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10 of the Best Things to do in Ferrara Italy

Find out about ten things to do in Ferrara Italy in Emilia Romagna. Take a day trip from Bologna to Ferrara by train. Explore Ferrara points of interest in a day.
There are a surprising number of things to do in Ferrara Italy. Did you know that Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? This was a sure sign that this charming corner of Northern Italy would be bursting with history and culture.

The original settlement at Ferrara dates back to the Middle Ages rather than having ancient origins like many other Italian cities.

We spent four days on a weekend Emilia Romagna food holiday with a home base in Bologna

Take the train from Bologna to Ferrara for an ideal day trip in Italy’s food-filled Emilia Romagna region. Read on for tips on how to spend a day in Ferrara.

Things to do in Ferrara Italy. Seek shade under umbrellas

1. Ferrara's 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 (16th Century Facade)

2. Ferrara 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 learned that the Ferrara Palio is the oldest documented palio in Italy and dates back to the 13th century.

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. You can check out some video footage from Ferrara Palio here.
Things to do in Ferrara Italy - The Palio

3. The Underside of Ferrara: 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.
Ferrara points of interest - The Dungeon at Castello Estense di Ferrara

4. Umbrellas Without a Cloud in the Sky

We emerged from the castle in Ferrara 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

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for some other amazing destination ideas in Italy? Why not:

5. Ferrara's Arts and Crafts Market

Just outside Castello Estense di Ferrara, an arts and crafts market was set-up for the weekend. We had a great time browsing the creations of local artisans.
Things to do in Ferrara Italy - Shop at the Arts and Crafts Market

6. Ferrara's Palazzo dei Diamanti

Palazzo dei Diamanti is an imposing Ferrara point of interest with pointy diamond shaped protrusions on the facade. This late 15th century palace also features a lovely courtyard and small garden that you can explore for free.

Palazzo dei Diamanti showcases architecture designed by Biagio Rossetti who was born in Ferrara and lived at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. 
Ferrara points of interest - Palazzo Diamante

7. Ferrara 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 Ferrara city walls for a lovely relaxing hike.
Things to do in Ferrara Italy: Walk the Town Walls

8. Gelato Time in Ferrara

We'd definitely worked up an appetite from walking in the sun when we chanced upon Gelateria Baluardi tucked just inside the Ferrara town wall. We purchased a refreshing frozen cup of sweetness and sat outside on a shaded patio to enjoy our treat.
Day Trip from Bologna to Ferrara - Gelato at Gelateria Baluardi

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for ideas for other places to visit in Emilia Romagna? Consider taking a day trip from Bologna to Modena to Parma and indulge in some amazing local specialties like Parma ham and balsamic vinegar from Modena.

9. Eat Fresh Pasta in Ferrara

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!
What to eat in Ferrara Italy - Pasta at Il Gatto Bianco

10. Ferrara's 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. Ferrara Cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

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.
Ferrara points of interest: The Duomo

We definitely enjoyed our day trip from Bologna to Ferrara, a true Renaissance city! Ferrara features amazing sun, food, and architecture. Don't miss it!

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 10 of the Best Things to do in Ferrara Italy
10 of the Best Things to do in Ferrara Italy
Find out about ten things to do in Ferrara Italy in Emilia Romagna. Take a day trip from Bologna to Ferrara by train. Explore Ferrara points of interest in a day.
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