San Giorgio Nuovo
Built at the behest of
Guglielmo II Adelardi, on land belonging to the monastery of San
Romano, and consecrated on May 8th 1135, according to the
inscription on the fašade. But this inscription has been recently
found to date to the 15th century. Arguments rage but it seems safe
to say 'the 1130s'. The work involved Wiligelmo, famous for Modena's Duomo, and Master Niccol˛ the
architect and sculptor also responsible for impressive carving in
Verona on the fašades of the Duomo and San Zeno. The fašade here is
most impressive, especially the doorway with its tabernacle. Also
the Romanesque upper loggias, with the twisty columns. The latter
are locally said to have been created by the devil, who did it to
spoil things but was disappointed when the locals loved his work.
The exterior and narthex are the building's highlights - the south
side too is a bit spectacular with its portico of shops, the
Loggia dei Merciai built in 1473 in order to provide a viewing
platform to view the festivities associated with the duke's marriage,
but paid for by the cloth worker's guild who got a Renaissance
arcade below to replace their wooden booths.
But Duke Ercole I's major work was on the choir in 1498 by Biagio Rossetti. Work was still underway in 1502 preparing for the
arrival of Lucrezia Borgia, the bride of duke Alfonso. Rossetti's plans for the crossing were completed
in 1636 by Luca Danesi. The interior was ruined by work carried out
between 1712 and 1728 by Francesco Mazzarelli. Two aisles were
lost and most
of the original art destroyed. The bronze statues and Tura's organ
shutters (in the Duomo museum) are all that remains of the 15th
century work. An air raid on 28 November 1944
resulted in the destruction of the sacristy and considerable damage
to the apse.
Surrounded by four red marble beasts.
The church was dedicated to the Virgin and St George, both of whom
feature on the fašade.
Divided into three parts
horizontally of equal height. The lowest, Romanesque, level was
topped from the mid-12th century by the more gothic levels
Over the central doorway is a
tabernacle with sculptures of the Last Judgement by unknown 13th
century hands. In the tympanum
above is the Redeemer, flanked by angels holding the symbols of the
Passion, and the two kneeling figures of the Virgin and St John the
Evangelist. The standing figures below in the architrave include
angels blowing trumpets and weighing souls, with the blessed off to
the left, to Heaven, and the damned off towards Hell on the
right. The four spandrels below contain figures of four of the dead
emerging from their tombs. The portal itself has Master Niccol˛'s Saint
George and the Dragon in the lunette and a frieze of scenes from the
life of Christ in the architrave. Under the central arch of
the upper loggia, there is the statue of the Madonna and Child of
1427, by the sculptor Michele da Firenze.
To the right on the fašade is a niche with a statue the Marquis of
Ferrara, Alberto dĺEste, which was erected by the communal
government in 1393 to commemorate a papal bull granting city control
over certain church properties, which the marquis had
won for the city in 1391. The text of this bull, the Bonifaciana, is
inscribed beside the niche.
The south side of the Duomo had the elaborate Bishop's Door or Porta dei Mesi (Door of the
Months), attributed to Nicholaus and Benedetto Antelami and
decorated between 1225 and 1230 with panels depicting the Labours of
featuring zodiac symbols and seasonal farming activities, by the
so-called Master of the Months. This doorway faced the town hall and
law courts and so symbolised the connection of church with commune.
Ferrara's governing council, the Savi, often met in the bishop's
palace and even the cathedral, which would seem to give their
decisions divine approval. The doorway was demolished between
1717 to 1736 with some panels kept outside and some reused, upside
down, as flooring in the atrium of the cathedral where they were
discovered in 1931 during renovation work.
The narthex has two ancient sarcophagi, and two more
lions carrying the columns which once decorated the main portal,
like Master Niccol˛'s others in Verona.
Rossetti's choir, mentioned above, has a vault decorated with a
version of Michelangeloĺs Last Judgment, by Bastianino. There
was originally a tramezzo, or choir screen, across the nave
which in the mid 15th century had life-size bronze statues of St.
George and the Dragon, San Maurelio, the Virgin, St. John and a
Crucified Christ. The tramezzo is long gone, but the statues
by Niccol˛ Baroncelli and Domenico di Paris, pupils of Donatello,
are now in a chapel to the right of the high altar.
The interior was remodelled
TO EDIT on site?
The two stoups have life-size angels by Andrea and Ferdinando
VaccÓ from Ferrara (1745), and on either side of the main door are
two detached frescoes by Garofalo, representing St Peter and St
Paul, taken from San Pietro?
The last altarpiece along the north aisle by Francesco Francia
depicts the Coronation of the Virgin with Saints below with
the Christ Child lying on the ground with no-one taking any notice
of Him. In the transepts are very interesting painted terracotta
busts in tondos of the Apostles by Alfonso Lombardi.
transept/ last chapel on the right has a Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence by Guercino (1629) and the
Altar of the Calvary, composed in 1673 from large 15th-century
bronze of Christ on the Cross flanked by the Virgin and St John by
Niccol˛ and Giovanni Baroncelli, with St George and the Dragon and
St Maurilius by Domenico di Paris. Below is the effigy tomb of
Bishop Bovelli (d. 1954).
A fresco of the Last Judgement by Bastianino (1577-81)
in the apse semi-dome is very similar to the one in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, Bastianino's master.
It was restored in 2000 after years of restorations, ranging from
the inept to the minimal, as well as scratches caused by dusting
with a broom and smoke damage.
The wooden choir stalls are by the workshop of Bernardino
Canozzi from Lendinara
The sacristy has a V&C with donor by Domenico Panetti, an
Annunciation by Garofalo (originally from San Silvestro) (a V&C with Saint
Sylvester and five more is also reported here from San Silvestro)
and a St Catherine of Siena by Niccol˛ Pisano
A Circumcision by Bastianino from a chapel in the left transept here, now in the Pinacoteca.
Panels of Saint Maurelius and Saint George, both
looking pretty frowny, from a high
altarpiece here by Garofalo, are now in the Duomo museum.
Foundations laid by Niccol˛ III in 1412, but little done until
Borso resumed work in 1451, the year of his succession. The first
two stories were finished under Borso, but the third was added by
Ercole. Work was suspended in 1494, resumed in 1579 with
Giambattista Aleotti overseeing the third story. Work finished in 1596
but was never completed. The lower three (two?) stories are supposedly to plans
by Leon Battista Alberti,
Currently closed for building
work, but Google (see below) shows the work on the fašade had
progressed by November 2020, since it was still totally covered in
Via San Romano
The church and cloister has housed
the Duomo museum since 2000
Initially occupied by Benedictine monks and later Augustinians, the
church was here by 990. Major work in the 12th century with its
current structure dating to the early 15th century. Amongst many
Este interventions from 1230, major work was carried out in 1287 and
1407. In 1487 Folco dĺEste instigated work making the church and
cloister taller and adding decorative terracotta elements. In the
lunette on the facade, above the entrance is the statue of a knight
from the 14th century, Saint Romanus, attributed to Master
Niccol˛, responsible for much work on the Duomo's fašade.
More rebuilding at the end of the 16th
century, in 1619, and in 1754 when Cardinal Crescenzi's will paid
for an altar to house the remains of Saint Romanus. Following
Napoleonic suppression the buildings were used as a prison. In the
second half of the 19th century two marble plaques were removed from
the wall in front of the cloister and wooden poles inserted into the
cavities so revealed, to which a noose was tied used to carry out
death sentences. The church was later sold to a private company and
used as a warehouse until the mid- 20th century. During the Second
World War the former church and cloister suffered bomb damage. In
the 1950s the buildings that clustered around the church were
removed and the cloister was rebuilt. The church was restored more
in the 1970s and the cloister was used for exhibitions. The church
was used for events, including the Ferrara Buskers Festival. The church and cloister
the Duomo museum since 2000
now in the Pinacoteca
A 1412 detached fresco fragment showing Saint Romanus
by an anonymous master. Panels depicting Saint John the B and Saint
Jerome Reading by another Ferrarese master from later in the 15th century. Two
panels showing The
Baptism of Saint Romanus & The Conversion of Saint Romanus by Bastianino
from the late 16th century
Art from the Duomo in the San Romano
Panels depicting the Labours of the Months
featuring zodiac symbols and seasonal farming activities, by the
so-called Master of the Months from beyween 1225 and 1230.
Has the St George
and the Dragon and Annunciation panels by CosmŔ Tura
which were organ doors.
Madonna della Granna by Jacopo della Quercia, the
Madonna of the Pomegranate, commissioned in 1403 and placed on the
altar of the Silvestri family on the left of the nave in the Duomo in September 1406 (the
date on the base is 1408 but this was added later and is wrong). It
is, therefore, the earliest work that can be securely attributed to
Jacopo. It is sometimes known as the Madonna del Pane
(Madonna of the Bread) as the Scroll of the Law that the Child holds
echoes the shape of the typical bread of Ferrara.
Founded as a convent for Augustinian
nuns by Bernardina Sedazzari, a Ferrarese merchant's daughter, with
Nicol˛ III d'Este providing funding and helping at the laying of the foundations in 1415.
The convent was approved for Poor Clares in 1431. Most of the first nuns died of the plague but later inmates included Caterina Vigri (or Vegri) who founded the Clarissan convent of
Corpus Domini in Bologna
in 1456 and was canonised in 1712. Caterina
painted images of the Christ Child on the walls here and copied and
illustrated her own breviary which is still here. Building work here
in 1491/2 at the instigation of Duchess Eleonora, who had her own
cell here and her own oratory within the sisters' choir.
This was the convent where the foremost Ferrara families sent their daughters in the 15th and 16th
centuries and where the (mostly female) members of the Este family chose to be buried - their
pavement tombs are in the 18th-century nunsĺ choir. Amongst them
you'll find Lucrezia Borgia, the notorious daughter of Pope Alexander
VI and sister of Cesare Borgia, who came to Ferrara to marry Alfonso
I (her third husband) and who died here in childbirth at the age of
39. Two of her sons lie beside her and her first daughter Eleonora
who was abbess here. Also here are her husband Alfonso I, Ercole I
and his wife Eleonora of Aragon (who took a special interest in this
convent, frequently retreating here, where she had her own cell), and Alfonso II.
Corpus Domini echoed San Francesco, where the male Este where mostly
buried, at the other end of what is now the Via Savonarola, a street
built by Borso D'Este to encourage the wealthy and influential to
build their palazzi here. The Casa Romei was one result.
The church was badly damaged in a
fire on Christmas Day 1665 which started in a crib, with the loss
of the wall paintings of Caterina Vigri, and then largely rebuilt.
Reconsecration in 1667 with more work in 1770 by the architect
Antonio Foschini. He added the presbytery and moved the 15th-century
fašade to face into Via Campofranco
The Clarrissans left during the
suppressions of Napoleon in 1798 but returned to parts of the complex in
1800, where they remain. By 1812 they had managed to buy back a lot
of the dispersed fittings. The complex passed to the state 1867 and
then to the Municipality of Ferrara in 1908. Most of the convent was
demolished in 1906 and a school built. In 1909 the small facade on
via Campofranco was rebuilt along its original 15th-century lines
and in 1960 Este remains which had originally been buried in the
demolished church of Santa Maria degli Angeli were moved to the choir here.
Over the high altar is a Communion of the Apostles by
Giambettino Cignaroli (1768), and there's an oval ceiling fresco of
The Glory of Saint Caterina Vegri by Giuseppe Ghedini
A Crucifixion by Scarsellino from 1600
over the main altar. In the choir there is also ta Portrait of Santa
Caterina Vegri by Lorenzo Garofali, 1712; the Immaculate Conception
by Maurelio Scannavini, from c.1668; and a monochrome Deposition by
Giuseppe Antonio Ghedini. The walnut choir stalls are 18th century.
in the Pinacoteca.
A Crucifixion panel attributed to Guariento. The Dream of the Virgin panel (see right)
by Simone de' Crocifissi. A panel of the Burial of Christ with
Franciscan Saints by a Ferrarese/Paduan master from the mid 15th
century. A panel showing The Death of a Female Religious by an
anonymous master, maybe from Mantua, from around 1500.
3.30-5.30 except Sat and Sun, ring at the convent round
the corner in Via Pergolato 4; the Franciscan nuns of the closed
order of the Poor Clares open the door by remote control.
San Michele del Ges¨
Built for the Jesuits in 1570 to
designs by Alberto Schiatti. Following the suppression of the
Jesuits in 1773, the church and college passed to the Somascans. In
1933 the archbishop Ruggero Bovelli transferred the Priory of San
Michele to the church of the Ges¨, which was then renamed San
Michele nel Ges¨. Damaged by bombing in 1944, in 1986 the name
changed back to its current one.
An aisleless nave with connected side chapels , the church is big
and quite quietly baroque, with one of those emotional terracotta
Lamentation tableaux by Mazzoni, fully polychromed this time, with
seven life-size figures, made in 1485. It was commissioned by Duke
Ercole d'Este and Eleonora of Aragon, who are shown as participants
in the event. The figures depicted are the Virgin Mary, Mary
Magdalene, Mary Cleofas, Mary Salome, Saint John the Evangelist,
Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea. Ercole and Eleonora are cast as
Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Salome. The group was originally placed
in the church of Santa Maria della Rosa, now destroyed, within the
Addizione Erculea (Herculean Addition) the urban expansion which
doubled the walled city's limits.
Altarpieces in the south aisle include an
Annunciation by Giuseppe Mazzuoli (Bastarolo) and
two (Jesuit-commissioned?) by Giuseppe Maria Crespi from Bologna (Lo Spagnuolo) -
the Communion of Saint Stanislaus Kostka in the Presence of Saint
Luigi Gonzaga (1727) and the Miracle of Saint Francis Xavier
devotional statuettes in
the niches of the aisles. A Trinity by Camillo Filippi.
Eight long low panels of
The Life of Christ by Bastarelo (Giuseppe Mazzuoli) from the
16th century are in the Pinacoteca.
A Landscape with a Hermit and an Angel by Giuseppe Zola from
the 18th century.
A terracotta tile depicting the Deposition attributed to
Alfonso Lombardi is in the Casa Romei.
8.30-11.30 Sun & hols 8.30-1.00/4.30-6.00
In faciem loci - La Chiesa dei Gesuiti a Ferrara tra storia e
realtÓ costruttiva byVeronica Balboni
Via Borgo di Sotto
Built in 1373 for Niccol˛ Zapponari (dall'Oro?)
who donated it to Confraternita dei Battuti Neri (or the Brotherhood
of the Black Beats as Google translates it!). The brotherhood had
been established in 1366 and was devoted to accompanying those
condemned to death and burying their corpses. The brotherhood were
also devoted to the True Cross, a relic of which the church acquired
from Isabella of Aragon in the 16th century. In 1612 they decided to
expand the oratory and the job went to Giovan Battista Aleotti, who
also designed the fašade. The two rooms of the oratory, one above
the other, was converted into one tall space. (This conversion was
reversed during the last rebuilding in 1950, after which the church
also ceased to be called Santa Apollinare.) Further work had
resulted after the Napoleonic suppression and the First World War,
and then there was bombing in 1944 and the 2012 earthquake.
Fašade of 1612 is by Gian Battista Aleotti.
