Ferrara – the forgotten gem of the Italian Renaissance

Lovely Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the North East of Italy, did not just happen to be a beautiful city; it was planned that way! Designed to be both beautiful to look at and at the same time functional – fulfilling the Humanist concept of the “Ideal City” where all the needs of all the residents would be met, it is the only planned Renaissance town in Italy that was completed and the town planning principles that were used back then in the 13th century are still in existence today. Under the patronage of the ruling Este family, Ferrara became a centre for art and culture and attracted some of the greatest artists of the time, many of whom have left their mark in the city. There is a lot to see in Ferrara, but the following 3 examples should be at the top of your list:

Ferrara castle of the Ducal family – source

1. The Estense Castle.

This very imposing structure, half palace and half medieval fortified castle complete with a moat, was the home of the Este family. It started life as a defensive structure, the Castello di San Michele and the first phase was the construction of the Lion’s Tower (Torre dei Leoni). Following a particularly violent peoples’ uprising, the Este family commissioned the architect Batolino da Novara to improve the fortifications and build a palace worthy of the Este family . Three additional towers were built to form a rectangle with the original tower and then connecting blocks were constructed enclosing a huge inner courtyard. The moat was fed by the river Po, on whose banks the castle stands. The Estense Castle is right in the centre of Ferrara and guided tours are available several times a day: there is a lot to see from kitchens and dungeons to the Ducal Chapel and the Garden of the Oranges. A climb to the top of the Lion’s Tower provides a great view of the surrounding walls and countryside.

2. Palazzo Diamanti (Palace of the diamonds)

The Palazzo Diamanti is named after the amazing marble blocks which clad the outside of the building; each of the over 8000 blocks of while marble has been carved to resemble a polished diamond, and their placement has been carefully considered to maximise the light reflected off the walls. The outer walls enclose a Renaissance courtyard with a marble well at the centre – very characteristic of the gardens of this city. Today the Palace houses the National Gallery of Art, home of some excellent examples of Italian Renaissance art and many of the artists who were drawn to Ferrara as a centre of the Arts in the 15th century are represented here.

3. The City Walls

Only Ferrara and Lucca have such intact Renaissance city walls! Ferrara boasts over 9 kilometres of walls built mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries, completely surrounding the historic centre. This is a great place to walk or cycle and observe the locals who come there to relax under the trees and meet friends. Along the way you will be able to see towers, gates, passages and battlements, one after the next; a walk around the wall is an excellent way to work up an appetite for some of the fabulous food to be had in the town.

It is easy to get to Ferrara – it is on the main railway line from Venice, Florence or Ravenna and just 30 min from Bologna. Once you reach the city centre, which is strictly car-free, walking or cycling like the locals is your best way to get around and see all the attractions of this delightful town.





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by Radovan on Emilia Delizia
Very Nice Morning.

I visited the Food Tours with my wife, we were looking forward to this some time ago and I can state that this tour bring to us very interesting time and experience in spite of the fact that we departed from Milano by morning train at 5,50 am. Our guide was young man and we enjoyed all morning together talking not only about the parmazan, balsamic and parma ham. I really appreciate it. He was very communicate, his driving was safety, very polite. Parmazan farm - amazing, balsamic farm -

by Alyssa on Emilia Delizia
Wonderful Foodies Tour!

My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the Foodies Tour, which included stops at producers of cheese, balsamic vinegar and cured meat. Paolo was an amazing tour guide – he's extremely knowledgeable, kind and a great communicator. We learned so much! It was really nice to be in a smaller group and most of the producers we visited were small so we were able to get a close up view of the processes. We'd highly recommend Emilia Delizia as this tour was truly authentic and a highlight of our trip!

thank you for the kind review

by Peter jacob on Emilia Delizia

The tour of the Parmesan Reggiano cheese dairy, Balsamic Vinegar farm, the Parma ham and lunch at the organic vineyard was thoroughly enjoyed by our family of 4. Paolo was a gracious and knowledgeable host for the day and provided us with insights to the production of the cheese and balsamic vinegar which was enhanced due to his chemistry background. We would thoroughly recommend this tour to those interested in the specialities produced in the Modena region.

by Janice on Emilia Delizia

We had a wonderful tour, best part about visiting the Modena region!

by Bing Liem on Emilia Delizia
Emilia Delizia

The tour was perfect. I think Paolo would be a splendid ambassador for Italy in the EU. He knows how excellent Italian food and eating together can solve many major problems, and can stop aggressive behavior. Not the hunt for more money, but the well being of family and friends counts. Paolo shows us the products of ages of civilization and he did this like an artist. So after the tour we really love Italia more and we'll come back. We will call you Paolo, Thanks!

by Avihai on Emilia Delizia

Following two tours with your guides this week I would like to express my thanks for some wonderful experiences.
Monday we did the tour of cheese making, balsamic and Salami which was very good and the guide Paolo was very knowledgeable.
The truffle hunt tour today was absolutely amazing, the guide Stefano is pure gold and the tour was built with much thought. Our best experience so far, by far.

Looking forward to more tours and fun next time we are in Italy.

by Johnathan on Emilia Delizia
Super food and super cars

The group (and me) was VERY satisfied. We really enjoyed the Parmegiano Regiano which was interesting and we got to buy some delicate and cheap cheese, the same with the balsamico. The Ferrari driving was off course an experience for life. The Winery lunch felt very genuine and the people there was really welcoming and nice people. The genuine feeling there was however the big plus for us.
Paolo was excellent as our guide. He also felt very genuine. He did not talk just for the sake of talking, but when he had something to say he did it in a respectful and nice way. Everyone in the group really liked him.

Thank you!

by Susan on Emilia Delizia
Lovely food tour and cooking class

Hi Gabriele:

I wanted to let you know what a great day we had this past Friday on our tour with Jacamo. (Probably not spelling it right) He was very nice and explained everything to us. It sure gives you a new appreciation when you are slicing cheese. 🙂 Our tour ended with him taking us to the vineyard for a tour and lunch and there, Paolo, the owner could not have been more nicer. It was a perfect ending.

Please let Jacamo know what a great job he did and how much we really appreciated it and his knowledge

by Simone&Vasco on Emilia Delizia
Food tour in Modena

The website is well structured and we received a prompt answer to all questions. Gabriele supported us with all information we needed and the organization before the trip was excellent.

We had an air conditioned van, which was very relaxing through the whole tour. The first stop was the parmigiano production, which was very impressive and interesting. We could learn and especially see all the different steps and even taste the various aged parmigiano. The second step was the balsamic vinegar tasting. Finally the meat part was interesting in the museum but we hoped that we also could see more about the production and their work, but the tasting was delicious. In overall we had a very informative and well accommodated half day with our guide

by Kimie on Emilia Delizia
Fantastic Tour!!

It was great experience! We visited Parmesan cheese production, Balsamic vinegar farm, Ham museum and Farmer's lunch. Our guide gave us a detailed explanation, we were very satisfied. An excellent tour for a reasonable price, highly recommended.

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