Salone dei Mesi (Room of the Months) harbours one of Ferrara's most famous frescoes, executed by Francesco del Cossa in 1470, which depicts the months, seasons and signs of the zodiac and constitutes an exceptionally fine and cohesive example of secular Renaissance art.

Covered by the same ticket is the nearby Museo Lapidario, with its small collection of Roman and Etruscan stele, tombs and inscriptions, though it too will be closed through 2019.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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