It is not the usual little restaurant in the city, when you open the doors of the Restaurant Lotregano, in the historic center of Ferrara, you can breathe history. Very ancient palace, you are greeted by a ceiling with original exposed beams, while as soon as you enter the main hall you can admire a magnificent fresco of the ‘700 and a Christ of the’ 400. The location is very welcoming and suggestive, especially in the summer, when you have the opportunity to taste the dishes in the gardens of Piazza della Repubblica, overlooking the majestic and elegant Castello Estense. If you want to know more about the history that surrounds this place, I invite you to continue reading, with the hints of the historical and literary Silvia Villani.



The old Pawnshop of Ferrara

The restaurant occupies historical rooms of the old pawnshop of Ferrara. The institution had been founded by James Ungarelli Less Observant in 1507, half a century after the appearance of the first Mountains made of instigation of Bernardino da Feltre, with the intention of being of relief to the poor of the city handing out cash in the face of little pawns and fixing the rate of loan at 5%, compared to those of existing banks, including Hebrew. Lending activities had started in a building owned by Bendedei in via Ripagrande, but after a few years the ride was so enlarged as to make it too cramped local primitives. In 1515 died one of the General factors of the Este, Theodosius Brugia leaving for testamentary bequest his palace on the way of the route (now via Garibaldi) in corner with Boccacanale of Santo Stefano al Monte di Pietà because it transferred its headquarters. The Palace in via the route was built in 1460 by Lodovico Box councilor of Borso and later arrived at the property of Brugia, always remaining in the orbit of the powerful Ducal courtiers. From primitive trim had undergone several consolidations of surrounding buildings coming to understand the entire block from via Boccacanale of Santo Stefano in via della Luna, with functional allocation of spaces for the public (to commit and ransomed). The pawnshop will remain here until 1761 when will be transferred to the new purpose built building in the area of the former Ducal Garden Pavilion in Largo Castello. The competitiveness of rates charged soon attracted the nobles that were often granted loans without adequate collateral by determining the long bad debt they United to embezzlement, negligence and shortage perpetrated by staff caused repeated failures of the Monte di Pietà with massive damage to the city and to the weaker segments of the population. After the failure of 1599 following devolution, the critical moment was the collapse of 1646 with closure of Mount and aftermath that is important to the economic fabric of the city for a quarter century, until the reopening of the Monte di Pietà in 1671. Direct managers of embezzlement and shortages were identified among internal staff, reaching a historic process which ended with death sentences, one of which runs right in front of the mountain. To consolidate the new pawnshop you resorted to temporary ad hoc funding through public taxes, including taxes on meat, fish and brandy. A moment of great magnificence was the Legation of Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo, of princely family, which assumed in his person the dual charging bishopric and study areas from 1717 to 1736 with interruptions. I leave her mark on the city’s architecture, especially with the impressive work in the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace but also in the premises of the Monte di Pietà that still show fragments of an inscription dated 1727 in transcription of Babi and topped by his crest. Also notable is the grout with the Pietà arising out of the Tomb, symbol of pawnshops and still visible in the ceiling of the large living room.

Silvia Villani