Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our final day in Ferrara...

(August 17) How can it be our last day in Ferrara, we just got here! However, day four it is and we leave tomorrow for Milan. I started the day with a quiet half hour or so in Piazza Repubblica...just me and the street cleaners!

I returned to the hotel to have breakfast with mom, and then go for a walk about. I have been so charmed by the colours and architectural features of the buildings in Ferrara. Not to mention the beautiful flowery shrubs and greenery cascading down walls.

We found ourselves over by Palazzo Schifanoia. No interior photos allowed, but the museum contains the collections of the Musei Civici d'Arte Antica, so lots of "old stuff"! lol I'm sure I would have been more engaged if it hadn't been sooo hot inside the palazzo, stiflingly hot. I did take time to look at the gorgeous illuminated manuscripts, including the Charterhouse Bible commissioned by Borse d'Este. And some carved ivories, which were amazingly detailed.

But I was relieved to escape outside into the back garden and rest under the incredibly thick canopy of leaves of one of the trees...

Wandering along on our way, we stopped into the church of San Francesco. It was lovely and peaceful and not nearly as overwhelmingly ornate as the cathedral.

I liked this 13th century madonna and baby, their faces so sweetly cheek to cheek!

And this 17c annunciation was also lovely, I thought.

There was also a gorgeous model of the adoration of the magi (which was also slightly bizarre, because apparently it was animated...for a price - if only I'd had a one euro coin to see this spectacle in action!)

We carried on with our exploration...coming to Palazzina Marfisa d'Este. The beauty of Palazzos Schifanoia and Marfisa is that the admission was covered with the combo ticket we bought for the we could stroll through, enjoy what we liked and not worry about missing something, because by this day, it felt like they were free! Palazzina Marfisa has some really beautiful period furniture, including some great huge wardrobes. But the section we enjoyed most was the exterior - the Grotta and the Loggia degli Aranci (orange trees). The Grotta was in a building with a long porch, and had one of those wonderful wooden ceilings with the recessed, painted panels.

We lingered as long as possible in the Loggia degli Aranci...I stretched out in the grass, where it was wonderfully shady and peaceful! One of the women on staff came out to apologize for having to make us leave, but they were closing for the afternoon...

When we came back outside, I saw this long row of bicycles and had to take a photo...seems so typical of Ferrara!

Since we were so close to the city walls, we decided to step outside the city gates and go for a stroll along the ramparts...making our way along the section called Rampari di San Rocco.

We then turned back in toward our hotel, stopping at Piazza Ariostea for deliciously refreshing gelato...and an unfortunate pigeon encounter. (I had gotten bird droppings on my arm in Rome, apparently it was Mom's turn in Ferrara!) Oh well, what are you going to do but brush it off, have a laugh, and carry on our merry way! It was time to return to the hotel for a siesta anyway, so mom was able to rinse out her blouse before the pigeon poo left a permanent stain. :) She had less success getting the chocolate gelato rinsed out...I believe she will always have that as a reminder of our trip!

Three (ish) hours later, we went for our final sojourn around Ferrara. While wandering, I spotted this super cool street that seemed to be arch after arch after cool!! (Afterward I discovered it is called Via Volte - Street of Arches, maybe? And is one of the attractions on the tourist map, so apparently I am not alone in thinking it is worth seeing!)

We decided to return to Leon d'Oro for our final meal in Ferrara. Partly because we really like the food, the service and the setting...partly because there was not much choice, we passed bar after ristorante after pizzeria with "closed for holidays" signs! Ferrara, like many Italian cities, empties out in August, as the inhabitants head for the coast. And there didn't really seem to be a lot of other tourists around either. It worked for us, we felt like we practically had the place to ourselves! I thought that Mom needed to have at least one spritz before we left Italy, so ordered up a couple as an aperitif. Delicious!

After supper, we had a very short stroll, heading down the street tucked down along the left side of the cathedral. Apparently this is the bar scene in town! Bars lined the street on one side, with the cathedral wall on the other - including a great ledge for people to perch with their drinks. Very cool!

As we walked, I glanced up and spied a wooden ceiling very much like the one in Palazzina Marfisa...seems so amazing to think of such treasures being in random homes, but considering the age of the buildings, and that probably many former palazzos have been converted into condos or apartments, I suppose it makes sense!

And so ends our stay in Ferrara. I'm so glad we decided to visit this city. It is a bit off the tourist trail (ok not really, but it is less of a tourist destination than Rome, Venice and Florence!) But well worth a visit, it is full of things to do and see...and wonderful to just amble around and soak up the atmosphere, especially later in the day when the air cools and everyone comes out on their bicycles for the equivalent of an evening stroll. It feels like it would be a wonderful place to live.


Trekcapri said...

Hi Anne, sounds like you had a lovely last day in Ferara. I loved wandering along with you and your mom. I totally loved the Madonna and baby you found in the church of San Francesco. You really did a lot of exploring and found so many interesting things around town. I also love the colours and architecture here. Really cool.

And sorry about your mom's unfortunate pegion encounter. Glad she was able to have a laugh at it and was able to rinse that out.

Thank you so much for showing us Ferarra. Safe travels to Milan.

girasoli said...

I'm hoping to finally find time this weekend (long weekend for us) to read about your fabulous trip. I have been peeking in now and then. How was Milan? I am guessing you are back home by now or perhaps already starting the new chapter in your life? I still have about 2 weeks of my trip left to write about. Been a very bad blogger this summer!

Anne said...

Milan was quite different from my expectations - in a good way. We enjoyed our couple days here. Although the heat hit us harder than elsewhere on our trip, not sure if was hotter temps or just more humid. I've been a bad blogger for months! lol Not sure I see that changing anytime soon. I have a feeling my schoolwork will keep my hopping. There are several students taking only partial course loads because found 5 courses per term too much. Hopefully that won't be the case for me! Classes start Tuesday - I am psyched!!!!! :)

nancyhol said...

It sounds like the end of a wonderful trip! You make me want to visit Ferrara too!

PS-Did I ever tell you that my name is Nancy Anne?

Anne said...

Oh cool, Nancy, I did not know that! I do recommend visiting Ferrara, it is a wonderful city. Really easy to stroll around and tons of unexpected delights. It would be a good base for the area too, being relatively close to places like Ravenna, Padua, Bologna.

Annie said...

Hi Anne, just wanted to say Happy Holidays to you and yours, and best wishes for a wonderful new year. I used to have your email but lost a ton of stuff in a computer upgrade (argh!). Peace to you, Annie

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