Unusual and mysterious Ferrara

A route to be followed on foot or by bicycle, through places rich in charm and history

Logo CC

Ferrara is a quiet, human-sized and lively city, where you can stroll peacefully, on foot or by bicycle, experiencing magical atmospheres at every step. 

This route is dedicated to those who want to discover the lesser-known corners of the city, mysterious places tied to events that reemerge from the past to unveil secrets and curiosities: from Vicolo del Chiozzino to the “devil's paw print” on the side of the Church of San Domenico, from Via Zemola, known as the "street of miracles," to the peace and scents of the "countryside in the city" up to the Monastery of Sant'Antonio in Polesine with its timeless atmosphere. An itinerary you will not forget.

  • Length
    24 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop - Darsena di Ferrara Ferrara

    Walking along the nuova Darsena (new Dock), you can observe an interesting stretch of the Po di Volano, a navigable canal rich in aquatic vegetation and typical examples of local avifauna.

    The Dock, recently renovated, is a place that hosts numerous events and especially in summer, it transforms into a lively square along the river, with music, food and wine events, and sports activities. 

    It is also the embarkation point of a riverboat that offers excursions, sunset aperitifs, and educational initiatives. 

    The riverside cycle path and the green area are the ideal place for walking, running, and cycling safely, even with your pet.

  • Second stop - Villa Melchiorri Ferrara

    Villa Melchiorri designed by the engineer Ciro Contini in 1903 in Art Nouveau style on behalf of Giuseppina Marchi Melchiorri, wife of the well-known floriculturist Ferdinando Melchiorri, was the first of the residential villas built on the then new Viale Cavour.

    The central elements around which all the decoration revolves are sunflowers and the circle. The floral decorations, the stained glass, and the undulating motifs evoke a sense of freedom and lightness.

    The decoration is all in concrete cement, modeled by the Ferrarese sculptor Arrigo Minerbi. The lintels of the windows, the upper ends of the support pillars, and the corners of the balcony all transform into the branches of a bunch of sunflowers, taken up as the main theme on the wrought iron gate.

  • Third stop - Addizione Erculea Ferrara

    Looking at a map of the city, you can notice a large green area located in the northeast part of the city, in the Renaissance area - the so-called Addizione Erculea. This is the "countryside within the walls": an area that extends with fields, vegetable gardens, and flower gardens for about four hectares.

    This space, located between the Jewish Cemetery and the Certosa, is managed by associations and agricultural companies in agreement with the Municipality.

    The lands, preserved for over five hundred years without having been urbanized, are today crossed by a comfortable cycle path that connects to the tree-lined path of the Mura degli Angeli (Walls of the Angels).

  • Fourth stop - Church of San Domenico Ferrara

    An ancient legend says that, in the city center of Ferrara, an incident occurred involving the devil himself.
    In Vicolo del Chiozzino there was the house of the engineer Bartolomeo Chiozzi, nicknamed "Magician Chiozzino" for his passion for the magical arts. Legend has it that the Magician had evoked, through a spell, a strange and curious character named "Magrino," who began to accompany him everywhere along with a group of strange animals.

    At first, Magrino's presence brought him prosperity and success, but over time people began to feel intimidated by his circle. It was then that the magician decided to get rid of his companions, asking for help from the friars of the Church of San Domenico.

    Here the Dominican friars began an exorcism to finally free the magician but, as they performed the rite, Magrino appeared showing himself in his true guise, that of a terrible devil. Furious at the spell, the devil stomped out of the church, marking the sign of his hoof on the base of a column outside the church, where the imprint can still be seen today.

  • Fifth stop - Piazzetta Sant'Anna Ferrara

    In Piazzetta Sant'Anna you can recognize the bust of Torquato Tasso, one of the most famous Italian Renaissance writers. 

    The bust is positioned next to the probable entrance of the cell that hosted him for seven long years, in the basement of the former Sant'Anna Hospital, where he was imprisoned after inveighing against the court of Duke Alfonso II, busy with the preparations for the Este's wedding with Margherita Gonzaga.

  • Sixth stop - Palazzo di San Crispino Ferrara

    In the very central Piazza Trento e Trieste, where today there is a bookstore, once stood the ancient lodge of the Callegari (shoemakers).

    The lodge was built around 1257, when the land owned by the Cathedral was granted to the Corporation of the Callegari. In the mid-fourteenth century, six large arches were opened on the ground floor towards the square, still visible today.

    In 1814, the Palazzo San Crispino was renovated, but it is still possible to see, carved in the capitals of the columns, a shoe sole, the emblem of the Craft.

  • Seventh stop - Via Zemola Ferrara

    Over the centuries, the street, located in the medieval part of the city, has had various names, including 'Via dei Malpaga', perhaps named after a brothel whose patrons were accustomed to paying the women a very poor and humiliating compensation.

    The current name of Zemola seems to derive from Gemmola, a place in the Paduan hills where Beatrice I d'Este had founded a monastery at the beginning of the thirteenth century.

    Among the various miracles that occurred along the street, we recall that of Casa Obizzi, accomplished by Saint Anthony of Padua in 1228. The bride of Cavalier Taino degli Obizzi was tormented by her husband's jealousy. Even the birth of a child was a cause of sadness for her, as her husband suspected her of adultery.

    The young woman sought help from Friar Anthony of Padua, who was passing through Ferrara. The Friar then went to the Obizzi house and, addressing the newborn, asked him to indicate who his father was. The newborn pointed out Taino, thus saving the mother's honor.

    Moreover, at the corner with Via della Paglia, one can still see the bust of the Virgin and a plaque commemorating a miracle that occurred in the nineteenth century. On September 5, 1845, a 9-month-old child fell at the feet of the bust of the Madonna from almost nine meters high and miraculously remained unharmed.

  • Eighth stop - Casa di Stella de' Tolomei Ferrara

    In Via Cammello 20, near the Byzantine castrum, you will find an ancient fifteenth-century house, with an ogival door and windows. This house recalls the story of the 'beautiful and virtuous' Stella de' Tolomei, called 'of the Assisini' because her father was from Assisi. Stella was the beloved mistress of Marquis Niccolò III, with whom she had three children: Ugo, Leonello, and Borso.

    While waiting to soon become the Marchese's consort, she actually had a different fate. Niccolò III decided to marry the very young Parisina Malatesta. Stella died a year later consumed by grief; indeed, the chronicles say that she died of a "broken heart".

  • Ninth stop - Monastero di Sant'Antonio in Polesine Ferrara

    Sant'Antonio in Polesine is a charming monastery of Benedictine nuns that rises in the oldest part of the city. The convent was founded on a polesine, an island in the middle of the Po, which at that time flowed south of the city.

    Following the filling of the canal that separated the island from the mainland, towards the middle of the fifteenth century, the former polesine was included within the city walls with the Addition of Borso d'Este, without losing the particular atmosphere of peace and isolation that it still retains today.

    In the inner church of the nuns, one can admire frescoes from the first half of the fourteenth century with unusual and curious iconographic details. At certain times of the day, the chants of the Benedictines and the sweet sound of the lyre rise.

Last update 13/05/2024

Information offices

IAT - Ufficio Informazioni Accoglienza Turistica Ferrara
Largo Castello - Ferrara (FE)
+ 39 0532 419190 infotur@comune.fe.it Opening: all year round

You may also like...

OFFICIAL TOURIST INFORMATION SITE © 2024 Emilia-Romagna Region Tourism and Commerce Department