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Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara.

It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bolognamarker, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po Rivermarker, located 5 km north. The town has broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the 14th century and 15th century, when it hosted the court of the House of Este. For its beauty and cultural importance it has been qualified by UNESCOmarker as World Heritage Site.Modern times have brought a renewal of industrial activity. Ferrara is on the main rail line from Bolognamarker to Paduamarker and Venicemarker, and has branches to Ravennamarker, Poggio Ruscomarker (for Suzzaramarker) and Codigoromarker.In 2006, due to its important historical significance, Ferrara became the headquarters of the Italian Hermitage Museummarker, as the result be the fifth city in the world to have linked his name with the Russian museum. From this union was born the Hermitagemarker-Italy Foundation.

History

Middle Ages

Ancient map of Ferrara.




The origin of Ferrara is uncertain, it was probably settled by the inhabitants of the lagoons at the mouth of Po rivermarker; there are two early centers of settlement, one round the cathedral, the other, the castrum bizantino, being the San Pietro district, on the opposite shore, where the Primaro empties into the Volano channel. Ferrara appears first in a document of the Lombard king Desiderius of 753 AD, as a city forming part of the Exarchate of Ravennamarker. Desiderius pledged a Lombard ducatus ferrariae ("Duchy of Ferrara") in 757 to Pope Stephen II. After 984 it was a fief of Tedaldo, count of Modenamarker and Canossamarker, nephew of the emperor Otto I. It afterwards made itself independent, and in 1101 was taken by siege by the countess Matilda. At this time it was mainly dominated by several great families, among them the prominent Adelardi (or Aleardi) family.

In 1146, Guglielmo II of Adelardi, the last of the House of Adelardi, died, and his property passed, as the dowry of his niece the Marchesella, to Obizzo I of Este. There was considerable hostility between the newly entered family and the prominent Salinguerra family, but after considerable struggles Azzo VII of Este was nominated perpetual podestà in 1242; in 1259 he took Ezzelino of Verona prisoner in battle. His grandson, Obizzo II (1264–1293), succeeded him, and he was made perpetual lord of the city by the population. The House of Este was from henceforth settled in Ferrara. In 1289 he was also chosen as lord of Modenamarker, one year later he was made lord of Reggiomarker.Niccolò III (1393–1441) received several popes with great magnificence, especially Eugene IV, who held a council here in 1438. His son Borso received the title of duke for the imperial fiefs of Modena and Reggio from Emperor Frederick III in 1452 (in which year Girolamo Savonarola was born here), and in 1471 was made duke of Ferrara by Pope Paul II. Ercole I (1471–1505) carried on a war with Venicemarker and increased the magnificence of the city.

Renaissance



During the reign of Ercole d'Este I, one of the most significant patrons of the arts in late 15th and early 16th century Italy after the Medici, Ferrara grew into a cultural center, renowned for music as well as for visual arts. The painters established links with flemish artists and their techniques, exchanging influences in the colors and composition choices. Composers came to Ferrara from many parts of Europe, especially France and Flanders; Josquin Des Prez worked for Duke Ercole for a time (producing the Missa Hercules dux Ferrariæ, which he wrote for him); Jacob Obrecht came to Ferrara twice (and died during an outbreak of plague there in 1505); and Antoine Brumel served as principal musician from 1505. Alfonso I, son of Ercole, was also an important patron; his preference for instrumental music resulted in Ferrara becoming an important center of composition for the lute. The architecture of Ferrara benefitted from the genius of Biagio Rossetti, who was asked in 1484 by Ercole I to redesign the plan of the city. The resulting "Addizione Erculea" is one of the most important and beautiful examples of renaissance city planning and contributed to the selection of Ferrara as UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site.

Alfonso married the notorious Lucrezia Borgia, and continued the war with Venice with success. In 1509 he was excommunicated by Pope Julius II, and he overcame the pontifical army in 1512 defending Ravennamarker.

Gaston de Foix fell in the battle, in which he was supporting Alfonso. With the succeeding popes he was able to make peace. He was the patron of Ariosto from 1518 onwards. His son Ercole II married Renée of France, daughter of Louis XII of France; he too embellished Ferrara during his reign (1534–1559).



