City (pop., 2001 prelim.: 130,461), northern Italy. Situated near the Po River, it is probably the site of the ancient Forum Alieni. Ferrara first appears in historical records in AD 753, when it was captured from Ravenna by the Lombards. It became a cultural centre and the seat of a principality, but it declined after its incorporation into the Papal States in 1598. The site of an Austrian garrison from 1832, Ferrara became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. It was severely damaged in World War II. Sites of interest include a 12th-century cathedral, a 14th-century moated castle, and the University of Ferrara (founded 1391).