The centre of Ancient Venetian culture
Surrounded by majestic fortifications, Este has hosted modern-day artists including Byron and Shelley.
Its historic centre boasts a wealth of architectural and artistic gems, including: the Gothic palace of the Scaligeri; the Cathedral of Santa Tecla, with its altarpiece by Giambattista Tiepolo; the Palazzo del Comune in Piazza Maggiore; the National Atestino Museum, a renowned archaeological museum in Italy; the secret garden of Villa Contarini; and the park of Villa Cornaro-Benvenuti, designed by Giuseppe Jappelli—these are but some of the wonders guarded by the city walls.
The city is named after the Adige River, which passed through the city until the 6th century, when, following the famous "Rotta della Cucca" (589 A.D.), the course of the river changed, moving a few kilometres further south. The Romans settled there peacefully, and the Veneti united with them against the Gauls, obtaining the status of a Roman colony.
With the decline of the Roman Empire fell, Este was attacked by the troops of Attila the Hun and was devastated to the extent it was reduced to a mere village. After the year 1000, the city was revived with the d'Este lords who obtained the duchy in 1239 and chose Ferrara as their capital.
After being occupied twice by Ezzelino da Romano, who destroyed the castle in both 1238 and 1249, it was the subject of dispute in the 16th century between the Visconti, Carrara and Scaglieri families, until it surrendered to the rule of Venice.
In 1405, thanks to Venetian rule, it began for the town a long period of peace leading to economic splendour and population growth. Unfortunately, this came to an abrupt end when the plague arrived in 1630.
With the change of government brought about by Napoleon and the rise of the middle class, Este regained positive momentum, which developed through interesting initiatives such as the foundation of the National Museum of Este and the opening of state schools. This continued after 1866 with the annexation of Este to the Kingdom of Italy.