Piazza Ferrarese, which takes its name from a merchant from Ferrara, Stefano Fabri or Fabbro, was a southern extension of piazza Mercantile and played an important role in liaising with the Porta Nuova (or Porta di Mare or of Lecce or Australe), opened in 1612 to facilitate the entrance of goods coming from the port. The nearby Piazza Mercantile had been since the middle ages the main place for commerce and trade. The Porta Nuova, which according to Giulio Petroni was designed by the engineer P. Castiglione, one of two doors to the city opened in the walls, had entablatures containing four circles, each with the pictures of Iapige, Barione, a Roman coin (the symbol of Bari) and an inscription by King Filippo III.
Like many other parts of the old town piazza Ferrarese has been subject to renovations which reflect the changing perception of the concept of urban space and restoration work. The most recent restoration work has left the piazza as we see it today: bright and airy but above all buzzing with life.
In documents from the seventeenth century, Piazza Ferrarese is also mentioned as the piazzetta d’armi (arms square), because of the presence of the national guard. In 1813, when the first stone of urban expansion was laid right outside Porta Nuova, Piazza del Ferrarese became the only connection between the old and new city, providing a continuous link through Via del Mare (now Corso Cavour). With the 1817 demolition of Porta del Mare and the authorization in 1819 to knock down the city walls, the square could be extended to the south and was equipped to accommodate the market. The blacksmiths, which by long tradition concentrated in the square, were forced to sell their shops and move their businesses to more remote areas of the town.