Castello Estense

In 1264 in Ferrara Obizzo d’Este emerged victorious from a dispute with rival family Salinguerra leading to an over three centuries of domination of the political scene by the Este family. Exhausted by famine and hunger, in 1385 the people of Ferrara rose up against their rulers and, fearing for his safety, Niccolò II d’Este ordered the building of the great San Michele Castle to plans by Bartolino da Novara. It was thus that Castello Estense was built with an original defensive function which, from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance, was transformed into a court palace whose artistic and monumental value made it one of the most prestigious in Europe. Today Ferrara’s Castello Estense symbolises the town and is one of the most popular monuments in Italy. Laid out by architect Gae Aulenti, its museum offers a narrative itinerary which provides insights into the building from its prisons to the splendours of its frescoed halls, the history of the Este family, Ferrara town and its hinterland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accessibility for deaf people

Ferrara’s Castello Estense is fully committed to making its priceless heritage accessible to all. In particular, in the context of the MAPS project, a videoguide in Italian and international sign language has been created for deaf people which accompanies visitors right through the museum visit itinerary. The videoguide – readable on tablets and available at the ticket office; from the home screen visitors can choose contents on the basis of their current location or surf freely through the info sheets which also encompass games, a short test and the Este family tree.


Entry to Castello Estense in Ferrara is free to the disabled and those accompanying them.

The cost of the videoguide in Italian Sign Language and International Sign Language – available at the ticket office on tablets – is €2.

 Click here for more information on prices.

Opening times

1st February – 30th September – every day

1st October – 28th February – closed Mondays

25 December closed

09:30 am – 5:30 pm

Museum: last entry 4.45 pm

Museum + the Leoni Tower: last entry 4 pm.

Click here for further information on visiting Castello Estense.

The castle is accessible to people with motor disabilities with the exception of the prisons and Leoni tower. Wheel-chair users can access the castle by lift to the first floor from San Paolo tower, the south-westerly tower.

The ticket office will supply detailed information and assistance points are accessible along the visit itinerary.

Castello Estense is also accessible to the deaf thanks to a Italian Sign Language and International Sign Language videoguide which accompanies visitors right through the visit. A tablet with the videoguide in it is available from the ticket office at a cost of €2.

Click here for more information on accessibility.