In 2012 a severe earthquake hit the historic centre of Ferrara, a World Heritage site. Palaces of the XV and XVI centuries that played an important role in the birth of the Italian Renaissance and in the religious events related to the early period of the Reformation (among which Palazzo Renata di Francia, now headquarters of the University) were badly damaged. Following surveys and analyses brought out the unique, but removed character and nature of an important part of the historic town: the “Addizione” of Nicolò: a place of intellectual research, innovation, heresy.
In future years both the nature and the role of this area will be substantially affected by two events:
– the restoration of the historic headquarters of the University of Ferrara, severely damaged by the earthquake, and their opening to a public use;
– the creation of a new cultural pole of Ferrara based on the presence in the area of ancient mansions, monasteries, churches, museums, libraries and historical gardens and their reciprocal connections.
After restoration, the University will open some of its historic buildings for use by its students, youth and the general public: these new uses will create a new cultural hub in the historic centre of Ferrara and will revitalize the whole area.
ILAUD, in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair of the University of Ferrara, has contributed to the development of this innovative project of proactive conservation and enhancement of the area. After a preliminary seminar with historians and philosophers which d e a l t with the cultural events that took place in the area, a workshop was organised on issues related to the architecture and the spatial structure of the area, identifying and suggesting future lines for designing a new cultural centre of Ferrara. The analysis and assessment focused on possible future uses, the economic feasibility of the project, organization of the cultural pole and the problems connected with its management. The workshop was attended by architects, social scientists, economists, communication experts from different countries.