Welcome to the “The City of Bicycles.” Ferrara may be called this way in view of the fact that nearly 90% of Ferrara’s inhabitants is owning a bicycle and the city center is a strictly enforced “no car” zone. Moreover, bicycles are a source of cultural pride for the citizens. Also regarded as an important status symbol, the Ferrarese view the bicycle as a natural extension of their own personal fashion and personality. This spectacular city is situated in the north of Italy.
Ferrara became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna decorated the palaces of the House of Este. The humanist concept of the ‘ideal city’ came to life here in the neighbourhoods built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced its subsequent development.
Furthermore, the whole city is dotted with art, from Palazzo dei Diamanti which hosts the National Picture Gallery to the Romanesque Cathedral. Ferrara is the birthplace and childhood home of renowned Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni, and the set for the beautiful The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Vittorio De Sica (1970).
It is advisable to stroll all around the city and visit taht looks marvellous at a first glance. The most beautiful palace is the PALAZZO DEI DIAMANTI “, the “Palace of the diamonds” with 8,500 stones in the shape of a diamond point that decorate the outside. Besides, Ferrara’s Jewish Quarter is an incredible opportunity to explore an important and sobering part of the city’s cultural heritage.
In terms of food specialties, everyone should taste Pampapato. This is a chocolate covered spiced bread that dates back to 1465. The renowned Renaissance chef Cristoforo da Messisbugo developed the recipe to serve as a dessert for the noble Estense family, Popes and clergy. Today, pampapato can be found in most of Ferrara’s bakeries and restaurants.
This ancient city offers a magic atmosphere, friendly people, and so many outstanding monuments that it makes me wonder why I have not visited this city yet!