The three centuries of domination of the Este family, when the court of Ferrara was one of the most refined and educated in Europe, have left a deep imprint in the city with churches and palaces wonderfully frescoed, in addition to the flowering of an elegant and sophisticated gastronomy that continues to delight the palaces and the Ferrara tables.
The classic tour, if you have a means of transport, starts with an introductory panoramic tour of the perfectly preserved city walls, and of the Renaissance quarter, the so-called "Addizione Erculea", with the magnificent Piazza Ariostea.
The walking tour starts at Palazzo dei Diamanti, a real gem of the Renaissance architecture of Biagio Rossetti, whose double façade is decorated with a marble composed of thousands of "marble diamonds".
Walking through the elegant Corso Ercole I d'Este, we reach the imposing Castello Estense. Here we can visit ancient prisons, kitchens, large frescoed salons and exhibitions on the territory of Ferrara.
From here, passing through Piazza Savonarola, we reach the medieval center with its Palazzo Ducale, that now host the Town Hall (only exterior visit) and with the Cathedral of San Giorgio, whose Romanesque-Gothic façade introduces us to a late - Renaissance and Baroque interior.
From the old Piazza delle Erbe (today's Piazza Trento Trieste), embellished by the imposing bell tower and the old merchant's shops, you can reach the medieval area of the Jewish Ghetto and the evocative Via delle Volte.
The 5 hour tour has additional sights from the 2½ hour tour.
With a 15-minute walk, you can reach Palazzo Schifanoia, an Este palace renowned for the Sala dei Mesi, frescoed by the 15th century Ferrara school.
Close to Palazzo Schifanoia, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria in Vado, with the beautiful paintings of Bononi and the famous Chapel of the Eucharistic miracle, which took place in 1171.
Instead of the interior visit of Castello Estense and of Delizia di Schifanoia, we can visit the Cathedral Museum and Casa Romei or Palazzina Marfisa d'Este
The Cathedral Museum, inside the ancient church of San Romano, houses among other precious things the pipe organ altarpieces by Cosma Tura, precious Flemish tapestries and the thirteenth-century tiles from the Door of the Months of the cathedral.
Casa Romei combines the architectural and decorative elegance of a Renaissance residence with magnificent art collections.
Palazzina Marfisa d'Este offers us a view of the city in the moment of the Este crisis, at the end of the 16th century. Here Marfisa, granddaughter of Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso I, lived and die refusing to abandon Ferrara even after the Este Family expel.