Monday, 2 August 2010

Ferrara

The delightful city of Ferrara was dominated for several hundred years by the D'Este family; they were clearly of a nervous disposition, for all their houses were alarmingly fortified. This is their little bijoux pied-á-terre in the middle of Ferrara. The only exception to this rule that I can think of was Cardinal D'Este's wonderful villa outside Rome at Tivoli, with all its spectacular water features.
I was very taken with the Cathedral in Ferrara. Here is the sanctuary; the Bishop's throne is in the traditional place, the altar rails are still there (and, being uninteresting in themselves, and made of wood, they could easily have been removed). The forward altar is of dark wood, and kept unvested when not in use; the high altar, on the other hand, could be used straight away, being fully equipped with cloths, candles and bust reliquaries.
The Blessed Sacrament chapel is beautifully appointed, and is very prayerful, being railed off from the tourists.
And all the side altars are vested and candled, unlike most of the other churches we visited.
In addition, there was a priest in the confessional doing a brisk trade, our Lady's altar was beautifully cared for and much visited……

In short, the Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio since 2004, Paolo Rabitti, and the administrator of the Cathedral deserve hearty congratulations for a beautiful, prayerful and Catholic building.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

All your points taken, Father, but I couldn't help experience a sinking feeling when, just having walked down that amazing arcade alongside the flank of the church, having seen that absolutely marvelous pink and white marble campanile and having stopped in amazement before the superb Gothic main facade, I stepped in and my eyes adjusted to an exceptiannly gloomy Baroque makeover...

Lovely town, Ferrara. What with all that brick, a sort of scaled down Bologna, it felt almost a little Flemish to me. There is a splendid Renaissance basilica some way away from the cathedral. I wonder, did you manage to see that?

Veronese Anon.

Pastor in Valle said...

Not sure which one you mean, Anon. S. Benedetto was splendid, but spare, on account of the war. Perhaps you mean Pomposa: sadly we didn't get there (though we tried to work it in). Other places in town unfortunately were closed for siesta after we had finished with the main Castle and Cathedral.
Bologna, too, we didn't see. There was certainly an opportunity, but the heat was excessive and we thought that a city might wait another day.
Sorry to sound negative: I, on the other hand, loved Ferrara cathedral. My companion, though, I think, would have agreed with you about it. He preferred Piacenza, which I may address in another post.

bedwere said...

The Basilica of Pomposa is in Romanesque style.
Speaking of Flemish, Josquin des Prez lived and composed in Ferrara.
Thank you, Father!

Pastor in Valle said...

It was lovely to see your home town, Bedwere.
Not just Josquin, of course, but also Gesualdo composed there.

Alan Harrison said...

Fascinating town, Father. Did you see the touching memorial in the cathedral to a young girl, with the words of the Lord "La fanciulla non e' morta, ma dorme"? I was sitting just there when I attended a service for the Marian Year. Don't think you would have liked the music, but a ditty witha chorus beginning "Vieni, vieni, Spirito d'amore" still runs through my brain 23 years later.

One of the museums in the town had a nice mediaeval English statue - Nottingham alabaster work. Hope you are able to dodge the bikes, if they remain as popular as on my visit!

bedwere said...

As for musician, Girolami Frescobaldi is also from Ferrara and the music conservatory is named after him.
I was wrong: Pomposa is an abbey, not a basilica: the Renaissance basilica is just outside the walls and dedicated to St. George.

bedwere said...

Regarding Ferrarase musicians, Girolami Frescobaldi is also from Ferrara and the city conservatory is named after him.
I was wrong: Pomposa is an abbey, not a basilica: the Renaissance basilica is just outside the walls and is dedicated to St. George.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a beautiful image of the sanctuary of the duomo in Ferrara in full array: It would definitely seem that the cathedral administrator favours the old way of doing things. The cathedra and the bench coverings are especially splendid:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27951013@N08/4241795176/

Veronese Anon.