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Crossing Jewish Ferrara

Located in the heart of Ferrara, the column topped by Borso d’Este consists in layers of Jewish gravestones from some old city cemeteries. Before the gates of the Jewish ghetto closed every evening on its inhabitants, Ferrara was safe and welcoming for the large community of Jewish refugees from other European countries.


Walking around the streets of the Jewish ghetto means immersing oneself in the rich cultural dialogue between Hebrew culture, the predominant Christian culture and the Renaissance. The route meanders along charming mediaeval streets: Via Mazzini, the main road through the ancient ghetto, is lined with largely-intact old buildings and is where shops owned by Jews were once concentrated, Via Vittoria, with its palaces, ancient courtyards and charming balconies, was mentioned in the novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini), and Via Vignatagliata.


Nearby is MEIS (National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah) which offers evidence of the age-old history of Jews in Italy, including the tragic events surrounding racial persecution and the Shoah. It was established to promote the exceptional continuity of a prolific and uninterrupted relationship between the Jewish population and the city. Returning towards the centre and heading north leads to the Jewish Cemetery, where the writer Giorgio Bassani is buried.



last modified May 09, 2021 02:32
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The mediaeval quarter of Ferrara preserves the memories of one of the oldest Jewish communities in Italy.

The column of Borso d’Este, also known as the Jewish column, is in the Volto del Cavallo (or Horse’s Vault) in front of Ferrara Cathedral, and mainly consists of layers of gravestones from old Jewish cemeteries.

Located in Via delle Vigne, it dates from the 17th century and it is in the area between the Herculean Addition and the walls. It is the final resting place of many leading figures including Giorgio Bassani, Renzo Ravenna and Paolo Ravenna.

With its small palaces, internal courtyards and charming balconies, the road crosses the residential area of the Jewish ghetto and is mentioned in the novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini).

The main road in the ancient ghetto where the shops and the old buildings once owned by Jews were concentrated and which have largely retained their original structure. At number 95 is the Synagogue; built in 1485, it houses the German Temple, Fanese Oratory and the former Italian Temple.

Established to bear witness to the events that marked the two-thousand-year-old presence of Jews in Italy and to promote the beautiful and prolific relationship between the Jews and the city of Ferrara.


At the table with Messisbugo

The ceramics loved by the Este

Triumphs and tournaments

Ludovico Ariosto, the poet of the Orlando Furioso


Ferrara, ideal city

Percorso 1

A walk through the heart of Ferrara becomes a step back into the Renaissance. The old town centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a wonderful example of a city designed in the 15th century that has remained largely intact

At the Este court

The stones of Ferrara’s Castello Estense still echo with the footsteps and voices of its former inhabitants: from the tragic history of Ugo and Parisina to the secrets of Lucrezia Borgia.

The wonders of Este art

Renaissance art reflected the new centrality of mankind and his role in the world, an awareness that inspired artists, who used sacred and secular subjects in landscapes, architecture and portraits

The landscape of the Delizie

Commissioned by the Dukes of Este, these lavish villas, recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, were a network of noble residences dotted all around the Ferrara area

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