Infobox CityIT
img_coa = Ferrara-Stemma.png official_name = Comune di Ferrara
name = Ferrara
region = Emilia-Romagna
province = Ferrara (FE)
elevation_m = 9
area_total_km2 = 404
population_as_of = May 31, 2007
population_total = 133266
population_density_km2 = 323
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|44|50|N|11|37|E
twinned with = Swansea, UK mapx = 44.639
mapy = 11.620
frazioni = Aguscello, Albarea, Baura, Boara, Borgo Scoline, Bova, Casaglia, Cassana, Castel Trivellino, Chiesuol del Fosso, Cocomaro di Cona, Cocomaro di Focomorto, Codrea, Cona, Contrapò, Corlo, Correggio, Denore, Focomorto, Francolino, Gaibana, Gaibanella, Sant'Egidio, Malborghetto di Boara, Malborghetto di Correggio, Marrara, Mezzavia, Monestirolo, Montalbano, Parasacco, Pescara, Pontegradella, Pontelagoscuro, Ponte Travagli, Porotto, Porporana, Quartesana, Ravalle, Sabbioni, San Bartolomeo in Bosco, San Martino, Spinazzino, Torre della Fossa, Uccellino, Viconovo, Villanova
telephone = 0532
postalcode = 44100
gentilic = Ferraresi
saint = St. George
day = April 23
mayor = Gaetano Sateriale
website = [http://www.comune.ferrara.it www.comune.ferrara.it]
Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

State Party = ITA
Type = Cultural
Criteria = ii, iii, iv, v, vi
ID = 733
Region = Europe and North America
Year = 1995
Session = 19th
Extension = 1999
Link = http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/733

Ferrara is a city in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the province of Ferrara.

It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north. The town has broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the 14th century and 15th century, when it hosted the court of the house of Este. For its beauty and cultural importance it has been qualified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

Modern times have brought a renewal of industrial activity. Ferrara is on the main rail line from Bologna to Padua and Venice, and has branches to Ravenna, Poggio Rusco (for Suzzara) and Codigoro.


The origin of Ferrara is uncertain; it is unlikely that it occupies the site of the ancient Forum Alieni, as some suppose. It was probably settled by the inhabitants of the lagoons at the mouth of the Po; there are two early centers of settlement, one round the cathedral, [The See was moved here from Vicohabentia (Voghenza) in 624 ( [http://www.katolsk.no/utenriks/kronologi/italy.htm Chronology of Catholic dioceses: Italy] ).] the other, the "castrum bizantino", being the San Pietro district, on the opposite shore, where the Primaro empties into the Volano channel. Ferrara appears first in a document of the Lombard king Aistulf of 754,Fact|date=February 2007 as a city forming part of the Exarchate of Ravenna. Desiderius pledged a Lombard "ducatus ferrariae" ("duchy of Ferrara") in 757 to Pope Stephen II. After 984 it was a fief of Tedaldo, count of Modena and Canossa, nephew of the emperor Otto I. It afterwards made itself independent, and in 1101 was taken by siege by the countess Matilda. At this time it was mainly dominated by several great families, among them the Adelardi (or Aleardi).

In 1146, Guglielmo II Adelardi, the last of the Adelardi, died, and his property passed, as the dowry of his niece "the Marchesella", to Obizzo I d'Este. There was considerable hostility between the newly entered family and the Salinguerra, but after considerable struggles Azzo VII "Novello" was nominated perpetual "podestà" in 1242; in 1259 he took Ezzelino of Verona prisoner in battle. His grandson, Obizzo II (1264–1293), succeeded him, and he was made perpetual lord of the city by the population. The house of Este was from henceforth settled in Ferrara. In 1289 he was also chosen as lord of Modena, one year later he was made lord of Reggio.

Niccolò III (1393–1441) received several popes with great magnificence, especially Eugene IV, who held a council here in 1438. His son Borso received the title of duke for the imperial fiefs of Modena and Reggio from emperor Frederick III in 1452 (in which year Girolamo Savonarola was born here), and in 1471 was made duke of Ferrara by Pope Paul II. Ercole I (1471–1505) carried on a war with Venice and increased the magnificence of the city.

