The 15th-century Palazzo dei Diamanti (Diamond Palace) is one of the top places for art in the Renaissance city of Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is home to two of Ferrara’s most important art museums and holds temporary art shows throughout the year.
Art aficionados won’t want to miss a visit to this palace named for the diamond-like cut of the more than 8,500 marble blocks that form its facade. Designed by Biagio Rossetti and built beginning in 1493, the palace today hosts temporary exhibitions and Ferrara’s Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art on the ground floor and the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara painting gallery upstairs.
Pair a visit to the rotating and permanent collections with a private or small-group walking or bike tour of the city’s highlights. Tours typically touch on Ferrara’s most important landmarks, including Castello Estense, Schifanoia Palace, the cathedral (duomo), and the former Jewish Ghetto.Things to Know Before You Go
- Temporary exhibitions change regularly, so check the Palazzo’s schedule before visiting.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
- There is a free cloakroom, as well as lockers to check umbrellas, bags, and large items.
- The museum shop can be visited for free.
How to Get There
The Palazzo dei Diamanti is located in Ferrara’s historic center, an easy walk from any of its most important attractions and a short ride on bus 3 from the train station. Ferrara is a popular day trip from Ravenna and Venice, reachable by car or train.
When to Get There
Weekdays are the quietest times to enjoy the art, and special exhibits often have extended visiting hours until as late as 10:30pm. Avoid visiting on Mondays, when the upstairs painting gallery is closed.
The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara
Ferrara’s painting gallery, housed upstairs in the palace’s sumptuous Salone d’Onore and the 16th-century apartments of Virginia de’ Medici, contains an important collection of works from Ferrara dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Highlights include fresco cycles from the Chiesa di San Bartolomeo and the Chiesa di Sant’Andrea; 17th-century paintings by Guercino, Scarsellino, and Carlo Bononi; and sketches by various members of the Gandolfi and Crespi families. Don’t miss the 15th-century late Gothic works, paintings by the Ferrara School, and masterpieces by Gentile da Fabriano, Mantegna, and Carpaccio.