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You are here: Home The castle Restoration work Restoration work 1910-1930

Restoration work 1910-1930

During the twentieth century there were not many changes made to the castle, rather there was a lot of maintenance and alterations carried out due to the continuing modernisation of the offices. Some restoration work was carried out and a lot of rather debatable changes were made in the area around the castle.

Between the years since 1910 and 1930 a lot of work was done.
There were two main threads to this work, which could be thematized: The "castle within the context of urban growth" and the "medievalization of the monument." Between 1910 and 1912 an interesting intervention led to the Loggia degli Aranci (Loggia and Orange Garden), at the time completely bricked up, being reopened.
Later, in the period after the Second World War, glass panels were fitted in the arches and it was used for Provincial Council meetings. The original arches were reopened by the recent restorations of the 1980s. The same thing was done in 1917 to the Renaissance arches (also completely bricked up) of the western portico of the Torre dei Leoni while a few years later, in 1925, a plan to put crenellations on the porticos was rejected.
A 1925 proposal to knock down the North Gatehouse, to widen the road in front of it ending up being adapted to the faithful restoration of the wooden balcony, carried out after a long debate in 1936. In 1877, repairs were made to the entrance of the South Gatehouse.
A ramp protected by walls which, after a right angle curve, ran parallel to the moat wall and entered the gatehouse itself was demolished. Without entering into the merit of the idea, this repair certainly made it possible to carry out further work that led to the anachronistic slope of the entire piazza to the south of the castle, for the realization of a debatable vehicle entrance to the castle itself.
It was with the works carried out between 1917 and 1925 that a new appearance was given to the courtyard and that the castle was made fully accessible to vehicles. In just a few years the gradients of the southern and northern gatehouses were changed, the marks of the changes in level can still be seen.
The arches of the two gatehouses that led into the courtyard were widened and the entire courtyard was completely changed. The parts of the plaster work frescoed in a Renaissance style were got rid of and the courtyard of honour was given back its rather imprecise "original style", which was supported by the emphasis laid on probable traces of a portico that may have run along the sides of the castle courtyard and of which there are unfortunately no other convincing traces.
Of the many frescoes and architectural freezes on the walls that were lost, there was also a covered balcony than ran along the first floor of the western side of the courtyard that was demolished.
One of the elements that made up the landscape surrounding the castle that bore the greatest sacrifice and towards which a strong lack of sensitivity for its environmental and urban value was shown was the castle moat. In fact, the moat steadily lost its natural contact with the system of canals than ran through the city and which had gradually been filled in, covered over and, in some cases, transformed into underground drainage passages for the city sewers.
The final act, which had a great effect on the urban image of the moat and the monument and which still creates great difficulties in the maintenance of this stretch of water (a remnant of the past which is indeed rare today among castle is in Italy and Europe) has to do with the covering up and successive conversion into a city sewer of the Panfilio Canal which lies under what is now Viale Cavour.
This process of forcing away sources of clean surface water, which the city undoubtedly has, from the castle moat is still a cause for concern with regard to maintaining its hygienic and aesthetic qualities. Between 1913 and 1926 the steep narrow road with small, low houses along it that led to the castle's North Gatehouse was transformed.
The result was that the houses were demolished, the road leading up to the North Gatehouse was made less steep by changing the gradients, the road was widened and, in 1926, the Chamber of Commerce was built. Inside the castle, in 1919, the new Provincial Council room, formally in the Salone dei Giochi (Large Games Room), wonderful carvings in wood by Ettore Zaccari inspired by the Liberty and Art Deco movements and mosaics by Giovan Battista Giannotti were completed. In 1926 the vault of the Saletta dei Veleni (Poisons Room) was frescoed by Carlo Parmeggiani, the intervention being clearly inspired by the usual symbols of the Fascist era, in this case the portrait of Ferrara's home-grown Fascist party leader Italo Balbo. In 1946, serious damage due to the bombing of the North Gatehouse was repaired and faithfully reconstructed by the Civil Engineers.

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