Saturday, 27 June 2015

Italy Continued: Ferrara

I must confess that we hadn’t heard of Ferrara before this trip but we elected to take the morning guided walk there instead of a full day to Bologna. I’m glad we did as this is another UNESCO designated site, in the Emilio-Romagna region of Northern Italy, which still has many of its medieval and Renaissance features. Some of the old buildings look surprisingly modern, as in the other towns and I even checked with the guide on a couple of occasions to confirm the age.

 




The town was once a Duchy of the Este family who built the university in 1391, which could boast Copernicus as one of its students in the early 1500s. We walked through the archways of the ancient Estense Castle which has a drawbridge as well as the only moat still filled with water in Europe! As we strolled across the drawbridge, we were told to glance through the arch to our left. The guide pointed out a particular window in the apartments across the town street – this evidently was where the infamous Lucrezia Borgia once stayed. She is buried in the convent of Corpus Domini.


Overlooking the Piazza is the impressive twelfth century Cathedral of San Giorgio with its interesting mixture of Gothic and Romanesque styles. There are also several palaces and museums to visit which warrant far more time than we had available. As we wandered through the town, it became increasingly obvious that everyone cycles here and you do have to be constantly aware of the bikes once in the narrower cobbled streets, away from the wide main streets. I couldn't resist a photo of one of the ham shops as we passed by. 


It was worth our walk in the heat as we were taken through the famous Jewish section where one of the unique little quirks of Ferrara met our eyes. Stretching the whole way ahead, colourful umbrellas seemingly hung from the sky between the buildings on either side and were quite a sight! They were obviously suspended by wire or similar and when we asked about them we were told: “they hang there so that tourists can talk about them and people will want to visit Ferrara.” It’s certainly the best advertising I’ve ever seen and I’m now doing my bit to bring attention to this interesting medieval town.



Later next week, I'll be talking about Ravenna.

Rosemary

14 comments:

helenafairfax.com said...

What a fascinating and lovely place. I've never heard of Ferrara. It look beautiful from your photos. Thanks for sharing!

Patsy said...

I love those umbrellas!

Joan Fleming said...

New to me too, Rosemary. Looks lovely, and boasts some fascinating history.

Joanna said...

What a fascinating town, Rosemary. and so beautiful. I love the cathedral. My sister-in-law studied and wrote about twelfth century art in churches, so she would have loved this too. The umbrellas are so lovely - such an unexpected and colourful surprise.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for your lovely comment, Helena! It was a very interesting new place for us.

I do too, Patsy - they look even better when you see them all in real life!

I think you could spend much longer there, Joan, as there were lots of places to explore inside.

Thanks, Joanna! I did 15/16th century art history as part of my degree, and my friend did an earlier period so I've loved these parts of Italy. Yes, the umbrellas were so unexpected and quirky!

Carolb said...

Amazing place from the sounds of it, and the umbrellas are a brilliant talking point for everyone- and so colourful. :-)

Maria said...

The umbrella's have me hooked...
I hadn't heard of Ferrara, so thank you for sharing.

Wendy's Writing said...

You really are making me so envious, Rosemary! Don't stop though.

Nicola said...

Great post, Rosemary. Thank you for sharing your holiday with us. I am in awe at the historic buildings. I bet each one has a tale or two to tell - secrets hidden in their walls. You must have been inspired. I will definitely have to convince my hubby to drive me down that way. I'm not convinced they are telling all about those umbrellas. Hmmm.. the mind boggles :)

Julia Thorley said...

No, I've never heard of it either, but what a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing this with us.

cheap essay writing service said...

Because of posts like this I surf the internet and when I found you, the time I felt I was wasting, just turned my thoughts around and now I am thinking I invested my time in something really interesting.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

The umbrellas were striking, Carol!

Thanks for commenting, Maria - it was new to us too!

Two more to go, Wendy!

Thanks, Nicola - I like the imaginative way your mind is working!

Vikki said...

Love the buildings and the umbrella photo! Such a quirky picture to capture x

Ishita Sood said...

I love this town already. I heard its in the book of Ali Smith too. Lovely captures esp the umbrella :)