Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


On the water's edge... the economy

Water, an extraordinary source of wealth and a privileged means of communication, favoured the flourishing of the Este court



The Duchy of Ferrara, with good reason, was defined as a “hydraulic” State. In the Renaissance, as today, everyone was aware of how water could be an extraordinary source of wealth and a privileged means of communication.

Walking along the streets of Ripagrande and Carlo Mayr, it seems incredible that centuries ago there flowed a branch of the great river transporting goods and illustrious guests.

He accompanied him on the waterway to the Torre della Fossa, where the canal opens out onto one of the branches of the Po, which flows majestically four miles from Ferrara; and only a secondary branch, the Po of Ferrara, touches the city, where it splits into Volano and Primaro.

It is thanks to the painstaking study of innumerable documents of the epoch that Ferdinand Gregorovius was able to reconstruct the journey to Ferrara of Lucrezia Borgia, the famed daughter of Pope Alexander VI and the new bride of the future duke, Alfonso I d’Este. Leading up to the sumptuous bridal procession, one of the most splendid triumphal entries of the Renaissance, the waterways accompanied the fears and expectations of a young woman to the landing at Castel Tedaldo.

But for the noblewomen who arrived, others waved goodbye. It would be the waters of the Po to separate Isabella and Beatrice, daughters of Ercole I d’Este and Eleonora d’Aragona from the court and their loving family. All of Ferrara saw them embark on elegant ceremonial barges that were headed to Mantua and Milan.

Solemnly navigating towards a new future, intent on exporting the cultural model of the House of Este.

last modified Apr 11, 2023 04:53
Chiudi menu
Tourist Information