The frescoes here are attributed to Camillo
Filippi, Sebastiano Filippi (Camillo's son, also known as Il Bastianino), Pellegrino Tibaldi and Niccol˛ Rosselli
Giovanni and Francesco Surchi (il Dielai ) with trompe-lĺoeil perspectives
by Francesco Scala. (The names of Garofalo and Girolamo da Carpi are also
mentioned.) The cycle of eight paintings were commissioned in 1547 by the ConfraternitÓ della Buona
Morte (another name for the confraternity mentioned above, it seems) and represent
the Legend of the True Cross according to the Golden Legend. The cycle begins on the right wall of the
presbytery and finishes on the left wall.
On the altar wall is a 15th-century
Resurrection fresco with members of the confraternity, attributed to the school of Pisanello,
maybe Antonio Alberti (or Master G.Z., as more recent attribs have
is a 19th-century Annunciation by Gregorio Boari
and on the opposite wall is The
Madonna Giving the Belt to St. Thomas by the Flemish artist Lambert
van Noort (16th century).
Chiesa delle Sacre
Dedicated to the Stigmata of Saint
Francis and built between 1616 and 1621 for the Confraternita delle
Sacre Stimmate in an area of the Addizione Erculea yet to be
occupied. The street it faced onto was called via delle Stimmate
until 1860 did it become via Palestro, to commemorate the battle of
the same name. Closed for worship after the 2012 earthquake
Saint Francis Receives the Stigmata by Guercino 1632.
A Crucifixion by Carlo Bononi (c.1616) and a PietÓ by Carlo Bononi
(c.1623) (see right) are both now in storage at the Archbishop's Palace
Via San Bartolo
In the suburbs, but old and important. The monastery was
said to have been founded by Countess Ada, wife of Otto I d'Este, in 854 on the
feast of St. Bartholomew, the same day that her son Marino had escaped a fire
during a battle with the Venetians for Comacchio.
Severely damaged by the earthquake of 1570 and rebuilt by the architect Carlo
Pasetti. Only the church survived of the original buildings and kept its gothic
appearance, and campanile
Suppressed by Napoleon, now a psychiatric
Frescoes from between 1260 and 1294 from the
presbytery, the five apsidal lunettes and the porch
attributed to the Maestro di San Bartolo were detached and restored in 1955/1970
and are now in the central hall of the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara. They
depict the Ascension , the Apostolic College and stories of St. Bartholomew, the
Evangelists and an incomplete cycle of the months.
The Pinacoteca has a Nativity with Saints Benedict and Romualdus (Alberic) by Ludovico Mazzolino (see Bologna San Fran Lost art.) and an
Adoration of the Magi with Saint Bartholomew 1549 by Garofalo, 'from San Bartolo'
says suburbana in Pina cat.
An unusual Visitation panel attrib to Ricamador (Girolamo Ferrari)
Tipo San Bartolo
A type of
Byzantine-inspired sgraffito (incised) Venetian slipware of the 13th century is
named after San Bartolo due to a decorated bowl having been found inset into the
Piazza San Benedetto
There may already have been a small church dedicated to Saint
Benedict here in 1492.
Building here began in 1496, to designs by
Biagio Rossetti, for the Benedictines from Pomposa and progressed in fits and
starts until 1553, with consecration in 1621. Following suppression by
Napoleon the complex was used as a barracks and a stable, before
passing to the Salesians in 1930.
Major damage from bombing in 1943/44 resulted in rebuilding
to its original design 1952-54, but the fresco decoration by the Modenese painter Ludovico Settevecchi
was mostly lost, with just the Four Evangelists preserved in the pendentives of
the central dome. Damaged by fire in the nave in 2007, restoration is underway.
By Giovanni Battista Aleotti 1621, completed in 1646
A large Scarsellino panel of The Wedding at Cana painted for the
refectory here, in the Pinacoteca.
The dark and stormy Saint Mark by the Cremonese painter Giuseppe Caletti,
in the Pinacoteca.
The Adoration of the Shepherds by Dielai in the Pinacoteca since 1920.
A Circumcision of 1561 by Luca Longhi from Ravenna in the Pinacoteca since
1882. from the altar of the chapel of Santissimo Sacramento, where it was
surrounded by panels of the Life of Christ by Nicol˛ Roselli, destroyed by
bombing in 1944.
San Carlo Borromeo
Corso della Giovecca
Built between 1612 and 1623 to designs
by Giovanni Battista Aleotti (L'Argenta) replacing an oratory dedicated to
Saints Philip and James designed by Alberto Schiatti, for the adjacent hospital
of Santa Anna. Closed since the 2012 earthquake.
The baroque facade has four niches
in which were statues of Saints Carlo Borromeo, Anthony of
Padua, Ambrose and Augustine but following the
earthquake of 2012 they were removed. Over the door two angels
hold a heraldic shield. These angels were sculpted by Angelo Putti,
and some have attributed the rest of the statues on the fašade to him too.
cloister in front which belonged to the convent of the Armenian friars of San
Basilio and inserted in the first hospital complex of Sant'Anna.
Oval-planned with two lateral chapels central dome.
In the nave are stucco figures of the four doctors
of the church, Saints Augustine, Gregory the Great, Jerome, and Ambrose, by 18th-century
sculptors of the Venetian school.
ceiling frescoed from 1674 are by Giuseppe Avanzi collaborating with the
quadraturist Giuseppe Menegatti. In the central oval is the Virgin in Glory
with Saints Ambrose (or Maurelius) and Carlo Borromeo. The lunette
over the entrance is San Carlo by Antonio Bonfanti who may have been a
pupil of Guercino. (The four paintings of the Life of the St Carlo were painted
by Carlo Borfatti!)
The Madonna of the Rosary with Saints Dominic, George and Maurelius an
early work by
Domenico Tintoretto (see right) now in the Pinacoteca. An inventory of
1773 said it was to the right of the high altar.
San Carlo is no.16, left of centre in this detail from
the 18th-century map of Ferrara
by Andrea Bolzoni.
San Cristoforo alla Certosa
Piazza Borso d'Este
A Carthusian monastery was founded
here in 1452 by Borso d'Este, the second major Este monastic
foundation, after Borso's father Niccol˛ III's Santa Maria degli
Angeli. The monks moved in in 1461. A new
church, next to the old one, was began in 1501, as part of Ercole I
d'Este's Erculean Addition, which had made the monastery less
remote from the centre of town, and completed in 1551
to designs attributed to court architect Biagio Rossetti, but not by
all scholars. The creation of the Erculean Addition had been
encouraged by how easy it had been, during a war in the early 1480s,
for Venetian forces to attack the northern edge of the city and sack
the Belfiore Palace, San Cristoforo and Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Napoleon suppressed the monastery and it became a cavalry barracks. When the complex became the city cemetery in 1813
the church reopened for worship. Ferdinando Canonici's plans kept
the cloisters but included the demolition of the first, early
15th-century, church to make way for the portico in front. A series of expansions from the 19th century
on into the fascist era ended with the creation of the second great
cloister in 1962. Bombing in WWII destroyed the campanile, the roof
of the apse and the end of the south transept.
The fašade is unfinished, lacking it
planned marble facing, has an 18th-century portal topped by the
coat of arms of the Carthusian order, made to a design by Gaetano
Barbieri by the Veronese Pietro Puttini and Francesco Zoppo.
plain and pale and altogether Renaissance. the bases of the pillars
along the nave have with marble bas-reliefs with the emblems of the
Este - Duke Borso (paraduro/paradox, well,
unicorn), Ercole I (diamond, oak, hydra) and Alfonso I (grenade).
deep chapels either side of the nave each have three rather ordinary
paintings, at least eleven of the twelve painted altarpieces being by Niccol˛ Roselli
and painted between 1565 and 1568 - the Infancy of Christ all down the left
nave to the altar and The Passion back up the
right. This is said to be the first such narrative cycle of
The wooden altarpieces are by Ercole Aviati.
The intarsia-panelled choir stalls behind the altar, attributed to
Pier Antonio degli Abbati and taken from the demolished church of
Sant'Andrea, have recently been restored.
Lost art in the
A Death of the Virgin by Niccol˛ Pisano. A Noah's
Ark (with a strange bulbous bottom) of the mid-16th century
which has been attributed to Dosso Dossi, amongst many others.
Two small oil paintings
on copper, The Last Supper by Agostino Carracci and The Collection of the Manna
by Ludovico Carracci,
formerly on the tabernacle on the high
A large canvas by Carlo Bononi of the Wedding of Cana (see below) painted for the refectory
Saint Bruno genuflects before the Virgin and Child, a copy of
a Guercino. And Saint Bruno doing something even more
complicated at night, by Sarsellino too.
Tura's Saint Jerome in the Nat Gall?
Quite a lot of sculpted bits and pieces from the Certosa are now in
the Casa Romei. These include a 15th century marble Virgin
and Child from a monument in the small cloister here, attributed
to the Florentine sculptor Niccol˛ de Pietro Lamberti. Also a marble
tondo of the Nursing Madonna, uncertainly attributed to
Giuseppe Maria Mazza, from the tomb of the Avogli family here, and a
16th-century Ecce Homo, from the small cloister here.
An 18th century print of the
Certosa by Bolzoni.
San Cristoforo dei
Via Bersaglieri del Po
Until 1268 there was an orphanage (abandoned children
being termed Bastardini) with an attached hospital, called
the CÓ di Dio which had an oratory. The oratory was rebuilt as a
church in the late 14th century. In 1408 church and hospital
passed to the Confraternity of the Holy Spirit, who were here until
Restored after the earthquake of 1570 to a design by Alberto
Schiatti, with the financial help of the Duchess Barbara of Austria,
consort of Alfonso II d'Este - these last facts commemorated on an
inscribed stone plaque on the fašade. In 1940 the complex, by now
very much the worse for wear, was acquired by the
Municipality of Ferrara and underwent restoration Since then it has
been used at various times as offices, shops and a school. The
church today houses art events and exhibitions.
Lamentation with a Carmelite Saint from 1521, originally the high altarpiece here, is now in the Capodimonte
Museum in Naples.
Via degli Spadari
Founded in 1274
and completely rebuilt between 1710 and 1726 to a design by architect Vincenzo
Santini which reversed the orientation, incorporated the campanile
and the old sacristy into the fašade, the sacristy becoming the Canani chapel.
Became the resting place of Ferrara's elite and court-connected
families. The centre for the teaching of medicine in the 15th
century. The friars made alterations to the monastery from 1495 and
in 1496 Duke Ercole helped pay for the rebuilding of the choir. The
original choir stalls were reused and remain.
Deconsecrated and partly occupied by local government offices. The
church is now in a sorry state, looking not to have been open in years
(since the earthquake of 2012?) all
fenced around, grass growing, windows broken.
The fašade features four statues by Andrea Ferreri - the Dominican
Saints Thomas Aquinus and Vincent above, Saints Pius V and Antoninus,
bishop of Ferrara, below.
An aisleless nave with five chapels
each side. Fragments of 18th-century frescoes, by Giacomo Filippi,
Girolamo Gregori and Francesco Pellegrini.
In the third chapel on the right are
two paintings with the Stories of San Domenico by Mauro Gandolfi ,
painted in 1791. In the second chapel on the left is a copy of the
Finding of the True Cross by Garofalo, the original of which
is now in
The third chapel on the north (left?)
side is the Chapel of the Rosary, with a polychrome marble altar,
marble bas-reliefs of the Mysteries of the Rosary and statues
of Saints Dominic and Vincent Ferrar, all by Pietro Bonatti
of Padua from 1744.
As a Dominican church this was a centre of the Inquisition. The claw
marks on a pier to the right of the entrance inside are said to have
been made by the devil himself, in frustration after having heard one of his
Carlo Bononi, Miracle of Soriano , c. 1620, from the fifth altar on
the right, and Ippolito Scarsella known as Scarsellino, Madonna
and Child with Saints Paul, Lucy and Francis, c.1611, both now
in storage at the Archbishop's Palace, since 2012. The
Dying Magdalen with the Virgin and Child by Scarsellino is also
mentioned (by Denis Mahon).
A large fresco from this church, detached between 1930 and
1932, with Stories from the Life of Saint John the Evangelist, is in
the Pinacoteca. It is by an unknown master, who is named from this
work, active in Ferrara in the early 15th century.
Reported fresco cycles by Serafino de 'Serafini,
CosmŔ Tura (New Testament scenes for the Sacrati family in
their Chapel of the Three Magi) and Baldassarre d'Este (scenes from
the life of Saint Ambrose) are lost. The latter was a pupil of Tura
who may have been an illegitimate Este offspring, probably of
Niccol˛ III, of whom it was popularly said that ôup and down
the Po, all were the children of Niccol˛ö.
A Lamentation painted for this church by Ercole de' Roberti
is now lost and known only through a copy in a private collection
(see photo right). It was the main panel of an altarpiece of
c.1490/95 whose predella panels included The Institution of
the Eucharist and The Israelites gathering Manna both of
which in the National Gallery. Another predella panel Abraham and
Melchizedek is now also only known from the copy. More panels,
as yet unidentified, may exist. The altarpiece may have been made to
commemorate Eleonora of Aragon, the wife of Duke Ercole I d'Este, as
the pair of them, and her brother Alfonso of Aragon, are amongst the
ring of mourners in the main panel, her husband as Nicodemus and her
brother as Joseph of Arimathea,
A Finding of the
True Cross 1536 and a Death of Saint Peter Martyr by Garofalo are in
The Virgin Appears to Saint Liborius of 1669 by Benedetto
Gennari in the Pinacoteca since 1867
Figures from the 15th-century sculpted tomb of Giacomo
Sacrati here by the Lombards Filippo Solari and Andrea da Carona are
in the Casa Romei (The Virgin and Child Enthroned) and the
Duomo Museum (Saints George, James, Philip and Anthony).
The Chapel of the Rosary, from a
'Pictures from the Italian Telephone Directories 1995'
The Franciscans first came to Ferrara around
1220/22, while Francis was still alive, in the shape of Bernardo of
Quintaville. The original church, founded by Azzo VIII d'Este in 1243, was rebuilt
by Obizzo III from 1344
with a gothic church, traces of which remain, attributed to the
masters Armanno, Taddeo and Falconetto da Fontana. During the 14th
century this church was the chosen burial place of the Este family.
In 1393 Alberto d'Este commissioned Bartolino da Novara to build the
Arca Rossa here, a family burial chapel.
The Renaissance church we see
today was built following the demolition of the old one in 1495 by Biagio Rossetti,
to the plan by Brunelleschi for San Lorenzo in Florence. The actual
building, though, was contracted out to Bartolomeo di Regino and
Andrea Fiorato. Consecration
followed on 17th November 1508, but more rebuilding was needed following
the collapse of of some chapels in 1515. This took place from
1517-30 and more was needed after the big earthquake of 1570. This
work resulted in the church reopening in 1594 and also did damage
to Rossetti's original conception. Less intrusive preservative
restorations followed in 1849-60, with work on the vault and pendentive
frescoes of Domenichini later in the 19th century and work from 1954
replaced the terracotta floor with the current marble one, with work on
the fašade too. This latter work has been described as overzealous and
resulting in and leaving the church 'an antiseptic reminder of
Biagio Rossetti's style'. Recent work has sought to return the church to its 'old
splendour' and counter the effects of the 2012 earthquake, after which the
church was closed, but has now reopened.
