A recent activity of ours included a trip to a local library here in Ferrara, located in the Palazzo Paradiso once owned by the powerful Este family. I know what you are thinking.. a library? What is so interesting about a library? Who would want to take a trip to see a library? Well this is Italy, so of course you can only imagine how old and historic this library is. 627 years old to be exact. And with that age comes a number of books and manuscripts, also dating back hundreds of years.
If that is not interesting enough, this library also contains a "teatro anatomico" from the 18th century, a special lecture hall where students would sit, eager to watch and learn about anatomy as a doctor performed dissections on cadavers and a lecturer lectured to the young future doctors. Anatomical lecture halls are unique in their design- an ampitheatrical shape, in the center of which the table held the subject to be viewed, and the circular rows tiered in order to allow an unencumbered view from the spectators in front of you.
If that doesn't peak your interest and make you think this library was worthy of a visit, this library also holds the tomb of famed Italian writer Ludovico Ariosto, of whom this library is named, naturalmente. Ariosto was considered the most famed and influential authors of his time, his most famous piece, Orlando Furioso, having been published in Ferrara in 1516.
Since this library is not morbid enough, they decided to also house the mummified heart of the poet Vincenzo Monti. Perché no?
Vi do un consiglio.. when you visit Ferrara, take some time out of your day to visit this awe-inspiring library. You will be amazed of the juxtaposition that is normal, everyday Ferrarese studying amongst ancient artificats, all housed within a palazzo covered with frescoes and ornate carvings. I wonder how the Este family would feel of the publics use of their own personal court?
- PL Bridgette