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Ferrara

Ferrara

City of northern Italy that was an important center of art patronage under the d'Este family during the Renaissance. The d'Este dynasty began in the thirteenth century with the victory of Azzo VII, who was named podesta of the city in 1242. The d'Este court was renowned for its opulence, and in 1402 with the opening of the University of Ferrara the city became a center of learning and scholarship. The dynasty grew even more powerful when Boros d'Este was granted the cities of Reggio and Modena from Emperor Frederick III in 1452, and was named Duke of Ferrara by the pope in 1471. Under Ercole I, Ferrara began a long rivalry with the much larger and wealthier city of Venice, and became an important center of music, notably with the presence of the Flemish composer Josquin des Prez and several Italian composers who pioneered new styles of composition. Under later dukes several of Italy's most notable poets, including Ludovico Ariosto and Torquato Tasso, found a home with the d'Este family, and scholarship flourished in the city in the work of men such as Giovanni Aurispa, who journeyed to eastern Europe and returned with many ancient manuscripts that were still unknown in Italy.

Ercole's daughter, Isabella d'Este, reigned over a court that became a model for the Renaissance princes and nobility for its splendor, patronage, and courtly manners. The best artists of Italy, including Titian, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Andrea Mategna, visited her court or lived within her palace as official painters. Alfonso d'Este, who succeeded his father in 1505, made Ferrara a pivotal city in the Italian Wars that had been touched off by an invasion of the French in the 1490s. Caught between the more powerful states of Venice, Milan, and the papacy, Alfonso carried on the war with Venice and a campaign against the ambitious popes, who sought to extend their authority in northern Italy. This resulted in Alfonso's excommunication by Pope Julius II in 1509. Alfonso patronized leading writers and artists, including Titian and Giovanni Bellini, who completed his final painting, The Feast of the Gods, while at Ferrara. Alfonso's son Ercole II, who reigned from 1534 to 1559, carried on the family tradition of patronage of artists and writers; Alfonso II, the next duke of Ferrara, died without a male heir in 1597, after which the d'Este court passed into history and Pope Clement VIII declared Ferrara to be a fief of the papacy.

See Also: Ariosto, Ludovico; d'Este, House of; d'Este, Isabella

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Ferrara

Ferrara (fār-rä´rä), city (1991 pop. 138,015), capital of Ferrara prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N Italy. It is a rich industrial and agricultural center, located on a low-lying, marshy plain that has much reclaimed land. Manufactures include chemicals, machinery, food products, metals, and refined petroleum. In the early 13th cent. the Este family founded in Ferrara a powerful principality, and during the Renaissance commerce, learning, printing, and the arts flourished about the brilliant court. The 15th-century painters Cossa and Tura and the 16th-century writers Tosso and Ariosto lived in Ferrara, and the religious reformer Savonarola was born there (1452). The city was incorporated into the Papal States in 1558. Among Ferrara's many noteworthy buildings are Este castle (14th cent.), the cathedral (begun 1135), Schifanoia palace (14th–15th cent.), and the Palazzo del Diamanti (15th–16th cent.). The city has a university (founded 1391).

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Ferrara

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