Ferrara! – its people and its bikes

Our last visit during our trip to Italy was Ferrara.

I’ve never seen a more stunning medieval town! I love when I get to see places in my own country that I have never seen before!

The town was beautifully elegant, and so its inhabitants on bikes (and on foot too!).

The Romanesque Cathedral, against a magnificent blue sky! (it was 27 celsius on the 25th of Sept!!).

Ferrara City Hall

Bike parking ‘au naturel’! Love how bikes are an integral part of city life here.

click on image to see large

And Ferrra’s people and their bikes! I took these photos in just 10min, while sitting on a marble bench eating ice cream, and this is just a selection, there was a continous stream of bikes.

There is no definite cycling infrastructure in Ferrara, the bike is just intrinsic to city life, it’s an easy mode of transport, gentle, slow and social (lots of friends, couples etc chatting while cycling!). Cars still do exist, but as we were walking down the streets of the town, outside the historical centre, we saw households had bikes everywhere, locked to gutter pipes, inside garages, in courtyards and so on. I’m beginning to learn and understand that cycling, to be successful in cities/towns, has to definitely be a cultural thing first and foremost.

I couldn’t recommend enough a visit to this region, Emilia Romanga, and the national rail system as it is still running fantastically and at low cost (yay for nationalised rail network!). To give you an idea, a return ticket from Bologna to Ferrara was 8euro (!), which is equivalent to £7. Ferrara is 43km (27miles) from Bologna, so the trip costed us 8p a mile!

[all photos are by yours truly ©NaturallyCyclingManchester. If you want to reproduce any image please ask, cheers!]

4 responses to “Ferrara! – its people and its bikes

  1. Looks like another nice spot.

    Those train prices sound unbelievably cheap compared to here – even advanced bookings costing more than £7 for that kind of distance. It’s a shame really, but I think this numpty we have in charge of transport now isn’t likely to improve the situation!

    They’re all practical bikes too – did you find that to be the norm’ on your trip LC?

    • I know! The trains are so expensive here and usually pretty uninspiring… and although many things have gone horribly wrong back home, ‘they’ – thankfully – have managed not to touch our national rail network =) [touch wood they’ll keep their paws off it!]

      Normally in any urban settings everyone use practical bikes (men, women, young and old), you won’t spot lycra people going to work lol! But there is still a great passion for road cycling, lycra clad long distance, i.e. in spirit of the Tour d’Italia and the like, so during the week end if you head to the countryside/hills you’ll come across big groups of road-cyclists, i.e. in teams, either for fun or for serious training. And it may be the same people that during the week enjoy cycling around their cities in ‘wimmins’ bikes ; ) I like that!

  2. Ferrara looks gorgeous.
    It’s very interesting the different way Italian people seem to think about cycling. While Dutch are only on separate biking infrastructure your compatriots are more on the natural way…I don’t know which is better but I think maybe a mix of the two points of view would have excellent results.
    Anyway, these cities look nice and their cycling culture feels so natural and lively!

    • It is a beautiful town, I heard about it and was worried to have too much expectations, but I wasn’t disappointed at all =) although my favourite is still Modena, I’d definitely move there if we were to go back to Italy in the future…

      ‘natural way’ it’s a good way to describe it ; ) as it is just about hopping on and go. I can only think that as most city cyclists are also drivers and vice versa there is an ‘understanding’ and respect for each other when sharing the road… how I wish it was the same in Manchester. But you never know, one day ; ) I keep positive (!)

      [PS – I am saying this for cycling-friendly cities. I would not dare cycling in cities like Milan for example, it’s just too mad and chaotic!]

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