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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. One of the prime examples of Renaissance art is the cycle of frescoes in Salone dei Mesi in Palazzo Schifanoia; today, it can again be appreciated in all its beauty thanks to architectural restoration and new lighting.


Inspired by the months of the year and the signs of the zodiac, the expressions, gestures and faces of the figures narrate a 550-year-old story. In the month of March, the mysterious Vir Niger, the black man, the last dean of the zodiac sign of Aries, accompanies Borso, Duke of Ferrara in 1471, and his court, protected by the Gods of the Olympus sitting on celestial chariots.


Equally impressive are the frescoes of Palazzo Costabili, with its magnificent 16th-century ceiling painted by Garofalo, and the frescoes in Sala delle Sibille e dei Profeti in Casa Romei. The works in the Museo della Cattedrale and the Pinacoteca Nazionale collection, housed on the main floor of Palazzo dei Diamanti, are particularly impressive. The latter offers an important exhibition of Renaissance art, spanning from Cosmè Tura to Dosso Dossi and including the dramatic paintings of Bastianino, which brought an end to the Este era in Ferrara.



last modified May 09, 2021 02:32
Not to be missed...

The first floor of Palazzo Schifanoia is home to one of the most important 15th-century cycles of frescoes, a collective work by the leading local artists of the Cosmè Tura school, including Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de’ Roberti. Of the original twelve months, only those from March to September have survived. They represent the divine world, the human world and signs of the zodiac, in a tribute to the courtly life of the commissioner, Duke Borso d’Este.

The magnificent 16th-century ceiling in Sala del Tesoro, frescoed by Garofalo, depicts a fake balcony from which several figures, who bear witness to their love of music, art and poetry, look out.

The Sala delle Sibille e dei Profeti, the wooden ceilings, the frescoed vaults and the “Alcove” make up a unique artistic corpus in Ferrara. There are also art collections by several leading artists such as Donatello, Francesco Dal Cossa, Gregorio di Lorenzo and Bastianino.

On the first floor of Palazzo dei Diamanti, the rooms, including the magnificent main hall and the 16th-century apartment of Virginia de' Medici, boast a remarkable collection of Renaissance paintings. Alongside the works of maestros like Cosmè Tura, Ercole de' Roberti and the other creators of the “Ferrara Workshop”, are the imposing Costabili Polyptych, created by Garofalo and Dosso Dossi, and the dramatic paintings of Bastianino, that mark the end of the Este era in Ferrara.

he cathedral museum is housed in the former church of San Romano and is full of works from the Renaissance, including the ancient organ panels depicting the Annunciation and St. George and the Dragon, a masterpiece by Cosmè Tura, pioneer of the 15th-century Ferrara school, and the Madonna of the Pomegranate (Madonna della Melagrana), a statue in Carrara marble by Siena-born artist Jacopo della Quercia, located in the former sacristy of the church.


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.

Crossing Jewish Ferrara

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 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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