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The court palace

On 1st September 1476 Ercole I d'Este was out of town. His nephew Nicolò, Leonello's son, took advantage of his absence and invaded with a large group of armed townsfolk. He took possession of the piazza under the insignia of the "sail" erected against his uncle's insignia the "diamond".

The duchess Eleonora of Aragon, who energetically helped her husband in the running of the city during his long and frequent trips away, fled from the palace apartments with her children towards the safety of the Castello di San Michele.
To do this she crossed the bridge that just a few years before had been converted into a solid gallery protected from prying eyes and inclement weather and which from that time on became known as the Via Coperta. The people of Ferrara failed to help the invaders who were pushed back, captured and executed. Three days later, Nicolò himself was beheaded in Santa Caterina Tower. The episode was rather significant inasmuch that it certainly contributed in no uncertain terms to the Duke's decision to move their residence once and for all to within the safety of the castle walls.
From that moment on the fortress slowly began, through a series of long, never-ending works, to change into a residence worthy of housing the apartments of dukes and duchesses, commissioned at first to the court engineer Pietro Benvenuti degli Ordini.
He extended and transformed entire wings of the fortress and built in living spaces. Decorative improvements had already begun to appear under Borso. During those years the castle began to display decorations above all on the outside between the Marchesana Tower and the Torre dei Leoni, towards the street that led from Porta del Leone to Piazza del Mercato.

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