We have had a fabulous weekend with good friends in town. I love showing guests around and acting like a tourist in our own city. It is a mystery to me how Ferrara is not more of a tourist destination. It is popular with Europeans who are really into art but is virtually undiscovered by North Americans. I mean, we have a 14th century castle with a real moat, real drawbridges, and a courtyard filled with the original catapult balls. Hard to beat that.
So on Sunday we toured the castle and just about had the whole place to ourselves. No lines, no crowds like in Roma and Florence. Just the four of us and the kids. Amazing to wander through the rooms as if we owned it. Except for the dungeons. . . I don't love being alone down there.
This is the Este castle. If you took European history classes you know the Estes. They ruled Ferrara for hundreds of years and did amazing things for the city. They were huge patrons of the arts and Ferrara has some very important art because of them. Da Vinci painted two of the Este princesses. They built libraries and palaces that were way ahead of their time and were pioneers in city planning. More on that in another post.
Anyway, I love the castle. From the frescoed ballrooms to the dungeons with the original graffiti done by the prisoners. Seriously, this is the kind of thing people wait in endless lines to see in more popular cities. Perhaps we should keep it a secret. . . Y'all don't tell anyone.
view of city and moat from castle