Wide, brick and Renaissance in style. The
doorways date to 1885 and are the work of Ambrogio Zuffi. The scrolls
holding up the central upper level mean that the influence of Alberti is
sometimes mentioned, because he put similar scrolls on Santa Maria Novella
in Florence, presumably.
A Latin cross, a nave and two aisles, with
Ionic columns. Big, very big - the nave is seven domes long and there are
37 arches - but well lit by Rossetti with two windows in each of the eight
nave chapels. and many surfaces lightly decorated with fresco decoration,
mostly in grisaille style. The figures of Franciscan saints and worthies
in the frieze above the arches and in the aisle vaults, are by Gabriele
Bonaccioli, Angelo Bonacossi and Tommaso Carpi, local artists in the 16th
century, with a later cycle added by Girolamo da Carpi. Then came Girolamo
Dominichini who painted the four large arches of the cross and the
twenty-eight pendentives of the dome in the nave.
The church is dominated by
some very ordinary art, mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries, and many
copies of panels by Garofolo, the originals of which are now in the
Pinacoteca, but a couple of his works in fresco remain.
Much work in the church
in recent years, after the earthquake of 2012, still continuing in the
first four chapels on the left. The first, commissioned by Francesco Massa
di Argenta, has a high relief of 1521 of the Agony in the Garden, by
Cristoforo Borgognoni and Battista Rizzi from Milan. The altarpiece and
Annunciation are by them too. But the two kneeling donors (Cristoforo and
his wife), the two grisaille prophets (Zaccharias and Jeremiah) and a fresco of
of Christ (1524) are by Garofalo. During the restoration of the latter
its sinopia was discovered, confirming the dating.
The third chapel has a copy of Garofolo's
Resurrection of Lazarus (the original, painted for this church in
1534, is now in the Pinacoteca) by Girolamo Domenichini. The forth has a
copy of Garofalo's Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Giovanni Fei,
the original being now in the Pinacoteca.
The sixth chapel has a 1598 copy by Scarsellino of The
Apparition of the Virgin to Giulia Muzzarelli by Girolamo da Carpi, the original is now in
Washington. The seventh has an
altarpiece of the Rest on the Flight to Egypt by Scarsellino.
In the north aisle is a polychrome
wood PietÓ attributed to Alfonso Lombardo.
The triptych behind the high
altar depicts the Resurrection, Ascension and Deposition by Domenico Mona
(1580-1583). Below are five small panels of Franciscan saints by Nicol˛
Between the 6th and 7th chapels
on the right is a Flagellation with a sculpted terracotta
Christ at the Column and two frescoed flagellant figures which are
sometimes attributed to Garofolo.
The next chapel, the chapel of Our Lady of the Pilaster, has a Virgin and
Saints copy of an original by Garofalo (?Virgin and Child with Saints John
the Baptist and Jerome and the donor Trotti 1517?see Lost art), now in the Pinacoteca. There are
two more copies of Garofolo paintings in chapels nearby
- a Massacre of the Innocents dated 1519 (a copy by Giovanni Pagliarini) from
the forth (Festini) chapel and an Adoration, both originals now in the
The last chapel on the right,
dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, has some good and tantalising
fresco fragments from the earlier gothic church by Fino and Bernardino
The far right transept chapel is dedicated to San Giuseppe da Copertina, a new one on me, with three panels by Mazzoni(?). The next
to the left has a
13th-century Byzantine Madonna delle Grazia panel.
LOOK FOR The baroque cenotaph of marchese
Ghiron Francesco Villa, a Ferrarese condottieri who lead armies c.1668 for
Venice in the ill-fated defence of Candia against the Ottomans. The
memorial has a statue of the Marchese by Emanuel Tesauro and bas-reliefs
depicting his feats as a general.
In the Arca
Rossa, made of red Verona marble and dedicated to the Virgin and Saint
from Marchese Azzo IX to Alberto III and their wives. Internments include Obizzo II d'Este, and Nicol˛ d'Este, son of Leonello d'Este,
executed after an unsuccessful coup in 1476.
Ercole, who had once tried to poison him, had him sewn back together and
buried here. Also the ill-fated lovers Ugo d'Este and Parisina
To the left of the apse. Now a 31 metre high stump, having been
built in the 17th century to be the tallest in Ferrara, but then having to
be more than half demolished as it had begun to lean dangerously in the
direction of the church
A very damaged 14th century gable-shaped
fresco attributed to Francesco da Rimini, from the old refectory here, is
in the Pinacoteca.
Cosimo Tura's St Jerome, now in the National Gallery, has been reported as
from this church.
A Saint Francis Receives the
Stigmata with Saints Peter, James and Louis, from
the early 16th century,
by Calzolaretto (Gabriele Cappellini) a pupil of Dosso Dossi,
in the Pinacoteca since 1865.
Many by Garofolo. His Resurrection of Lazarus (see right)
from the Bonaccossi
chapel and a Virgin and Child
Enthroned with Saints Jerome, John the B, Anthony of Padua, another saint, and Lodovica
Trotti (Madonna del Pilastro) of 1532 have been in the Pinacoteca
since 1864. As has his Nativity
of 1512 from the sixth chapel on the left here.
Also by Garofalo, a relatively non-stabby
Massacre of the Innocents main altarpiece panel, dated 1519, with a Rest on the Flight
lunette, from an altarpiece once in the Festini chapel, fourth on the
right. Also a Circumcision
predella panel from the same altarpiece is now in the Louvre. It is
known to have been removed from the altarpiece and replaced with a copy as
early as 1632.
A Nativity and an Adoration of the Magi by Dosso Dossi
of 1512/13, in the Pinacoteca, have long been said to have been parts of
the predella of this altarpiece. Recent
scholarship points to their having been originally painted for private devotion, even if
they did find their way to this predella by 1739 when they appeared in a
manuscript guide to this church.
A Rest on the Flight tondo by Ortolano topped the altarpiece. As
you may have noticed the altarpiece formed a quite concentrated sequence
of scenes from The Infancy of Christ.
The Apparition of the Virgin to Giulia Muzzarelli from c.1530/40 by Girolamo da Carpi
is now in the National Gallery in Washington, with a copy in a poor state by Scarsellino now replacing it here.
Another work by Girolamo da Carpi, The Miracle of Saint Anthony in the Casa Obizzi, is in
the Pinacoteca. Attribution to Garofalo has confused things lately.
Il Beato Andrea Conti by Giuseppe Alemanni from the early
18th century and an anonymous Saint Jerome from the same
century from the Novara family altar here.
oratory of the confraternity of the Immaculate Conception of the
Virgin, built between 1498 and 1500 above the refectory here, had as
its high altarpiece a Virgin and Child with Saints George? and
John the Baptist, the so-called Strozzi Altarpiece,
commissioned by Carlo and Camillo Strozzi from
Lorenzo Costa, now in the National Gallery in London. This work has
been ascribed to many artists, but is currently thought to have been
either begun by Costa and completed by Pellegrino Munari, or begun
by Franceso Maineri and revised by Costa. Or not.
The oratory was also lined with
late-15th/early-16th-century frescoes by Michele Coltellini,
Baladassare D'Este, Niccol˛ Pisano, and Garofolo, amongst others.
Fragments of these are now in the Pinacoteca.
of Padua and Bernardino of Siena are said to have stayed in a
windowless room near the street in the monastery, which had also
been used to imprison rebellious members of Este family. Saint
Bernardino had preached in town against vanity and the long trains
of women's dresses, and fled after being made bishop of Ferrara.
Via del Carbone
An 11th-century Romanesque church with claims of even earlier
origins. In the 15th century the floor and roof level was raised. As it
was inside the Jewish ghetto Pope Urban VIII wanted to close it down
in 1627, but local pressure prevailed. Suppressed by Napoleon, it
passed into private hands and has been a cinema for a good while.
Restoration in 1935.
Largely unchanged from the 11th-century original
Frescoed inside in 1465 by
Buongiovanni di Geminiano and the presence of mosaics was mentioned
by Cittadella, an 18th century historian.
The 18th-century historian Marco Antonio Guarini wrote that this
church was built by the Pagano (or Pagani) family upon arriving in
Ferrara. Among its ancestors was the first grand master of the
Knights Templar, Ugo dei Pagani, and Guarini says that he was buried
here. Also buried here were Aldobrandino degli Este and Ottolino dei
Collapsed in 1821, damaging the presbytery.
A memorial plaque to Ottolino Mainardi is in the Casa
Romei, mentioning Mainardi's involvement in the church building and
San Giorgio fuori le mura
San Giorgio Vecchio
This was Ferrara's medieval cathedral from the late 7th century until 1135,
with credible documentary claims that it it was built in 647 and so Ferrara's
oldest church. It is called
San Giorgio "outside the walls" because it's outside the city walls,
built by Borso d'Este in 1451, while the Duomo, also called San
Giorgio, is inside the walls. It passed to the Olivetan order in
1415 and was then
rebuilt from 1473 by Biagio Rossetti, with reconsecration in 1476.
Work on the interior in 1581, after the
earthquake of 1570, by Alberto Schiatti unfortunately undid most of Rossetti's
good work. Following cannon damage in 1708/9 there was more work in the 18th century, by Francesco Mazzarelli and Giacomo Bottoni
and a new fašade, to designs by the sculptor Andrea Ferreri.
The result of baroque remodelling by Andrea Ferreri in 1722,
who is also responsible for the sculptural work. To the
sides are two statues - Saint George as Bishop of Ferrara on the
left and Saint Lawrence on the right. Over the door there is the
stone relief of Saint George Killing the Dragon. On the crowning
pediment is a cross on three hills with olive branches, the
symbol of the Olivetans.
A three-bay nave and two six-bay aisles, with frescoes by Francesco Ferrari
from 1690 century in the nave, aisles and chapels, including the
presbytery. The decoration is characteristically Ferrarese, much painted grisaille architectural detailing,
with fake fluting on the columns. Some trompe l'oeil too, with even
some imitation open doors in the presbytery. No altarpieces of
interest - the decoration is the appeal here, I think.
At the end of the
left-hand aisle is the chapel of the 7th century Syrian Saint Maurelius,
who was bishop of Voghenza-Ferrara and was martyred just before this
church was built. His remains are in
the glass case under the altar. The Holy Roman Emperor Henry V had a
vision of the saint in 1106 and translated his relics here, which
led to strong local veneration. He was made Ferrara's other patron
saint (joining Saint George) in 1463. The painting of the saint's
martyrdom is a copy by Gennari of the original by Garofalo, now in
the Pinacoteca. In the right aisle is a chapel containing the
miracle-working panel of the Madonna of Salice.
The choir stalls in the apse are 15th century and have been attributed to the Canozio
brothers from Lendinara. On the left wall in the chancel is the 1474 tomb of Lorenzo Roverella, physician to
Julius II and afterwards Bishop of Ferrara, attributed to Ambrogio da Milano
and Antonio Rossellino (see right). The Roverella
family acquired rights to the chancel chapel in 1475 and
commissioned a huge high-altarpiece from Tura (see Lost art below). It is likely that the
altarpiece was moved to a side chapel during remodelling in the early
1580s. CosmŔ Tura is buried here in a pavement tomb in the chapel at the
entrance to the campanile. The high altarpiece is an 17th century
work by Maurelio Scanavini, a pupil of Francesco Ferrari, depicting
Had three cloisters, but only one remains. Also a small
theatre from 1739 used for concerts and sacred plays.
The work of Rossetti, completed in 1485 and inspired by the
new Duomo campanile.
Two altarpieces by CosmÚ Tura, both long dismembered and spread
One from the 147os was commissioned to commemorate Lorenzo Roverella, who
had been Bishop of Ferrara from 1460 until his death in 1474, by his
family, who had acquired the rights to the chancel chapel. It was
installed over the high altar in 1487, but moved to a side altar
when the church was rebuilt in the early 1580s. Its
central panel of the Virgin and Child Enthroned is in the National
Gallery in London. The Hebrew inscriptions on the throne, from the
Ten Commandments, are said to reflect Ferrara's prominent Jewish
community, although Christ's head covering the second commandment,
the one about the creation of graven images, has been open to
various interpretations. The lunette which topped this panel, The
Lamentation, is in the Louvre. The right-hand panel was the Virgin
and Child with Saints Paul and Maurelius present a kneeling cleric, now in the Colonna
Collection in Rome. A fragment of the left-hand panel, showing
the head of Saint George, survives, but it originally included Saint
Peter, the saints presenting another kneeling cleric, thought to be Lorenzo Roverella,
knocking to gain admission to the central space. These
side panels were topped with panels, one of the Blessed Bernard
Tolomei, founder of the Olivetans, and one of Saint Benedict. Two
tondi, the Circumcision and the Adoration of the Magi
are in Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fogg museums in Boston,
respectively. A Flight into Egypt tondo is in the MET. Arguments
still rage as to whether these tondi were parts of the predella from
The other is the Saint Maurelius Altarpiece of c.1480, produced for the
saint's chapel in this church. Two tondi remain, The Trial of St
Maurelius and The Martyrdom of St Maurelius, are in the
Pinacoteca. This altarpiece in 1635 was replaced by one on the same
subject by Guercino. The two tondi were moved to the church's
sacristy and then possibly to the attached monastery. They 'came
into the possession' of Filippo Zafferini who in 1817 gave them to
An Adoration of the Magi of 1537 by Garofalo is in the
Pinacoteca as is his Martyrdom of Saint Maurelius, a copy of
which, by Gennari, is in the saint's chapel here
15 fresco tondi of saints' busts by Girolamo da Carpi and Garofalo.
A Martyrdom of Saint Maurelius of 1629, by Guercino, in the
Pinacoteca from 1836. Another version (?) of the same subject by the
same artist, commissioned in 1634 and delivered in 1635, which
replaced the Tura altarpiece in the saint's chapel, is in the
Estense Gallery in Modena.
10.00 - 12.00, 4.00 - 6.00
An illustration from the
18th century map of Ferrara by Andrea Bolzoni
San Giovanni Battista
Via Montebello & Corso Porta Mare
The Augustinian Order of Lateran Canons had settled nearby in
12th century and then been moved from their unhealthy first site,
the plague hospital (and oratory) of San Lazzaro, by Ercole 1 d'Este
in 1474. In 1496 he gave them the land on which they built this
church and monastery. The architect was Francesco Marighella but
recent scholarship suggests that construction began in the apse to plans by
Biagio Rossetti, although some sources say the Duke Ercole himself designed it. An earthquake in 1570 caused damage resulting in rebuilding by architect Alberto Schiatti, probably resulting in a smaller church.
The monks here were expelled from in 1796 transferring to Santa
Maria in Vado. To be replaced by the Benedictines, then the
Somascans, who were expelled in 1810. The catechumens took over in
1821 and then from 1826 to
1834 the church was run by the Knights of Malta who made the complex into a
hospital, before they moved to Rome in 1855.
The church reopened for worship in 1938 but was closed
again after suffering from bomb damage and finally closed in 1954. Acquired by
the municipality of Ferrara in the 90s the church underwent restoration. After
the 2012 earthquake it temporarily reopened pending the restoration of the other
churches in the parish of Santo Spirito.
