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Delizie and fortresses of the Estensi: the cradle of culture

During the course of its lengthy domination, the Duchy of the Estensi, made of Ferrara a great Renaissance city, and a cultural and artistic centre. The Estensi Delizie, refined historic buildings and palazzi, became a place of meeting and of the exchanging of ideas for the writers and intellectuals of the time. The most beautiful and resplendent part of Romagna extends through the area of Ferrara among towers, strongholds, and fortresses which have been keeping watch over the Delta of the River Po for millennia.

In the heart of Ferrara

A city that is suspended between Medieval times and the Renaissance, Ferrara is to be experienced and enjoyed, not just talked about. Recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site, it was shaped by the Estense Family, who governed the area between the XIII and XVI centuries. Veritable jewels of architecture are the Estense Castle, which was built in the XV century, with the striking beauty of its white marble and terracotta bricks, the Town Hall, and the Cathedral of Saint George, a testament to the Medieval period in Ferrara, and the Palazzo dei Diamanti, with its characteristic façade that is decorated with 8500 stones with a diamond-shaped point in pink and white marble, whose hues change according to the sunlight, and which today houses the National Art Gallery.

The MEIS and the remembrance of the Shoah

Ferrara and Hebraism, a history that is centuries long, is characterised by the institution of the Ghetto in 1627, where most of the economic life of the Hebrew community took place. It was closed in 1859, but it was to all intents and purposes reopened the day after the introduction of the racial laws, a period during which many Jews came to Ferrara looking for shelter thanks to the presence in town of Italo Balbo. A precious testament to Hebraism in Ferrara is no doubt the MEIS, the National Museum of Italian Hebraism and of the Shoah, which is dedicated to the history of the Jews and of the Shoah in Italy, and which is also a place to promote events, meetings and exhibitions, and to house a collection of cult objects from Hebrew ceremonies.

Discovering the Delizie

Country residences, peaceful places of rest for the House of Este, the name Delizie (the delights) is self-explanatory, as it is a true delight to wonder around the simple, yet refined architecture of the buildings, and imagine the times when they were the heart and cradle of the Italian Renaissance. The “Delizie estensi” (the Estense Delights) represent an enjoyable experience that lends colour and elegance to the whole of the Ferrara area.


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