His son Alfonso II married Lucrezia, daughter of grand-duke Cosimo I of Tuscany, then Barbara, sister of the emperor Maximilian II and finally Margherita Gonzaga, daughter of the duke of Mantuamarker. He raised the glory of Ferrara to its highest point, and was the patron of Tasso, Guarini, and Cremonini – favouring, as the princes of his house had always done, the arts and sciences. During the reign of Alfonso II, Ferrara once again developed an opulent court with an impressive musical establishment, rivaled in Italy only by the adjacent city of Venice, and the traditional musical centers such as Rome, Florencemarker and Milanmarker. Composers such as Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Lodovico Agostini, and later Carlo Gesualdo, represented the avant-garde tendency of the composers there, writing for gifted virtuoso performers, including the famous concerto di donne — the three virtuoso female singers Laura Peverara, Anna Guarini, and Livia d'Arco. Vincenzo Galilei praised the work of Luzzaschi, and Girolamo Frescobaldi studied with him. He had no legitimate male heir, and in 1597 Ferrara was claimed as a vacant fief by Pope Clement VIII, as was also Comacchiomarker.

Modern history

Ferrara remained a part of the Papal Statesmarker from 1598 to 1859, when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. A fortress was constructed by Pope Paul V on the site of the castle called "Castel Tedaldo", at the south-west angle of the town, that was occupied by an Austrianmarker garrison from 1832 until 1859. All of the fortress was dismantled following the birth of the Kingdom of Italy and the bricks used for new constructions all over the town.

On August 23, 1944, the Ferrara synthetic rubber plant was a target of Strategic bombing during World War II.

Main sights

The medieval walls.
The Certosa of Ferrara.
Casa Romei.


The town is still surrounded by more than 9 kilometres of ancient walls, mainly built in the 15th and 16th centuries Together with those of Luccamarker, they are the best preserved Renaissance walls in Italy.

The most iconic building of the town is the imponent Castello Estensemarker: sited in the very centre of the town, it's a brick building surrounded by a moat, with four massive bastions. It was built starting in 1385 and partly restored in 1554; the pavilions on the top of the towers date from the latter year.

The ancient City Hall, renovated in the 18th century, was the earlier residence of the Este family. Close by it is the former Cathedral of Saint George, begun in 1135, when the Romanesque lower part of the main façade and the side façades were completed. According to a now lost inscription the church was built in 1135 by Guglielmo I of Adelardi (d. 1146), who is buried in it. The sculpture of the main portal is the signed work of the "artifex" Nicholaus, mentioned in the lost inscription as the "architect" for the church. The upper part of the main façade, with arcades of pointed arches, dates from the 13th century, while the lower part of the protiro or projecting porch and the main portal are by Nicholaus. The recumbent lions guarding the entrance are replacements of the originals, now in the narthex of the church. The elaborate reflief sculptures depicting Last Judgement gracing the second story of the porch above date from the thirteenth century. The interior was restored in the baroque style in 1712. The campanile, in the Renaissance style, dates from 1451–1493, but the last storey was added at the end of the 16th century.

A little way off is the universitymarker, which has faculties of law, architecture, pharmacy, medicine and natural science; the library has valuable manuscripts, including part of that of the Orlando furioso and letters by Tasso. Its famous graduates include Nicolaus Copernicus (1503) and Paracelsus. Near the main university facilities it raises the University of Ferrara Botanic Gardenmarker.

Ferrara has many early Renaissance palaces, often retaining terracotta decorations; few towns of Italy as small have so many, though most are comparatively small in size. Among them may be noted those in the north quarter (especially the four at the intersection of its two main streets), which was added by Ercole I in 1492–1505, from the plans of Biagio Rossetti, and hence called the Addizione Erculea.

Among the finest palaces is Palazzo dei Diamantimarker (Diamond Palace), named after the diamond points into which the facade's stone blocks are cut. The palazzo houses the National Picture Gallery, with a large collection of the school of Ferrara, which first rose to prominence in the latter half of the 15th century, with Cosimo Tura, Francesco Cossa and Ercole dei Roberti. Noted masters of the 16th century School of Ferrara include Lorenzo Costa and Dosso Dossi, the most eminent of all, Girolamo da Carpi and Benvenuto Tisi .

