Ferrara (World Heritage)

The former intellectual and artistic center of the Italian Renaissance with its historic city center is an ideal document of the Renaissance city. According to estatelearning, Ferrara is one of the few Italian cities that was not founded by the Romans. Your city wall is almost completely preserved. The inner-city structure with palazzi, churches and parks dates from the 14th to 16th centuries, when the city was ruled by the ruling Este family.

Ferrara: facts

Official title: Ferrara: city of the Renaissance
Cultural monument: City of the Renaissance, among others with the cathedral, the Castello Estense with underground prison, the Casa Romei built around 2 courtyards, the Palazzo di Schifanoia with a two-story marble portal and an elaborate fresco program in the Salone dei Mesi, Palazzo dei Diamanti with an overview of Ferrarese painting from the 14th to 17th centuries. As well as the church of Santa Maria in Vado, rebuilt by Rossetti, and the church of Santa Francesca (17th century)
Continent: Europe
Country: Italy, Emilia-Romagna
Location: Ferrara
Appointment: 1995
Meaning: modern ideal city and intellectual and artistic center of the Italian Renaissance

Ferrara: history

774 papal property
10th century Fief of the Marquis of Tuscia
1135 Start of construction of the five-aisled cathedral
1240 Ferrara fiefdom of the House of Estonians
1385 Start of construction on Castello Estense
around 1445 Construction of the Casa Romei
1450-71 Rule of Marquis Borso, Duke of Modena and Reggio since 1452, of Ferrara since 1471
1451-1595 Construction of the campanile
1466-93 Reconstruction of the Palazzo di Schifanoia
1471-1505 Reign of Ercole I.
1475-81 Conversion of the Palazzo Comunale based on a design by Biagio Rossetti
1492 Start of construction on the Palazzo dei Diamanti based on a design by Biagio Rossetti
1498/99 Construction of the apse of the cathedral based on a design by Biagio Rossetti
1505-34 Reign of Alfonso I.
1597-98 drafted as a papal fief and fell to the Papal States
1930-35 Repair of the Palazzo di Ludovico il Moro

Mecca of fine arts

When Alfonso I in Adam’s costume crept through the nocturnal alleys of his hometown, the Ferrarese could hardly be shaken. They knew the antics of their eccentric duke, a 16th century hippie. To shock the young Duca popular, appeared in the “bum look” at official banquets and receptions and handled diplomatic delegations in a harsh manner. Alfonso I from the house of the noble Estonians was at the same time a master of creativity: in his workshop he cast metal, formed clay and built all kinds of musical instruments. He loved the arts and collected – with passion and all means – sometimes far from any law-abidingness: He was probably so taken with a saint Sebastian von Tizian that he had the picture stolen. But the company failed and became part of the rich treasure trove of anecdotes about the Duchy of Ferrara and its bizarre rulers. This was at the center of pioneering intellectuals, composers, writers and painters – a colorful folk who brought life to the court: »There was entertainment every evening«, chronicler Agostino Mosti noted for posterity. »They played chess and tarot, made music, listened to the poetry and the reading, heard the first chants from Ludovico Ariosto’s ‘Furious Roland’. «Ariosto, who with his work the poetry of the Renaissance should lead to prosperity, was entirely in the service of the Estonians as director of the court theater, but poorly paid and hardly recognized, as he himself said. But posterity should erect a monument to him. as he himself said. But posterity should erect a monument to him. as he himself said. But posterity should erect a monument to him.

Alfonso I, the bon vivant and patron of the arts, who had been forced into marriage with the infamous Pope’s daughter Lucrezia Borgia, surrounded himself with the best of his time: with painters like Titian, Bellini and Dosso Dossi, with the lights the Ferrarese music school such as Luzzasco Luzzaschi, the teacher of Girolamo Frescobaldi. The Duke was thus in the best tradition of the Estonians: In the first half of the 15th century, the humanistically educated Leonello lured everything that had rank and name in the emerging Renaissance to Ferrara and developed a splendor at court that was unparalleled among Europe’s ruling centers. Borso subsequently founded the Ferrareser painting school. Ercole I, who gladly left the affairs of state to his wife, expanded the city and made it a model of modern urbanity with its checkerboard road network. They were open-minded and liberal, loyal to the Pope, which, however, did not prevent Alfonso’s father Ercole from expressing sympathy for the Catholic rebel Savonarola. Alfonso’s daughter-in-law Renata was even a supporter of the strict reformer Calvin. Much to the displeasure of the Inquisition, the Duchess granted French Huguenots and Italian heretics alike protection in Ferrara.

The Jews also benefited from religious tolerance. The Estonians declared themselves “patrons” for the sons and daughters of Israel, granted the community residence and strictly refused to expel them. Even a corresponding order from Rome only had the opposite effect: Jews were always welcome in the Estonian Empire. Towards the end of the 15th century came the Sephardi expelled from Spain, and around 1530 the Ashkenazim who escaped persecution in Germany. Four decades later, a group from the anti-Jewish papal state moved north. The congregation soon grew to 2,000 and the number of synagogues to ten. They enriched the intellectual life, the stronghold of the arts and literature. And they were involved in revolutionizing bookmaking. Abraham Ben Chajjim de Tintori was one of the first who brought black art to Ferrara. And his fellow believer Abraham Usque had the Word of God put on paper in black and white in his printer’s workshop, a work which, as the “Ferrara Bible” increased the fame of printers in Italy. Soon, however, the times became dark, the papal state with the Pope at its head took possession of the Estonians as a fief. The dynasty was nearing its end, and the splendor at court that Goethe sang about in his “Torquato Tasso” was over. The Jews, too, felt the hard hand of the new rulers: for more than three centuries they were only tolerated, crammed together in a quarter that was also called the ghetto here.