• About

    Piazza Ariostea, formerly known as Piazza Nuova and, for a brief period, Piazza Napoleone, is one of the main squares of Ferrara, located in the northern part of the historical center of the city.

    On the last Sunday of May, the square hosts the Palio of Ferrara, established in 1279, resumed in the 1930s, and regularly held after the end of the Second World War. Palio di Ferrara is considered among the oldest in the world.



    Until 1496, the area was occupied by a farm owned by a certain Bartolomeo Zermio. Then, the land was purchased by Ercole I d’Este, the second duke of Ferrara, and transformed into a square, called Piazza Nuova.

    In the early 16th century, Duke Ercole I commissioned Ercole Grandi to design two columns for his own equestrian monument. On the way to Ferrara, one of the columns was lost in the Po River. The other one, which reached the town, was not immediately raised. The column was placed in the square only in 1675 to house the statue of Pope Alexander VII.

    In 1796, the French replaced the papal statue with a plaster statue depicting Liberty, which was demolished in 1799. In 1810, a large statue of Napoleon was placed on the column, which remained there only four years, until the Austrians arrived in Ferrara. Finally, on November 25, 1833, the statue of the poet Ludovico Ariosto was placed on the column.

    In 1933, the plan of the square was lowered, to create a sort of natural staircase around it, and to allow the first modern edition of the Palio of Ferrara.

    Important restoration works were carried out in the square between 2018 and 2020.



    The square has a rectangular shape with a lowered central ring made in 1933 for the Palio race. At the center of the square stands the 16th-century column designed by Ercole Grandi, on which, since 1833, the statue of Ludovico Ariosto was placed.

    Among the buildings that overlook the square, we can mention Palazzo Rondinelli and Palazzo Strozzi Bevilacqua, the latter with the artistic marble balcony in the corner. Palazzo Massari, seat of the Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art (Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea), overlooks the northwestern corner of the square.



    Piazza Ariostea is located about 2 kilometers away from the Ferrara railway station. The closest bus stop is Porta Mare Ariostea, on the northern side of the square, on the bus Lines 3 and 4.

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