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The Beautiful City of Ferrara

Ferrara is a small city in the Region Emilia Romagna, in northern Italy, between Bologna and Venice housing 132,000 inhabitants. Ferrara is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its history and ancient buildings, like the medieval Estense Castle and the Renaissance Diamond Palace (Figure 1, 2), just to name a few. Ferrara is surrounded by ancient walls (Figure 3) (constructed in 1100! Where it is possible to jog and to practice sports) and parks (Figure 4, 5). It is a historical place linked to many famous people, such as Copernicus and Paracelsus (both students of medicine), Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Dosso Dossi, Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo, and many others.  Ferrara is also famous for its university campus and life. Like all the old universities in Italy (and in Europe), Ferrara does not have a campus, but the University of Ferrara is part of the city and holds prestigious buildings. Most university students live in the old city. Therefore, Ferrara is safe and easy to get along (students use bicycles) (Figure 6). It also has many historical places for meetings, interactions, libraries, etc. Some of our research and teaching facilities are located inside the walls and is easily accessible by bike, while S. Anna Hospital (Figure 7) is outside the walls, reachable by public transport (bus or train). There are two international airports nearby: You can reach one in Bologna in 30-45 minutes, and another in Venice in 45-60 minutes.

The University of Ferrara is one of the oldest State Universities in the world, founded in 1391 by Alberto V D’Este and, at the time, recognized by Pope Boniface IX. It became a statal university in 1942. At the end of the Second World War, there were around 500 students. By 1970, the number rose to almost 6000 and today 25,245 students and 3,905 post-graduates attend courses with 1,137 professors and researchers working together with 491 employees and technicians. The university has 14 faculties (Medicine Chemistry and Prevention, Architecture, Engineering, Law, Economics and Management, Physics and Earth Sciences, Mathematics and I.T., Translational Medicine, Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Prevention, Biology and Biotechnologies, Medical Sciences, Humanistic Studies), and 65 Degree courses and specialties. The Faculty of Medicine is a small but dynamic state university with a great propensity for research. (figure 8)

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Figure 1: The Estensi’s Castle -

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Figure 2: The Diamond Palace (Palazzo dei Diamanti) is a Renaissance palace located on Corso Ercole I d'Este 21 in Ferrara, region of Emilia Romagna, Italy. The main floor of the Palace houses the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara (National Painting Gallery of Ferrara). The most striking feature is the bugnato of the exterior walls: it consists of some 8,500 white (with pink veins) marble blocks carved to represent diamonds, hence its name. The positioning of the diamonds varies in order to maximize the light reflected off the building, creating quite the visual effect. The palace is also well known for its candelabra and the phytomorphic corner motifs. Inside, it has a typical Renaissance courtyard with a cloister and a marble well; the latter is a characteristic typical of gardens in Ferrara.

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Figure 3: Ferrara’s Walls

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Figure 4: Massari’s Park - One of the most famous parks of Ferrara, close to the Prevention Centre located in Palazzo Turchi di Bagno

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Figure 5: Urban Park


Figure 6: Ferrara and the bicycles


Figure 7: S. Anna Hospital

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Figure 8: Corso Ercole I° D’Este is an important Renaissance street of Ferrara that starts from Largo Castello, arrives at the intersection with Corso Biagio Rossetti and Corso Posta Mare (the Quadrivio degli Angeli) and ends at the city walls, at the Porta degli Angeli, on the Belfiore hills. Corso Ercole I d'Este is the main thoroughfare of the Herculean Addition (The Herculean Addition is a town-planning work begun in Ferrara at the end of the 15th century by Duke Ercole I d'Este and built thanks to his court architect Biagio Rossetti. It was the first of its kind by extension and organicity, such as to make it, according to Bruno Zevi, the first modern European city. It ended in the early sixteenth century.

The course from the Estense Castle reaches the Porta degli Angeli on the walls with a straight path, intersecting the new artery that leads from the west of the city in the direction of the sea. Fundamental junction of the addition was and is the Quadrivio degli Angeli, which at its corners presents Palazzo dei Diamanti, Palazzo Prosperi-Sacrati and Palazzo Turchi di Bagno. It ended in two rows of poplars, whence the ancient name of via dei Piopponi.

Along this street you can find Palazzo Turchi di Bagno where there is the University’s academic department of Humanities, Medical and Life Sciences and Biotechnology

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