Ferrara

August 13, 2022

Located in the northern portion of Italy, only 15 miles away from the Po River, Ferrara was one of the most important cities of the Renaissance and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is uncertain when Ferrara was founded, but there is documentary evidence to support its existence dating back to the year 753 AD, even though there has been human activity in the area since the 6th century BC.

Economic Prosperity To Devastation

Ferrara experienced a pointed golden age under the rule of the powerful Estense dynasty. From 1264 to 1598, Ferrara was transformed from a rural community to a masterpiece of the Renaissance, thanks to its patrons. The city of Ferrara, under the reign of the Este family, remained a powerhouse of culture and Renaissance glory until an earthquake devastated the area in 1570. This event marked the beginning of its economic collapse, and when Alfonso II, the last ruler of the Estense dynasty, died without producing an heir in 1597, Ferrara became part of the Papal States. Today, the magnificence of the Estense Castle has become the symbol of Ferrara throughout the world.

Because of its stormy transition after the loss of the city to the Papal States, Ferrara continued declining for the next 300 years and became a modest trade center until the 1930s, when a chemical plant was built by the Fascist Italian regime. World War II also caused a lot of damage to the town, especially its railroads and industrial facilities, which were bombed by the Allies to prevent them from being used to supply the Axis troops.

Ferrara Today

After the war ended and reconstruction began, Ferrara once again became the cultural jewel it had been during the Estense era. Today, visitors can enjoy a relaxing bike ride along the castle walls, walk through one of the exhibitions at the Palazzo dei Diamanti, or have a glass of Carmenere at the world's oldest wine bar. This historical site, known as "Al Brindisi," opened its doors for the first time in 1435 and was once frequented by notable personalities such as Tiziano Vecellio, Nicolò Copernico, and others. These days it offers a great variety of wines and traditional local food, making it one of the many reasons why Ferrara is a must on your list of places to visit in Italy.

 

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