Ferrara: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Il historic center of Ferrara is a village nestled in the city, a Renaissance jewel rich in history and art, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The vestiges of the Este family are found in the same Estense Castle, in the same structure of the city and in the prestigious buildings. A town to visit by cycling and tasting its culinary delicacies, of which the most traditional is certainly the eel. A day in Ferrara to catapult into the Renaissance at the Este court. A few kilometers away, the Comacchio Valleys offer the possibility of excursions between history and nature, while at the Lidi Ferraresi it is possible to enjoy 25km of beaches, both in the Po Delta Park. Here is everything you need to know for your visit to Ferrara.


  1. 10 things to see in Ferrara in a weekend
  2. What to see in Ferrara in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Ferrara: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Ferrara
  5. Plan your stay in Ferrara: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Ferrara in a weekend

1 - Estense Castle

Il Estense or San Michele Castle (because the first stone was laid on the day of the saint, who is the protector of doors and fortresses) it was wanted by Niccolò II d'Este, to equip the city with a defense building. Over time it became the home of the Este family, who enriched the interiors with sumptuous frescoes and marbles that decorate the noble floors. The castle stands imposing in the city, surrounded by a water-filled moat, drawbridges and four towers. A dip into another era among the ancient kitchens and prisons on the ground floor, and on the main floor, in the splendidly frescoed reception halls. Don't miss out on the Loggia degli Aranci for a look over the city, but also from the Tower of the Lions. Boat tours of the moat are also possible.

  • Largo Castello 1. It is 20min. walk from the Central Station or 10min. by bus (lines 1/6/7/9/11, Cavour-Giardini stop). Get directions
  • from 1 March to 30 September open every day from 9:30 to 17:30 (from 1 October to 30 April closed on Mondays). Moat boat tour only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. In the months of March, April, October 10: 00-13: 00 and 14: 00-17: 00. From May to September 10: 00-13: 00 and 15: 00-18: 00.
  • Full € 8,00 Reduced € 6,00. Torre dei Leoni supplement € 2,00. Boat tour of the moat Full € 3,50 Reduced € 2,50.

2 - The Cathedral of San Giorgio Martire and Piazza Trento e Trieste

La Cathedral of San Giorgio Martire with its white marble facade adorned with Romanesque columns and Gothic arches, it was begun in 1135 and brings with it the various styles that have followed one another over time. A unique set of its kind. The complex is also part of the Renaissance bell tower in white and pink marble built by Leon Battista Alberti. In the square of the cathedral there is also the sixteenth century Clock tower. On the long side of the cathedral, in what it is Piazza Trento e Trieste (formerly Piazza delle Erbe) is situated Loggia dei Merciai where trade took place since the Middle Ages. Valuable buildings overlook what was the oldest part of the city.

  • Pedestrian area, Cathedral Square. It is 20min. walk from the station or 10min. by bus (lines 1 and 9, C.so Giovecca - Teatini stop). Get directions
  • 7:30-11:00 / 16:00:19.00. Saturday: 7:30-12:00 / 15:00-19:00. Sunday: 7:30-13:00 / 15:30-20:00.
  • free

3 - Town Hall Building

A few steps from the Cathedral square we also find the Town Hall, which from the Middle Ages had its function of Palazzo Ducale as the residence of the Este family until the fifteenth century. The current external facade is a neo-medieval reconstruction from the s, to which the Victory Tower has been added. Original pieces are found in Face of the Horse, the large arch that serves as the entrance to the municipal square. The internal courtyard is flanked by a Renaissance loggia and there is a wonderful monumental staircase which leads to the noble floors of the building. To visit the Dressing room of the Duchesses, designed for the women of the family with splendid decorations and the Sala dell'Arengo, frescoed by Achille Funi between 1934 and 1938.

  • Pedestrian area, Piazza Municipale 2. It is 20min. walk from the station or 10min. by bus (line 3 stop Teatro Comunale). Get directions
  • Monday to Friday: 9:00 - 13:00; Tuesday and Thursday also 15:00 - 17:00 (closed on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays). Visits on request limited to the Sala dell'Arengo and the Stanzino delle Duchesse.
  • free

4 - The Herculean Addition and the Quadrilateral of the Angels

He's called Addition Herculea the urban renewal that involved Ferrara between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century, with the aim of both improving the city defenses and expanding it, with the construction of a new habitable area, more modern than the medieval core, called "Arianuova". The intersection of Corso Ercole I d'Este (the financier of the project) with Corso Biagio Rossetti (the court architect in charge of the project) and Corso Porta a Mare is called Quadrivium of the Angels and has three Renaissance palaces of significant interest and value. The Palace of the Diamonds seat of the National Picture Gallery, il Turchi Palace in Bagno which hosts universities and museums, i and il Prosperi-Sacrati Palace currently closed pending a restoration that will reopen it to the public.

