Sunday, May 29, 2011

Agriculture, And Then Ferrara

On Saturday, we left Ravenna on a road north edging along a huge wetland area that is part of the River Po delta. At one point we had to take a small ferry to cross a very big canal. Shortly after that we spotted a large flock of flamingoes! A first for both our bird sighting lists, and never expected in Italy.

The picture is not that great, but if you click on it to enlarge it, you can just make out that they are flamingoes. Once we turned more west we rode mostly small roads on canal banks. This is a rich agricultural area irrigated by canals off the Po river with crops much like those in the big Central Valley of California. We saw tomatoes, squashes, and corn. Also big fields of wheat and barley. Olives have disappeared and have been replaced by apricot, cherry, and pear orchards.

This picture was taken 'on the fly' and that is how it came to be so tilted, we were not going downhill. The road was flat and the riding would have been ideal if not for a nagging head wind. Closer to Ferrara the roads were lined with old sycamore trees giving welcome shade.

Ferrara was the seat of power for the D'Este family. There are many huge palazzos (palaces) of other wealthy families and even the city hall is a palazzo/castello.

The cathedral has an amazing facade and the square in front of it was filled with hoards of locals at 7:00 pm going out for the evening on foot and bicycle. We saw many young people talking on their cell phones while bicycling as well as people dressed up to go to the theatre on bicycles.

There was a row of gourmet food booths with wine tasting and we saw the biggest loaves of bread there.

Here is the front of the Castello Estense. It would be an interesting piece of real estate to own, but you would need a moat maintenance man.

We finished the day with salad, pizza, and sausages at a local pizzeria that had some Coca Cola memorabilia in Italian; the text reads "a lunch with a family who enjoys Coke." The pizza in northern Italy seems to have a slightly thicker crust and is made with drier cheeses than in southern Italy.

This change of route to Ferrara has been wonderful so far and today, Sunday, we head towards the outskirts of Verona.


Diana said...

Wow, you guys are covering some ground. Your pictures provide such insight - the size of that loaf of bread was truly astonishing. Send some of that sunshine our rained yesterday!

Dave and Belinda said...

Diana, thanks for the weather update (rain on May 28!). We have a baking challenge for you that we ate before we could take a picture. The traditional cake of Ferrara is a chocolate cake containing fruit and nuts covered in chocolate and it is called a pampeto (sp?). It has the diameter of a large cookie and is about 1.5 inches thick in the center, but tapers to the edges. The cake/fruit/nuts is a little less dense than fruitcake but has the same richness. It is the definition of dolci!