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Why Ferrera should be your next holiday destination


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Known by many as the City of the Renaissance, Ferrera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Emilia-Romagna, Northern Italy, described as offering "sceneries of rare charm". 

By far the most striking of such "sceneries" is the stunning architecture at the centre of the City, born out of both the medieval and renaissance periods and heavily influenced by the long-term ruling family, the House of Este. Somewhat uniquely the ancient walls surrounding the inner city of Ferrera have survived almost completely from their construction in the 15th Century and now provide six miles of uninterrupted defence which tourists are free to walk or cycle around at their leisure and take in the beautiful panoramic views.

Another absolute must see is Estense Castle, which was erected following a revolt in 1385 against Niccolo Il d’Este in order to protect him and his family against the masses. Despite the castle's particularly violent origins, the architecture itself could easily be taken from the pages of a fairy tale book and is even surrounded by an imposing yet Cinderella-esque moat. 

Take an interactive guided tour and you'll have two incredibly talented actors tell you the tales of the birth of the Italian literary masterpiece Orlando Furioso, singing along in traditional costumes, summarizing both the plot of the literary piece and the backstory of its historical development.

Similarly, the Cattedrale di San Giorgio, or Cathedral of St George, and its accompanying museum simply has to be on the to do list of any traveler in Ferrera. Complete with an imposing renaissance marble bell tower, a medieval Loggica of Merchants and an extraordinary carving of the Last Judgement in pride of place above the entrance, the Cathedral is a perfect representation of the areas complex, yet beautiful, history. The museum, far from a collection of small artefacts, houses wonderful artwork and ornately handwritten books as well as boasting some of the best views of the city.

From architecture and culture to a little bit more festival fun...

It is this architecture which provides the background for the range of festivals which occur in Ferrera throughout the year, combining art and music with a stunning location seeped in history and culture. Ranging from a series of piano concerts and open air music to lectures given by authors and journalists, there is something for all to enjoy no matter what your specific interest. A particular highlight is the balloon festival, running until 17th September, providing visitors free balloon flights, competitions and fireworks. 

And food!!!

Away from its absolutely stunning architecture, and the festivals which find home there, Ferrara is also home to a number of restaurants to rival the culinary heavyweights found in Venice and Rome. Alongside the traditional Italian classics, Ferrara has a number of dishes closely tied to its history and as such specific to the area including Salama da Sugo, a delicious sausage dish and Cappellacci di Zucca, their signature butternut squash pasta often served with ragu or tomato sauce.

Finally, one of the absolute best things about Ferrera, or at least before people take my advice and descend upon it, is that despite the area being packed with things to see, do, and even eat, barely a car or tourist will be seen outside of the festival periods. This undoubtedly makes Ferrara the perfect undiscovered gem for those who hate crowds but are unwilling to compromise on breathtaking sights, wonderful adventures and delicious food. 

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