Said to be the only church in Ferrara with a Greek cross plan and
dome. Frescoes are said to remain.
The Deposition of c.1605 and The Beheading of St John the
Baptist of c.1603, both by Scarsellino. The latter is unusual
for showing the saint's just-severed head in mid-air and may now be
in the Musei Civici di Arte Antica.
On 2nd February 1502 Lucrezia
Borgia made her spectacular ceremonial entry into Ferrara as the new
bride of Alfonso d'Este. The sounds of church bells, trumpets and
cannon accompanied her and just outside San Giovanni a cannon
startled Lucrezia's horse and she was thrown off, but she picked
herself up and continued on
An altarpiece of the Virgin and Child enthroned
with Saints Apollonia, Augustine and Jerome by Ercole de' Roberti
(see right) had been brought here from the church of San Lazzaro. It was
Roberti's first important independent commission and the first
unified field sacra conversazione to be painted for a
Ferrarese church. It was in the
Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin and was destroyed in 1945 in the
fires in the Friedrichshain flak tower (Flakturm)
where paintings from the Berlin collections were being stored to
protect them from bombing.
A detail from the 18th century map
of Ferrara by Andrea Bolzoni
Land in the medieval part of Ferrara was given to the
Jesuits by Nicol˛ dall'Oro (called Ziponari) who had built an oratory here by1378, and in 1428 Giovanni Tavelli da Tossignano, who later became bishop of
Ferrara, had a church built next to it, which was then destroyed after the
suppression of the Jesuits in 1671.
The church was rebuilt from 1703 to 1712 to plans by Giulio Panizza for the
Barefoot Carmelite fathers who had been here since 1658. They remained until the
Napoleonic suppressions, but returned in 1821.
The marble portal from
the suppressed church of Sant'Anna two 18th-century statues attributed to Andrea
Ferreri in the lower niches, of Saint Teresa of ┴vila and Saint John of
Centrally-planned with a deep apse. Art mostly from the 18th century
and painted for the Carmelites.
The altarpiece of the second
chapel on the right, with "The Apparition of St. Joseph to Saint Teresa of
and the frontal of the first on the left, depicting "Saint Simon Stock and the
Virgin and Child ö, both by the Paduan Pietro Benati (or Bonatti).
On the second altar on the left
is the Crucifixion in polychrome stucco by Pietro Turchi from the mid-18th
The high altarpiece "Saint
Jerome in the desert" by Francesco Pellegrini also from the mid-18th century.
Saint George and Saint Maurelius by Bastarolo painted for the old church in the
late 16th century, are
now in the first chapel on the left.
Alessandro Aldobrandini (1734)
and the Blessed Giovanni Tavelli da Tossignano, bishop of Ferrara between 1431
and 1446, who built the adjacent convent of the Gesuati friars with an adjoining
In the old church 'The table of the high altar shows Christ born and sleeping,
adored by his Most Holy Mother and by many angels in heaven who show all the
tools of his barbaric and atrocious passion. This is a beautiful work by
Benvenuto Tisio Garofalo' according to Carlo Brisighella, the grandson of the
painter Carlo Bononi, in the late 17th century.
faces the house (no. 19) where Savonarola
spent the first 20 years of his life.
A panel depicting Saint
Jerome (and a somewhat heraldic lion) by 'Vicino da Ferrara'
from the second half of the 15th century in the Pinacoteca.
The unusual Virgin Adoring the Christ Child with the Instruments of the
Passion of 1517 (see right) by Garofalo is now in Dresden. It was the
high altarpiece here.
Piazzetta delle Castello
The original church was demolished to make way for
the building of the Castello Estense in 1385. By 1405 it had been
rebuilt in Gothic style and connected to the Order
of the Santo Sepolcro. Baroqued up inside in the 18th century, like
the Duomo. Restoration in 1952 was paid for by Cristiano Nicovich,
on the occasion of his reconstitution of the press association,
employing engineer Carlo Savonuzzi. Long deconsecrated.
Altars were dedicated to the Albergatori (inn-keepers),
Orefici (goldsmiths), and of the Arte dei Beccai (fishmongers, butchers, and restaurateurs).
The doorway has spires topped by figures of Gabriel and the Virgin, with Christ in the centre. Above is an
oculus window with an odd relief below it showing an episode in the
life of the church's name saint, Julian the Hospitaller (San Giuliano
lĺOspitaliere) when he murdered his parents in their sleep.
An 18th century guidebook to the churches of Ferrara by Scalabrini mentions an altarpiece of San Giuliano by Giacomo Bambini and Cesare Croma; a Bishop St Eligio
attributed to either Scarsella or Pordenone; a St Andrew by
Bartolommeo Solati; and a St Luke by Menagatti.
Wikimedia Commons has a photograph of a
ceiling fresco of The Virgin in Glory with Saints Giuliano, Eligio, Andrea
and Luca, by Giovan Battista Ettori and Massimo Baseggio, showing the
ceiling to be in a very poor state.
San Gregorio Magno
via Cammello (via Carmelino and vicolo del Granchio)
The first documentary proof, a
mention by Pope Leo VIII, confirms that this was a parish church by 964,
making it one of the Ferrara's oldest. Over the nest two centuries two
rectors of the parish, Giocanni Battista Bertazzoli and Melchiorre Sacrati,
presided over considerable work on the interior and fašade. Further
work in the 18th century instigated by Don Antonio Ughi, who had found the
church crumbling and the rectory unsafe, involved the lengthening of
the church, with a new choir and a larger transept. Rededication by
Cardinal Alessandro Mattei on April 13th 1788.
In 1932 the facade was restored to return it
to its Gothic appearance which the 18th century work had spoiled - the
pointed-arched marble and terracotta doorway and windows and the rose
window were put back.
The walls were whitewashed in the 1950s.
The chapel on the right is dedicated to Saint Gregory the Great, with a
canvas by Alberto Mucchiati showing him with Saint Clement.
The left-hand chapel is dedicated to Saint John of Nepomuk, in a canvas
attributed to Giuseppe Ghedini. In here is the baptismal font with a
marble basin of the 16th century on a base taken from the pier of the port
of Classe, used as a dock in the time of Augustus.
The transept arch is flanked by two 17th century statues in niches of St.
John the Baptist (on the right), and of St. John the Evangelist (on the
left), by Antonio Magnani. They used to be in the church of San Romano.
Above the high altar since 1958 has been a stone cave housing a wooden
statue of the Madonna of Lourdes, a work from 1884 by the Bolognese
Federico Monti moved from another part of the church. Although this church
is dedicated to Pope Gregory the Great his feast (September 3rd) has not
been celebrated here since being replaced by the celebrations of the
Madonna of Lourdes from around 1864, barely six years after the apparition
of the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette. This church is known in
Ferrara for this devotion, celebrated on 11th February.
Dates to 1092 and so said to be the oldest
in the city and built for a local noblewoman. Romanesque up to the
bell cell which has pointed arches like the doorcase and which date back
to at least the 13th century.
A parish church first mentioned in 972. From the
14th century, it passed to the Benedictine abbey of San Bartolomeo which was
outside the walls, and in the 16th century they undertook rebuilding, moving the
entrance to the east and adding aisles with three lateral arches. They stayed
until suppression in 1656, when the church passed to San Pietro. A few years
later the confraternity of the Santissimo Sacramento acquired the church from
the rector of San Pietro along with the adjoining ex-Benedictine monastery.
Closed by Napoleon in 1796, the church reopened in 1810.
Today it is privately owned and serves as a car park.
The Virgin and Christ Adored by Saint Martin
and Francis by Giacomo Parolini in the Pinacoteca
San Matteo del Soccorso
A small oratory was built here in 1580 by duchess Lucrezia d'Este, with a
hospice for separated and battered wives which later also took in repentant
prostitutes. The church was rebuilt in 1755 by Cardinal Marcello Crescenzi with
three altars, designed by Francesco and Angelo Santini. From 1758 to 1870 it was
a parish church and officiated until 1910. It was then closed and, seriously
damaged by bombing in 1944, was then sold and converted into warehouse. Since
May 2019 it has been a covered produce market.
Apostles and Evangelists by Carlo Bonfatti, from the old oratory, were reported
in in the church's presbytery in the 18th century by Scalabrini.
(Memorie istoriche delle chiese di Ferrara e de' suoi borghi: Munite, ed
illustrate con antichi inediti monumenti ...
Giuseppe Antenore Scalabrini)
Corso Porta Po
In 1106 Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor had a vision of Saint Maurelius
and translated the 7th-century Syrian saint's relics to the church of San
Giorgio in Ferrara. This resulted in great local veneration of the saint and in
1463 he became Ferrara's patron saint, often portrayed in Ferrarese art, such as
CosmŔ Tura's 1470 Saint Maurelius Altarpiece for San Giorgio fuori le mura,
where the saint's relics remain.
This church was built, with its monastery, in 1612, commissioned by the Marquis Enzo Bentivoglio
for Capuchin friars who had had to leave their monastery to make way for the Papal
Fortress. Damaged by bombing in the Second World War.
San Michele Arcangelo
via del Turco /piazzetta San Michele
This is one of Ferrara's oldest, being
mentioned in a document dated 962. At first connected to the abbey
of San Bartolo, it later passed to the Cistercians of Santa Maria in
Aula Regia in Comacchio. Rebuilt in 1479, this is the church we see
today. From 1561 to 1767 the Canani family patronage resulted in the
ceiling of the church being painted, depicting Saint Michael and the
evangelists . In the mid-17th century, a Saint Michael was painted
in the niche over the entrance. Closed and stripped of all art
during by Napoleon, it however remained open and in 1806 it became a
parish church. In 1843 the facade was restored and plastered. The
church was suppressed in 1932 with worship moved to the church of
San Michele del Ges¨ despite protests. From 1980 it housed a
restoration laboratory and from 2012 has been used as an ADO charity
The apse was added in the 16th century, the rectangular windows even
later. The ceiling painting by Gregorio Gregori of The Victory of
Saint Michael over the rebel angels remains.
Via Colomba 4-6/Piazzetta San Nicolo
The original church and
Benedictine priory here was built in the 12th century, tradition claims 1103,
and in 1183 it became a parish church. Rebuilt after the collapse of the
campanile at the expense of the Pasqualetti family. After a rebuild
completed in 1475 Duke Ercole I d'Este gave the priory to Augustinian friars
from San Girolamo da Fiesole. The friars began to rebuild, employing the duke's architect Biagio Rossetti, but the work was
limited to enlarging the apse as the friars lacked funds. The work was completed in
In 1610 the Augustinians employed Camillo Ricci (a pupil of Scarsellino) to decorate the ceiling of the
nave with 84 square panels telling the life of Saint Nicholas of Mira. The
friars remained until 1668, when their order was suppressed by Pope Clement IX. In
1688 the church and convent passed to the Somascans. Suppressed and stripped in
1796 by Napoleonic troops and in 1801 by the Cisalpine Republic.
In 1809 the complex became a prison for 'insurgents or brigands' and in 1811 it was acquired by the
municipality of Ferrara. In 1820, wild beasts were housed here, and in 1825 the church
and convent were used as barracks and stables by the Austrians, which use lasted until the 1930s.
In 1936 a plan to reopen the space in front of the church was approved, so as to
bring the church back to its original external appearance.
From 1984 to 1986 archaeological work in the Piazzetta San Nicol˛ confirmed
written history, finding the foundations of the campanile, which collapsed in
1380, and traces of the old church, which had served as a basis for the
reconstruction of the apse at the end of the 15th century. Also several burials
were found in an external cemetery located to the right of the church, under
what was later the sacristy, which was later still demolished.
Currently houses a dance gym and an art school.
The bell tower collapsed on 29 June 1380 and was also rebuilt in 1475.
Demolished in the 19th century.
A Noli me Tangere by
Scarsellino from the Riminaldi chapel here, now in the Pinacoteca
The Saint Anthony of Padua from just before 1490 by CosmŔ Tura and now in
the Estense Gallery in Modena, but was here in the 18th century.
The 84 square panels telling the life of Saint Nicholas of Mira by Camillo Ricci
(a pupil of Scarsellino) painted in 1610 to decorate the ceiling of the
nave, were sold and lost after the Napoleonic suppression.
A plaque commemorating the expansion of this church commissioned by
Duke Ercole I in 1476.
There was a parish church here in the
10th century. In 1295 it passed to the Carmelites. Over the next two
centuries a monastery was built with two cloisters, with
Renaissance-style rebuilding after the 15th century. Following the
earthquake of 1570, rebuilding of the church was entrusted to
Alberto Schiatti. (The church now faces onto the Piazzetta
Schiatti). Construction began in 1575, making it one of the last Este
churches, the monastery was enlarged and the church was
reconsecrated in 1611. Following the Napoleonic the monastery was
converted into a prison and the church remained open as a parish
The church was closed for worship in 2006, six years before the
earthquake that is blamed for all of Ferrara's church closures, and
has yet to reopen.
Looking a bit of a wreck in 2019, but with considerable work going on in
the very clean cloister. Work seems to be ongoing.
Retains much of its original decoration. 16th/17th-century
paintings and frescoes.
Along the aisles are 18th-century
terracotta sculptures by the otherwise unknown Filippo Bezzi and Francesco
Descent of Holy Spirit by Scarsellino.
Resurrection and Circumcision of Jesus by Bastianino.
Birth of St John the Baptist by Scarsellino.
Annunciation by Bastianino.
St Jerome (under organ) by Girolamo da Carpi.
Adoration of the Magi, Conversion of St Paul and Martyrdom of St Paul
by Domenico Mona.
Elijah Transported to Heaven in a Chariot, vault fresco by Scarsellino,
painted in the 1590s.
Frescoes on one wall of the choir from before the 14th century.
10th century and all that's left of the first church.
It was built by the Leuci family and is one of the few surviving defensive
family towers left in Ferrara.
Lost art in the Pinacoteca
Sixteen 14th-century panels of
Saints by a Maestro Veneto.
A 15th century panel of Saint Anthony Abbot by an anonymous master from
the Veneto-Emilia region.
Ercole Grandi? Niccol˛ Pisano The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, with Saints Joseph,
Job and Members of the Mori family, in which St
Sebastian's martyrdom is on raised ground and in isolation, as opposed to the
more common effect of his standing nonchalantly riddled with arrows amongst the
A fragment of a 15th-century terracotta window frame from the convent here is in
the Casa Romei.
A photo from Ferrara's La Nuova
newspaper in 2013
The convent and cloisters
The first cloister (Chiostro dei
Politici) adjacent to the west side of the church had been built by
1330. The second cloister (of the Cisterna or of the
Clock) is mentioned in 1423. In the late 14th/early 15th century
refectory and library were built, off of the cistern cloister. The
refectory has a coffered ceiling and a band of frescoes below it, on
three sides, dated 1506, restored in 1992, depicting saints,
blesseds and other images. More fresco work from the same century
came to light during the same restoration work in the room
above. Following the Napoleonic the complex was converted into a
jail, which it remained until 1912, when the prisoners were
transferred to new prison in via Piangipane.
The complex was put to various uses. During the Second World War the
wing on via Boccaleone was severely damaged by bombing. In the 1940s
and 50s homeless families occupied part of the former prison. Some
work was carried out after the war, but the first real restoration
came in 1963-64, by the Municipality of Ferrara who had owned the
complex since 1906. At this time the first cloister and the
surrounding wings were spruced up for the police. More work later in
the 1960s, in the 1980s, at the beginning of the 1990s and more
recently. Currently the two cloisters house municipal offices, the
Institute of Renaissance Studies and the Sala della Musica.
