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Sightseeing in Ferrara - what to see. Complete travel guide

The city of Ferrara, the capital of the province with the same name, attracts foreign guests with its unusual look. The luxury and grandeur of the Renaissance period still remain in Ferrara. Having arrived in this city, you will surely understand why it is considered a true architectural masterpiece. In the same city, it is possible to see masterpieces of both medieval and Renaissance architecture, and they look incredibly organic together. Such a combination of styles makes Ferrara look very elegant and somewhat mysterious. In order to fully feel the atmosphere and lifestyle in this region, it is better to explore Ferrara on foot.
First mentions of this settlement date back to 753 AD. The town’s name appeared in a document of the Lombard king Desiderius. According to this manuscript, Ferrara had been a part of the Exarchate of Ravenna until Desiderius captured it. However, the Lombards didn’t remain the rulers in this region for a long time. Francs defeated them. After that, Francs presented Ferrara to the Papacy in the 8th century. However, Ferrara didn’t stay under one ruler for a long time again because the kingdom of Francs was divided into three parts. At the end of the 10th century, the House of Canossa established its authority in the region. After the death of Matilda of Tuscany, Ferrara became a free commune.
Fights for power in this region were continuous until the 13th century. Certain families, like the Adelardi and Salinguerra, were particularly eager to fight for the throne. Ferrara found its new owner only in the 40s when the House of Este claimed it. This was the start of the period of prosperity for the region that lasted three centuries. Ferrara turned into a center of the Italian Renaissance. Unfortunately, after the death of Alfonso II, Ferrara became a Papal property once again, and this event caused degradation in the region. It became possible to stop Papal authority only in the middle of the 19th century. Copyright
Do you want to start your acquaintance with the city from its most sacred landmarks? In this case, visit the gorgeous cathedral that is dedicated to Saint George. This saint has always been the city’s patron. Its statue decorates the main entrance to the cathedral. Saint George in a set of knight’s armor is sitting on his horse and holding a sword in his hand. With his weapon, the saint defeats a dragon, symbolizing a continuous battle of good and evil.
The cathedral was built in the 12th century. Initially, this is a Romanesque building, but it got distinctive gothic traits over the next two centuries. The cathedral looks in a marvelous and unusual way as if it is made from lace. Such skillful and detailed work makes this cathedral a true masterpiece. The main façade is heavily decorated and has a loggia consisting of the three arcs and a marble portal. The loggia features a statue of a Madonna with Child. Above them, there are scenes from the Day of Judgment.
The Ducal Palace is one more attraction in Ferrara that tourists enjoy visiting. This palace occupies a large area in the heart of the city. This palazzo has a bridge that connects it to another prominent architectural landmark, the Castello Estense. This complex is a true pride of Ferrara. The Castello Estense or “Este Castle” was erected in the 40s of the 13th century. From the beginning, this was a property of the Este family and the residence of the count. The family lived in this magnificent castle until the 16th century. After that, it moved to a neighboring palace.
Despite numerous reconstructions, the castle has retained its medieval charm, and its brick ravelins, a fortress-like look, towers, and a moat only remind of the honorable age of the building. Stone statues of Marquis Niccolo III on his horse and Duke Borso sitting on his throne guard the entrance gates of the Ducal Palace. The palace is no less beautiful inside as it features an interesting combination of styles. The “Room of Duchesses” is particularly popular with visitors. It has beautiful wooden panels that date back to the 16th century.
Having explored the Ducal Palace, head to his neighbor – the Castello Estense. For many years, an art school was open in this gorgeous building. The ground floor was made for protective purposes, and so it is not very elegant and gracious. That being said, the higher floors are amazing. Balconies made of white stone beautifully adorn the castle. In modern times, the Castello Estense has become a calling card of this Italian city. It is open to visitors after a thorough restoration. Inside the castle, there is an interesting exhibition, “The Este of Ferrara”.
It is possible to get to this Italian city by train from Florence that heads to Bologna or Venice. It makes a stop in Ferrara. Regular buses connect the railway station to the city center. From the nearby town to Ferrara, Comacchio, it is possible to reach the city in one hour and twenty minutes on a comfortable bus.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Ferrara and surroundings

Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Ferrara
♥   Castle 'Mesola Castles' Mesola, 0 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castello di Arquà' Arquà Polesine, 21.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castello delle Rocche – Finale Emilia' , 25.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castel Trivellin' Lendinara, 27.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castello di Galeazza' Crevalcore, 27.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Ferrara
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna' , 98.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Ferrara and around
♥   Art museum 'Cathedral Museum' Ferrara, 0.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Art museum 'Pinacoteca Nazionale' Ferrara, 0.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Art museum 'Palazzo Schifanoia' Ferrara, 1.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Art museum 'National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara' Ferrara, 1.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Ferrara from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Botanical Garden of Padua

From the series “16 Most Fascinating Objects of Unesco in Italy”
The most interesting plants of Europe are kew trees and magnolias. As a long time ago, today in the garden medical herbs are also produced. It is also under the control of the university, that’s why you can see students there. On the territory, you can see about 6 000 types of plants. The oldest Mediterranean palm was planted there in 1585. The territory of the garden was divided into 5 thematic zones. Every zone represents different countries. The garden is well equipped for vacation, there you can find a lot of benches and arbours. … Read further

Basilica of San Vitale

From the series “Monuments of Byzantium: the most famous buildings”
Its visitors can admire the most beautiful elements of marble decoration today. The interior walls are almost completely lined with it. The old floor is also preserved in the basilica. It is decorated with an unusual geometric ornament. Elaborate mosaics with biblical and historical motifs make the Basilica of San Vitale look like an art museum. It will not be enough for one excursion to appreciate the splendor of all the works of art. The exterior of the basilica seems more than modest with all its chic interior decoration. A very beautiful garden is laid out around the religious landmark today. … Read further
Car rental on Rentals in Ferrara

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Sightseeing in regions nearby Ferrara

All about Ferrara, Italy - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with - find out the 'must see' things in Ferrara, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Ferrara in few days. - online travel reservation expert providing reliable car rental and hotel booking services. We feature more than 25.000 destinations with 12.000 rental offices and 200.000 hotels worldwide.
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