Ten Reasons to add Ferrara to Your List of Day Trips on an Italian Holiday in Emilia Romagna

In June, we spent four days on a weekend city break in Emilia Romagna Italy with a home base in Bologna. There are a number of easily accessible day trips in the region less than two hours by train each way. We decided to check out Ferrara and are so glad that we did. Here are ten reasons why the often over-looked Ferrara should most definitely be on your day trip list if you are staying in Bologna.

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - Castello Estense di Ferrara

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - The Palio

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - The Dungeon at Castello Estense di Ferrara

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - Floating Umbrellas

5. Arts and Crafts Market

Just outside the castle, an arts and crafts market was set-up for the weekend. We had a great time browsing the creations of local artisans.
Day Trip to Ferrara - 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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - Palazzo Diamante

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - Town Walls

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - Gelato at Gelateria Baluardi

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!
Day Trip to Ferrara - Pasta at Il Gatto Bianco

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.
Day Trip to Ferrara - The Duomo

We definitely enjoyed our day trip to Ferrara featuring amazing sun, food, and architecture. What are some of your favorite places to visit in the Emilia-Romagna region?

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Sidewalk Safari: Ten Reasons to add Ferrara to Your List of Day Trips on an Italian Holiday in Emilia Romagna
Ten Reasons to add Ferrara to Your List of Day Trips on an Italian Holiday in Emilia Romagna
Ten reasons to visit Ferrara Italy on a vacation to Emilia-Romagna
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