It takes about an hour from Bologna to reach Ferrare. In the early Renaissance period when powerful families of the Italian aristocracy came along, the small village transformed into a large artistic avant-garde city, right until the 16th century. This is where Ariosto wrote his epic masterpiece, Orlando Furioso, inspired by Middle-Aged Songs of Deeds.
Just like the poet, various painters, thinkers and engravers had found themselves at the Duke's court. This cultural turmoil slowed down a little before major rebirth in the early 20th century, when Giorgio De Chirico especially decided to settle and paint some of his most beautiful work there.
Ferrare is best discovered on a bike to enjoy the mild Italian climate. The old medieval city, its fortifications including the Este Castle, as well as unique architecture and urban plans, are testimonies of a golden age when it was on par with Venice and Florence.