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Ferrara is a small city full of interesting places to visit, the perfect destination for a day trip. From the Castello Estense to the Palazzo dei Diamanti, from the walls to the historic centre, it is possible to visit Ferrara in one day, and to make your visit even more enjoyable, we suggest that you do it on foot or by using the most popular means of transport in the city: the bicycle.

In this article we propose our itinerary to visit Ferrara in one day!

Visit Ferrara in one day: itinerary on foot or by bike!

Ferrara is our city and we know almost every corner of it, so much so that we sometimes take its beauty for granted. We have decided to put on our tourist’s clothes and draw up an itinerary that will allow you to visit Ferrara in just one day, following a route that you can follow on foot or by bike, taking in all the most important places in our city!

Ferrara is large enough to be visited on foot, with the historic centre enclosed within its ancient walls, which are about 9 kilometres long.

Despite its small size, there are many things you can visit in Ferrara in one day, but we assure you that if you follow this itinerary, you won’t miss a single thing! Ready to go? Here is our itinerary to visit Ferrara in one day!

Visit Ferrara Italy in one day: Piazza Ariostea

The starting point of our Ferrara day trip is Piazza Ariostea, one of the most famous squares in Ferrara. Piazza Ariostea is famous for hosting the annual Ferrara Palio, a very important event for the city, usually held on the last Sunday in May.

This square was built at the end of the Middle Ages as part of the Addizione Erculea project by Biagio Rossetti. The Addizione Erculea was the most important intervention in the city, as it completely changed its layout and doubled its size. Piazza Ariostea has an oval shape and was originally a market square; it takes its name from the statue in the centre dedicated to Ludovico Ariosto.

Part of the square is surrounded by porticoes, where there are several bars, the meeting place of many Ferrarese for aperitifs and in the evenings.

Ferrara day trip: The countryside within the city and the walls

From Piazza Ariostea, we suggest you go down Via delle Vigne and enter the walls of Ferrara. You will suddenly notice that you are leaving the historical centre and entering the countryside!

In fact, in this part of the city that belongs to the historical centre, there is a countryside within the walls, a truly incredible and unexpected place. We advise you to walk as far as Viale degli Angeli, which runs along the walls of Ferrara. From here we suggest you climb above the walls and take a long walk in the shade of the trees.

This is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Walls of Ferrara, which you can walk on top of the Walls (which we recommend) or you can walk in the vallo, the area that the people of Ferrara call ‘sottomura’.

The walls of Ferrara date back to the Middle Ages, but they have undergone several transformations over the centuries, the most important of which, at the end of the Middle Ages, by Biagio Rossetti, the so-called Addizione Erculea, which we have already told you about. Ferrara’s walls are still well preserved, although they suffered some damage during the Second World War, and today they almost completely surround the city.

most completely encircle the city.

We advise you to walk along the stretch of wall as far as the Porta degli Angeli (Gate of the Angels), from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Urban Park, the largest park in the city.

Visitare Ferrara in 1 giorno - Piazza Ariostea - visit Ferrara in one day

Piazza Ariostea

Visitare Ferrara in 1 giorno - la campagna dentro la città di Ferrara - visit Ferrara in one day

The countryside within the city

Visitare Ferrara in 1 giorno - Mura di Ferrara - visit Ferrara in one day

The Walls of Ferrara

Visit Ferrara in one day: Corso Ercole I d’Este

When you arrive at Porta degli Angeli, you will find yourself at the beginning of the most beautiful street in Ferrara: Corso Ercole I d’Este. As you will see, this street connects Porta degli Angeli with the heart of Ferrara’s historic centre: the Estense Castle. But that is not all: Corso Ercole I d’Este intersects perpendicularly with another of Ferrara’s main streets, Corso Porta Mare, and at the meeting point, the Quadrivio degli Angeli, is one of the city’s most important buildings, the Palazzo dei Diamanti. It is precisely the layout we have just described that is at the heart of Biagio Rossetti’s Addizione Erculea.

Corso Ercole I d’Este was once called Via degli Angeli (Street of Angels) and the buildings along it become more imposing as you approach the castle. We recommend that you walk along the entire street, along which you will find the Parco Massari, probably the most beautiful park in the city, with secular trees. Once you reach the Quadrivio degli Angeli, you will find yourself in front of the Palazzo dei Diamanti.

Visit Ferrara Italy in one day: the Palazzo dei Diamanti

Designed by Biagio Rossetti as the residence of Sigismondo d’Este, Palazzo dei Diamanti takes its name from the diamond-shaped ashlars that cover the two façades visible from the street. Legend has it that a diamond was once hidden in one of these ashlars.

The Palazzo dei Diamanti houses the Picture Gallery and an exhibition hall for temporary exhibitions, the calendar of which can be consulted and tickets purchased on the official website at this link. Even if you don’t stop to visit the exhibitions at Palazzo dei Diamanti, we recommend a stop at the museum’s recently renovated cafeteria, with tables outside but still inside the palace, for a very magic atmosphere.

Visit Ferrara day trip: The Estense Castle

Once you have finished your visit to the Palazzo dei Diamanti, we suggest you continue along Corso Ercole I d’Este to finally arrive at the Castello Estense.

