At the Este court
A moat in the heart of Ferrara – Castello Estense, the castle and erstwhile regency building of the Este, stands out. Located at the Piazza della Repubblica in the city centre, the building once directly connected to the Palazzo Municipale can be accessed via a drawbridge. The castle, which had its construction started by Nicolò II in 1385, was originally intended as a stronghold for protection against potential uprisings before becoming ducal residence in the middle of the 16th century. Inside the fortress lined with four heavy corner towers are a number of halls, the Sale Estensi, which where adorned with Mannerism frescos in the mid-16th century. Several scenes of the day represented by mythological characters can be found in the Sala dell’Aurora, the former Este bedroom. The basement holds several dungeons, where, among others, Parisina Malatesta, the second wife of Nicolò II, was awaiting executing after having cheated on the regent with the young stepson Ugo.