“Ferrara, Ferrara, the beautiful town: where you can eat, drink, and be merry”.
This is what the renowned writer from Emilia, Riccardo Bacchelli, said about the city of the Estense Family, and today, after so many years, this definition is more appropriate than ever.
A city, Ferrara, that has a very tight bond with its past and with its traditions, which can be seen, for instance, in its 20 Historic Shops in town, which, with their furnishings and architectural elements are a living testament to this city's history, culture and local traditions.
This itinerary winds through the streets of Ferrara on the discovery of some of the historic shops, which, with their scents, colours and flavours make this town centre, which is on the Unesco World Heritage List, even more special.
We will begin with the Estense Castle, a veritable symbol of the town, opposite which stands the 18th Century Abbado Municipal Theatre, a classic example of “an Italian style theatre” elegant and functional, enriched by splendid frescos.
Under the theatre porticos the Historic Shop “Pistelli E Bartolucci” has stood here since 1857. Born as a bazar, it soon became a renowned music shop selling instruments, sheet music and music accessories. On the ground floor of the Municipal Residence, in Corso Martiri della Libertà, we find the Historic hat maker “Borsalino”, which has been here since the mid 1800s and which today is still characterized by its antique sign. From a hat makers the workshop has been turned into an elegant, high quality fashion shop.
Opposite the old Ducal Palace, today the home of the Town Hall, stands the Cathedral, an example of the harmonious fusion of the romanesque and gothic styles.
On the southern side, facing Piazza Trento Trieste, which used to be Piazza del Mercato (Market Square), the picturesque Loggia dei merciai opens up; it dates back to medieval times, when merchants, in addition to selling their goods in the square, were allowed to open shops, with their annexed houses, near a sacred area, which was rather unusual at the time. From the piazza, walking down Via San Romano, you will come across the Cathedral Museum, which houses works that were originally in the Cathedral, like the splendid marble sculptures dating back to the 13th century that come from the Porta dei Mesi (Doorway of the months) or the beautiful organ panels that were painted by Cosmè Tura.
Walking down the street, you will then come across the small Historic Bakery “Panificio Pasticceria Perdonati”, whose shop window displays the traditional “coppia Ferrarese” (a kind of bread) a symbol of the food tradition of the city.
Not far from here, we find the characteristic Via delle Volte, one of the oldest and most picturesque streets of the medieval heart of Ferrara.
The route ends here, at the Historic Shop “Osteria Degli Angeli” where you can have lunch enjoying traditional dishes from the Ferrara cuisine. Situated near one of the old, noble, medieval towers, and at one time adjacent to the river wharf, this place was once the Customs Office, which the merchandise had to pass through, and there was an inn adjacent to it for the merchants, as well as a wine cellar.