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Visit Ferrara, yet to be over-run by tourists.

Feeling just a tad envious as newly-weds Kate and Wills take off on their romantic honeymoon? There’s no need to feel left behind in this ardent month of May. We’ve searched the web and come up with the following exciting trip to put that spring back into your step. It’s a cheap and easy destination to get to too!

Head for Ferrara, the medieval walled town in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, which lies to the south of Venice and Padua. The town is an unspoilt gem and is steeped in history, dating back to its origins as a Byzantine castrum. Under the d’Este family, which ruled from 1208 to 1598, Ferrara became a centre of the arts, with Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, and Petrarch, among others, spending time under their patronage. Nowadays you can visit the beautifully preserved medieval quarter alongside an equally beautiful Renaissance one.

Must stop places are the Castello Estense de Ferrara, a defensive structure from the early middle ages that dominates the old city, the Romanic-cum-Gothic Cathedral, built in 1135, and the Church of Sant'Antonio in Polesine, which contains beautiful frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries. Walk the 9km of city walls commissioned by Duke Ercole I d'Este and built between 1493 and 1505.

May is a month of festivities that date back 800 years. They culminate in the ‘Palio’ (horserace) which is not quite so famous as the one in Siena but is just as exciting. This year it will be held on the 29th of May, but celebrations begin on the 7th with a procession of musicians, flag-bearers and dignitaries in medieval costume then continue at weekends throughout the month.

Fly to Bologna from Gatwick with Easy Jet (www.easyjet.com) or from Stansted or Edinburgh with Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), then take the train to Ferrara.

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