The Casa Romei is the best preserved Reinassance building in Ferrara. It was the residence of Giovanni Romei, related to Este family by marriage to Polissena d'Este and likely the work of the court architect Pietro Bono Brasavola. It did not fall into decay because it was inherited by the nuns of the Corpus Domini order who lived there without making any changes to its structure. Much of the decoration in the inner rooms has been saved. There are fresco cycles in the Sala delle Sibille (Room of Sibyls), with its original terracotta fireplace bearing the coat of arms of Giovanni Romei, in the adjoining Saletta dei Profeti (Room of the Prophets), depicting allegories from the Bible and in other rooms, some of which were commissioned by cardinal Ippolito d'Este and painted by the school of Camillo and Cesare Filippi (16th century).

The Palazzo Schifanoiamarker (sans souci) was built in 1385 for Alberto V d'Este. The palazzo includes frescoes depicting the life of Borso d'Este, the signs of the zodiac and allegorical representations of the months. The vestibule was decorated with stucco mouldings by Domenico di Paris. The building also contains fine choir-books with miniatures and a collection of coins and Renaissance medals.

The City Historical Archives contain a relevant amount of historical documents, starting from 15th century. The Diocesan Historical Archive is more ancient, mentioned in documents in A.D. 955, and contains precious documents collected across the centuries by the clergy.

The Corpus Domini Monastery contains tombs of the House of Este, including Alfonso I, Alfonso II, Ercole I, Ercole II, as well as Lucrezia Borgia, Eleanor of Aragon, and many more.

The Ferrara Synagoguemarker and Jewish Museum are located in the heart of the mediæval centre, close to the cathedral and the Castello Estense. This street was part of the Jewish Quarter in which the Jews were separated from the rest of the population of Ferrara from 1627 to 1859.

Other sites include:

  • Piazza Ariostea
  • The Communal Theatremarker
  • The Certosa
  • The church of Santa Maria in Vado
  • The church of St. Benedict
  • The church of St. Charles
  • The church of St. Cristopher
  • The church of St. Dominic
  • The church of St. Francis
  • The church of St. George
  • The church of St. Paul
  • The church of St. Roman
  • The house of the poet Ludovico Ariosto, erected by him after 1526 and in which he died in 1532.
  • The Massari gardens
  • The monastery of Sant'Antionio in Polesine
  • The Palace of Ludovico il Moro
  • The Palazzina di Marfisa d'Este


Demographics

In 2007, there were 133,591 people residing in Ferrara, of whom 46.8% were male and 53.2% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.28 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 26.41 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Ferrara residents is 49 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Ferrara grew by 2.28 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.85 percent. The current birth rate of Ferrara is 7.02 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births. Ferrara is known as being the oldest city with a population over 100,000, as well the city with lowest birth rate.

As of 2006, 95.59% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group was other European nations (mostly from the Ukrainemarker, and Albaniamarker: 2.59%) North Africa: 0.51%, and East Asia: 0.39%. Currently, one-tenth of all births has at least one foreign parent. The city is predominantly Roman Catholic, with small Orthodox Christian adherents. The historical Jewish community is still surviving.

Jewish community

The Jewish community of Ferrara it is the only one with a continuous presence from the Middle Ages to the present in Emilia Romagna. It played an important role when Ferrara enjoyed its greatest splendor in the 15th and 16th century, with the duke Ercole I d'Este. The situation of the Jews deteriorated in 1598, when the Este dynasty moved to Modena and the city came under pontifical control. The Jewish settlement, that was located in an area incorporating three streets forming a triangle near the cathedral, became a ghetto in 1627. Apart from a few years under Napoleon and during 1848 revolution, the ghetto lasted until Italian unity in 1859. After racial laws of 1938 separation was returned and lasted until the end of end of the nazi occupation.

