I’ve been meaning to tackle this subject for quite a while, and even today’s post is only a beginning to a fuller visual essay on bike life in Italy.
Bicycles own a big place in Italian culture.
Of course, the Giro d’Italia contributes heavily and people are solidly fanatical about following it. But this week I’d like to focus on the everyday-getting-from-here-to-there bike culture. It’s huge.
This past weekend, we made a day trip to Ferrara, about two hours by train and just north of Bologna. Ferrara is in Emilia-Romagna, which is the region known for producing arguably the best pasta in all of Italy (stay tuned for next week’s post about one of these best meals I’ve ever had). Unfortunately, Ferrara is often bypassed by people making a beeline for nearby Bologna. I’d been urged to visit Ferrara, particularly to see the stunning Cathedral of St. George. Just when I thought I’d seen all the most breathtaking churches of Italy…
Anyway, getting back on track, we entered the city center amidst a swarm of people on their bikes. This wasn’t a new phenomenon for me, since Treviso, our city, is also home to a robust population of bikes. But on this day, I had my camera in hand and I decided to embark on a quick photo essay of these colorful people and outfits passing us left and right.
Choosing to transit by bike doesn’t put a crimp in fashion choices.
If I had one overarching takeaway from our day in Ferrara, it’s this. And I love it. You’d think people would avoid donning their best outfits, afraid of sweating, getting dirty, or breaking a heel by wearing anything but sensible shoes. Check out the platform heels on the happy woman above, and the four-inch heels on the blonde woman below. Those are out-on-the-town shoes, my friends.
Perfectly pressed and put together.
I love how Italians don’t eschew fashion in favor of practicality. Check out this handsomely-attired gentleman below in his freshly-pressed dress shirt and suspenders. Age is no excuse either to get lazy with fashion choices.
Nattily Attired © 2018 Jed Smith
Animal partners get in on the action.
Consider this lady with her colorful Bohemian look and her sweet pooch happily perched in his front row seat. This kind of thing is hardly a rare sight.
The following photo also captures a canine out for a jog, while a well-suited man passes by.
I hope you’ll see, from these five photos, why this theme fascinates me and why I think it has potential to grow into something more substantial. I will plan a strategy and send myself off on a concentrated Italy bike life photojournalism assignment. Warm weather is ripe with opportunity, but also winter and rainy weather. Bikes don’t disappear here in Italy in adverse conditions unless it is a torrential downpour or a full-on blizzard. I’ve marveled at the numerous women on bikes here in Treviso, wearing full-length fur coats in the colder months. And during a steady rain, I’ve seen people returning from the town market, riding their bikes while balancing an umbrella and a basket of recently purchased goods.
This list goes on and on…and so will my photo efforts! Stay tuned!