Take up Slow Tourism in the Province of Ferrara
11 March, 2015
Slow Tourism – What’s That?
Who has not felt stressed at the end of some trip? We tend to arrive at our destination and set about “logging” all the monuments and places of interest marked in our guidebook. This goes on, day after day, until, when we return home, we suddenly realise, exhausted, that our mind is cluttered with haphazard recollections of everything we have seen and done.
There is an alternative to conventional sightseeing known as slow tourism, an offshoot of a cultural trend called the Slow Movement, which aims to overturn all that. In essence, it involves taking our time when visiting a particular city or region, enabling us to imbibe more deeply the spaces we encounter, our contact with people and our forays into local culture. This is clearly a more sustainable form of tourism, closely related to nature activities, although not limited to them.
In northern Italy, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, the province of Ferrara offers two major spots where we can engage in slow tourism – its capital, Ferrara, known as one of Italy’s most tranquil destinations, and the Po river delta, with an endless variety of nature activities. If to this we add the calm temperament of its inhabitants and their rich gastronomy, we have no excuse not to take our time getting to know that province.
The Valli di Comacchio, a Stroll through Nature
One of the mainstays of the economy in the province of Ferrara is thePo river delta,a highly fertile land for cultivating fruit and grain, and an ideal area for fishing. It also stands out for its wealth of flora and fauna, leading it to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
Lying south of the Po Delta Regional Parkbetween Comacchio and the Reno river lies the Valli di Comacchio, an area well worth visiting on account of its uniquely beautiful landscape. This is a marsh area stretching for some 11,000 hectares of typically flat land where the waterbody alternates between brackish and seawater. The best way of negotiating the area is by bicycle, for which several routes have been designed for fairly comfortable cycling. Outings by boat, on horseback and walking tours are also organised. One of the major activities here is bird-watching, the main birding species including mallards, flamingos, herons and cormorants.
In the middle of this natural space lies the town of Comacchio which is picturesquely built on 13 islands interconnected by a series of bridges and canals. That accounts for it being mentioned in several guidebooks as a “little Venice”. Fishing is one of the main activities in the area, so don’t forget to try out their foremost culinary speciality, anguilla marinata (marinated eel), which is still prepared according to a traditional recipe. If you’re curious to learn more about how this delicacy is made, we can recommend a visit to the Manifattura dei Marinati.
Ferrara – Serenity, Renaissance and Bicycles Galore
Ferrara is perfect for those interested in a city which combines serenity and a generous measure of art. Medieval in origin and ruled in the past by the Este family, this city is characterised by an urban-planning project designed by the architect, Biagio Rossetti, who crafted it into one of Italy’s prime Renaissance destinations. A must-see is the Castello Estense with its moat, in the city centre, in addition to the Duomo, the Via delle Volte and the old Jewish ghetto. Prominent among its magnificent Renaissance palaces, most of which have been turned into museums, are the Palazzo del Comune, the Palazzo della Ragione and the Palazzo dei Diamanti with its distinctive diamond-shaped blocks.
A feature of Ferrara which strikes one immediately is the large number of bicycles plying its streets, reminiscent of Amsterdam. We recommend hiring a bicycle and going on a delightful tour of the city walls – you won’t be disappointed.
When it comes to culinary delicacies, you must try the pasticcio di maccheroni (baked macaroni with Parmesan cheese), salama da sugo (roast pork sausage, usually accompanied by mashed potato) and Ferrara bread, with its distinctive flavour and unusual, four-crusted shape.
Perk up and explore this beautiful region – check out our flights!
Texts ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
11 March, 2015