Published on: 17 November 2022


The Cathedral of Ferrara started in Romanesque style in 1135 speaks in the back with the language of another era: the Renaissance.

Yet the two faces, however majestic and imposing, it shows are very different: on one side the shaft in white and pink stone of the bell tower punctuated by cubic blocks; on the other the semicircular basin of the apse in terracotta.

The first, the bell tower designed by Leon Battista Alberti in the mid-1400s is an example of those ancient classical forms that the Renaissance rediscovers and, since they are universal, can be placed anywhere, without specific links with the place in which it is located.

The second, however, the apse designed by Biagio Rossetti from Ferrara in 1498 is typically the result of the local interpretation given to the Renaissance. The red brick of which the city building consists, the cornices decorated according to recurring models, the isolated and therefore showy insertion of stone details in the capitals.

After all, there is another element that on the contrary brings the different together: the arch. The double arch that frames the windows, blind or open, of the bell tower; and the arch on two superimposed orders which accompanies the trend of the volume of the apse, and on the lower floor is in turn taken up in the deep large windows.