The building was projected bv Biagio Rossetti, the greatest architect and city planner of Ferrara, for prince Sigismondo d’Este, brother of duke Ercole I. Begun in 1493, it remained a property of the Este family until 1641, when it was sold to the Villa family. The palace stands in the middle of the new city district commissioned by the duke and planned by Rossetti, at the junction of the two main roads. More than 8.500 diamond-shaped stones (called ‘diamanti’ in Italian) decorate the palace and make it particularly impressive: these stones look all identical, but in fact thev are perfectly pyramidal only in the central bands, while in the upper part their tops are slightly upwards and in the lower part they are downwards. Furthermore, the stones of the different bands are not placed over each other, but staggered. All that provides the whole building with a strong plastic value. The palace was designed for a diagonal vision and its focal point is therefore the corner, embellished by the splendid candelabras sculpted by Gabriele Frisoni and by a small marble balcony. Inside, not much remains of the ancient splendour: only a few great wooden ceilings dating back to Renaissance. The palace is the seat of the Civic Gallerv of Modern Art, where exhibitions of modern and contemporary masters take place. On the first floor there is the National Gallery, con-taining paintings from the 13th to the 18th century, by such artists as Cosmè Tura, Cristoforo da Bologna, Vicino da Ferrara, Simone dei Crocifissi, Dosso and Battista Dossi. Garofalo, Bastianino. Scarsellino, Carpaccio, El Greco, Bononi and others.