Via Porta San Pietro/Via Spilimbecco
There is said to have been a church built here
around 952 and that it was subsidiary base for the bishop of of Ferrara, whose
cathedral was then Saint Giorgio. A monastery was built here in 1010, the
gift of Bishop Ingone for the Canons of the Cathedral of Ferrariola .
Rebuilding in 1530, which included the reorientation of the fašade from west to
east. More work at the end of the 15th century, in the 16th and again in 1745.
Following suppression by Napoleon the complex was sold and changed hands many
times, being used as a warehouse, a gym, a ballroom and, as its reputation
became more notorious, a theatre and a porno cinema, which it remains, called
the Cinema Mignon Per Adulti.
The most important recent restoration work was in
1941, when plans to restore the facade faithfully were prevented by a lack of
any good documentation recording how it looked.
Two frescoes by Garofalo from first half of the
16th century, representing St Peter and St Paul, later detached
and moved to the atrium of the Duomo. Also by Garofalo is the odd Crucifixion
with Saints Andrew and Peter and the donor Bernardino Barbuleio (Carife
Foundation), painted in 1544 for the altar of the Crucifix here. Barbuleio was a
poet and grammarian and close friend of Garofalo,
See the Duomo
Via del Carbone
Via del Carbone
church since at least 1114. Documented in 1159 as a Benedictine
monastery. Enlarged from the early 15th century including work on
the the facade and the campanile.
On the floor in side was once an
eight-pointed star, the symbol of Pomposa and its monastery,
indicating burials here of Benedictine monks, but no trace remains.
In the 18th century, the prior here was historian Ludovico Antonio
Muratori, who carried out major renovations. Later that century
changes to the interior were carried out by architect Francesco
Suppressed in 1806 but reopened
shortly after by the Pia Congregazione Artieri e Mercanti. Major
restoration again in 1841, with fresh frescoes. Structural work in
1927 by the congregazione, followed by final restoration in
This church, dedicated to Saint Agnes, is known as Sant'Agnesina
(little Saint Agnes) to distinguish it from the monastery church of
Sant'Agnese over the road.
Was an oratory and a
hospital, documented in 1365, with the hospital probably having
existed since the 12th century. The hospital was closed in in
1498 when all the hospital functions were concentrated at Sant'Anna.
In 1544 Ercole II d'Este decided to dedicate it to orphans.
An upper floor housed the orphans and the sick and the lower housed
the oratory. Renovation in 1766 - 67 by a pupil of the architect
Francesco Mazzarelli, but suppressed by Napoleon in 1796 (with the
orphans transferred to the convent of Santa Caterina da Siena) and
used as a warehouse. Reopened in 1824 by Cardinal Odescalchi as a
University church and run by the Compagnia del Ges¨, with the
dedication to San Luigi Gonzaga. Suppressed again in 1859 and then
used as a carpentry shop by the physics department of the University
of Ferrara, it is currently disused, pending planned post-earthquake
restoration for educational use.
Sant'Agnese is on the left,
Sant'Agnesina to the right
The original church here was
built in 1507 for the Bianchetti family. Rebuilding in 1566, the
church had its first reconstruction. Became part of the Oratorio dei
Sacchi just before becoming a parish church. Rebuilt in
1750, with aisles added
and the nave elongated in 1791-1792. The Neoclassic facade dates to 1879.
Was scheduled to reopen on Sunday 9th February 2020 after three years of
restoration work .
The high altarpiece was formerly attributed to Fra Stefano da Carpi
but more recently to Jacopo Calvi, also called il Sordino.
Erected in 1626 and rebuilt in 1823.
An Annunciation by Bastianino and Ludovico Settevecchi from the 16th
century, now in the
Giotto, returning from Verona into Tuscany, "was compelled to
stop at Ferrara, and paint in the service of these lords of Este, at
their palace; also some pieces at S. Agostino, which are still
there". Not now they're not.
Ospedale & church
Portal went to San Girolamo
A panel now in the Galleria Borghese in Rome depicting Saints
Cosmas and Damian doing dentistry by Dosso Dossi from c.1520-22
was 'presumably' painted for the hospital/church here.
An altarpiece by Bastianino Virgin and Child and Saint Anne in
Glory with Saints Cosmas and Damian from the church here
via Saraceno and via Cavedone
Built in the 14th century by friars from Vienne, a French town
to which relics of the saint had been brought from the East in the
11th century. By 1410 it was a priory. Rebuilt in 1584,
suppressed in 1796 by Napoleon, but rededicated, with major
work in 1864 and 1866 - the fašade was rebuilt by
Antonio Tosi Foschini in Gothic style. Only the 15th-century choir
remained mostly unchanged.
Along the fašade of via Cavedone there is a 17th-century shrine
depicting the Crucifixion, the work of Francesco Robbio,
restored in 2000.
An Agony in the Garden
by Dosso Dossi in the Pinacoteca has Sto Antonio
inscribed on its reverse, leading to suggestions that it came from
Sant'Antonio in Polesine
Via Beatrice II dĺEste
Founded before 1000, the
original monastery here was established by the Eremitani di SantĺAgostino on
what was then an island in the River Po, before it changed course.
This alteration involved reclaimed land and the inclusion of of this
land within the addition to Ferrara made by Borso d'Este.
Polesine means a tract of land crossed by waterways. The church
that remains was consecrated in 1412.
An Augustinian convent dedicated to SAntonio
Abate was founded here in 1249 for his daughter Beatrice who had
decided to become a nun after he fiancÚ died. Beatrice adopted the
Benedictine rule in 1252, died
in 1264 and was beatified in 1270, when the convent here was rebuilt
using material from the the nuns' previous church of Santo Stefano
della Rotta di Focomorto. The cloister flanking the church here has
her relics and marble tombstone (from which healing 'manna' is said
to issue). More work followed in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Located just outside the city the church was used to lodge
important guests passing, on on their way to visit, Ferrara. These
included Bianca Maria Visconti, coming to meet her future husband
Francesco Sforza on 26th September 1440 and Pop Pius II on 16th May
1459 on his way to the Council in Mantua.
The extremely interesting frescoes are shown by one of the 15 nuns
who still live here (and are well-known locally for their singing,
to the accompaniment of a lyre).
The church is divided into two
parts, the public and Baroque western part with a trompe ceiling by
Francesco Ferrari, and the older east end with the nunsĺ choir
with its intarsia-work stalls of the
late 15th century.
The east end also has three chapels with frescoes from the
14thľ16th centuries, characterised by odd, and Byzantine, iconography. The north chapel
has frescoes from the early 14th century, very influenced by
Giotto and represent the early life of Christ and of the Virgin.
The Visitation unusually includes Zacharias and the Flight into Egypt is unique in
showing Jesus on Josephĺs shoulder, instead of in the
Virginĺs lap. On the left wall, the Dormition of the Virgin is Byzantine
in showing Jesus in a mandorla holding the
personification of the Virginĺs soul.
south chapel the cycle continues, with the scenes of the Garden of Gethsemane, Judasĺs
Betrayal and the Mocking of Christ on the left wall, all by the same school of painters
who painted the north chapel. Christ ascending the ladder to the Cross,
in the lunette on the right wall, is very unusual. From later
in the 14th-century and by different
painters (with more Bologna influence evident) are the
scenes of the Dance of Salome, Christ in Limbo, The Crucifixion,
The Deposition and The Entombment, also St John the Baptist and St
John the Evangelist flanking the window.
The frescoes in
the central chapel are mainly 15th century, whereas the
vault is decorated with grotesques of the late 16th century by
Bastianino. There are
lunettes on the side walls depicting the scallop shell of Santiago de Compostela
as pilgrims travelling there, along
the Via Romea, departed from this church. On the walls are
representations of the Virgin Enthroned among Saints, and of
martyrs and Doctors of the Church. There is the Stoning of St Stephen on the right wall, and the
Coronation of the Virgin. Annunciation by Domenico Panetti. The wooden Crucifix
attributed to the school of CosmŔ Tura.
Beyond the central chapel is a
room decorated with a 17th-century painted ceiling panels and
a 16th-century panel of the Virgin and the Mysteries of the Rosary
over the altar, with a fresco of the Flagellation attributed to Ercole deĺ Roberti
on the entrance wall.
Lost art in the Pinacoteca
Two eight-pointed-star-shaped panels of the Madonna
with Child and God
the Father, used as ceiling panels in the small
dormitory here, painted by the Maestro dagli Occhi Spalacanti in the
mid-15th-century. A panel of The Nativity and The Adoration of
the Magi by the Maestro dell'Adorazione di Ferrara from 1450.
panels by Bastianino showing
of Mary , Adoration
The Lamentation (Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera) executed by Garofalo in
Opening times Ring for admission,
9.30ľ11.30 & 3.30ľ4.30 or 5; closed Sun
Via Mortara and Corso della Giovecca
Santa Caterina Martire
A school for girls, with an attached
oratory, was built in 1572, on
land opposite the monastery of San Bernardino purchased by
Barbara of Austria, the wife of Alfonso II d'Este for this purpose.
It was then rebuilt and enlarged in 1588 by Aleotti, with the church
enlarged in 1611 and then consecrated by Bishop Fontana. With the
Napoleonic suppression the women sheltered here transferred to the
monastery of San Guglielmo.
From 1808 to 1815 the complex was returned to its former use, but the church was deconsecrated in 1950 and the
school buildings transferred to local government use.
The art from the complex was moved to the archives of Palazzo Schifanoia.
Painting of St Barbara in the midst of a choir of virgin martyrs by
Giuseppe Mazzuoli mentioned in an article in The Athenaeum magazine
The Virgin of the Rosary, which comes from the
Church of St Barbara and dates to c.1700 when the prior of the
conservatory, Domenico Gatti, built the chapel dedicated to St
Dominic and to the Virgin. The artist is Francesco Ferrari who worked
in many of the
churches in Ferrara (such as the basilica of St George).
Founded by three sisters of the Marano family in 1290 and in 1298
adopting the rule of Saint Benedict under the Beato Antonio da
Brecia. But the Augustinian Ermitani may have been here since 1227.
Enlarged and rebuilt by Duke Ercole I in 1496/7, but land was taken
from the nuns to build the Palazzo dei Diamanti and for the Trotti
Palace, both on the Via degli Angeli and parts of the Herculean
Addition. The convent was suppressed in 1796 but some of the complex
having been used as a barracks by the Austrians, a veterinary
clinic, by schools and as a natural history museum, with the church
now used as a gym. Seriously damaged in the 2012 earthquake, the
complex was the subject of safety and restoration works begun in
2019 and supposedly due to take 90 days.
Late-14th-century frescoes. from a cycle of the Last Judgement, were
painted over in the 17th century, revealed in 1930, partly removed
between 1934 and 1937, transferred to
canvas and partly lost due to decay. They are now in the Main
Hall of the Casa Romei and were subject to
analysis during a conference in Ferrara in 2017. They feature
Saints, the Doctors of the Church and a Crucifixion.
Santa Chiara delle Cappuccine
Corso della Giovecca
Santa Francesca Romana
via XX Settembre
Building began in 1641 when Marzio
Ginetti, the cardinal legate, laid the first stone, and was finished
The monastery was suppressed by
Napoleon in 1810 when the church passed to the parish of S.
Gregorio, until 1816 when the Capuchins returned. The monastery was
abolished in 1866 and the buildings passed to the state, with the
church and sacristy sold to the bishop of Ferrara in 1896, the same
year that the monastery was bought by the Capuchins. The Capuchin
convent was suppressed again in 1987. The church is currently used
by the FraternitÓ di Comunione e Liberazione.
Ippolito Scarsella (Scarsellino) Virgin and
Child in Glory Between Saints Francis and Clare with nuns late
16th century/from another church? Also his The Adoration of
the Eucharist (1609)
Originally a small oratory called San Giorgio della
Ghiara, known as San Giorgino, built in 1569 by Olivetan monks from
the nearby church of San Giorgio for their monastery here. Following
the purchase of more land in 1617 the current church was built from
1619 to designs by Alberto Schiatti. Alberto had died thirty years
previously and so it's possible that his designs were used after his
death or maybe a mistake had been made and it was his namesake who
died in 1664 who had been employed. It's more certain that the work
was completed in 1622 by Giovan Battista Aleotti, who was
responsible for the fašade and campanile, with the church that year
dedicated to Santa Francesca Romana. The previous oratory becoming
the sacristy. Renovation and enlargement between 1872 and 1874,
carried out by Pietro Ghelli, funded by the impressive inheritance
of the then parish priest Ernesto Baroni - the apse was reinforced , the
choir rebuilt and the church acquired five altars. Rising damp led
to need for work on the floor in the early 20th century. Between
1929 and 1931 the facade was restored. In 1932 the complex's
refectory was converted into a theatre which later became a cinema.
In the 1950s the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence carried out
restoration work on the the high altar and in the 1970s the stained
glass windows were restored.
The first chapel on the
right has the Crucifixion and the Holy Fathers in Limbo from
1614 by Ludovico Carracci which was originally the high altarpiece.
The first altar on the left
The Virgin and Child Presents the rule of San Benedetto to
Blessed Bernardo Tolomei by Giacomo Bambini
second altar on the left is a
Santa Francesca Romana Receives the
Child from the Virgin
painted by Camillo Ricci, a pupil of the Scarsellino.
The Renaissance-style Virgin and
Child that adorns the last altar is by Scipione Azzi, an
18th-century artist operating in Ferrara. The stucco statues of the
Four Evangelists, on the sides of the altar and nave are by the
Ferrarese sculptor Filippo Porri in collaboration with the Genoese
Some sources claim that the first church here was built in 800.
A church and orphanage were probably here before 1000,
the complex certainly was here in the 12th century when it consisted
of a parish church and two hospitals. In 1583 it became the seminary
of the Chierici Rossi and in 1721 a school for girls. In the 16th
century the church was rebuilt with a hall plan by Giovan Battista
Aleotti and enlarged with the addition of a campanile in 1769 . The
interior was later made octagonal by architect Antonio Foschini and
of the exterior only the doorway remained unchanged. In 1832 the nuns
from San Guglielmo were moved here and in 1916 Augustinians.
Currently the church is closed and some of the former convent has become
private housing, although 12 Augustinian nuns remain.
18th century The high
altarpiece is a painting of the martyrdom of the Saint by Francesco
the body and head of St. Sigismondo , King of Burgundy (more of his
relics are in Padua) were kept at the altar.
two small paintings by Scarsellino
A small hall oratory was built here in
the 15th century by Cavaliere Antonio Angelici for the Augustinian
friars from the nearby Sant'Andrea. The church was dedicated to
Santa Maria delle Grazie, referring to a miraculous image of the
Virgin to be found close to the convent of Sant'Andrea. This icon
also had a representation of Santa Libera so locals began calling
the church Santa Libera or Santa Liberata.
In 1556 the Arte dei Muratori (guild of masons) acquired the
church and restored and embellished it. Suppressed by Napoleon it
became a warehouse, stables, horse hospital, laboratory and, during
WWII, a metallurgical workshop, until 1979 when it underwent
restoration to become a lapidary museum.