  • is 20min. walk from the Central Station or 10min. by bus (line 3, Palazzo dei Diamanti stop). Get directions
  • the area is public and always accessible, with the exception of entrances to the buildings: Palazzo dei Diamanti open every day from 9:00 to 19:00, including Easter, Easter Monday, April 25, May 1, June 2. Extraordinary night openings are planned; Palazzo Turchi di Bagno and Palazzo Prosperi-Sacrati are not open to the public.
  • Palazzo dei Diamanti Full € 13,00 Reduced € 11,00.

5 - Palazzo dei Diamanti

The Palazzo dei Diamanti is a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, so named for its characteristic rusticated exterior facade (a style of masonry), reminiscent of rows of faceted diamond points. The white marble cladding with pink veins reflects the sunlight and creates a perspective play of light and shadow. Located on Corso Ercole I d'Este it houses the National Art Gallery with works from '200 to' 700 by painters from Ferrara and high-level temporary exhibitions. The interior is made up of the typical structure of the Ferrara Renaissance palaces with a loggia around the courtyard and a marble well in the center.

  • is 20min. walk from the Central Station or 10min. by bus (line 3, Palazzo dei Diamanti stop). Get directions
  • Open every day 9: 00-19: 00 (also Easter, Easter Monday, 25 April, 1 May, 2 June). Extraordinary night openings are planned.
  • Full € 13,00 Reduced € 11,00.

6 - Via delle Volte

Medieval heart of the city, this straight street it grew along what was the original Po embankment', then diverted in 1152. It takes its name from the numerous suspended passages that cross it and that connected the artisan shops to the warehouses present along the river that was navigable at the time. At night it changed fame, and as reported by local writers, it was also known as the street of brothels. Walking through this alley, with its cobblestones of river stones, the red bricks of the buildings, seems to be back in the Middle Ages. Today it is dotted with local cuisine where you can taste local delicacies.

  • Pedestrian zone. It is 25min. walk from the Central Station or 15min. by bus (line 3, Corso Porta Reno stop). Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free
  • Ferrara: private walk with local guide

7 - Palazzo Schifanoia

Another example of the wealth of the Este family left to posterity is the Palazzo Schifanoia, so called for being the place used for entertainment, to "avoid boredom". Built several times between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, since 1989 it houses the Civic Museums of Ancient Art which collect rich collections of the same period. The Hall of the Months it is an important cycle of frescoes representing precisely the months of the year, a collective work of various 400th-century Ferrarese artists. Gone disappeared, it emerged "as if by magic" in 1820 from subsequent whitewashing. We only got the months from March to September.

  • Via Scandiana, 23. It is a 35min walk. from the station or by bus (lines 1 and 9, Giovecca-Ospedale stop). Accessible by car (street parking only, nearby) .Get directions
  • Not available. The museum has been closed to the public since January 2018 for anti-seismic compliance works.
  • Not available. The museum has been closed to the public since January 2018 for anti-seismic compliance works.

8 - National Archaeological Museum and Palazzo Costabili

The National Archaeological Museum was established in the s after the casual but sensational discovery of the Etruscan necropolis of Spina, narrated in the writings of Greeks and Romans but of which no traces had ever been found. More than 4000 burials and related funeral objects, gold and silver artifacts, fine workmanship that testify to the greatness of the Etruscan city and the connections it had throughout the Mediterranean were found. The need to find a worthy location for the thousands of artifacts found found a place in Palazzo Costabili, which in turn was removed from the decay that oppressed it after years of neglect. The Hall of Geographic Maps, the Treasure Room and the Renaissance garden are noteworthy.

  • It is 35min. at piadi from the station or 20min. by bus (line 2, Museo Archeologico stop). Get directions
  • From Tuesday to Sunday 9: 30-17: 00. Closed on Mondays, January 1st, December 25th.
  • Full € 6,00; reduced € 3,00

9 - Marfisa d'Este building

The Palazzina Marfisa d'Este is a th-century palace in the typical Ferrara Renaissance style, where the Duchess lived until her death. Its ceilings are a triumph of frescoes, friezes and grotesques (recovered from neglect in the last century) of the best schools and artisan shops in the city. The palace is now a house-museum, seat of the Civic Museums of Ancient Art of Ferrara, where an exhibition itinerary crosses eight different environments (the Red Room or of the Enterprises, Loggetta dei Portatti, Room of Phaeton, Banqueting Room, the Studiolo, the Fireplace Room, the Great Room and the Cabinet Room) and ends with the garden, the Loggia degli Aranci and the cave. A few minutes walk in the surroundings we also find Palazzo Bonacossi which houses collections of the Civic Museums of Ancient Art and the Casa Romei Museum which houses admirable Renaissance works.

