Initially, Ferrara was an ‘in between’ to take some time away from the crowds when travelling from Rome to Venice. Hence I was only here for three days, something I regret sincerely as it was a truly amazing place. The city has a village-like feeling and cobblestone streets. With the students running around, the amount of colleges and universities and the cyclists, it reminded me of Oxford. If you look up Ferrara, you’ll find there’s plenty to see and do, but I came unprepared in the sense that I thought I’d have some time to relax here with my dog, but that wasn’t really the case.
We were actually staying in the centre, right next to the Este Castle, a 14th century castle. There are plenty of parks to visit and picnic, read or play some sports. One of the best parks is without a doubt Parco Urbano G. Bassani, in the northern part of the city. It looks like it’s a long way from the centre, but Ferrara really isn’t that big and you can quite easily stroll from one end of the city to the next within a couple of hours. Check out the Canale di Burana (the canal running right through the city), or head into the heart of Ferrara and see the Cattedrale di Ferrara, which is described by Google as a “striking 1100s Romanesque cathedral” (and striking it is!). The piazza adjacent to it is also well worth the wander around, but don’t forget the cute alleyways! Hit east to see Università di Ferrara and roam around the university grounds for a bit, or head north to visit Saint Cristoforo Alla Certosa, which should really be on your list.
One of my favourite routes was walking Via Boccacanale di Santo Stefano and watch how the morning sun played with the arches along the road. This is how I stumbled upon Roberto’s (I don’t know the actual name of the shop, but the owner’s name was Roberto, who owned a bakery and it’s where I bought some delicious, organic, freshly pressed apple or pear juice. It’s number 14A) and, my new favourite hangout – Farina Di Riso, a gluten free bakery and pastry store. They sold gluten free bread, rolls, pastries, cakes, muffins, you name it. The owner and her daughter were incredibly kind and spoke pretty decent English too. For more gluten free in Ferrara, visit this link.