Estense Castle through the fruit trees on the terrace

For our first excursion outside the city walls, we took a 45-minute train ride to Ferrara, a medieval city about halfway between Bologna and Venice. Ferrara is known as the City of the Renaissance and between the 14th and 16th centuries, mostly thanks to the Este family, it was considered culturally on par with Florence and Venice. Admittedly, we chose Ferrara since it offered the cheapest train ticket but the charming, bicycle-filled streets and the moated Estense Castle made for a perfect day trip. A portion of the castle, including the royal suites and the dungeon, are open for viewing and house a small art museum. Just be prepared to diligently visit every single room since there are museum attendants always watching and they won’t let you exit if you take any short-cuts.

Super murky, green water makes for a perfect spot for a photoshoot
Colorful umbrellas line one of the streets leading from the Cathedral of Ferrara
Inside Estense Castle, huge mirrors were propped up so everyone can better view the elaborate ceilings

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