While we were planning out our week in Emilia-Romagna, Andy mentioned how much he liked the town of Ferrara , which isn’t far from Bologna. I didn’t really know anything about the town, but he told me there was a castle with a moat. Sold. So we scheduled in a day to take the train to Ferrara, check out the castle, and just wander around. It was certainly a photogenic place, and not too crowded even though it was June.
Ferrara’s Castello Estense
After grabbing some pizza for a quick lunch, Andy and I walked over to the castle, called Castello Estense. As he promised, it did have a moat, which I love in a castle. As we paused on the bridge, we noticed lots of big fish swimming around in the water. A castle with a moat AND fish. Love it.
Eventually we left the fish alone and went into the castle to explore. It’s set up like a museum with lots of signs detailing the history of the castle and the area. I didn’t like it quite as much as Castle Gravensteen in Ghent because it was a little too museum-y, but if you’re a big history buff, you’d be in heaven here. I did enjoy the model of the castle and all the passageways that helped me imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago.
Scenes from the streets of Ferrara
Without much else in mind, we simply walked through the town and enjoyed the atmosphere. Ferrara felt like a relaxing place, a city to sit (or walk) and enjoy, not necessarily run around looking for things to do. From the group of old men standing on the edge of a square, having a long chat, to the people taking a leisurely bike ride through the streets, Ferrara was a laid back town.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in the best of moods this day. I was exhausted from doing too many things. And even though my days spent learning to cook pasta and make sorbet and gelato were both lots of fun, I needed a break. It was nice to be somewhere as laid back as Ferrara where we could wander or sit and people-watch. Though one day wasn’t enough to completely recharge my batteries, it certainly helped.
Ferrara is easily reached by train from Bologna. The train takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on which one you take. We bought our train tickets the same day and paid 4.40€ per person each way. There are signs outside the Ferrara train station pointing you towards the historic center, and it’s an easy, mostly straight walk.
Tickets to get into the castle are 6€ per person. Opening hours are daily from 9:30AM to 5:30PM, except for June 1st through August 31st when they are open from 9AM to 1PM and 3PM to 7PM. The ticket office closes 45 minutes before closing time. See the Castello Estense website for more info.