Last week, I posted about my stay in the Italian city of Ferrara in June, particularly focusing on the Castello Estense, the seat of the very powerful Este family which ruled Ferrara and surrounding region for centuries.
But there were many other beautiful sites to visit in Ferrara, which is in central Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, and only about 50 kilometers northeast of Bologna.
I thought the facade of the Ferrara's Cattedrale, only a stones-throw from the castle, was stunning. (See above photos) Construction began in 1135, when the Romanesque lower part of the main façade and the side façades were completed. The St. George and the scenes from the New Testament above the central door are the work of the sculptor Nicholaus and also date from the original construction. The upper part was built some decades later in a Gothic style
This is a shrine on a medieval side street very near the cattedrale and near what is reportedly the oldest wine bar in the world, the Osteria Al Brindisi.
Of course, Ferrara is filled with souvenirs/reminders of the powerful Este family. One I enjoyed was the Palazzo Schifanoia, a Renaissance palace built for the Este family. The name "Schifanoia" is thought to originate from "schivar la noia" meaning to "escape from boredom" according to Wikipedia. This essentially describes the original intention of the palazzo and the other villas in the same area, where the Este court went to relax. This area is about a 15-minute walk from Ferrara's historic centre and in the days when these villas were built, were likely out in the countryside.
The highlight of the Schifanoia is the allegorical frescoes with details in tempera by or after Francesco del Cossa and Cosmè Tura, and executed around1469. Photos aren't allowed, of course, so this I have taken from Wikipedia. It is from the Salone dei Mesi (The Salon of the Months) Tura's pagan cycle matching each month to a mythical figure.
Behind the palazzo is an interesting restaurant that looks more like a farmyard, with decent food and wine served at tables scattered around the yard.