Ferrara is the typical on-foot-city, to be visited in a day or two, on foot yes, but also by bike, the symbol of this city, “The city of bicycles”! Every street hides a secret, the weekend tourist who wants to take a quiet walk in an art city, can visit Ferrara and its highlights in one day.
Last but not least, Ferrara is my city, and I am particularly attached to it, so I have an extra eye for this itinerary …. But let’s not lose ourselves in chatter, let’s start!
Main itinerary: visit Ferrara in one day – highlights in 5,31Km
P.S If you want to read the Italian version of this post, you could find it here.
To immediately meet the city, I suggest reaching the square (Piazza Trento Trieste), the heart of Ferrara, and get to know the Duomo, taste a bit of Ferrarese life at the sound of bicycle bells.
Surely, from the square you will have glimpsed the towers of the castle, so why not run immediately!? The Estense Castle is a “must” if you want to visit Ferrara, and the tour takes nearly a couple of hours.
TIPS: with a few more euros, you have the Lions Tower admission and enjoy the view of the entire city center.
I’m sure you will enjoy the castle and in particular its oranges garden, a little terrace where you could have an amazing view of Ferrara and could smell the gorgeous perfume of citrus fruits’ flowers.
But let’s continue!
Take one of the most luxurious streets of the Renaissance in Ferrara, Corso Ercole I d’Este, pride of the architect Biagio Rossetti. This ancient street will lead you to one of the most famous and distinctive buildings of the city, Palazzo dei Diamanti, named for its diamond shape of its wall.
Known for the many exhibitions that take place in its rooms on the ground floor, the building also houses the National Gallery of Ferrara (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara), a pearl of Ferrara’s art, little known by the citizens themselves, here you could find works by the most important artists of the city.
I absolutely recommend to visit it!
After this full immersion in Ferrara’s art and culture, have a break in its green side.
Leaving the gallery, turn to Corso Porta Mare and take a walk to the Massari Park – the perfect place to let the children play and enjoy some relaxing minutes. Just in front of the entrance to the park, there is the Botanical Garden, a real paradise corner for all nature lovers, I suggest a visit (even just a 10 minutes’ walk), it’s free and if you’re lucky, maybe you could meet mom gosling with its ducks.
The itinerary continues! Walking along Corso Porta Mare till Piazza Ariostea, another green place of Ferrara, here we have the horse race every May, during the Palio, one of the most important and famous historical re-enactment of Italy.
I recommend the cafes under the arcades of Via Palestro, all excellent, and ice creams are delicious! If you want a good ice-cream break with artisan products, my advice is to wait a few moments and walk along via Palestro until the Gelateria La Romana where you can try ice cream, yogurt, crepe and lots of cakes and pastries!
How are you? Do you still want to walk a little?
Visit Ferrara in one day is also a great tour de force. Continuing in Corso della Giovecca: now you have full of choice! My advice is to still walk till Via Cisterna del Follo, to visit Palazzo Bonaccossi, an amazing villa that houses the Musei Civici d’Arte Antica and the Riminaldi collections.
ALERT: Near here you could also find Palazzo Schifanoia, but unfortunately is closed.
This particular part of Ferrara is one of the most ancient of the city: little streets, old bricks, here you could feel the medieval time! Each street is a little masterpiece, I suggest to literally lose yourself here and take lot of pics!
Then, visit Santa Maria in Vado, I definitely love this church! Its origins are really ancient, and this place is famous for the Eucharistic Miracle, on Easter 1171, when blood flowed from the holy bread (ostia) at the moment of consecration, and wet the apsidal basin above the altar.
After taken all the photos, you could reach the start point, the main place where we start to visit Ferrara, but before that, let’s take Via Savonarola.
Going straight on, you could find one of the university streets of the town. In this street we have the Palazzo Renata di Francia, headquarters of the University of Ferrara (if you find it open, look at inside, the atrium is really beautiful). In front of that, another important highlight: Casa de Romei, some of its frescos are still preserved.
Another important university’s palace is Palazzo Bevilacqua, headquarter of the Economic Studies. It’s open form Monday to Saturday, and the atrium and the rooms in the first floor are amazing, with well preserved frescos… Imagine to study here! I remember when I had lessons here, love it!
Ok, here we come back to the beginning, the center of Ferrara, our Listone as we call it. Now the choice is yours, visiting other museums, Ferrara is plenty of little and interesting museums, or walking more and more in all these lovely medieval streets and explore!
Where to eat in Ferrara
Ferrara is full of interesting restaurants with different proposals form typical dishes till ethnic menu.
If you’re interested in eating typical ferrarese cuisine, I suggest:
- Trattoria il Mandolino
- Trattoria Da Noemi
- Cusina & Butega
All these restaurants are in the city center, but they are a bit expensive. Lovely and tasty cuisine, but before entering, look at the price list.
Other proposal, more economic are:
I love these two pubs and if you are a bit practical with Italian language, you could find here my review (I haven’t translated in Italian yet). In specific Take Eat Easy is in the park in Vial Cavour, it’s an outdoor restaurant, recommended in warm seasons.
Where to park the car in Ferrara
For visitors by car, Ferrara offers two main parking places:
- Ex-Mof (free) in via Darsena
- Centro Storico in Piazzale Kennedy, a little bit nearer but it’s not free:
From 7.30 to 20.00, from Monday to Saturday: first hour € 0,80; max € 3,20.
From 20.00 to 24.00 from Monday to Saturday: first hour € 0,25; max € 1,00.
Other information you could find here.
I hope you enjoy this tour of Ferrara, each suggestion and comment are appreciated. Have a nice trip!