Lapidario Civico (map Ferrara East 12;
same opening hours as Palazzo Schifanoia)
Hours: 10-19 Closed on Monday - Open on Monday of the Angel
Annual closing days: 1st and 6th January, Easter, 1st November,
25th and 26th December
The Lapidary can be visited with the Palazzo Schifanoia ticket :
click here for info.
Via de' Romei
The church was built c.1604 by Giovan Battista Aleotti, at the rear of the old Pendaglia Palace
which had been sold in part to the Conservatorio delle Zitelle di
Santa Margherita, who then began the construction of the church.
The complex was closed in 1796 by Napoleon and
used as a warehouse. In 1845 it became a
following a fire in 1831 which damaged the painted and coffered
ceiling. In 1848 it became the fire brigade HQ and was later a gym.
until it passed to the Orio Vergani hotel institute.
The interior had frescoes(fragments?) by Scarsellino, Carlo Bononi and
Bastianino. Also a late Gothic loggia to the cloister.
Demolished in 1913 (see photo right).
A drawing by Aleotti
Santa Maria dei
Built in 1669 to designs by
Luca Danesi, and finally completed, along with the attached convent, in the
18th century by the brothers Francesco and Vincenzo Santini. for
Servite nuns after their previous complex, which they'd
occupied since 1339, was demolished in 1633 to make way for the
Santa Maria dei Teatini
Santa Maria della PietÓ
Corso della Giovecca
In 1618 at the instigation of Laura Sighizzi and Cardinal
Carlo Emanuel Pio of Savoy an oratory for the Theatine order dedicated to Santa
Maria della PietÓ was established here. Luca Danese designed the Baroque church,
which was begun in 1622 and completed in 1653. Closed and crumbling since the 2012 earthquake
with services now held in the sacristy. In August 2020 it was announced that a
project to survey the convent with a view to converting it to offices for the
Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour had begun.
The facade is unfinished brick.
Typical late 18th century baroque.
The choir has frescoes of the Life of San Gaetano, the founder of the
Theatines, by Clemente Majoli, who also frescoed angels on the ceiling of a
chapel near the presbytery, which also has works by Scarsellino.
To the right of the presbytery is a canvas depicting John the Baptist by Andrea
Sacchi. The main chapel has a Presentation of the Virgin (Madonna delle
Colombine) of 1654/55 by Guercino. (The painting depicting the Purification of the Virgin was
commissioned by the lawyer Claudio Bertazzoli for his family chapel
in the church in 1654, with the final payment recorded the following
year. The painting remains in the church today, the third altar on
the left. Purification same as Presentation!) Sant'Andrea Avellino was painted by Camillo Ricci. The ceiling of the sacristy
is frescoed with a Glory of San Gaetano by Alessandro Naselli. In the first
chapel is a San Gregorio by Francesco Costanzo Catanio. Another chapel has a
San Gaetano and a Resurrection by Alfonso Rivarola known as il Chenda. Also a
mystery artist Abramo Scoccese (Scottish) has a Transit of St. Joseph
Nave walls? have canvases depicting the Life of San Gaetano by Cesare Mezzogori.
He also painted friezes of chiaroscuro angels on the ceiling and canvases around
the Altar of the Purification of the Virgin. The latter work being completed by
Giovanni Battista Felletti, who painted a San Gaetano and the Child.
Under the altar of St John the Baptist are the remains of San Secondino, Bishop
and Martyr and in the chapel of the Virgin of the Graces, the relics of San
Faustino Martire, both transported here supposedly from the Cemetery of Santa
Lucina in Via Aurelia outside Rome. General Antonio Domenico Balbiani is buried
in the last chapel. He defended Ferrara for Pope Clement XI and was named Grand
Prior of Armenia and Grand Admiral of Malta.
Some of the marble used to decorate the interior came from the Delizia di
Belfiore, the famed palace of the Este.
The oratory of the Theatines next door has more art. The high altarpiece was a Santissima Virgin by Costanzo
Cattani. In the walls of the oratory were canvases depicting an Annunciation by
Giovanni Braccioli; a Purification at the Temple by Camillo Setti; a Flight to
Egypt by Alessandro Naselli, and others by Tommaso Capitanelli. The ceiling was
painted by Francesco Ferrari.
Santa Maria del Suffragio
via San Romano
Built in 1623 as an oratory for the Confraternita del
Suffragio by the brotherhood's founder, also the canon of the
Cathedral and vicar of the church of San Romano up the road. Rebuilt
in 1750 by Gaetano Barbieri.
An aisleless hall nave with two side altars - sweet
little square grey Baroque interior, with a deep choir, stained
glass, every surface decorated, mostly in a grisaille way, and
The vault decoration is the work of local early-18th century artist
Giuseppe Facchinetti with the central painting by Ettore Parolini.
The vault of the presbytery and the choir has paintings by
Alessandro Turchi. A niche in the choir has a Virgin and Child
by Lorenzo Gherri. Over the left altar is a Marriage of the
Virgin by Leonello Bononi from c.1630. Over the altar on the
right is the venerated Pieta (called the Madonna della
Racchetta) placed here in 1808 having been originally located in
the nearby via Vespergolo and then in the church of San Romano. It
is framed with a marble neoclassical bas-relief from 1832 by the
brothers Francesco and Mansueto Vidoni through which the
Madonna della Racchetta
is viewed as through a porthole (see the right side of the photo
left). At the same altar the
Blessed Alberto Marvelli, a local engineer and politician beatified
in 2004, has been revered since 2003.
Art by F Parolini, Lorenzo Gherri, P Turchi,
Giovan Battista Ettori
The organ on the counter-fašade, dated 1551 , is the work of
Giovanni Cipri and came from Sant'Antonio in Polesine
Santa Maria della Consolazione
This church marks the spot where a nobleman from Ferrara,
on his way to one of his farms outside the city in 1189, ran into some bandits
and after appealing to the Virgin Mary for assistance escaped unharmed. He rode
home and returned with a painting of the Virgin. In 1189 a small oratory was
built to house the image of the Virgin and miraculous healings duly followed.
(This image is no longer to be found here)
As the oratory's popularity grew Duke Ercole I was asked to finance the building
of a church next to the oratory. So on April 5th 1501 the first stone was laid
by the Duke, to designs by Biagio Rossetti it is very
claimed, with the work completed on March 16, 1516 and the miraculous icon
installed the same year. Consecration, however, didn't happen until September
1524. A convent was also built from 1500 for the
Servites, inspired by the preaching of Fra Marino Baldi at the Duomo that year.
A Fra Marino was confessor to Sigismondo was buried here in 1518.
Marfisa d'Este was buried
here in 1608, but her tomb was later moved to the Certosa. In 1781 the convent
was suppressed by Pope Pius VI decreed the suppression of the convent, with the
church passing to parish use. In 1883 the church was closed for worship and put
to various uses - as stables, a military warehouse (in 1877), a garage for
funeral cars, a military hospital (in 1916) and a municipal warehouse.
The fittings and furnishings distributed
among the other churches of the diocese. In 1964 the church and cloister were
restored by the Ferrariae Decus association and the Ferrara savings bank and in
1971 reopened for worship. But the church has been closed since the earthquake
of 2012, however a news report in September 2019 claimed that work had begun which
was due to be completed in April 2021 'barring unforeseen circumstances'.
The facade is unfinished, the
entrance porch was originally to become part of a narthex, as can be seen in its
ragged chopped-off appearance.
A nave and two aisles in the apse dome is a fresco of the
early 16th century depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, a work formerly
attributed to local artists, it has recently begun to be attributed Baldassare
A 16th century plaster relief of the Virgin and Child in the
Santa Maria della Visitazione
via Formignana and Carlo Mayr
Built in 1526 to house the very venerated fresco of the Madonna
della Porta di Sotto, by which name the church was sometimes known.
The fresco had survived the demolition of the Port di Sotto
and the medieval
walls by Alfonso I d'Este in 1510 .
The church was damaged by the 1570 earthquake and was restored with
a rebuilt fašade by Alberto Schiatti. Consecrated in the 1630s,
it had passed to the Camillians in 1615, who were here until 1797. After Naploeonic
suppression it became state property in 1810 and was reopened for
worship in 1813. Again officiated by the Camillians, in then passed
to the Missionari del Preziosissimo Sangue (Missionaries of the
Precious Blood) and then became a parish church in 1957 .
A Greek cross with a nave and two aisles.
The Madonnina, is by an anonymous 15th-century Ferrarese master.
Saint Jerome by Bastianino , two paintings by Gaspare Venturini
(16th century) and a canvas with a rare figurative subject, with
Christ descending from the cross towards Blessed Lutgarda .
San Carlo Borromeo in Ecstasy 1611 by Carlo Bononi perhaps
the first image of the new saint from Ferrara, only canonized in
November 1610. It is on deposit at the Civic Museums of Ancient Art.
Santa Maria in Vado
Via Borgo Vado
The church of Santa Maria in Vado, formerly dedicated to the
Annunciation, is first documented here in 971, with an adjoining
monastery. Called Santa Maria in Vado as you had to cross a ford (vado) to
reach it, in an otherwise marshy area. On the 28th of March 1171, during Easter celebrations,
Prior Pietro da Verona was breaking the Host when it turned to real
flesh and he saw drops of blood fall from it into the apsidal basin.
This was proclaimed the Miracle of the Prodigious Blood. This at a
time when Albigensian and Cathar heresies were denying the miracle of
In 1477 Ercole I decided to enlarge the monastery by building with
two cloisters. The rebuilding of the church followed, when in
1495 an architect and painter called
Ercole Grandi prepared the drawings for the fašade, the interior and
the marble decoration. (Vasari mixed the architect Ercole up with
Ercole deĺ Roberti, the painter, a mistake which was corrected in
1914 but which is still all over the internet and in guidebooks.)
Some claim that he was a favourite pupil of Lorenzo Costa, others
that he's a myth.
This work was executed by Biagio Rossetti and Bartolomeo Tristano,
with Antonio di Gregorio. The rebuilding finished, the church was
reconsecrated on 18th April 1518. In 1519 there was further work on
the interior by the builder Bartolomeo Tristano. Restoration work 1829-35
by Tosi to make the building safe, at which time many paintings were
moved to the Pinacoteca.
Mostly minor 16th and 17th century art, the five highlights, on the nave, transept and apse ceilings are
all the work of
1617, framed by 17th/18th century illusionistic ceiling painting by
Girolamo Faccini, Ippolito Casoli, and Girolamo Grassaleoni.
Work by Bastianino (Sebastiano Filippi) and Camillo Filippi,
his son, who painted The Annunciation
over the high altar. Organ doors? of the same subject by ?
Saint Omobono by Dosso Dossi and Rossellini, ninth altar on right.
Works of Dosso Dossi, Bastianino,
and Carpaccio are copies, the last two by Gregorio Boari, whose originals, are now in the
Pinacoteca. An Ascension by Bononi is a copy of a Garofalo
now in Rome. There is a 15th century Byzantine M & C, called The Madonna of
Constantinople in fact, over the fourth altar, attributed to Antonio
The deep transept has the
organ at the left end and the famous Cappella del Prodigio
containing the Santuario del Preziosissimo Sangue, covering the
right end (see photo right) a temple-like structure built in 1595. It commemorates the Miracle of the
Prodigious Blood and the subsequent splashing of blood onto the
vaulting of the semi-dome of the apse of the old church.
The sangue-splashed dome was moved into the upper level here but
with some loss of the miraculous stains.
In 1696 Carlo Brisighella (his grandson) had a plaque placed on
Carlo Bononi's tomb here.
Lost art now
in the Pinacoteca
Saint Cecilia by Bastianino from the late 16th century.
Saint John on Patmos by Dosso Dossi. The Death of the Virgin by Carpaccio
dated 1508, from the baptistery (high altar?) here, where it
remained until 1836. The Tribute Money, which has been
attributed to many down the years, but now to Giovanni Cariani. A Visitation
and an Annunciation by Domenico Panetti. An
Assumption of Mary Magdalene by Ercole Grandi.
A Madonna and Child Enthroned with the Infant John the Baptist
and Saints Agatha, Apollonia, Lucy, Helena, Catherine and
Maurelius and Two Donors signed and dated 1542 by Michele Coltellini.
A Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Roch and Anthony Abbot
painted for the first altar on the left here by the Master of the
by and Stefano Falzagalloni.
A Virgin and Child in Glory with Five Saints (see right)
from the Da Varano chapel here, moved to the sacristy in 1933, and
now in the Archbishop's Palace, since 1945, may be by Dosso Dossi,
but is likely not. The identities of the saints changed during
restoration work in 1983, when later overpainting was removed.
In the process the two female saints behind the foreground male
saints lost a salver with breasts upon it and pincers holding a
tooth, and so were no longer Lucy and Apollonia, becoming a mystery
and Saint Catherine, respectively. Saint Peter, far right, lost his
keys but is still Peter, balanced by Saint Paul far left. The
central saint was thought to be John the Baptist but the cleaning
revealed an inscription identifying him as Saint Matthew.
A Vision of Saint John the Evangelist by Battista Dossi, the younger
brother of Dosso, in the Pinacoteca since 1836.
holidays 9.00-12.30, 4.00-7.00, 8.30-10.00
Santa Maria Nuova
Santa Maria Nuova e San Biagio
Local tradition reports a small
lake here, on an island in which was built a church called Santa Maria dei
Pescatori "of the fishermen". Nearby was built another, larger church
called Santa Maria del Lago in 911. From 1138 it was called Santa Maria Nuova and
in 1182 acquired its current form, documented as a parish church in 1278. Work
carried out in the 14th and 15th
centuries involved the building of chapels by the Contrari and Bonlei families.
Later decline was halted in 1708 when the
church of San Biagio, which was on the corner of viale Cavour and via Cittadella, was demolished.
The parishes were merged and in 1709 a
chapel dedicated to San Biagio was built in here to house a relic of the saint,
his jaw, which is still locally venerated as a
cure for throat ailments, especially on the saint's day on February 3rd. Closed
by Napoleon in 1796, it reopened in 1812 but not as the parish church
At the end of the 19th
century renovation work on the floor was carried out and the tomb of the Aldighieri
family, thought to be ancestors Dante Alighieri,
was found in under the high altar, along with traces of the wall of the
ancient church. Dante's kinship with the Aldighieri is not certain, but the 15th
canto of the
Divine Comedy and a testimony of Giovanni Boccaccio mention the Ferrarese origins of the poet's ancestors.
More restoration work in 1921, including a crypt to preserve the
Aldigheri tomb, when 18th century work on the fašade was
also reversed, returning it to its 15th century appearance. A Transit of the Virgin fresco
sinopia was found during this restoration of the
facade and a Dante-related plaque, quoting Canto 15, was installed.
The church returned to parish use in 1938 and bombing in 1944 caused major
damage with reconstruction following and finishing in 1949. The 2012 earthquake
forced the church to close. It reopened in late 2015 but restoration work
Scarsellino Miracle of the Snow from c.1600/10 behind the main
altar, said to have had side panels of saints and narratives by Mazzolino. A 17th-century wooden Crucifix by Tommaso Gandolfi .