The Castello Estense is the only castle in Italy still completely surrounded by a moat and only accessible via drawbridges and is definitely a must-see among the places to visit in Ferrara in one day. The Castello Estense, originally called Castello San Michele, was designed by the architect Bartolino da Novara, starting with the Torre dei Leoni and the Rocca that were already there. Three more towers were added to form a quadrilateral surrounding an inner courtyard, which is now freely accessible.

Initially built for military purposes, in 1500 it gradually became a court residence and in 1554 there was the famous fire in one of its towers. This episode is still replayed every year on New Year’s Eve: at least for one of your ‘New Year’s Eve’ we recommend you attend the fire of the Castello Estense, a truly beautiful spectacle!

Part of the Castello Estense is open to the public and we recommend that you take an hour of your time to visit this building. The most significant areas of the Castle are:

  • The garden and the Loggia degli aranci (Loggia of the Oranges): this is a hanging garden decorated with various citrus plants, surrounded by crenellated parapets from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Castle and the historic centre of Ferrara. This garden is closed during the winter period;
  • The prisons: in the Torre dei Leoni, at moat level, there are still perfectly preserved prisons where high-ranking personages or those of particular importance were locked up;
  • The ducal kitchens: this room is located next to the Torre dei Leoni and still has some original elements of the period, such as the floor, as well as two square openings on the wall where the large fireplace once stood;
  • The Torre dei Leoni: we absolutely recommend climbing to the top of the castle’s original and oldest tower, from which you can admire a beautiful panorama of the city of Ferrara.

Visit Ferrara Iraly: the historic centre and the Jewish ghetto

After the visit to the Castello Estense, our itinerary to visit Ferrara in one day continues towards the historic centre, in particular Piazza Municipale and Piazza della Cattedrale. The Cathedral of Ferrara is characterised by a façade that reflects the different periods in which the building was constructed and modified: the lower part is more “simple”, built in the Romanesque style, while the upper part is more articulated in the Gothic style.

Continuing towards Piazza Trento e Trieste, on the side of the Cathedral you can see the Loggia dei Merciai, where the merchants’ shops once stood, and which is still occupied by shops on the ground floor, while the first floor is closed. On the same side is the bell tower, an unfinished work by Leon Battista Alberti.

From Piazza Trento e Trieste two streets wind their way through the heart of Ferrara: Via San Romano and Via Mazzini. We recommend you walk along both and explore all the small alleys that connect them, such as the beautiful and famous Via delle Volte, which owes its name to the brick vaults that partially cover it. Via Mazzini was the main street of the Jewish Ghetto of Ferrara, where the synagogue is also located and where all the Jewish shops and homes overlooked. The alleys of the Jewish Ghetto are extremely picturesque, especially if you enter them in the evening hours.

Along Via San Romano, there are arcades on both sides where you will find shops for shopping and bars.

Walking along Via Mazzini and continuing along Via Saraceno you will arrive in an area where you will find various restaurants and bars, where we recommend you return in the evening for dinner. But before concluding this itinerary to visit Ferrara in one day, the last stop awaits you: Museo Schifanoia.

Visitare Ferrara in 1 giorno - via delle Volte nel centro storico di Ferrara - visit Ferrara in one day

Via delle Volte

Visitare Ferrara in 1 giorno - Museo Schifanoia - visit Ferrara in one day

Schifanoia Museum Garden Cafe

Visitare Ferrara in 1 giorno - Piazza Trento Trieste nel centro storico di Ferrara - visit Ferrara in one day

Piazza Trento e Trieste

Visit Ferrara in one day: Schifanoia Museum

Continuing along via Saraceno and then via Borgo di Sotto and via Scandiana you will reach the beautiful Schifanoia Museum. This museum closes at 7 p.m., so it is advisable to arrive at least an hour earlier to visit it in peace.

This building was built at the end of the 14th century at the behest of Borso d’Este to ‘schifar la boreia’, hence the name of the building: it was basically a ‘country’ residence where one could go to get away from the city. Inside the museum you can admire some almost perfectly preserved rooms:

  • The Room of the Months, where the months of the year were depicted in frescoes, of which those from March to September have been preserved intact. This is probably the most beautiful room in the museum;
  • The Hall of Virtues, also known as the Hall of Stuccos, with a magnificent coffered ceiling in gilded stucco, where some of Borso d’Este’s exploits are represented;
  • The Room of the Feats, also known as the Room of the Stuccos, with a coffered ceiling covered in gold and blue stucco, where other exploits of the House of Este are depicted.

Once you have finished your visit to the Schifanoia Museum, we recommend that you have an aperitif in the beautiful ‘bohemian’ garden of the palace. The best time to visit the garden is in spring when the cherry trees are in blossom.

Our itinerary to visit Ferrara in one day ends with this visit but, as we have already written, we suggest you end this day with an excellent dinner in one of the typical restaurants in the alleys of Ferrara’s historic centre.

With this article we hope we have enticed you to set out to discover our Ferrara in one day or, if you have the chance, even for a few more days to visit the surroundings of the city, such as the beautiful Comacchio and its valleys. Stay connected with us via the newsletter and social channels and, as always… trip to try!

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