A Walk Through Ferrara, Italy
While we were planning out our week in Emilia-Romagna, Andy mentioned how much he liked the town of Ferrara , which isn’t far from Bologna. I didn’t really know anything about the town, but he told me there was a castle with a moat. Sold. So we scheduled in a day to take the train to Ferrara, check out the castle, and just wander around. It was certainly a photogenic place, and not too crowded even though it was June.
Ferrara’s Castello Estense
After grabbing some pizza for a quick lunch, Andy and I walked over to the castle, called Castello Estense. As he promised, it did have a moat, which I love in a castle. As we paused on the bridge, we noticed lots of big fish swimming around in the water. A castle with a moat AND fish. Love it.
Eventually we left the fish alone and went into the castle to explore. It’s set up like a museum with lots of signs detailing the history of the castle and the area. I didn’t like it quite as much as Castle Gravensteen in Ghent because it was a little too museum-y, but if you’re a big history buff, you’d be in heaven here. I did enjoy the model of the castle and all the passageways that helped me imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago.
Scenes from the streets of Ferrara
Without much else in mind, we simply walked through the town and enjoyed the atmosphere. Ferrara felt like a relaxing place, a city to sit (or walk) and enjoy, not necessarily run around looking for things to do. From the group of old men standing on the edge of a square, having a long chat, to the people taking a leisurely bike ride through the streets, Ferrara was a laid back town.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in the best of moods this day. I was exhausted from doing too many things. And even though my days spent learning to cook pasta and make sorbet and gelato were both lots of fun, I needed a break. It was nice to be somewhere as laid back as Ferrara where we could wander or sit and people-watch. Though one day wasn’t enough to completely recharge my batteries, it certainly helped.
Ferrara is easily reached by train from Bologna. The train takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on which one you take. We bought our train tickets the same day and paid 4.40€ per person each way. There are signs outside the Ferrara train station pointing you towards the historic center, and it’s an easy, mostly straight walk.
Tickets to get into the castle are 6€ per person. Opening hours are daily from 9:30AM to 5:30PM, except for June 1st through August 31st when they are open from 9AM to 1PM and 3PM to 7PM. The ticket office closes 45 minutes before closing time. See the Castello Estense website for more info.
Thank you to BlogVille and Emilia-Romagna Tourism for hosting our stay in Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna Region. As always, all opinions are my own.
August 22, 2013 @ 12:22 PM
Ha, I’m a lover of castles too. It’s nice to find places like this while traveling. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out trying to see and do all the things on your list. Sometimes we just need to sit back and remember to ENJOY ourselves!
Happy travels 🙂
August 24, 2013 @ 1:06 PM
Thanks Lauren! Yes, it’s definitely important to relax and really enjoy travel because you’re right, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly.
August 23, 2013 @ 12:15 PM
Castle+Moat+Big Fish=Awesome 🙂 Even more awesome was getting a postcard from you in the mail this week. It helped fuel my inspiration for traveling overseas and to New Zealand in particular. I hope that one day I can repay your kindness 🙂
August 24, 2013 @ 1:08 PM
Yay! I’m so glad my postcard made it to you! Repay my by just going on that trip someday!
August 24, 2013 @ 1:28 PM
I will make that trip someday for sure. It will take time as I need to save up the money but I’ve already got an idea of what I’m going to do as my first trip. 10 days in Auckland, based in the CBD renting an apartment taking in the sights and sounds of Auckland and the islands nearby.
August 25, 2013 @ 11:35 AM
Sounds like a great trip, Matthew! I really liked Auckland, and there are definitely plenty of nearby islands to explore. Before you go, remind me to point out my favorite burger and pizza places there. Yum.
August 25, 2013 @ 12:36 PM
I’m definitely going to be in touch with you before I go. You’ve been there before me and besides I want to find that New York pizza place you were raving about when you were there.
August 26, 2013 @ 1:47 PM
Yep, that’s the one! I wish I could have some of that pizza now!
August 24, 2013 @ 12:39 PM
I’ve heard lots of good things about this town, especially the food. We will try to get there next time for sure now!
August 24, 2013 @ 1:09 PM
I wish we could’ve stayed longer to see more of the town, and unfortunately we only had a quick pizza for lunch, but it was definitely a pretty town.
August 24, 2013 @ 4:20 PM
Ali, you take beautiful shots – love that if you use alternative angle its to add punctuation to the structure or scene. Great eye and thanks for showing me Ferrara – I’ve not visited that part of Italy yet. *big grin*
August 25, 2013 @ 11:37 AM
Thank you Maria! Emilia-Romagna is the gorgeous Italy most people think of but a little less touristy, so I hope you can make a trip there someday.
Mary @ Green Global Travel
August 24, 2013 @ 5:54 PM
Your last image of the lane way with a quiet cafe and gorgeous bicycles parked and resting against the walls is so absolutely serene! Based on your photos, it looks as though the whole of the town is quaint and quiet – even the fish in the moat!
August 25, 2013 @ 11:38 AM
Thanks Mary! That last photo is probably my favorite. It was serene in a lot of ways. Ferrara was a really nice place to relax and take in the scenery.
August 25, 2013 @ 5:46 PM
You used to be able to climb to the very top of the tower of the castle for amazing views over Ferrara. But it has been closed due to safety reasons since the big earthquake last year.
Another really fun thing to do in Ferrara is to bike around the walls and picnic.
August 26, 2013 @ 1:50 PM
We thought about walking the walls, but it was pretty hot that day and we were exhausted from pushing ourselves too much.
August 25, 2013 @ 6:23 PM
Love the photos! Too bad about the tower; one of the things I like about Italy are all the towers you can climb for views of the beautiful countryside. Never heard of Ferrara but I would definitely go after seeing this post!
August 26, 2013 @ 1:51 PM
Thanks Frank! Ferrara was a great town, wish I had been able to see more. It’s an easy train ride from Bologna, and there’s a tower there that you can still climb!
August 30, 2013 @ 10:51 AM
Who is depicted in that statue, the one with the hood and the hands outstretched? He looks like I imagine a statue of Raistlin Majere would look.
August 30, 2013 @ 11:07 AM
I actually had to look it up, but it’s Girolamo Savonarola. All I can really find about him is that he was a Dominican priest in the late 1400s. I think he’s pretty creepy looking!
September 3, 2013 @ 6:26 AM
I love that last shot of the bikes. What a cute little town.
September 3, 2013 @ 11:47 AM
Thanks Christy, that’s my favorite photo from the day in Ferrara too!