A fresco fragment of The Virgin and Child by an artist in the
circle of the Maestro di Casa Pendaglia was detached from this
church in 1952, and is now in the Casa Romei. Removed at the same
time was a sinopia of The Dormition of the Virgin from the
mid-15th century in the pointed arch over the portal. It's in the
Casa Romei now too.
The church and convent were
founded in 1515 by nuns from the convent of Sant'Agostino, with the help of Duke
Alfonso I and his wife Lucrezia Borgia, to designs by Gherardo Saraceni.
Consecration by the bishop of Comacchio Gillino Gillini followed on 13 July
1544. Following the Napoleonic suppressions in 1796 the complex became private
property. In 1815 it was rented to some nuns, who had to abandon it shortly
afterwards as it was reacquired by the Municipality. In 1869 they were able to
return, but in 1950 the Carmelite nuns left for good.
V&C lunette over door by Garofalo returned
after restoration work in 2015.
Santa Teresa Trasverberata
Via Borgo Vado/Via Brasavola
In 1739 five Discalced
Carmelite nuns, allied to the Discalced Carmelite fathers from San Girolamo,
began to meet in a house nearby. One house became four, and a church was built
to plans by Gaetano Barbieri, starting in 1781 and completed in 1788. In that
year the temple was consecrated to the Transverberation of the Heart of Saint
Teresa of Jesus, the founder of the Discalced Carmelites. Suppressed by
Napoleon, but in 1821 the nuns were able to return to their partially demolished
convent with some new building. Restoration work on the church from 1923,
which involved the replacement of the old high altar with one made of white
marble, and a second consecration in 1939.
Decoration of the interior began around the same time, and was completed in
1931, by the Ferrarese painter Augusto Pagliarini, also responsible for two
paintings flanking the main altar showing two scenes from the life of St.
Teresa, with two tondi above of two Carmelite Blessed nuns.
A circular plan, topped by a dome and a lantern. Two paintings
attributed to the 18th century Ferrara painter Francesco Pellegrini
Santi Cosma e Damiano
via Carlo Mayr
The church, an oratory for apothecaries, was built by the architects Francesco
and Angelo Santini from 1710 to 1738 based on plans by Francesco Mazzarelli.
Closed in 1933 and later used as a warehouse. In 1986 it was bought by the
Municipality and used to house magazines and periodicals from the (quite) nearby
Ariostea municipal library. Damaged by the 2012 earthquake, in 2015 the church
was purchased by the Romanian Orthodox community of San Nicodemo di Tismana who
restored it and began using it in 2020. They paid, in instalments over 5 years,
175, 000 euros. They had previously used the churches of Santa Chiara Vergine
and Santa Francesca Romana.
10 large life-size stucco statues of the Evangelists and the doctors of the
church and four terracotta busts from 1736 by Andrea Ferreri
Santi Giuseppe, Tecla e Rita da Cascia
via Carlo Mayr
The Marquis Camillo Zavaglia was
intent on bringing the Order of the Discalced Augustinians to
Ferrara and on 11th February 1623 they were given the church of
Saints Simon and Jude a house to rent for the monks. Years of growth
followed and in 1627 a license was granted to build the new church,
financed by two benefactors. Four houses were bought and the new
building was finished in a year, completed with further donations,
including that of the Marquise Clarice Estense Tassoni for the high
altar. The license for the construction of a second church was
granted in 1638, based on a design by Atanasio di San Filippo, but
this proved to be inadequate and local architects Carlo Pasetti and
Giovanni de Priori were employed.
Work began on 27th October 1638 and was completed in 1646. Between
1652 and 1656 four chapels were built, two on each side.
Consecration followed on 17th April 1671 by Giulio Bentivoglio
, bishop of Bertinoro, with the church dedicated to Saints Giuseppe
(protector against earthquakes) and Tecla (virgin martyr). the late
17th century saw the frescoed decoration of the chapels and the
installation of wooden confessionals beside the chapels, and the
mid-18th century the choir and organ, all the woodwork being of
After the Napoleonic suppressions,
in 1796, the convent was used as a girls' school, but was returned
to the Augustinian fathers thirty years later. Following the
suppression of the orders in 1866 by the Kingdom of Italy the
convent was sold on 20 July 1869 to the municipality of Ferrara,
resulting in the use of the complex as a boys' school. Various
restorations of the church, including work on the fašade carried out
by Gaetano Faggioli in 1880. The Lateran Pacts of 1929 saw the
church returned to the Augustinian fathers. Bombings during WWII
caused the collapse of the campanile and damage to the facade. In
1949 the church added a dedication to Santa Rita and in 1958 the
campanile was rebuilt. Rebuilding work in recent years and
restoration of the furnishings by the superintendency of Bologna.
Baroque, a long aisleless nave nave with two chapels each side. Has a
wooden trussed roof behind a barrel-vaulted ceiling and a
In the presbytery are five large paintings of various
scenes from the lives of the saints The frescoes in the apse and the presbytery
were painted in 1688 by the Ferrarese
painter Francesco Scala .
The main altar is decorated with polychrome marble, to a
design of the Jesuit Father Ippolito Sivieri, the urn of St.
Ignatius the martyr is underneath it.
Much 17th century art and many reliquaries.
Santi Simone e Giuda
First documented in the
12th century, in 1278 the church here became a parish church. In
1422 it was reconsecrated having been rebuilt in Gothic style. The
current fašade, though, is the result of restoration in 1904, which
set out to reverse 18th-century embellishments. In 1735 the
building, and an adjacent house, was bought by the Arte dei
Marangoni (carpenters), who made big changes, including in 1760
demolishing the old marble altar and replacing it with a wooden one, until work finished in
1763 which involved the loss of the two Gothic windows of the fašade
and creating a large window in the centre. The Istrian stone and
Verona marble doorcase was kept.
In 1763 the church passed
to the Confraternita del Sacro Cuore, called the Sacchi. A new choir
was built later in the 18th century. With the Napoleonic
suppressions the church and attached house were sold by the state to
private individuals, which led to its purchase by Don Luigi
Serravalli, who in 1815 gave them to the Confraternita del Sacro
Cuore. In 1904 the engineer Lorenzo Dotti set about the restoration
of the facade, back to its 15th-century gothic fenestration. During
the First World War the church was closed again for worship and used
as an army warehouse. Left to crumble, and bombed in 1944, resulting
in the collapse of the roof. The unsafe roof was
demolished in 1998 and for more than two years the church was left
open to the elements. In 2000 the Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara took
over the building as Confraternita dei Sacchi didn't have the
resources, and in 2001 the roof was rebuilt and the walls
strengthened. Further work, on the 18th century interior, was due to
be completed in 2004.
A high altarpiece by
Scarsellino with Saints Simone and Giuda, painted before 1614, now
A guide book of 1838 by Francesco Avventi
tells of a high altarpiece
showing the titular saint by Alberto Mucchiati, an artist it
describes as well-educated but mediocre.
Santissimo Crocifisso di San Luca
Via Giuseppe Fabbri
It is said that an oratory was built here
by Accarino d'Este in 450, but it's more certain that by 1128 an oratory
dedicated to this saint was here, containing the wooden crucifix from the Capo
Rete beach on the Po where it had miraculously run aground and been hauled here
by a poor man with a thin mules called Luca Finotti. It is said that there was
already an altar here which had been dedicated to Luke the evangelist by the
Marquis Almerico d'Este in 930. So from this crucifix the church gets its name
and it's still to be found in the apse here. It is attributed to Saint Luke
himself, but is probably 12th century. The church was consecrated in 1135 by
Bishop Landolfo. It was severely damaged by a flood on 22nd October 1654, but
immediately rebuilt, very baroquely inside - in 1768 the high altar and apse
were finished and in 1785 the current structure was completed. This work under
the direction of Don Luca Bonetti, rector here from 1760 to 1816. He also
implemented the building of a long portico to connect the church to the centre
of the city but only 80 of the 250 arches were built by 1776 and demolished in
9.00 to 12.00
Observant Franciscans, built
following the demolition of the Franciscan monastery of the same name was
demolished in 1512 by Alfonso I improving the city's defences. This earlier
church had existed in 1306 but rebuilt in 1407. Repaired after the 1570
Lost art in the Pinacoteca
The Madonna and Child with Saints
Jerome and Francis (the Suxena Altarpiece) painted by Garofalo in 1514, in imitation of Raphael's Madonna di Foligno, is now in
the Pinacoteca. It was commissioned for the Suxhena family chapel here dedicated
to the Immaculate Conception. Vasari described it as "the Virgin in the
air with the Child in her arms, and below some other figures." The Virgin
and Child float in a cloud infested with putti and musical angels and the two donors kneel
between the saints and the
landscape. The dedication of the chapel suggests that the altarpiece's
subject might be the Immaculate Conception. The Virgin having the Child with her
is unusual for this subject but not unprecedented.
Saint Jerome by Avanzi.
A Last Supper fresco from the refectory here, with three lunettes of Old
Testament figures, by Garofalo from 1544, removed and acquired by the Pinacoteca
One of Ferrara's oldest
churches, founded around 960, but certainly built before the 11th
Damaged by the earthquake of 1570
and rebuilt larger with added side aisles. In
1657 it was granted to the Congregation of the Oratory of San Filippo Neri
who restored the interior and provided most of the 17th century art
found here still. They were suppressed in 1796, but the church
The current external appearance of the church is the result of the
restorations carried out in 1905 to return its Gothic style.
Bombing in 1944 resulted
in much damage especially to the ceiling frescoes (1882) by Francesco
Ferrari and rebuilding and reopening followed in 1947. One of the few churches restored and reopened,
in 2016, after the
four circular rosaci, with two housing
terracotta busts of St Stephen and the Virgin, said to have been
installed during the restoration work of 1824, and one with the logo
of San Bernardino. The marble doorcase came from Rossetti's church of San Silvestro
at the same time.
big but not long, it's width accommodating a nave and two wide
aisles three bays long with large brown marble altars. A pale
pastel-panelled high altar, though in a short presbytery with
considerable stonework crumble at the back. What at first you take
to be printed A4 alarm warnings on all the altars in fact tell you
who the paintings are by, in smaller type, but apart from an
impressive Avanzi Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence of 1714 (third on the
right) you may not need to know.
The high altarpiece is The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen framed by
18th-century stuccoes, by Virginio Monti from the 19th century.
The counter-fašade niches have statues
of San Gregorio Magno and Sant'Agostino, by Turchi. Near the
presbytery are two canvases of scenes from the life of San Filippo
Neri attributed to Giuseppe Avanzi ( 18th century )
In the right aisle (first altar) there are the relics of San Leo and
an altarpiece by Giacomo Parolini (1689 ) with " San Leone Magno ,
Sant'Antonio di Padova to San Francesco di Paola ",
(second altar, but currently in poor
conservation conditions)a canvas
attributed to Antonio Randa ( 17th century ) with " Saint Francis of
Sales approving the Rule of Saint Joan of Chantal "
(third altar). altarpiece
with the "Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence " by Avanzi ( 1714 )
left aisle (first altar) there is a fifteenth-century fresco with
the Madonna delle Grazie , which is in the background a canvas with
the "Saints John and Paul " painted by Ippolito Scarsella ( XVI
(second altar) a painting with "the Madonna while placing between the
arms of Santa Caterina Vegri the Child Jesus "attributed to Ghedini
third altar). a wooden crucifix from the 17th century
The church also houses works by Gandolfi and Paganini and
one attributed to Cozza.
Built in 1100 it nearly collapsed in 1275, did collapse
in 1339 and was rebuilt
as we see it today, lower and topped more gothicly.
A locally venerated canvas of The Apparition of the
Virgin to St. Philip Neri by Antonio Randa was destroyed in the 1944
In 1948 three fragmentary frescoed lunettes of The Life of Saint
Maurelio, the co-patron-saint of Ferrara, by Vitale da Bologna
were found in a small chapel at the base of the campanile here. They
were detached, badly, in 1949 and are now in the Casa Romei.
Traces of a starry sky were also found and sinopias.
see Santa Maria dei Teatini
Existing by 1070, the church
here belonged to the cathedral until 1256 when it passed to
the Eremitani order of Augustinians who rebuilt and reconsecrated by Pope Eugene IV in
1438. Rebuilding followed from the 1490s (funded by Borso
d'Este and the Duchess Eleonora) and in the 16th century,
when the building
reached its final configuration in three naves. The side naves
opened onto nine semicircular chapels , while on the sides of the
apse were two smaller chapels. The chapel of the Blessed Sacrament
was built in 1627 by Giovan Battista Aleotti, and he was buried in
The Augustians were forced to leave
in 1796 due to the Napoleonic suppressions. Around 1806 the cloisters were
demolished, following use as a barracks, which continued. In 1886 the church was
closed and from the roof collapsing in 1938, after a century of
decline, worse followed with
severe damage from bombing in 1944, and in the 1967 earthquake the
apse walls collapsed. The church's
remaining left aisle was demolished in
1969 to build a school. The campanile was subsequently demolished.
Ruins of the right nave remain
Buried here were
the ducal architect and engineer Biagio Rossetti (at the foot of the third pillar in the left aisle),
Alberto Schiatti (who built San Paolo), Giovan Battista Aleotti (who
built a chapel here), and Giuseppe Mazzuoli (Bastarolo) the
Ferrarese Mannerist painter.
Lost art in
The huge, damaged Triumph of Saint Augustine and The
Martyrdom of Saint Dorothy fresco fragment of c.1361-93 (the
dates when the artist was in Ferrara) by Serafino dei Serafini from
Modena are in the Pinacoteca. There's also a detailed
19th-century watercolour by Girolamo Domenichini of the Saint
Fresco fragments of Saint Christopher and Saint Sebastian
by a Ferrarese master of the early 15th century. in the Pinacoteca.
A Saint Andrew panel by Domenico Panetti. Also
four panels, of Saints Andrew and Augustine and an
Annunciation pair, also by him from 1510 for the organ case.
The Old and New Testament by Garofalo - a
large fresco from
the refectory here, removed in 1841 and acquired by the Pinacoteca
The Assumption of Mary Magdalene (the weird one with the
large rabbit and the wingless acrobat putti) by the Maestro della Maddalena Assunta,
from the very early 16th century.
A Guardian Angel by Carlo Bononi
in the Pinacoteca since 1863.
The famous and huge high altarpiece The Costabili Polyptych of 1513
(see right), commissioned by Antonio Costabili from Dosso Dossi
and Garofalo and in the Pinacoteca since 1846. Costabili held
communal and ducal office, involving military and diplomatic
activities, during the reigns of Ercole I and Alfonso
I dĺEste and acquired patronage rights to the chancel and high altar
here in the 1490s. His family palazzo (later nicknamed Palazzo
Ludovico il Moro) was nearby.
The altarpiece is both a progression from the 15th-century tradition
of Ercole de' Roberti and backward-looking in its multi-panelled
polyptych format, possibly adopted to accentuate its monumentality.
The central panel is a very Bellini-esque Virgin and Child
Enthroned, with the young John the Baptist and Saints, flanked
by panels depicting Saints Sebastian and George, with
Ambrose and Augustine in the Spandrels. The pinnacle
is a Resurrected Christ. The saints in the central sacra
conversazione panel include Andrew on the left and
Jerome on the right with John the Evangelist on the steps
between them. Further back and murky are Joachim and Anna,
the parents of the Virgin on the right, and Elizabeth and Zachariah,
the parents of John the Baptist, on the left.
