"Ferrara: A Town of Art, Beauty and the Palio" Ferrara by von.otter
Ferrara Travel Guide: 322 reviews and 828 photos
“My first impressions of Ferrara were all I could have desired — free from prosaic sights and the ordinary bustle of travel. From across the mountains in the night, past Bologna, and driving rapidly over the flat country, which stretches between the Apennines and the Eugannean hills, I approached Ferrara just before dawn.”
— from “Art and Nature in Italy” 1882 by Eugene Benson (American Artist, 1839-1908)
FIRST IMPRESSIONS For our second day trip from Bologna, we went to Ferrara to attend its annual Palio di San Giorgio. This was the main attraction for the day, not only for us but for the town’s folks as well. This palio, Italy’s oldest, though not its most celebrated, horse race, was the reason we visited; we arranged our trip’s schedule to be in Ferrara on the last Sunday of May, the traditional date of the modern running of the races.
One thousand participates dress in Renaissance costume. It was thrilling to witness. The photo above shows members of the contrada (neighborhood) of San Paolo assembled outside the main entrance to Ferrara’s duomo.
Our lasting impressions of this charming town are as favorable as Mr. Benson’s in his quote above. During the 30-minute train ride from Bologna to Ferrara we chatted with the young Spaniard across from us; he lives in Ferrara, where he teaches Spanish. It was a grand cultural mix: Americans speaking English with a native Spaniard who teaches Italians to speak Spanish all on our way to Ferrara, Italy!
Although we walked throughout Ferrara, its reputation as the bicycling capital of Italy, with the second-largest ratio of bicycles to people in Europe after Copenhagen, is well deserved. Young, old, families and singles, all were biking. These bikes were at rest outside the town’s duomo guarded by an eagle.
A shield split into black and white topped by a ducal crown is the coat of arms adopted by the city from the Este family, former dukes of Ferrara. These velvet banners sporting the town’s coat-of-arms were hung outside the town hall on the day of il palio.
- Pros:A first-class town filled art and culture.
The coat of arms of the Comune di Ferrara is that of the family that ruled the area for many centuries, the Este family.... more travel advice
The organizers of the palio thought of everything, even an animal ambulance. It was needed too. One of the horses... more travel advice
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