It's always a tough call when planning a trip: what to include, what to drop. Right now, I'm debating: 3 nights in Ferrara (and its Castello Estense, top) OR 3 nights in Padua (second photo. Both photos from tourist information sites)
In my tentative plans for a June trip to Italy, I'm tilting towards flying into Florence, immediately taking the train to Parma for 3 days; then a week in Bologna. This far, the planning is relatively easy. Parma sounds so lovely and while I don't like to change hotels too often (wasting all that time packing and unpacking, etc.etc.) there is something to be said for staying a few nights in a town. I feel like I can get to know a place a wee bit better by staying over for a least a few nights, compared with a day trip.
So, Parma is in; Bologna for a week (including a day trip to Ravenna); and I plan to end the trip with five nights in Umbria. That leaves a small gap of maybe 3 nights post-Bologna. This space I had been saving for a visit to Ferrara. I've heard good things about Ferrara, I like the idea of staying the Emilia-Romagna region for most of my vacation (rather than jumping between too many regions) and I could easily do a day trip to Padua from Ferrara (or from Bologna, for that matter.)
I very much want to see Padua (which gets glowing reviews) and also spend as much time as possible with the Giotto frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel. However, the chapel enforces strict 15-minute limits on visitors, except -- as Zerlina has kindly point out -- it's possible after 7 p.m. to book a full 40-minute visit. That would be fabulous. Downside: it's hard to get out of Padua after 8 p.m., meaning I could become stranded at the end of the day trip.
So, there's my dilemma: should I stick with 3 nights in Ferrara or opt for 3 nights in Padua?
Already, Padua gains some points because I know of at least one glorious sight I want to see there (Scrovegni Chapel.) And I will confess (because this isn't really slow travel) that I would be tempted to slip over to nearby Venice for a day from Padua. (I've visited Venice twice before and I do love it.)
Yet Ferrara sounds very interesting. I really love art, I love Renaissance art, and Ferrara seems to have much to boast about. As well, UNESCO has classified Ferrara's historic centre as a world heritage list, defining it as "...a fine example of a town planned in the Renaissance that has managed to retain the integrity of its historic centre."
Ferrara versus Padua: all insights welcome!