Art and Culture - Ferrara
Art and culture in the province of Ferrara

The artistic and cultural development of the Province of Ferrara is linked to the peculiarity of its territory. In the Middle Ages, the plain of Ferrara was a large marsh which during the XVth century, thanks to the ambitious plans of the Este family, the Lords of Ferrara, underwent a gradual reclamation aimed at making land productive and redeveloping the villages and the Medieval old town of Ferrara through modern works and architectures which contributed to make it the symbol of Renaissance.

The powerful Signori of Ferrara, whose domination over the territory lasted for more than 300 years, were rich magnates who gave Ferrara and the small surrounding resorts an inestimable artistic heritage. The architecture of Ferrara, along with the castles and residences known as "Delizie Estensi" (Estensi's Delights), built along the banks of the river Po, were appointed UNESCO Human heritage in 1999.

The old town of Ferrara offers a unique scenery where Renaissance and Medieval patterns merge in pleasant harmony. Not to be missed are the fifteenth-century Castello Estense (Estense Castle), Palazzo dei Diamanti (Diamond Palace) and the nearby Palazzo Massari, the seat of modern and contemporary museums which host great collections and temporary exhibitions. Other interesting spots are the Churches of San Francesco and San Giorgio, Palazzo di Renata di Francia and Via delle Volte, the ancient Medieval city centre.

Pleasant boat excursions along the river Po and other waterways lead to enchanting residences surrounded by nature commissioned by the Este family, where they spent relaxing moments, organized hunts and had amazing parties. These buildings and their enchanting gardens, known as Delizie Estensi, also had an important strategic role in administrating and controlling the territory surrounding Ferrara up to the east plain of the Po Valley.
Provided with original architectural patterns and often embellished by outstanding works of art, the enchanting Delizie were easily accessible by boat.
The Delizie of Melara, Ficarolo and Corbola were situated along the river Po, Medelana and Monisteruolo overlooked the Delta, Consandolo and the Castle of Belriguardo skirted a lesser waterway and both the residence of Comacchio and the Castle of Mesola were situated along the coast. The latter, the seat of the Centre of Environmental Education, dominated the wood of Mesola celebrated by Ludovico Ariosto.

One of the most colossal tasks near Voghiera was the building of the Castle of Belriguardo, commissioned by marchese Nicolò III d'Este in 1435. Among the major highlights in Ferrara and its neighbourhoods are Delizia di Schifanoia, built in the old town of Ferrara, and Delizia del Verginese by Girolamo di Carpi, situated near Portomaggiore, which was recently renovated and hosts exhibitions and cultural events.

The monumental estate of Villa della Mensa - Sabbioncello San Vittore, via Formignana, situated on the left bank of Po di Volano, was the ancient episcopalian see. The walls of the villa still retain wonderful frescos by Girolamo di Carpi. Not to be missed are the tower of Delizia di Copparo and Delizia di Fossadalbero.

In the lush Park of the Po Delta is the beautiful lagoon city of Comacchio, which hosts plenty of historic buildings and the Contemporary Art Museum "Remo Brindisi", a modern facility surrounded by the green pinewood forest of Comacchio which cherishes many important Italian and foreign works of art.

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