During the reign of Ercole I, one of the most significant patrons of the arts in late 15th and early 16th century Italy after the Medici, Ferrara grew into a cultural center, renowned for music as well as for visual arts. The painters established links with flemish artists and their techniques, exchanging influences in the colors and composition choices. Composers came to Ferrara from many parts of Europe, especially France and Flanders; Josquin Des Prez worked for Duke Ercole for a time (producing the "Missa Hercules dux Ferrariæ", which he wrote for him); Jacob Obrecht came to Ferrara twice (and died during an outbreak of plague there in 1505); and Antoine Brumel served as principal musician from 1505. Alfonso I, son of Ercole, was also an important patron; his preference for instrumental music resulted in Ferrara becoming an important center of composition for the lute. The architecture of Ferrara benefitted from the genius of Biagio Rossetti, who was asked in 1484 by Ercole I to redesign the plan of the city. The resulting "Addizione Erculea" is one of the most important and beautiful examples of renaissance city planning and contributed to the selection of Ferrara as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Alfonso married the notorious Lucrezia Borgia, and continued the war with Venice with success. In 1509 he was excommunicated by Pope Julius II, and he overcame the pontifical army in 1512 defending Ravenna.

Gaston de Foix fell in the battle, in which he was supporting Alfonso. With the succeeding popes he was able to make peace. He was the patron of Ariosto from 1518 onwards. His son Ercole II married Renée of France, daughter of Louis XII of France; he too embellished Ferrara during his reign (1534–1559).

His son Alfonso II married Lucrezia, daughter of grand-duke Cosimo I of Tuscany, then Barbara, sister of the emperor Maximilian II and finally Margherita Gonzaga, daughter of the duke of Mantua. He raised the glory of Ferrara to its highest point, and was the patron of Tasso, Guarini, and Cremonini – favouring, as the princes of his house had always done, the arts and sciences. He had no legitimate male heir, and in 1597 Ferrara was claimed as a vacant fief by Pope Clement VIII, as was also Comacchio.

During the reign of Alfonso II, Ferrara once again developed an impressive musical establishment, rivaled in Italy only by the adjacent city of Venice, and the traditional musical centers such as Rome, Florence and Milan. Composers such as Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Lodovico Agostini, and later Carlo Gesualdo, represented the avant-garde tendency of the composers there, writing for gifted virtuoso performers, including the famous "concerto di donne" — the three virtuoso female singers Laura Peverara, Anna Guarini, and Livia d'Arco. Vincenzo Galilei praised the work of Luzzaschi, and Girolamo Frescobaldi studied with him. Visitors came to hear the spectacular productions of the Este musicians, the activities of which mostly ceased in 1598 with the demise of the Este court.

A fortress was constructed by Pope Paul V on the site of the castle called "Castel Tedaldo", at the south-west angle of the town. The town remained a part of the states of the Church, the fortress being occupied by an Austrian garrison from 1832 until 1859, when it became part of the kingdom of Italy. All of the fortress was dismantled following the birth of the Kingdom and the brick used for construction sites in town.

Main sights

The town is still surrounded by more than 9 kilometres of ancient walls, mainly built in the 15th and 16th centuries [ [http://www.comune.fe.it/turismo/inglese/1mura.htm Ferrare city website] .] They are best preserved renaissance walls in Italy along with those of Lucca.

The most prominent building is the square "Castello Estense", in the centre of the town, a brick building surrounded by a moat, with four towers. It was built after 1385 and partly restored in 1554; the pavilions on the top of the towers date from the latter year.

Near it is the hospital of "Santa Anna", where the poet Torquato Tasso was confined during his attack of insanity (1579–1586).

