This is la città delle biciclette.
A little rain can’t impress Ferrara’s proud bicycle riders 🙂
There was even someone who came by bicycle to sell umbrellas to fellow cyclists.
It’s another aspect of Italianità: this complete disregard for the dangers that we care about so much. Here in Austria it is pretty common to see bicycle riders wear helmets. In fact it’s rather unusual seeing someone not doing so.
In Italy? Hmm … actually I can’t remember having seen a single helmet. Just as it was around here in my youth. But of course we have all died therefore 😀
… before the rain came. And how it came!
With the umbrella stowed away in the car, we decided it was the safest course of action to have some more wine 🙂
Actually I enjoyed it sitting there, most of the time just out of reach of the rain, relaxing and taking images. You’ll see some more of them tomorrow.
In the afternoon of our last day in Ferrara the weather turned cloudy and, having returned from San Giorgio and parked the car in the square in front of our hotel, we decided to walk one more time into the center, probably have a look at the (closed) synagogues in Via Mazzini, while our time with a glass of wine in a bar and just relax before dinner. Sitting under a giant umbrella of the Caffetteria Imperial Bar on Piazza del Municipio, I took this image, minutes before …
I’m not religious at all, to the contrary, the longer I live, the more my agnosticism turns into atheism.
Regardless though, I love churches. Even more than churches I love monasteris with still intact cloisters.
We’d had bad luck at the Certosa, we’d had bad luck with San Benedetto (the earthquake again), and we also had bad luck with San Giorgio. The cloister was closed as well.
Not so the church, and that was a good reason to go a little wider.
San Giorgio is directly outside the wall, opposite the south-eastern gate, on the other side of the small arm of the Po that flows along Ferrara’s southern wall.
Ferrara almost automatically invokes the name Giorgio Bassani, and his book “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” is what I read while we were there.
I hadn’t even known that he is buried in Ferrara, but the first thing the woman at the entrance of the Cimitero ebraico di Ferrara asked us was, whether we were there to see Bassani’s tomb. It came as a surprise to us but, yeah, that’s why we were there.
Here it is.
Italianità. It’s a certain elegance and style in everything.
Hard to define, but you see it when you’re there. These two images were taken in the morning from our terrace on second floor.
Let’s wrap up this nightly walk through Ferrara with some more images.
I’m pretty sure the Image of the Day shows the northern side of the Palazzo Municipale as seen from the Castello.
The other images were taken in small streets round the center.
Ferrara is not a big city. Even it’s center is almost devoid of people before midnight.
Nightlife? Not really, but that was not why I was there anyway.
How long have I been in Ferrara, you ask? Three and a half days, not more. That’s substantially less time than it took me to process all the images, not to speak about blogging it, and we’re not even through yet.
We are back to Castello Estense, the magnificent castle at the center of Ferrara, and this time we come at night.
The moat and the multitude of reflections along with the convenience of a well stabilized long lens, that makes for a satisfying and relaxed shooting experience.
As to the two B&W images, the one of the underside of the balcony had no distinct colors anyway. Going to B&W gave me the option to stretch contrasts in a much more dramatic way than would have been possible in color.
The other image was taken at ISO 1600, but was pushed at least two stops in the shadows.
Hmm … churches and fortresses, superstition and violence, that’s what drove architecture. I wonder.
You know, one of the most interesting questions in Science Fiction is, how an encounter with an alien race would turn out. Well, given our history as a species, I ask myself if they’d have any other option than to strive for our extinction? Our earth is heavy with the bones of peoples who didn’t survive contact with our “civilization”. Peaceful aliens would hardly fare better.
One of the most famous people born in Ferrara was Girolamo Savonarola. It’s hard to tell today what a man he really was, what his real intentions were and if we’d be able to agree.
What we have is a distorted image of a man who was a danger to the rich. He may have been a crazy religious fanatic, unscrupolous and vile, but the opposite may be true as well. What we know is that he died on the gallows, that his body was burned and the remains were thrown into the river. Such was the hatred thrown against him.
If you think of it, it’s not much better today, even in our time of meticulously recorded history.
John F Kennedy was shot in Dallas, that much we know. By whom? The official record is dubious. 911? Don’t get me started!
History is a reconstruction by necessity, and much more so when money and strong interests come together to shape it.
The Cattedrale of Ferrara at night. It’s not immediately apparent, but if you closely look at it, there are orange “patches” on parts of the facade.
These are plastic nets, keeping loose figures and ornaments from falling. The earthquake, what else? When you think of it, if this happens to you and your house, you just call someone to fix it. If it looks different afterwards, no problem, maybe you like the new look better anyway.
You can’t do that with historic buildings. Whatever you do, it is expensive and needs extraordinary expertise. It’s not easy living with a history 🙂