Situated on the great plain of Emilia, Ferrara stands a few kilometres south of the Po River, and about 50km from the sea.
Ferrara is a splendid city of art, to be enjoyed by walking its streets, its character – this magnificent Renaissance capital – revealed on every corner. Through its glorious past you can understand the roots of its present. A heavyweight Renaissance art city peppered with colossal palaces and still ringed by its intact medieval walls, Ferrara jumps out at you like an absconded Casanova (he once stayed here) on the route between Bologna and Venice.
Historically, Ferrara was the domain of the powerful Este clan, rivals to Florence’s Medici in power and prestige, who endowed the city with its signature building – a huge castle complete with moat positioned slap-bang in the city centre. The Este family governed here for three centuries and gave the city the appearance it has today: a uniquely planned city, harmoniously fusing Mediaeval and Renaissance, Europe’s first modern city.
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But, like any city situated in close proximity to La Serenissima, it is serially overlooked, despite its Unesco World Heritage status. As a result, Venice avoiders will find Ferrara’s bike-friendly streets and frozen-in-time palazzi relatively unexplored and deliciously tranquil.
suffered damage from bombing raids during WWII, but its historical core remains intact. Of particular interest is the former Jewish ghetto, the region’s largest and oldest, which existed from 1627 until 1859.
Some facilities are located inside modern buildings, like the Chemistry/Biomedical Centre and the Science/Technology Centre, whereas others are located in ancient prestigious artistic and historical buildings. There is a strong, not only urban related, permeation between the city and the surrounding area. The university centres embrace Ferrara in a large single campus and city life is marked by the presence of young people who spill out of the university into the historic town centre. This connection is also expressed through the many cultural and educational initiatives organised by the university.
The attractive city and university welcome students as citizens.