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The castle under Alfonso II

The work that revolutionized the appearance of the monument was completed in a respectable manner, after Girolamo's sudden death, by Alberto Schiatti, who handled the repairs needed after the disastrous earthquake that struck Ferrara and its castle in 1570. In the meantime Alfonso II became duke.

Both the fire and the earthquake left a lot to be sorted out in the apartments on the piano nobile. The new owner, son of Ercole and the duchess Renée of France, got to work immediately on the enormous task of redecorating.
The many large rooms, along with those of the new second floor destined not to become living quarters but mostly to accommodate the increasingly complex administrative apparatus of the territory, were extensively renovated (of note the works in the Camerini Dorati [Golden Study] and in the Sala del Governo [Government Room]).
Everywhere the damage done due to the disasters or to other events had meant restoration of some degree was necessary. With the intention of giving prestige to the Estense residence in the eyes of the duke, the court and the world, Alfonso decided to call upon the architect Pirro Ligorio, who had proved his worth to the family working on the Villa d'Este at Tivoli near Rome for Cardinal Ippolito. Thanks to a specific high-level plan concerning decoration and content, the result of the artistic enrichment was orderly and distinguished. At that time painters such as Girolamo Bonaccioli, Ludovico Settevecchi, Leonardo da Brescia and Sebastiano Filippi, known as Bastianino worked in the castle. Pictures and sculptures were purchased for the Antiquarium; the Apartments, the Studies and the Galleries were reorganised; the Appartmento dello Specchio (Mirror Apartment) was frescoed; the Cappella Ducale (Ducal Chapel) was decorated and the courtyard was given a Renaissance decorative appearance.

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