While in Bologna, we made a day trip to Ferrara, where the main attraction to me was the immense Castello Estense (former seat of House of Este), with its drawbridges, dungeons and moats intact, and was rightly recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
House of Este was a powerful dynasty and its most (in)famous member might be one of the Duchesses - Lucrezia Borgia. Their Castle, at once fanciful and forbidding, dominated the central part of the surprisingly sprawling city; and adding an extra dose of menace, in front of it, there was a statue of the fanatical Girolamo Savonarola, who was indeed born in Ferrara.
Castello Estense and the Statue of Girolamo Savonarola, Ferrara
Our tour started with a walk around the bulging structure and then through its
gate and drawbridge, we entered the courtyard and walked through some disorienting corridors, while collecting on the way some informative views of the defense system of
Then we passed by a large kitchen and then descended to the most
scary dungeon I'd ever seen, the recently visited one, inside Palazzo Ducale in Venice, included.
After the gloomy dungeon, we moved into a most sumptuous sphere - the Palace, which impressed mostly with its fancifully decorated and molded ceilings, curtains and impressive arrays of coats of arms. The tastes of those former masters and mistresses had very peculiar tastes.
Coats of Arms
Art collections in the castle, however, were less impressive, as if they were mere afterthoughts.
However, at one wall I did see a drawing sketch of some interests, though not as well defined and energetically rendered as the drawing sketch I saw in Firenze (Florence) by Michelangelo.
Between Castello and Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo), there was another impressive structure - Palazzo Municipale (City Hall), where we saw two imposing bronze statues of Duca Borso d'Este and Marchese Niccolo III d'Este, sitting atop tall pedestals, flanking the main entrance. Time constraint ruled out our visiting the Palazzo, but I spent enough time to admire those two enormously powerful sculptures and pondered on the personalities of those Estes.
Duca Borso d'Este and Marchese Niccolo III d'Este outside the entrance arch - the Volto del Cavallo to Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara
Statue of Duca Borso d'Este (l) and Marchese Niccolo III d'Este (r), Palazzo Municipale
Statues of Duca Borso d'Este (seated) and Marchese Niccolo III d'Este, Palazzo Municipale (right)
Statue of Duca Borso d'Este
Statue of Marchese Niccolo III d'Este
Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo) was a beautiful, marbled cathedral and I particularly liked its three beautifully proportioned pediments.
The interior of the Duomo was warm and atmospherically dark but not gloomy. It also boasted a photo of the visiting Pope John Paul II to this very Cattedrale di San Giorgio.
Photo of the visiting Pope John Paul II in Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo), Ferrara
The marbled Campanile and the rough-looking side façade of the Cattedrale were equally fascinating including rows of tall arches which had stalls beneath them. Spiritual and earthy life intermingled together harmoniously.
Piazza Trento e Trieste, Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo)
Right across the plaza, while admiring the Duomo and the Campanile, we had a typical Ferrara meal for lunch at Piazza Trento e Trieste - Cappellacci di Zucca: pumpkin enclosed in home-made pasta. Delicious.
Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Bologna Wrap Up
- Bologna - City of Towers and Porticoes
- City of Padova (Padua), Italy
- Graz - the City Without Entrance, and Exit
- San Giorgio Maggiore, Il Redentore, Scuola e Chise Grande di San Rocco, Venezia
- Magical Piazza San Marco in Venice
- Magnificent Churches in Vienna
Label: Italy, Austria and Italy Trip 2012