The "Palazzo del Municipio", rebuilt in the 18th century, was the earlier residence of the Este family. Close by it is the cathedral of San Giorgio, begun in 1135, when the Romanesque lower part of the main façade and the side façades were completed. According to a now lost inscription the church was built by Guglielmo I degli Adelardi (d. 1146) , who is buried in it. The sculpture of the main portal is the signed work of the "artifex" Nicholaus, mentioned in the lost inscription as the architect for the church. The upper part of the main façade, with arcades of pointed arches, dates from the 13th century and the portal has recumbent lions and elaborate sculptures above. The interior was restored in the baroque style in 1712. The campanile, in the Renaissance style, dates from 1451–1493, but the last storey was added at the end of the 16th century.

A little way off is the university, which has faculties of law, architecture, pharmacy, medicine and natural science; the library has valuable manuscripts, including part of that of the "Orlando furioso" and letters by Tasso. Its famous graduates include Nicolaus Copernicus (1503) and Paracelsus. The university's botanical garden is the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Ferrara.

Ferrara has many early Renaissance palaces, often retaining terracotta decorations; few towns of Italy as small have so many, though most are comparatively small in size. Among them may be noted those in the north quarter (especially the four at the intersection of its two main streets), which was added by Ercole I in 1492–1505, from the plans of Biagio Rossetti, and hence called the "Addizione Erculea".

Among the finest palaces is "Palazzo dei Diamanti", so named for the diamond points into which the facade's stone blocks are cut. It houses the National Picture Gallery, with a large collection of the school of Ferrara, which first rose to prominence in the latter half of the 15th century, with Cosimo Tura, Francesco Cossa and Ercole dei Roberti. Noted masters of the 16th century School of Ferrara (Painting) include Lorenzo Costa and Dosso Dossi, the most eminent of all, Girolamo da Carpi and Benvenuto Tisio (il Garofalo).

The "Archivio Storico Comunale" contains a relevant amount of historical documents, starting from 15th century. The "Archivio Storico Diocesano" is more ancient, mentioned in documents in 955, and contains precious documents collected across the centuries by the clergy. Many libraries also enrich this town, which possesses a cultural heritage of extraordinary importance.

The Monastero del Corpus Domini contains tombs of the Estes, including Alfonso I, Alfonso II, Ercole I, Ercole II, as well as Lucrezia Borgia, Eleonora d'Aragona, and a dozen others.

Other sites include:
* The Cathedral (12th century)
* The historic Teatro Comunale (Community Theatre)
* The "Certosa"
* The church of "San Francesco" (by Biagio Rossetti)
* The church of "San Benedetto"
* The church of "Santa Maria in Vado"
* The church of "San Domenico"
* The church of "San Paolo"
* The church of "San Giorgio "
*The Renaissance church of "San Cristoforo"
* The "Palazzo Schifanoia", built in 1385 by Alberto V d'Este. It includes frescoes depicting the life of Borso d'Este, the signs of the zodiac and allegorical representations of the months. The vestibule was decorated with stucco mouldings by Domenico di Paris of Padua. The building also contains fine choir-books with miniatures and a collection of coins and Renaissance medals.
* The "Palazzo della Ragione" ("Palace of Reason"), built in Gothic style in 1315-1326 (the original one has been destroyed during World War II).
* The simple house of the poet Ludovico Ariosto, erected by him after 1526 and in which he died in 1532.

Synagogues and a Jewish Museum are located in the heart of the mediæval centre, close to the cathedral and the Castello Estense. This street was part of the ghetto in which the Jews were separated from the rest of the population of Ferrara from about 1627 to 1859.


In 2007, there were 133,591 people residing in Ferrara, located in the province of Ferrara, Emilia Romagna, of whom 46.8% were male and 53.2% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.28 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 26.41 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Ferrara residents is 49 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Ferrara grew by 2.28 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.85 percent. [http://demo.istat.it/bil2007/index.html] The current birth rate of Ferrera is 7.02 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births. Ferrara is known as being the oldest city with a population over 100,000, as well the city with lowest birth rate.

As of 2006, 95.59% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group was other European nations (mostly from the Ukraine, and Albania: 2.59%, North Africa: 0.51%, and East Asia: 0.39%. Currently, one-tenth of all births has at least one foreign parent. The city is predominantly Roman Catholic, with small Orthodox Christian adherents.

