Catching up on blog posts from over a month ago…Slovenia and Sicily to come. Leaving Florence and arriving by train we were back in Venice with our kids. It was much warmer than when we last visited in February during Carnivale but no less crowded and already feeling a little overwhelmed with the mobs of tourists and heat surrounding the city.
After a few days in Naples we were on the move again for our ‘rinse and repeat’ tour of Italy with the kids boarding another FrecciaRosa high speed train for a few days in Rome. This was our fourth time in the eternal city and we were just as excited to be backat our favorite city in the world, just like visiting an old familiar friend.
Back to getting caught up on my blog posts: so I last left off with Sandra and Vyse leaving us and heading for Paris while the kids had just joined us in Naples.
The next day we made a last-minute decision to hop on the train and head to Caserta to visit the Royal Palace. It was about an hour train ride out of Naples, a scenic, relatively quiet and relaxing journey. We had left a bit late in the day so we were on a rushed tour but in retrospect we would have planned to spend a whole day here as it was astounding!
On our last day in Vico we did a day trip into Sorrento for some sightseeing and shopping that was enjoyed by all. The weather was outstanding, we had lots of variety from walking through the beautiful grounds of a hotel/villa to sampling local foods and shopping for souvenirs. We were looking at Sorrento as a place to base ourselves for touring the Amalfi Coast but picked Vico, it seems to be downplayed on sites like TripAdvisor but all of us really enjoyed it. We returned with the kids to Sorrento on our itinerary with them, we spent the day at a beach club and some sight seeing. They also really enjoyed spending the day in Sorrento. Here is a link to the Sorrento, photo gallery.
Next on our spreadsheet of plans was a driving tour of the Amalfi coast and Vyse was back at the helm navigating us along the tricky, twists and turns on one track roads hugging the cliffs of Amalfi. Our first stop was to the town of Ravello where we were blessed with the last parking spot in the lot closest to the town.
Our few days in Rome quickly came to an end and we were off to Naples via the high-speed train on a pleasant journey traveling to the south of Italy. As soon as we arrived in Naples we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore surrounded by the noise, smells, crowds and chaos that is the fiber of this busy city! We rented a car and I was so thankful that Vyse had elected to do all the driving as it was nuts navigating this city, honking, swearing, swerving, breaking…..and that’s just getting out of the parking lot! There are no rules, it’s a free for all and a big game of chicken when driving in this part of Italy. The four of us with all our luggage jammed into our little rental looked like a comical frat prank on how much can you cram in.
Following up on my last post, here is a video of our tour through Romes iconic landmarks, unimaginable amounts of history walking through the streets where Ceasar once stood!
We’ve done and seen so much in the month of June, on the go every day that I’m just starting to get caught up on my blog entries. We had been intensively traveling with our besties from Calgary (Vyse and Sandra) who joined us for 10 days in Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, then our kids came out and we rinsed and repeated. Overlapping with the kids my dad came out to show us his native land of Slovenia. We spent 6 days with him and the kids, then Janet and I drove them to Venice where they started their journey home. We returned to Slovenia and spent another 10 days with dad, a few days ago we dropped him off at the airport in Ljubljana and drove back to Venice where we hopped on a plane for Palermo, Sicily.
Bologna definitely left us spellbound and bewitched, I can’t shake it out of my head with a yearning to return like a homesick child. It’s a modern metropolitan city but at the same time you feel like you’ve been dropped into one of Shakespeare’s Italian plays; Romeo and Juliet, Othello or a Midsummers Night Dream. Its architecture is medieval grandeur at its best that will have you spinning trying to see everything around you in 360 degrees. It’s a little rough around the edges, beautiful and boisterous, raw and gritty but elegant and grand. Try as I might to describe it you’ll just have to come see for yourself one day, if you’ve been you’ll know what I mean.
Astonishing Assisi, although we were only able to spend an afternoon is the small medieval town we are determined to return one day and stay for at least a few nights in this enchanting place. We’ve said it more than once but this town is at the very top of our favorites in Italy, it gripped our attention with so much character and ambiance. Perched on a hill in the region of Umbria it is famous as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi and holds much religious as well as historical and artistic significance.
Sensational is a good word for San Marino as it effects all the senses with it’s otherworldly atmosphere. Arriving in this fifth smallest country in the world you feel like you’ve almost left the planet for a land that lives in the sky, with castles and fortresses like something from a Renaissance fairy-tale.
We visited San Marino by bus from our school in Recanati, it was one of the weekend tours included in our school programs and started with a stop in the small university town of Urbino. We began our adventure here in this walled city in the Marche region south of Pesaro, nestled in the hillsides of the pre-Apennines. We had a few hours to tour the town, its famous Palazzo Ducale and museum but we opted to wonder the town taking some pics of the surrounding countryside and visiting one of its many excellent cafes to try some local delicacies. It was a quick visit but we thoroughly enjoyed our stop here.
Every year Venice celebrates Carnivale in a big way, attracting revelers from all over the world to partake in the pre-lent celebrations that happen all over the world. This year the kick off was on Saturday the 11th with the water parade starting festivities that will continue until the 28th. We mis- calculated the dates as most of the activities peak next weekend with all the big costumed balls and events throughout Venice reaching a climax on the 24th for Fat Tuesday but nevertheless we are having a ball! Don’t miss my video on the spectacular Water Parade and Carnivale kick off in Venice, Italy- bottom of this post.
The last town we visited before starting school was a town called Imola which turned out to be a big surprise. We hadn’t expected much and were a bit worried as we knew nothing about the small city. We had booked an Airbnb there simply as a base to explore Bologna, Ravenna, Ferrara and Verona, some of the towns we had wanted to visit. We weren’t finding any accommodations in Bologna within our budget so we moved our search to Imola and found a great apartment there. Well our apartment turned out to be fantastic and the town even more so!
We spent 12 days in magnificent Milan, Italy and had an even better time than expected in this amazing city. It’s the financial hub of Italy in the more prosperous north and one of the worlds great fashion capitals. It’s a mix of the newest and greatest with the old classics being the foundation of the city. (Don’t forget to watch our video at the bottom of this post)