The Cathedral Museum of Ferrara

The Cathedral Museum of Ferrara

Museo della Cattedrale di Ferrara

Museo della Cattedrale di Ferrara
Ferrara, Italy

The Cathedral Museum represents a very individual entity within the Italian cultural scene. This is firstly due to its legal status, which has been unique in Italy for a long time. Established in 1929 and having moved to the former Church of San Romano in 2000, the Museum was created due to the joint will of the Cathedral Chapter and the Municipality of Ferrara with the aim of documenting the history of the most important sacred temple of Este spirituality. Governed by a convention that was drawn up especially for the purpose, it represents an exemplary model of mixed private and public management.

Secondly, from a strictly artistic point of view, the originality of the Museum lies essentially in the quality of its collections: they group together most of the rare and extremely precious accounts of the splendour of Renaissance Ferrara still present in the city that was the setting for their creation. The promoter of the Cathedral Museum was a pivotal figure in the cultural history of the city, Giuseppe Agnelli (1856-1940), director of the Ariostea Library. Through the “Ferrariae Decus” association, which he founded in 1906 in order to protect the local artistic and historical heritage, he pursued the intention of preserving the works from the Cathedral. The Museum was moulded based on the “Museo dell’Opera” model, a type of exhibition that emerged in the late 19th century with very similar aims in different Italian cities. As well as the masterpieces from the Estense Duomo, through agreements drawn up between the Chapter and the Municipality (1930-32), the collections also included objects owned by the Municipality right from the start which, up to then, had been kept in the Civic Lapidary.

The Museum stayed in its historical location, a hall overlooking the atrium of the Cathedral, until December 2000 when, in order to satisfy modern museology requirements, the collection was transferred onto the former Church of San Romano. The visit begins on the upper storey. Crossing the small cloister you come to the church’s old sacristy, where the vestments are kept, before proceeding into the former church which houses the major works, such as the Organ Shutters painted by Cosmè Tura, the marble tiles of the Master of the Months of Ferrara, and the Madonna of the pomegranate by Jacopo della Quercia.

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Video: Daniele Donà, Centro Audiovisivi, Servizio Manifestazioni Culturali e Turismo del Comune di Ferrara.
Music: “The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan” by Chris Zabriskie ( © 2012 Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons 4.0)


  • Title: The Cathedral Museum of Ferrara
  • Creator: The Cathedral Museum of Ferrara
  • Location: Cathedral Museum

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