The city of Ferrara has kept intact during the centuries the great prestige reached during the Este's age. Following the Este's family ambitious city planning, Ferrara changed from medieval fortress to a real renassaince city. During the Este's great cultural season, humanists and artists such as Leon Battista Alberti, Piero della Francesca and Titian came to town and intellectuals such as Boiardo, Ariosto and Tasso dedicated excellent verses to the Dukes of Este. Still today, thanks to Ercole I d'Este's project, you can feel the renaissance spirit and the evocative fusion between modern and ancient that made it possible for Ferrara to enter the Unesco's World Heritage list. The historical centre represents one of the best preserved examples of medieval city, starting from the Castello Estense. Niccolò II d'Este had it built in 1385, a defensive fortress made of square bricks, provided with four towers and surrounded by a deep moat full of water. During the reign of Ercole I d'Este, the castle became the court's residence. Many sections of it can be visited today: the ducal apartments, the kitchens and the prisons. The former residence of the Dukes was the Municipal Palace, the Town Hall. An internal path (la Via Coperta) connects it with the Castello Estense. Its main entrance is called Volto del Cavallo. It displays two bronze statues at each side and takes you to the amazing ducal courtyard.
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