  • Corso Giovecca, 170. It is 30min. at piadi from the station or 20min. by bus (line 1 or 9, Giovecca Ospedale stop.) Get directions
  • 9: 30-13.00 / 15: 00-18: 00 Closed on Mondays. Annual closing days: 1st and 6th January, Easter, 1st November, 25th and 26th December
  • full € 4,00; reduced € 2,00

10 - Comacchio, the Valli and the Lidi Ferraresi

Comacchio is an ancient lagoon village that enchants for its quiet and tranquility about 50min / 50km drive from Ferrara. Located in the Comacchio Valleys of the same name (actually there are 4 "valleys", marshy lagoon areas) of the Po Delta Regional Park, one of the largest wetlands in Italy. In addition to delighting in the town in front of the Cathedral of San Cassiano, Palazzo Bellini and the characteristic Manifattura dei Marinati, do not miss a tour in the canals on the small batanas (typical boats) passing under the famous Treponti. It is also possible to rent bicycles and get lost in the peace of the valleys and at the end enjoy a tasting of local delicacies. A few kilometers away the Lidi Ferraresi extend for about 25km, wide beaches of clear sand and calm sea open onto the Adriatic.

  • by car from FerraraRA8 towards Comacchio. Get directions
  • always accessible, warm season is recommended.
  • based on activities.

What to see in Ferrara in one day: recommended itinerary

  1. Breakfast at L'Emporio della Piazza coffee shop (Piazza della Repubblica, 27/29 - Get directions)
  2. Visit to the Estense Castle
  3. Visit to the Cathedral of San Giorgio Martire and Piazza Trento e Trieste
  4. Walk in Via delle Volte
  5. Lunch at Trattoria da Noemi based on Ferrara specialties (Via Ragno, 31 - Get directions)
  6. Walk along Corso Ercole I d'Este, visit Quadrivio degli Angeli and Palazzo dei Diamanti (closing at 19:00)
  7. Walk to the Palazzina Marfisa d'Este (9: 30-13.00 / 15: 00-18: 00 Closed on Mondays; full € 4,00; reduced € 2,00)
  8. Dinner at I Tri Scalin restaurant and after dinner in the Darsena area. (Via Darsena, 50 - Get directions)

Where to eat in Ferrara: the best restaurants

  • Trattoria da Noemi: the Ferrara tradition in cooking, cured meats, fresh stuffed pasta, boiled meat.
    Average price per person: € 30,00 / 35,00
    Address and contacts: Via ragno, 31 Get directions / tel: 0532769070
  • I Tri Scalin Restaurant: another restaurant of excellence from Este, try the salamina da sugo al spoon with mashed potatoes.
    Average price per person: € 25,00 / 30,00
    Address and contacts: Via Darsena Get directions / tel: 0532761670
  • Pizzeria Osteria degli Adelardi: a few steps from the cathedral a formal and friendly place. Both pizzeria and traditional dishes. Average price per person: € 20,00 / 25,00 Address and contacts: Via Adelardi, 27 Get directions / tel: 0532211954.

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Ferrara

The busiest area in the evening is certainly Piazza Duomo, very fascinating under the night lighting and the neighboring streets that come alive with university students (especially on Wednesdays).

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Sebastian Pub: a brewery-pizzeria set up inside an old fishing motorbike. Giant pizzas and hamburgers the specialties / Address: via Darsena, 53 Get directions / Sebastian Pub facebook page
  • Florens Gardens: one of the best cocktail bars in the city / Address: Via Poledrelli, 1 / f Get directions / Facebook page I Giardini del Florens
  • Sound Gardens or Punto G: born as a summer club for some time, it also organizes evenings in winter / Address: Via Della Ricostruzione, 95 Get directions / Facebook page Giardini Sonori

Plan your stay in Ferrara: info and useful tips

  • By train: it is not served by High Speed ​​trains but you can arrive with a Regional from Bologna or with Italo. By car: from Milan highway A1 + A13 exit Ferrara Nord (about 3 hours / 260km), from Venice highway A13 exit Ferrara Nord, from Rome highway A1 + A13 exit Ferrara Sud (about 4 hours and 30min / 420km).
  • Getting around: Ferrara is a walking distance city, but above all it can be pedaled! It is possible to rent bicycles for € 7,00 / 9,00 per day.
  • Where to park: Ferrara has numerous car parks which can also be booked online. Two free 24h parking areas are the Ex MOF in Via Darsena (Get directions) or in Via del Lavoro (Get directions). Paid parking spaces closer to the center both on the street and covered.
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 52,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: In addition to the aforementioned Comacchio and Lidi Ferraresi, Ferrara is 50km from Bologna, 90km from Mantua, 50km from Padua, other beautiful cities of art, rich in charm and Renaissance monuments.

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