The Castle Estense or Castle of Saint Michele (Italian Castello Estense) is an imposing, moated, medieval structure in the center of Ferrara. It is a large block with four corner towers. The Guelf family of Este had dominated Ferrara by 1264, but after a bloody rebellion in 1385, Niccolò II d'Este, for his safety, erected this castle-fortress. The towers were merlated with few windows but later radically modified, adding the Loggia of Oranges, and replacing the merlons with marble balconies. Inside there is quattrocentesque courtyard. There are various rooms decorated with frescoes of Bastianino. One of the more interesting rooms of the building is the private chapel of the protestant Renée of France, wife of duke Ercole II; also famous are the dungeons where she, spouse of Niccolò III d'Este had a tragic ending. With the end of the Este Family in 1597, the castle's fabulous art collection was dispersed.

Under Ercole II, the son of Alfonso I and Lucrezia Borgia, chief artists involved were Tommaso da Carpi, Battista Dossi, Tommaso da Treviso, il Garofalo, Camillo Filippi and Girolamo da Carpi.
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By: DonMartini
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kjfitz picture
@ 2009-03-13 12:30:18
Neat moat. I'm surprised it survived the ages.
kjfitz picture
@ 2009-03-13 12:36:15
Ahh... it didn't. It was only restored between 1910 and 1930:

" One of the elements that made up the landscape surrounding the castle that bore the greatest sacrifice and towards which a strong lack of sensitivity for its environmental and urban value was shown was the castle moat.

In fact, the moat steadily lost its natural contact with the system of canals than ran through the city and which had gradually been filled in, covered over and, in some cases, transformed into underground drainage passages for the city sewers.

The final act, which had a great effect on the urban image of the moat and the monument and which still creates great difficulties in the maintenance of this stretch of water (a remnant of the past which is indeed rare today among castle is in Italy and Europe) has to do with the covering up and successive conversion into a city sewer of the Panfilio Canal which lies under what is now Viale Cavour.

This process of forcing away sources of clean surface water, which the city undoubtedly has, from the castle moat is still a cause for concern with regard to maintaining its hygienic and aesthetic qualities."