Ferrara, Renaissance elegance

A first modern city and among the most important and culturally founding lordships of the Italian Renaissance, Ferrara was one of the European Capitals of culture, art, politics, gastronomy, as well as a reference point for artists, poets and singers. The Este dynasty, large family of eccentric and cultured patrons, was able to transform in three centuries a rural center into a Renaissance masterpiece declared as a World Heritage Site.

Under the rule of the Este family, indeed, Ferrara experienced its best flourishing centuries, hosting the most renowned art and literature personalities and covering a major role in many fields. Going for a walk in the medieval district, with its narrow streets and features and the beautiful cathedral, taking a bike ride on the Renaissance city walls which have maintained intact their original aspect and an immersion in the places that celebrate the genuine traditional flavors, are the fundamental steps that every tourist can’t miss. Ferrara boasts of a culinary tradition which has had its roots since medieval times, with typical dishes all to be tasted.

Among the most important recipes of the Ferrara cuisine, cappelletti are surely counted, which are distinguished from Bolognese tortellini for both filling and shape, but especially the pumpkin cappellacci; characterized by the particular hat shape (hence the name, “cappello” in italian), with a soft violina pumpkin filling that, for its sweetness, creates a unique sweet-sour flavor, authentic wonder for the palate.

To discover and savor these special dishes, head to Trattoria Il Mandolino, very characteristic local where the cozy and a bit rustic atmosphere is the contour of  the intense perfume of a true home kitchen. If you prefer, instead, a modern location, but still linked to the respect of the tradition, Ristorante Ca’d’Frara is the place for you! In the historic center you’ll be able to delight yourselves with the typical Ferrara’s cured meats, such as Salama da sugo IGP and “Zia ferrarese”, typical garlic salami, combined with the famous Coppia ferrarese IGP, a crusty and crumbly type of bread. The “Salama da sugo” is the flagship product of the cured meat factory Salumificio Zironi & C, company that, since 1954, has distinguished itself for the production of fresh and seasoned kinds of cured meat, known throughout the territory for the quality expressed in the right balance between tradition and innovation.

Traditional dishes, but also and especially a wide wine proposal make the wineshop Al Brindisi, an obligatory stop for tourists whom are visiting Ferrara. This is the world’s oldest wine bar, frequented in past by the likes of Tiziano Vecellio (famous Italian painter), Nicolò Copernico (astronomer), Torquato Tasso and Ludovico Ariosto (poets)!

If, instead, you feel like having a sweet taste, than you can not leave the Este city without tasting a slice of the delicious Tenerina cake, Ferrara’s typical chocolate cake, low for tradition with a soft and creamy core. You can eat it in any pastry shop downtown, but try stopping at Pasticceria San Giorgio or Pasticceria Caffè del Corso!

Among the various solutions of lodging at your disposal, Italian Traditions suggests: Hotel De Prati, located a few steps away from the Este Castle, which welcomes guests in comfortable accommodations, all furnished with antique furniture so as to return the intact old inn atmosphere, Hotel Diamantina or the B&B Alle Giostre Antico Alloggio, a comfortable and family surrounding housed in a fifteenth-century building situated right in front of the old Renaissance walls.

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