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Castello Estense, Ferrara

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Government Building Castle
Don’t miss the medieval dungeons of Castello Estense, a moated structure in the center of the city. The castle was begun in the 14th century, after a violent riot convinced Nicollo II d’Este, a local nobleman, that his palace was no longer sufficiently protected to guarantee his family’s safety. Construction began in 1385 under the direction of architect Bartolino da Novara, and a wooden passageway soon linked the Este family’s old residence to the new castle, allowing residents to flee from one to the other. Though many of its sections are now used as government offices, you can still visit the castle’s cross-vaulted living rooms, court kitchens, chapels, and the claustrophobic dungeons, which were once used as prison cells and torture chambers. The site also includes a small cafe and a bookshop. Put Castello Estense into our Ferrara vacation planner and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
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Where to stay in Ferrara

Stylish self-catering apartments just minutes from the center of Ferrara provide a convenient base from which to explore all of Emilia Romagna and Veneto. These apartments offer free Wi-Fi, secure parking, on-site laundry services, and barbeques. Equally affordable and just as comfortable, family-run B&Bs in the historical center of Ferrara allow you to access all of the city's major attractions on foot or by bicycle, available for rent at several locations in this central area.
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  • A very imposing building. Well worth a visit. Restoration is taking place to the fine frescos which were damaged by the earthquake in 2012. If you want to go up the tower you must be there before 4pm ...  more »
  • This fabulous building and the exhibits give you a real understanding of the importance of the Este family to Ferrara, as well as insights into life in the Renaissance (and earlier) in Italy. There is...  more »
  • We visited in the morning and were able to work around a few group tours. The castle is a huge presence in the city and a great way to get a sense of the place and history.  more »