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Literary Ferrara - Ludovico Ariosto’s Ferrara

Literary Ferrara - Ludovico Ariosto’s Ferrara

Born in Reggio Emilia in 1474 into a noble Ferrarese family, Ludovico Ariosto settled in Ferrara in 1484. Here he was sent to study law, but abandoned it to devote himself to literary and philosophical studies. In 1503, following the death of his father and in order to cope with the financial difficulties of his large family, he found employment with Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, Duke Alfonso I’s brother, and covered numerous administrative and diplomatic roles. He had little vocation to be a courtier and this caused him much unease and bitterness in those years. However, he managed to cultivate his studies and in 1516 the first edition of Orlando Enraged was published. In 1517 he passed over to the service of Alfonso I. Due to economic difficulties, Ariosto was forced to accept the office of the Duke’s Commissioner in Garfagnana from 1522 to 1525. It was in this period that he wrote some of his famous Satires. Once back in Ferrara, he spent the last years of his life writing the final edition Orlando Enraged which was published in 1532, a year before he died.

The Ariosto Family Houses
Via Gioco del Pallone, 29/31 - Private, not visitable
The family lived in these two large houses for a long time, as did Ludovico before he bought his own house. On the façade of No. 29, near the corner of Vicolo del Granchio, is the marble coat of arms of the Ariosto family.

Ludovico Ariosto’s House
Via Ariosto, 67
By purchasing this house the poet realised his dream of living in tranquil isolation, far from the Duke’s court that was so foreign to him:
I fail, I know, with most men to concur
Who find a grandeur in the life at court
To which as servitude, I must demur.
Satire III

Ariosto’s Tomb – Ariosto’s Library
Via delle Scienze, 17
The ostentatious monument in multi-coloured marble, a work of Giovan Battista Aleotti, is located in one of the most distinguished rooms of Palazzo Paradiso, where exhibitions of documents and books are held. Note the bust of Ludovico and the colourful family coat of arms. The library, also dedicated to the poet, possesses many of his manuscripts, no less than 650 editions (including the oldest and most valuable) of his works and a remarkable portrait of him in oil, not always on display to the public.There is a large plaque dedicated to him on the landing of the main staircase and a stucco bust above the door to the Catalogue Room.

Piazza Ariostea
Atop of the 16th-century column decorated with figures in the centre of the square stands the statue of the poet, realised in 1833 by Ambrogio Zuffi.

Itinerary locations

Information office

Main Tourist Information Office of Ferrara

Largo Castello, 1
last modified Nov 05, 2022 04:03
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