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The landscape of the Delizie

Palazzo Schifanoia was built in 1385 by Alberto V d’Este, but it was Borso d’Este, marquis and then duke of Ferrara, who commissioned its current appearance to “schivar la noia” or avoid boredom, an expression referring to its role as a venue for entertainment and recreation. It is one of the few remaining architectural expressions of country houses known as Delizie Estensi.

 

Commissioned by the Dukes of Este, these lavish villas, recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, were a network of noble residences dotted all around the Ferrara area. Built on waterways, they acted as centres of political, economic and military control; they often had large gardens, rooms decorated with works by artists of the era and even game reserves to entertain noble guests.

 

As well as Palazzo Schifanoia, located within the city walls, the province also boasts refined and elegant Delizia di Benvignante in Argenta (not open for visits), Delizia del Verginese (Portomaggiore), which became a ducal residence under Alfonso I d’Este, Delizia di Belriguardo (Voghiera), the richest and most sumptuous, and Castello di Mesola (Mesola), a cross between a fortress and a villa. Other Delizie include 15th-century Villa della Mensa in Sabbioncello San Vittore, Delizia della Diamantina in Vigarano Pieve, Delizia di Fossadalbero, prestigious Delizia di Zenzalino in Copparo and Palazzo Pio in Tresigallo – these latter villas can only be seen from the outside.

 

 

last modified May 09, 2021 02:40
Not to be missed...

This Delizia Estense is home to the Salone dei Mesi, whose frescoes are masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. It was Borso d’Este, Marquis and then Duke of Ferrara, who extended the original building in the 15th century to turn it into a place for pleasure and recreation and where to schivar la noia or avoid boredom.

Four imposing embattled towers, massive walls and huge windows make the castle a building that is halfway between a fortress and a Delizia. It was commissioned by Duke Alfonso II, the last descendant of the Este dynasty. It was once protected by nine miles of walls and surrounded by a wood for hunting.

The 15th-century villa was commissioned by Bartolomeo della Rovere and was visited by many illustrious figures. Court guests who used it as a residence included the Bishops of the Este Family. (Not open for visits).

Originally a country house, the Delizia del Verginese was transformed into a ducal residence in the early 16th century by Alfonso I d’Este and gifted to Lady Laura Eustochia Dianti.

A splendid estate created after reclamation of Polesine di Casaglia by Borso d'Este. It was called Diamantina after one of the emblems of the house of Este, the diamond. (Not open for visits).

Commissioned by Niccolò d'Este, it was the first of the famous Delizie Estensi and remained the family’s most lavish and sumptuous summer residence. This oasis of beauty boasts dozens of rooms frescoed by some of the greatest artists of the time, along with magnificent and spacious gardens.

Designed by the court architect Pietro Benvenuto degli Ordini for Borso d'Este, it bears witness to the sober and refined elegance of Ferrara’s architecture during the Renaissance. (Not open for visits).

According to tradition, the palace was where Ugo, son of Marquis Niccolò III, and Parisina, the Marquis’ young wife, used to meet in secret before their love affair ended tragically. The palace was transformed into a Delizia by Borso d’Este shortly before he died. (Not open for visits).

A prestigious villa, one of the showpieces of Duke Borso, it was extended and decorated by one of Ferrara’s richest men, Bartolomeo Pendaglia. (Not open for visits).

In the early 16th century, the nobleman Alessandro Feruffino, a magnificent and generous horseman, captain of the guards of Duke Alfonso I d’Este, built this complex that includes a noble residence, later called Palazzo Pio. (Not open for visits).

Focus

At the table with Messisbugo

The ceramics loved by the Este

Triumphs and tournaments

Titolo sezione

DISCOVER RENAISSANCE FERRARA

Ferrara, ideal city

Percorso 1

A walk through the heart of Ferrara becomes a step back into the Renaissance. The old town centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a wonderful example of a city designed in the 15th century that has remained largely intact

At the Este court

The stones of Ferrara’s Castello Estense still echo with the footsteps and voices of its former inhabitants: from the tragic history of Ugo and Parisina to the secrets of Lucrezia Borgia.

Crossing Jewish Ferrara

Walking around the streets of the Jewish ghetto means immersing oneself in the rich cultural dialogue between Hebrew culture, the predominant Christian culture and the Renaissance

The wonders of Este art

Renaissance art reflected the new centrality of mankind and his role in the world, an awareness that inspired artists, who used sacred and secular subjects in landscapes, architecture and portraits

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