Culture

Literature

The Renaissance literary men and poets Torquato Tasso (authot of Jerusalem Delivered), Ludovico Ariosto (author of the romantic epic poem Orlando Furioso) and Matteo Maria Boiardo (author of the grandiose poem of chivalry and romance Orlando Innamorato), lived and worked at the court of Ferrara during the 14th and 15th century.The Ferrara Bible was a 1553 publication of the Ladino version of the Tanach used by Sephardi Jews. It was paid for and made by Yom-Tob ben Levi Athias (the Spanishmarker Marrano Jerónimo de Vargas, as typographer) and Abraham ben Salomon Usque (the Portuguesemarker Jew Duarte Pinhel, as translator), and was dedicated to Ercole II d'Este. In the 20th century Ferrara was the home and workplace of writer Giorgio Bassani, well-known for his novels that were often adapted for cinema (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Long Night in 1943). In historical fiction, British author Sarah Dunant set her 2009 novel Sacred Hearts in a convent in Ferrara.

Painting

During the Reinassance, the Este House, well known for its partonage of the arts, wellcame a great number of artists, especially painters, that formed the so-called School of Ferrara. The astounding list of painters and artists includes the names of Andrea Mantegna, Vicino da Ferrara, Giovanni Bellini, Leon Battista Alberti, Pisanello, Piero della Francesca, Rogier van der Weyden, Battista Dossi, Dosso Dossi, Cosmé Tura, Francesco del Cossa and Titian. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Ferrara hosted and inspired a number of important painters who grew fond of its eerie atmosphere: among them Giovanni Boldini, Filippo de Pisis and Giorgio de Chirico.

Religion

Ferrara gave birth to Girolamo Savonarola, the famous medieval Dominican priest and leader of Florencemarker from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was known for his book burning, destruction of what he considered immoral art, and hostility to the Renaissance. He vehemently preached against the moral corruption of much of the clergy at the time, and his main opponent was Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia).

Music

The Ferrarese musician Girolamo Frescobaldi was one of the most important composers of keyboard music in the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. His masterpiece Fiori musicali (Musical Flowers) is a collection of liturgical organ music first published in 1635. It became the most famous of Frescobaldi's works and was studied centuries after his death by numerous composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach

Cinema

Ferrara is the birthplace and childhood home of the well-known Italian film director, Michelangelo Antonioni. The town of Ferrara was also the setting of the famous film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Vittorio De Sica in (1970), that tells the vicissitudes of a rich Jewish family during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini and World War II. Furthermore, Wim Wenders and Michelangelo Antonioni's Beyond the Clouds in (1995) and Ermanno Olmi's The Profession of Arms in (2001), a film about the last days of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, were also shot in Ferrara.

Festivals

The Palio of St. George is a typical medieval festival held every last Sunday of May. The Buskers Festival is a non-competitive parade of the best street musicians in the world. In terms of tradition and dimension it is the most important festival in the world of this kind. Additionally, Ferrara is becoming the Italian capital of hot air balloons, thanks to the ten-day-long Ferrara Balloons Festival, the biggest celebration of balloons in Italy and one of the largest in Europe.

Sport

Ferrara's local football team, Società Polisportiva Ars Et Labor 1907 is going to play in Lega Pro Prima Divisione (former Serie C1), which is the third highest football league in Italy. The local basketball team, Carife Ferrara, have been doing considerably better; they won the 2007-08 title in the second-level LegADue, thereby earning promotion to Serie A.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Ferrara is twinned with:

Politics

The last municipal elections was held on June 21 and 22, 2009, resulting in the election of Tiziano Tagliani (Democratic Party) as Mayor of the city of Ferrara.The division of the 40 seats in the city council is as followed:



Notes

  1. The See was moved here from Vicohabentia (Voghenza) in 624 ( Chronology of Catholic dioceses: Italy).
  2. http://www.sitiunesco.it/index.phtml?id=531
  3. Ferrare city website.
  4. Paul Badura-Skoda. "Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard", p. 259. Translated by Alfred Clayton. Oxford University Press, 1995, 592 p. ISBN 0198165765.
  5. John Butt. "The Cambridge Companion to Bach", p. 139. Cambridge University Press, 1997, 342 p. ISBN 0521587808


References

External links




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