Ferrara is a historic town in the region of Emilia Romagna in Italy. Though its origins are a mystery, the first mention of Ferrara was in a document dating to 753 A.D.. These days, the town is famed for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, cathedral, broad cobblestone boulevards and historic centre along the River Po. A trip to Ferrara (map) wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its most famous monument, the Castello Estense.
The mirrors of Castello Estense
Built in the 14th century by the powerful Este family, the castle is an imposing monument complete with a deep moat, drawbridges and impressive towers. The rooms inside the castle are mostly bare of furniture but look up – or into the mirrors – and you’ll be treated to magnificent frescoes on the high ceilings. Some of them were damaged by an earthquake in 2012 and were being restored, but the frescoes, despite the band-aids, are nothing short of breathtaking.
While you’re in Ferrara, you shouldn’t miss the stunning Cathedral, its various palaces like the Palazzo dei Diamanti (Palace of Diamonds) and churches. Hungry after a long stroll or bike tour? Drop by at Brindisi, Italy’s oldest tavern (still in existence).
I also recommend wandering along the maze of atmospheric alleys in the southern district that date back to the Middle Ages.
Read more about the Art Cities of Emilia Romagna
Ferrara is, due to its location on the rail network between Bologna and Padua/Venice, an easy day-trip from these cities. You can opt to stroll around the town or go on a bike tour. More information can be found at the Ferrara tourism office inside the Castell Estense.
Read about Comacchio, the ‘Little Venice’ of Emilia-Romagna, that’s not far from Ferrara and a must-visit in my book.
Search for hotels in Ferrara (Booking.com).