Ferrara was ruled by the House of Este, who held the city from 1208 to 1597. During the Renaissance, the Este Dukes of Ferrara were known for their patronage of artists and for their palaces, among which was the Delizia di Belriguardo, 15 kilometers outside the city. In 1506, the Assassin Ezio Auditore traveled to Belriguardo to confront Lucrezia Borgia, the Duchess of Ferrara at the time, and retook the paintings stolen by her after the Fall of Monteriggioni. Ultimately, he recovered Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation.
- Girolamo Savonarola was born in Ferrara.