Ferrara fār-räˈrä [key], city, 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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