1. Castle with a Moat
Castello Estense di Ferrara is surrounded by a moat and is very atmospheric. We paid the admission fee (8 EUR at the time of writing) and checked out some amazing art adorning the walls and ceilings.
2. The Palio
We were exploring the interior of the castle when we heard the sound of trumpets. We raced to a window on the second floor, looked out across the moat and soon saw a stream of armor clad soldiers marching into the streets. We had chanced upon Ferrara during Palio, a hundreds of years old tradition of horse-racing and other competitions. We cracked open the window to take some pictures and watched in awe as troupe after troupe of sumptuously clad people strode down the street. I love fun unexpected surprises when we travel.
3. A Trip to the Dungeons
Castello Estense di Ferrara also features a dark side. We hunched over and crept through thick metal doors into dark medieval dungeons.
4. Umbrellas Without a Cloud in the Sky
We emerged from the castle with a renewed appreciation for the sun. We walked down pedestrianized Via Giuseppe Mazzini which was covered with colorful floating umbrellas despite the fact that there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
5. Arts and Crafts Market
6. Palazzo dei Diamanti
Palazzo dei Diamanti is an imposing building with pointy diamond shaped protrusions on the facade. The building also features a lovely courtyard and small garden that you can explore for free.
7. Wall Walking
Ferrara was a medieval walled city and vestiges of the town's fortifications still remain. We took the opportunity to walk inside, outside, and on the town wall for a lovely relaxing hike.
8. Gelato Time
We'd definitely worked up an appetite from walking in the sun when we chanced upon Gelateria Baluardi tucked just inside the town wall. We purchased a refreshing frozen cup of sweetness and sat outside on a shaded patio to enjoy our treat.
9. Fresh Pasta
Ferrara features a warren of narrow alleys emanating out from the historic square anchored by the Duomo and Castello Estense di Ferrara. It was here that we discovered Il Gatto Bianco where we sat down to a homemade plate of pumpkin filled pasta and a carafe of wine. Delicious!
10. Stunning Duomo
No visit to a city in Italy is complete without ducking into the Duomo. Italian cities generally feature large ornate cathedrals and Ferrara is no exception. The cathedral seems to be broken into three columns with impressive lions in marble out front. The interior is equally impressive and definitely worth popping in at the very least for a brief cooling respite from the sun.