During our trip to Italy last year, we also visited the city of Ferrara. After our 3 week stay in Cividale del Friuli, we went on a short 5-night road trip in central Italy before finishing our holiday in Milan.
On our way to Tuscany, we stopped for 1 night in Ferrara. Ferrara is a fantastic tourist destination located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.
Ferrara has played an important role in the history of Italy and it has a strong association with the House of Este who had a major influence in Italy during the 1400’s.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Ferrara.
Also known as the Castle of Saint Michael, this beautiful structure has stood since medieval times and is truly picture perfect.
Located in the centre of the historic old town, Castle Estense is surrounded entirely by a moat and sits on its own island.
Built in the 14th century, this castle has stood as a symbol of power for Ferrara for hundreds of years. Within the impressive walls of the castle, you can find a series of richly decorated rooms such as the Chamber of Dawn, the Ducal Chapel and the Dungeons.
The Town Hall is just in front of the Cathedral and it is the place where people usually meet.
When we visited, we were lucky enough to see the celebrations for the end of WWI. The city brass band played traditional tunes and people dressed in Medieval clothes paraded in the centre of town. I am used to this sort of thing, but the kids were quite impressed!
Cathedral of Saint George
More commonly known as Ferrara Cathedral, this stunning structure is renowned for its beautiful architecture and interior design. You can find it in the heart of the UNESCO designated historic centre of the town.
The front facade of the Cathedral has a combination of Romanesque and Renaissance styles and features a series of ornate arches and decorations. Unfortunately, it was been restored when we visited.
The imposing Renaissance bell tower is an unfinished work of Leon Battista Alberti on the side of the cathedral facing Piazza Trento e Trieste.
Loggia dei Merciai
Along Piazza Trento Trieste, the ancient merchant’s shops are tucked beneath the terracotta tiled roofs. Today they are filled with modern stores but are a clear path back to the history of commercial trade in the Middle Ages.
Ferrara is located in the Emilia-Romagna region… which is famous for its food! There are many local specialties to try, like cappellacci – traditional pasta filled with pumpkin, and salama da sugo – a traditional pork sausage.
We had a small accident while parking our car in the very small garage our accommodation provided, so we were not in a very good mood. We were also quite tired, so we didn’t feel like walking too far from our place.
We found a local restaurant in our neighbourhood that had a good menu, so we ate there. The place is called Al Frattino. They serve all sorts of food – pasta, meat, fish, etc. However, we were in the mood for pizza, so that’s what we ordered.
The kids shared a margherita.
My husband had a pizza with salame.
And I had a pizza with porcini and speck.
The pizza was good… nothing to complain about! I recommend it.
We had booked our accommodation on Booking. On the day we were supposed to stay there, we got a message from our host saying they had a problem with the toilet and that we had been “moved” to another place with the same inclusions.
The new place is called Gold Apartment. It is located in a VERY NARROW street. The whole city centre has very narrow lanes, so keep that in mind! Our car was way too big and not easy to maneuver around. The owner took my husband to the garage which was a few minutes away from the apartment, while I waited in front of the accommodation with the luggage.
The garage was also VERY NARROW, so my husband banged the side mirror and broke it… yeah. This accident really ruined our day.
The apartment itself was nice, clean, and spacious.
However, the whole experience – the last minute change (the original place we had booked was a house with a big enough space to park our car and that was the reason we had chosen it!), the accident, and the attitude of the owners, wasn’t the best. In fact, it was the worst of our time in Italy. So, I would not recommend it.
I highly recommend a visit to Ferrara. It is a beautiful Medieval town with plenty of things to see and too and delicious food!
If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will be happy to help out!
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