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Palio di Ferrara | 5 places to visit in the Borgo San Giovanni district

Palio di Ferrara | 5 places to visit in the Borgo San Giovanni district

Every year, approaching the spring appointment with the city's historic Palio, the contrade begin to spread the typical solemn and fairy-tale atmosphere in the city, parading every Sunday - and some Mondays during festivities - to pay homage to the Duke of Ferrara with delicacies, handcrafted gifts, entertainment, choreography and games.

For this 2023, the first contrada to offer the sumptuous atmosphere of the Este era will be that of BorgoSan Giovanni, with the first Homage to the Duke on Sunday 19 March at 4.30 pm in Piazza Castello. The ceremony in the presence of the Ducal Court in the picturesque square is concise, but the contrade often prefer to parade through the streets of the centre, starting from their quarter.

A plunge into the past, among the ladies and knights of the Este era, can be the right occasion to discover the historical heritage preserved in the districts of the 8 contrade competing for the Palio. Today there are 9 contrade, counting also the Corte Ducale, but the actual districts correspond to the magnificent 8: Rione San Benedetto, Borgo San Giacomo, Borgo San Giorgio, Borgo San Giovanni, Borgo San Luca, Rione San Paolo, Rione Santa Maria In Vado, Rione Santo Spirito.


Borgo San Giovanni is represented by the colours blue and red, and by the emblem of the blindfolded lynx, turned to the right, lying on an embroidered cushion, a symbol of far-sighted intellect according to Leonoello, son of Niccolò d'Este.

The territory of the contrada, comprising the northern and north-eastern part of the city, beyond the Walls, was hunting and horse racing ground for the Estense family.

Contrada Borgo San Giovanni Ferrara

Let us therefore begin to get to know the contrade (districts) of the Palio of Ferrara better and ideally walk through the streets of their quarters for an overview in view of the great event at the end of May, set for Saturday 27th.

Let us therefore enter the vast area of Borgo San Giovanni, comprised between Via Pomposa and the Doro, which embraces the north-eastern side of the city, just outside the city walls; let us discover five significant places in the district of the blindfolded lynx.


The square with its evocative name introduces the area adjacent to the Contrada headquarters, joining Porta Mare and Borgo Punta. The square is marked by a cobbled roundabout on which a metaphysical bronze statue stands out: it is an enlargement of a work by De Chirico, by the Ferrara artist Maurizio Bonora, dating back to 1985. The statue is five times larger than the original and has graced the roundabout since 2004.

Torrione Ferrara


The sottomura path encircles almost the entire city, skipping only a few short sections. It is a pedestrian and cycle path, surrounded by greenery, along which one can admire the ancient city walls with their ramparts. Excellent redevelopment work has given the green area back to the city, which now routinely experiences it for an evening jog, a Sunday walk or a stroll with your dog.

Porta Angeli Ferrara


The long Via dei Calzolai joins the city to the hamlet of Francolino, leaning against the embankment of the great river Po on the Ferrara side, the so-called 'right bank of the Po'. The road is entirely served by a convenient cycle path that makes it possible to reach the scenic embankment in just an hour or so.

Destra Po Ferrara


The city park is part of the so-called Green Addition of the 20th century. With ponds, small paths, open lawns and a nice refreshment area, it is perfect for a relaxed stroll. The park is named after Bassani, who was a great promoter of its redevelopment and annexation to the urban area.

Parco Urbano Bassani Ferrara


Still towards the right bank of the Po, driving in the direction of Rovigo, you can visit the Castle of Fossadalbero. A beautiful summer hunting lodge of the Este family, Fossadalbero Castle was also decorated and made more sumptuous by the intervention of Duke Borso, a lover of elegance and sumptuousness. The Castle today houses a restaurant and has a swimming pool, the result of an adaptation by the Matteucci brothers, founders of the Country Club. The private club still exists, but the Delizia today can be visited and is open to the public. It was here, it is said, that Count Aldobrandino Rangoni discovered the secret love between Ugo and Parisina.

Delizia Fossadalbero Ferrara

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