Ferrara in culture

The famous friar Girolamo Savonarola and the musician Girolamo Frescobaldi were both born in Ferrara, as well as the painters Giovanni Boldini (1842) and Filippo de Pisis (1896).

Apart from the geniuses of Tasso and Ariosto, another notable Renaissance writer Matteo Maria Boiardo worked here. Ferrara was also able to develop its own lineage or School of painters and artists. The astounding list of painters and artists living and working in Ferrara includes the names of Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Leon Battista Alberti, Pisanello, Piero della Francesca, Rogier van der Weyden, Battista Dossi, Dosso Dossi, Cosmé Tura,Francesco del Cossa and Titian. Their works can be seen in the many city museums, in particular the Pinacoteca Nazionale.

The Ferrara Bible was a translation of the Old Testament into Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish) by Sephardic Jews and dedicated to Ercole II.

Ferrara was the setting of the famous novel "Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini" ("The Garden of the Finzi-Contini") by Giorgio Bassani and of its movie adaptation by Vittorio De Sica in (1970). Wim Wenders and Michelangelo Antonioni's "Al di là delle nuvole" in (1995) and Ermanno Olmi's "Il mestiere delle armi" in (2001), a film about the last days of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, were also shot here.

In the XIX and XX century Ferrara hosted a number of important painters inspired by its eerie atmosphere: among them Giovanni Boldini, Filippo de Pisis and Giorgio de Chirico.

The Palium of St. George is a typical medieval feast held every last Sunday of May The Buskers Festival is a non-competitive parade of the best street musicians in the world. In terms of tradition and dimension it is the most important festival of this kind.

Additionally, Ferrara is becoming the Italian capital of hot air balloons, thanks to the ten-day-long Ferrara Balloons Festival, the biggest celebration of balloons in Italy and one of the largest in Europe.

Ferrara is the birthplace and childhood home of the well-known Italian film director, Michelangelo Antonioni who died in July 2007. The Mayor of Ferrara has announced that his museum, which was closed for renovation, will not reopen and no museum dedictated to Antonioni's cinema work will be opened.Fact|date=August 2007


Ferrara's local football team, Società Polisportiva Ars Et Labor 1907 is going to play in "Lega Pro Prima Divisione" (former Serie C1), which is the third highest football league in Italy. The local basketball team, Carife Ferrara, have been doing considerably better; they won the 2007-08 title in the second-level LegADue, thereby earning promotion to Serie A.

Twin towns

Ferrara is twinned with:
* Krasnodar, Russia
* Lleida, Spain
* Saint-Étienne, France
* Swansea, United Kingdom
* Koper, Slovenia
* Szombathely, Hungary
* Zilina, Slovakia
* Highland Park, Illinois
* Kaufbeuren, Germany


Last municipal elections hold on June 12 and 13 2004.The division of the 40 seats in the Ferrara city council is as followed:

* Partito Democratico - 18
* Forza Italia - 8
* Alleanza Nazionale - 6
* Socialisti Democratici Italiani - 2
* Io amo Ferrara - 2
* Rifondazione Comunista - 2
* Comunisti Italiani - 2
* Verdi per la pace - 1

External links

* [http://www.ferrarainfo.com/ Official Tourism Office Site - Six Languages]
* [http://ww4.comune.fe.it/ferrara/ Official site]
* [http://www.ferraraok.it/ Search engine and index of websites related to Ferrara]
* [http://www.teatrocomunaleferrara.it/ The Comunale Theatre]
* [http://www.ferrarafestival.it/ Ferrara Balloons Festival - the biggest Hot Air Balloons Fiesta in Italy]
* [http://ferrarasottolestelle.it/ Ferrara Under the Stars - The most important Italian summer music festival]
* [http://www.ferrarabuskers.com/ Ferrara Buskers' Festival]
* [http://www.palazzodiamanti.it/ Palazzo dei Diamanti - Ferrara National Museum of Art]
* [http://www.unife.it/ The University of Ferrara]
* [http://www.estense.com/ Local Newspaper]




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