Monday, 03 September 2012 20:24

Duomo of Ferrara

Written by  matta
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The idea of a new cathedral for the town of Ferrara coincides with the will of autonomy of the city, which was at that time under the influence of the diocese of Ravenna. In 1139, the bull of Innocent II confirms both Ferrara’s independence from Ravenna and the approval for the construction of a new cathedral that began in 1133. It had among its main donors Guglielmo Adelardi, to whom belong the basic ideas about the building. A tombstone found during the works of restoration in 1925 certifies that "Glielmo fo l’auctore", as well as the main financier of the work, and that the hand of the beautiful sculptures that enrich the cathedral belong to Nicolaus, student of Wiligelmo and Lanfranco in Modena. The cathedral that today stands majestically on the square is the result of numerous renovations after the thirteenth century, evidenced by the extreme heterogeneity of styles that you can read on it. A number of significant actions date back to Ercole I, who commissioned Biagio Rossetti, the most important local architect, to work on the building. On that occasion, Rossetti widened the choir and built the apse. In the interior of the church, the aisles had its present-day Baroque appearance only after a disastrous fire that destroyed the previous structures.


The Romanesque style is evident especially in the lower part of the building, for example in the imposing and austere white wall on which there are three large portals. Fulcrum of the whole building is the wonderful porch that is one of most interesting of the Po valley Romanesque for variety of reliefs and sculptures. It is attributed to the great sculptor Nicolaus. The majestic main entrance below has in the archivolt a beautiful lunette, in which is represented the legendary battle between San Giorgio, saint patron of the city, and the dragon. The Gothic style loggia, dating from 1250, opens with three decorated arches in the center of which, between two double lancet windows, there is a Madonna and Child of the XV century. Over the loggia, the stories of the last judgment developed on three levels.

The north side of the cathedral, which takes place on Adelardi’s street, retains its Romanesque structure because it never had successive interventions. Materials used for the construction are bricks. There are also two ancient fortified gates: the largest, called the Gate of Judgment, led to the old cemetery.

The south side of the building, which is developed on Trento Trieste’s Square, retains its Romanesque appearance in the sequence of arches supported by half-columns that drop to the ground. The shops opened under the porch in the Loggia dei Merciai, also if they have not been kept in the old form, are interesting. About halfway along the length of the side, the Romanesque gallery is interrupted by an arch, which is what remains of the Months portal destroyed in 1717. The original tiles are preserved in the Cathedral Museum. The author of this beautiful cycle of sculptures, characterized by an intense plasticity, is known as the Master of the Months.

Additional Info

  • Address: Piazza Cattedrale (o Piazza Duomo) - 44121 Ferrara
  • Province:
  • Phone: +39 0532 207449
  • Opening Days and Time: feriali 7.30-12.00 / 15.00-18.30
    festivi 7.30-12.30 / 15.30-19.30
    Ingresso: gratuito

  • Guided Tour: Per visite guidate contattare l'associazione Rabisch (Tel: +39 338 6357868 - Si offrono visite per gruppi di studenti, adulti e disabili. Guide disponibili in lingue straniere.
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Last modified on Friday, 08 April 2016 20:51

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