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Castle Estense, the Castle of San Michele, it is the most representative monument of the city of Ferrara (Italy).
The Estense Castle was built in 1385 as an instrument of political control and military. The first stone was symbolically laid on September 29, St. Michael’s Day, the patron of doors and urbic fortresses. The work was commissioned to the architect Bartolino from Novara, already the author of the Pavia castle and then to Mantua, by Marquis Niccolò II d’Este, which withdrew essential to adopt a powerful repressive machinery after a massive popular uprising that erupted in May of that year. Marquis was initially granted a loan of 25,000 ducats from Mantua Francesco Gonzaga Lord. The castle was built around the Lion Tower, an ancient tower of the existing lookout in the thirteenth century and placed along the wall which then bordered the city to the north. Bartolino from Novara closed quadrilateral doing build three towers: Marchesana to the southeast, of St. Paul to the southwest, and St. Catherine’s northwest. The structure was then originally the function of the defensive fortress: from that period are the towers and drawbridges but over time its character as a dynastic palace overshadowed the military. After the coup attempt in 1476 by Nicholas, son of Leonello d’Este, Ercole I decided to settle in the castle and then to make several changes to the building to adapt to court life. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Alfonso I continue the renovation and decoration of the castle taken by his predecessor Hercules. In 1860 Ferrara was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
The castle, now state property, was bought for 70,000 lire in 1874 by the province of Ferrara, who took to the use of their space as the headquarters of their offices and the prefecture. Over the years the structural efficiency of the monument has been preserved thanks to continuous maintenance work, which have been joined, at various times, specific works of restoration.
Castle Estense, the Castle of San Michele.
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