Cittá delle biciclette
Ferrara, Cittá delle biciclette (city of bikes), although no more than the others we’ve seen so far, but indeed everybody’s on a bike. From the fanciest Italians to the hippest of youngsters.
Life on the road
The first thing you need to know when traveling by bike is that the only clothes you’ll bring are those you can carry on your bike. So, unless you’re super fit, you’ll have to wash some clothes.
In our case it was in Ferrara that the laundry became necessary and we found a laundromat not that far from the center, called the Oasi del Bucato. It’s a great laundry place for tourists as everything is automated, you just put your money in, select the program and the machine will dose the detergent needed.
Also, the nice thing about laundry is that it gives you plenty of time to do calm things such as drinking an aperitivo at the closest bar, or writing this blog post.
Remember to bring with you a piece of string, it’ll make any room turn into a drying room in no time.
Our favorite restaurant became Osteria Savonarola because of the service: their friendly, smiling staff is a refreshing thing on a hot day.
We also got to see some sort of mediaeval flag throwers. A traditional thing in Ferrara is to have these teams where you have musicians and dancers. While the musicians play the trumpets and drums, the dancers do a choreography with flags that they throw in the air. There is one team per neighborhood of the city and they compete for a prize. On a summer night, it makes a nice street show to watch.
As with Sabbioneta, the old city walls surrounding the town have a lovely path where you can walk or cycle. We took that path to go from the center to the laundromat without having to cross the tourists crowds.
Just by chance we entered the local library, where a most passionate librarian explained us a temporary exhibition they had at the time. So far in this region everybody we’ve met seemed passionate about what they do: librarians, waiters, hosts. And that is lovely.
Tourists in Ferrara were plenty during the day, but none during the night. We wondered if people use Ferrara rather as a day trip from Bologna, Mantova or even Venice, as every end of the day the streets were empty of tourists and we could only hear Italian.
We booked a hostel called Bed and bike. First we thought it would be a hostel for cyclists, meaning a safe space to park the bikes among other perks. In reality not so much; they can accommodate a few bikes at the entrance of the building, which is safer than leaving them on the street. But the best part: it is located just next door to a great gelateria.
The hostel is new and clean with large rooms and they rent bikes. Paolo, the host, was very welcoming and friendly. He even had his bike mechanic come and check our bikes as we had a small problem.
You can follow all the routes we followed on: