3rd entry – le marche 2011

We left Fossombrone and headed north-east to Ferrara. Our last visit to Emilia Romagna took us to Bologna. We went there to eat and were not disappointed. (We have now been in Emilia Romagna twice and the food is absolutely the best.) This trip, I suggested Ferrara hoping for the same eating options. And we found them in droves. And because it’s off the tourist route, prices were amazingly low and the food was amazingly great.

Also, Ferrara is the city of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and a memory in Stephen Sondheim’s dreamy Liaisons.


Is this the room and ceiling Madame Armfeldt (Hermione Gingold) was dreaming about as she remembered her life in A Little Night Music?


At the palace of the Duke of Ferrara
Who was prematurely deaf, but a dear.
At the palace of the Duke of Ferrara,
I acquired some position, plus a tiny Titian.

What’s happened to them?
Liaisons today
What’s become of them?
Some of them
Hardly pay their shoddy way.

This is the ceiling of one of the street-level reception rooms of Palazzo Constabili. The corner frescoes represent the four seasons.

(The grand palaces of Ferrara are all brick-faced. Absent are the smooth, marble facades of Tuscany.) This Renaissance palazzo is beautiful even without external ornamentation. However, the interior of the Palazzo Constabili was amazing – the courtyard-garden rippled with thistle and hawthorn; cicadas sang in the pines; and the stone well was topped with lacey, wrought-iron sunflowers; on the main staircase, the risers were written with curlicues of inlaid black-marble; upstairs the piano nobile boasted the largest Etruscan collection in Italy; (The artifacts are from the ancient town of Spina an Etruscan port that flourished between the 6th and 3rd centuries.) and the ball-room had been re-decorated with murals of Spina, the old administrative divisions of the province and maps of the Nazi occupation of Emilia Romagna. (Talk about contrasts.)