Triumph of Christianity over Judaism, fresco fragment,
a small panel of The Mass of Saint Nicholas
of Tolentino from a series of the Saint's miracles in the
Muzzarelli chapel here, both by Garofalo and now in the Pinacoteca,
the latter since 1846.
adored by two members of the Sonzoni family by a Ferrarese
master of the early 16th century from the third chapel on the left
Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Giulio Cromer in the
The Madonna di Reggio by Camillo Ricci in the Pinacoteca
An Annunciation and an Immaculate Conception and the Glory
of Paradise, both by Scarsellino and in the Pinacoteca since
Lost art in the Casa Romei
A 16th-century marble sculpture of
St Nicholas of Tolentino
attributed to Alfonso Lombardi, was originally in a chapel dedicated
to the saint here. A San Michele Arcangelo by Andrea
Ferreri and other parts of funeral monuments.
Nine fragments of anonymous frescoes, some from the 13th century,
many from the 16th century, kept in the Room of David and Goliath.
The 1498 monument of Tomasina Gruamonti Estense, the widow of Azzo X
d'Este was originally under the fifth arch on the right in this
church. It is the work of Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana, a pupil of
Mauro Codussi who later worked in Moscow. It was first moved to the
Certosa cemetery and then to the Casa Romei in 1952.
Also a monument to Marquise Lucrezia Muzzarelli Brusantini, who died
in 1679. A marble Archangel Michael sculpted by Andrea
Ferreri between 1720 and 1735.
Lost art elsewhere
The choir stalls, with
inlay work attributed to Pier Antonio degli Abbati, are now in San
Cristoforo alla Certosa.
In 1497 Fino Marsigli was commissioned to fresco the
An early 20th century photograph
A detail from the 18th century map
of Ferrara by Andrea Bolzoni
Sant'Andrea is middle-right, the Pal Schifanoia
Founded by Benedictines in 869
just outside the city beyond San Giorgio, but in 1484 it passed to
Cistercians. Building work at the end of the 15th century.
Three late-13th century frescos by the Maestro
di San Bartolo in the Pinacoteca.
A church and monastery of Franciscan nuns who followed the rule of
Santa Chiara, Poor Clares) was founded by Lucrezia Borgia in 1509,
then the wife of Duke Alfonso dĺEste,
for her niece Camilla, the, daughter of the Duke of Valentinois
Cesare Borgia, who had formerly been in the Monastery of Corpus Domini.
Lucrezia wanted the abbess here to be her friend Laura Boiardo,
daughter of the count of Scandiano Giulio Ascanio Boiardo and
Cornelia Taddea Pio At the time Laura had been abbess of Corpus
Domini. From 1543 to 1573 Camilla herself was abbess here. Suppressed by
Napoleon in 1798, the
church and some of the monastery were demolished in 1825. Of the
original complex only a cloister remains in the area of the old
Ospedale of S. Anna
Lots by Garofalo - The
Marriage in Cana (from the refectory), The Allegory of Old and New
Testaments, The Road to Calvary (Saint Veronica), and The
Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (painted for the refectory and
depicting the abbess and sisters), all of c.1528/31, were bought by Nicholas I
in 1840. The nuns had sold eight
canvases to Pope Pius VI in 1792 and the Pope's nephew Count Pio
Braschi sold them on.
All four sold to Nicholas are in the Hermitage collection, but the last one
has been on loan to
the Art Museum of Khabarovsk since 1931. They were brought together
for a special exhibition at the Hermitage in 2008, the year after
the The Allegory of Old and New
Testaments was taken out of storage, unrolled and restored.
An Annunciation from 1528 (see
right) is in the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The Immaculate Conception
with Saints (see below) now in the Brera in Milan, a vary
Franciscan subject, from between
1528 and 1536.
In 1531 Garofalo went blind in one eye. Hoping to preserve his sight
in the other eye, he vowed to God to continue working free of charge
on his paintings for San Bernardino.
Also paintings by Scarsellino, Dosso
Dossi, Bellino, Guercino and Bastarolo.
San Bernardino in Bolzoni's plan of
There was a convent here,
outside Porta San Biagio, with a hospital, in the 14th century. It
was refounded in 1489 by Duchess Eleonora as a Carmelite convent.
Augustinian nuns being brought from Reggio and changing their
profession. The new church, the building of which involved Biagio
Rossetti, was completed on 15th March 1494. It was demolished in the
A convent given to Clarissans in 1256 by Azzo Novello d'Este, having
previously been occupied by Augustinian Eremitani. Enlarged around
1369 by Nicol˛ II when his niece Verde d'Este became a nun
here. Suppressed by Napoleon , the convent was closed in 1798 and
became a barracks, of course. The nuns returned two years later but
they left finally in 1801. Some art went into private collections,
some was destroyed or has disappeared. Fresco fragments were found
in a room behind the church were found and removed in 1933,
and in 1954 and 1961 from the remains after the destruction of the
complex by bombing during WWII. The area formerly occupied by the
convent is now a car park.
Frescoes of the lives of St Francis and other
saints by the school of Antonio Alberti (Antonio de
Recchis) were detached in 1933 and, much damaged, are now in the
Casa Romei. As is an earlier - mid-14th-century - fresco of
The Agony in the Garden found in a tympanum here and detached in
An early 16th century fresco fragment on a Crucifixion by a
Bolognese artist is also in the Casa Romei, having been removed in
A Garofalo Sacra Conversazione panel depicting the Virgin & Child with Saints
William of Aquitaine (Guglielmo in Italian), Clare, Anthony of
Padua and Francis (see right) from 1517 in the National Gallery was commissioned by
the Poor Clares
for the high altar here. It is thought that Guglielmo di Malavalle,
who became a hermit, was probably the original titular saint of this
church, but Garofaloĺs patrons must have supposed that their
Guglielmo was the Duke of Aquitaine.
Originally an oratory of the Lateran
Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, attached to a plague hospital in
the suburbs, about two miles outside Ferrara, erected in the late
12th century with a joint dedication to God, the Virgin, Saint
George, and Saint Lazarus.
The San Lazzaro altarpiece by Ercole de'Roberti, possibly with
Francesco del Cossa, painted for the renovated presbytery here,
around 1475, was simultaneously Roberti's first important
independent commission and the first unified sacra conversazione
to be painted for a Ferrarese church. It showed the Virgin and Child
enthroned with Saints Apollonia and Catherine of Alexandria in the
upper tier with the Virgin, and Saints Augustine and Jerome at
ground level, with their attributes, an eagle and a lion.
It was destroyed in May 1945 in the fires in the Friedrichshain flak
tower (Flakturm) where paintings from the the former
Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum were being stored to protect them from
bombing. The Friedrichshain Flakturm was in the custody of the
Russian army at the time.434 paintings went missing due to unchecked
looting at the time or were destroyed in the flames - there was a
second fire following the two weeks of looting. Only one of the lost
paintings has ever been found - a 16th Century Lombard
Virgin and Child was returned to the Gemńldegalerie in
Berlin in 2012 by the son of the US officer who had purchased it in
Situated within the city walls by the Porta San Marco. Founded by
the Countess Matilda in 1099 and the home of Augustinian canons
until 1476 when Pope Sixtus IV acceded to duke Ercole and the
Duchess Eleanora's request to transfer it to Bendictines. Demolished
by duke Alfonso in 1506, with permission from Pope Julius II,
possibly for the expansion of the Duke's garden.
Built between 1476 and 1480 for Ercole I d'Este as the court chapel
and as a gift to his wife Eleanor of Aragon. Later work and
enlargement, the church remained important for the Este court, since
their bodies lay there before the burial. It later lost its court
function and in 1693 was dedicated to the 7th century Syrian Saint
Maurelius who had long since been one of Ferrara's patron saints,
and given to the Unione dei Fratelli delle Anime del Purgatorio, who
remained until 1893 when the church was closed. Later used as a
warehouse, until 1915 when it became used for cultural events and
film screenings, becoming the Sala Estense in 1917. All that remains
of the church is the 1693 portale (see right) The statues of
Saints George and Maurelius are by Francesco Vidoni.
A grey stone sculpture from 1408 of the Virgin and Child by
Filippo di Domenico da Venezia was removed from the portal here in
1916 and is now in the Casa Romei.
Benedictine convent described as ancient,
Rebuilding paid for by Ercole d'Este, underway by 1497 and
undertaking by Biagio Rossetti. Demolished in 1512 during
improvements made to city fortification by Alfonso I. Its main
doorway went to Santo Stefano.
Four grisaille panels of
stories of Constantine and Sylvester by Garofolo and an Agony in
the Garden altarpiece by him 1525-6 in the Pinacoteca. Also a
Virgin and Child with Saints Sylvester, Jerome, John the Baptist and
Maurelio from 1524 by him, now in the Duomo. 1524 also
supposedly the year this church was consecrated, but it was
demolished in 1512?
A convent for Augustinian nuns dating from
1234 out beyond the Palazzo Schifanoia. Work on the convent in 1502. Later used
as a barracks and demolished in the 1960s.
Founded as an Augustinian convent for nuns
in 1425 by Alise, daughter of Giovanni di Gallo of Ferrara, and not
to be confused with the later parish church in Corso Roma.
This one was in the parish of SMaria in Vado and was consecrated by
the Bishop of Ferrara in 1441. Embellished by Ercole d'Este in 1496
Suppressed under Napoleon in 1798 and demolished in 1813.
Santa Caterina da Siena
Via Aria Nova
Built by Duke Ercole for Lucia Brocadelli
from Narni who had received the stigmata in 1496, and who Ercole had smuggled,
in a laundry basket, at great expense, out of Viterbo in 1499. This at a
time when nuns were a popular focus of princely devotion in, for example,
Mantua, Milan and Perugia locally. Bandages stained with the blood of her
stigmata were sought by the court of France. She initially stayed at the Casa
Biancha where Santa Maria della Concezione was later built for other nuns from
Viterbo. Duke Ercole laid the first stone for a new convent on 2nd June 1499 and
initially called the Convent of the Sisters of the Annunciation but later, after
Suor Lucia had a vision of Catherine of Siena, was changed to Santa Caterina da
Siena. Built to the west of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the complex was in a fit
state for Suor Lucia and her 22 third-order Dominican sisters to move in on 5th
August 1501, but work continued for at least two more years. Records show this
to be largest and most ambitious of Duke Ercole's religious enterprises. Two
cloisters of two floors housed 46 cells for novices and 95 for the sisters.
118 choir stalls by Bartolomeo da Modena art by Fino - much work, including
frescoes on outside walls and also inside the church with a Passion cycle - and
Ettore Bonacossi. This much painted decoration may have been at Suor Lucia's
request. Suor Lucia fell out of favour after Duke Ercole's death, being accused
of "excessive ascetic harshness" and kept locked in a cell, where she died
39 years later. But a series of frescoes of her Life were commissioned after her
death in 1542. Her body was transferred to the cathedral, where it
remained until 1935, when it was moved to the Cathedral of Narni. It has been
said that Suor Lucia da Narni inspired the character of Lucy from the Narnia
novels of CS Lewis. The convent was suppressed by Napoleon in 1796 and
demolished in 1847.
A Virgin and Child with Saints Lucy and Matthew by Bastianino
from the late 16th century, is in the Pinacoteca.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Founded by Niccol˛ III d'Este for Observant Dominicans in 1437 and
initially named SM di Belfiore after the Este villa nearby. Changed
to SM degli Angeli in 1439 and consecrated in 1440 but the campanile
built later by Borso d'Este. His father had been buried in San
Francesco but Niccol˛ was buried here in 1441, his son Leonello in
1450, his third wife Rizzarda da Saluzzi in 1474 and then sons
Ercole in 1505 and Sigismondo in 1507.
The church was damaged by Venetian troops during the war of Ferrara
in 1483, who also removed an equestrian statue from from over the
This equestrian image, of painted gesso and cloth on a wooden
framework, of Niccol˛ III stood in this church by 1447, but was
removed and destroyed during the Venetian sack. It may have been
associated with Niccol˛'s tomb here, or may have been a votive
offering. It inspired Niccol˛'s equestrian monument opposite the
This damage, and the death of his duchess, prompted duke Ercole to
rebuild the Capella Grande and add four adjoining chapels in 1494,
work done by Biagio Rossetti. The creation of the Erculean Addition
was encouraged by how easy it had been for Venetian forces to attack
the edge of the city and sack the Belfiore palace, San Cristoforo
and Santa Maria degli Angeli.
On March 4th 1501, according to Zamboni, Duke Ercole looking for
locations for a larger church saw a comet land in the cemetery of
the old church here and so resolved to build a new church, with the
apse and crossing sited where the comet had landed. He laid the
first stone six days later, on 10th March and the building of the
larger church, unusually with ten chapels radiating from the main
chapel. He would have seen it as a dynastic burial church and other
important families, like the Bentivoglio, exiled from Bologna, were
also buried here. This would have been the largest and most lavish
of Ercole's church buildings, but it was never finished following
Ercole's death and suffered partial collapse during the earthquake
of 1570. The campanile was struck by lightning in in 1604 during a
Mass, destroying the high altar and its altarpiece of terracotta
reliefs, and on Easter Sunday 1664 the vault collapsed onto the high
altar. The monastery was suppressed in 1796, became stables,
suffered a fire, and the site was purchased and cleared in 1913. A
handsome building of the early 20th century on the site of the
church, the Palazzina degli Angeli, at the end of the road to the
Certosa, has a commemorative plaque.
Santa Maria degli Angeli in Bolzoni's plan
Three fragments of an
altarpiece: Saint Mary of Egypt, some Landscape and
Saint Jerome by an early 16th century painter from northern
Santa Maria della Concezione
Via Cisterna del Follo
An oratory dedicated to the Immaculate
Conception, called SM della Casa Bianca, had stood here since
1466. When Suor Lucia da Narni was brought to Ferrara (see
Santa Caterina da Siena
above) on May 7 1499 she stayed here for a few weeks and Duke Ercole
ordered some work in preparation. He then decided to build a new
convent here, entrusting the work to Antenore da Bondeno and laying
the first stone himself on May 30 1502. A new church was built here
by Ercole II but neither church nor convent survive.
Santa Maria della Rosa
There was a small church called Santa Maria
del Guazzadore, with a hospital attached, outside the city walls, on the left
after leaving by the Porta de' Leoni. It was so named for a nearby shallow
watering place for horses and such. In 1466 the complex was occupied by
Augustinians who had been living in Santa Maria della Misericordia outside Porta
San Giorgio. They were described by Giovanni Battista Guarini (the writer of
Il pastor fido) in his 1621 book about the churches of Ferrara as 'Ermitani
of the Congregation of the Peter of Pisa, observants of the rule of Saint
Jerome, now called amongst us as of the Rose'. Work by Duke Ercole involving the
roofing and flooring of the crossing and the building of three chapels. Rebuilt
in the early 17th century, bombed in 1944 and demolished in 1950.
Part of an earlier cloister was reconstructed, however,
and can be seen on the north side of Via Cavour.
The Lamentation group of
terracotta statues by Lodovico Mazzoni, now in the Ges¨, was originally here
(see 1901 postcard below).