Ferrara was the first Renaissance city to be developed according to a complex urban plan that gave precedence to a harmonious arrangement of urban perspectives rather than the beauty of individual buildings. The city reached the top of Renaissance architecture and prestige with the domination of the Este family.
The Este family, who made Ferrara their court, considered the urban layout inside the first defensive walls to be unsuitable to represent their own greatness and their dominance over the territory. For this reason they decided to radically intervene on the city's structure, changing its structure and appearance and inventing the concept of "regulatory plan". In this way they gave life to a series of urban projects never before realized, the most important of which was the Addizione Erculea by Biagio Rossetti, at the end of the 15th century, based on the concept of perspective, which consists in balancing the humanistic principles linked to form and volume in architecture with open space, the needs of the city and local traditions.
Between the 14th and the 16th century the Este family undertook the recovery of extensive land and some building projects that gave the Po delta area a characteristic connection with Ferrara.
The transformations of the countryside around the city, in addition to the creation of new canals and roads, included the establishment of "castalderie", large farm estates with fine buildings and extensive gardens connected to the city through the dense network of waterways between their communicants that branched in the basins of the lower Po, and the construction of a network of noble residences known as "delizie estensi". These "delights", that is palaces, villas and pavilions destined to represent places of leisure and entertainment, were celebrated for their environmental and architectural qualities and to be the mirror of power and theater of magnificence of the "familia principis".
The history of the Renaissance city of Ferrara is closely linked to the Este family, which made it an internationally known capital and made it for two centuries on a par with cities such as Florence and Venice or with the great courts of France and Spain.
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