A new item on the blog! Since Lars and I still have to share lots of stories and pictures of our summer trip of 2015, we will feature these on TBT Thursdays. The reason why we didn’t write about these earlier, is due to my severe depression (which now belongs to the past).
Anyway, after our adventure on the Stelvio Pass, all Lars and I wanted to do was to relax and enjoy life in a small Italian town. And we found such a place in Berbenno di Valtellina, where we had booked a cute and cozy B&B.
First things first, a walk along the sunny narrow streets with the occasional speeding Italian in an old Fiat. A small piazza with flowers. Old men spending the afternoon in a coffee bar. That was the scenery laid before us.
Trattoria Traversi welcomed us with open arms. Since the weather was warm, Lars and I installed ourselves us in the garden.
Lars and I started with a beer to refresh ourselves, but soon continued with some “vino”.
After an hour, food joined the wine on the table: fresh fruits, nuts, an excellent vitello tonato (veal with tuna sauce) and yummy pastry. Now, this is what Lars and I call “la dolce vita”!
And then, fulfilled and happy, we went back to our B&B.
Lars mentioned the Stelvio Pass for the first time more than 7 years ago, when we had just “met” on Facebook. When I googled it and saw the spectacular pictures, driving on this pass quickly became a dream of mine as well.
Then why did it take such a long time before Lars and I realised this dream? Very simple: we were never in the neighbourhood! And the one time we were – around Easter 2011 – the pass was still closed. Finally, last year, we decided to make our dream come true.
But what is it exactly that makes driving on the Stelvio Pass such an awesome experience? It is actually one of the highest paved mountain passes of Europe, with its top located at 2.757 m. And then there are dozens of hairpin turns waiting for you.
And driving on the Stelvio Pass looks like this:
You can find this video on our YouTube channel, in the playlist of Italy. Apparently, I made a mistake in the title of the video; it should be “Passo dello Stelvio”. My apologies…
Of course, I took pictures as well. This first group of photos is from Bormio, the small town located at the top.
I am not sure what Bormio has to offer. Lars and I only stopped there briefly to take pictures. But, if I am not mistaken, there is a ski station located in this town.
I took the next set of pictures after the climb.
Lars and I will spend the next days in Paris! And there, we are going to realise another dream. Keep an eye on this website and our Instagram account.
First of all, I need to correct something. The castle I talked about in this post, is actually located in Padenghe sul Garda and not in Desenzano del Garda. My excuses for this mistake.
Anyway, early in the afternoon, we found ourselves at the shore of the Garda Lake. Lars and I had a short stop in one of the smaller places, in Moniga del Garda. The promenade was empty, probably because most people were having lunch.
Our next stop was in Salò. Between 1943 and 1945, this town was the capital of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic; and yes, this is the same place where Salò by Pier Paolo Pasolini takes place. Nowadays, this town is known for its long promenade along the shore of the lake.
Lazise was the last place that Lars and I visited at the Garda Lake. Actually, it was only me who went for a walk and took pictures. The centre is free of traffic and Lars had to stay behind in the car, which was illegally parked. I did take my time though to walk in the cozy streets, filled with restaurants and shops. And I really wanted to reach the shore of the Garda Lake again.
Lars and I started our last day at the Garda Lake by visiting Desenzano del Garda, one of the biggest cities around the lake. In summer, this place attracts a lot of tourists, thanks to its 3 beaches and numerous pubs and restaurants. We wanted to see the harbour, but we couldn’t get there by car. To be honest, these are the only pictures I could take in the centre:
Not very inspiring, is it? After having driven around for another half an hour, we gave up. It was simply impossible to get rid of the car and go for a walk. However, I didn’t want to leave without any beautiful pictures. Luckily for us, in the outskirts of the town, we discovered a castle on top of a hill. It was a very picturesque place, where time seemed to have stood still…
After our visit to Verona and before retreating to our camping place, Lars and I decided to stop in the picturesque village of Malcesine. This place is located between the Monte Baldo (a mountain), which you can reach by cable car and the eastern shore of the Garda Lake. It has a beautiful castle with 2 museums. Unfortunately, we only had a very limited time to do some sightseeing. Most of Malcesine is free of traffic and although it was only April, it was very difficult to get rid of the car. So, while Lars stayed in the car, I went for a short walk to take some pictures.
Malcesine resembles a labyrinth of small streets, filled with pubs, restaurants and shops. Very cozy indeed, but I can imagine that in summertime, the place is crowded with tourists. Before getting lost in the small streets, I got back to the car. With some great shots!
After our visit to Sirmione, Lars and I had a choice. We could stick to the Garda Lake or go somewhere else. We chose the second option, had a quick look at our map and were off to Verona. Yes, just like that…
The name brings back sweet memories from my years at university. Shakespeare and his sonnets and his plays. I remember reading Romeo and Juliet and being swept away by the passion and the drama. And, of course, the tragic story takes place in … Verona!
But something else had caught my attention in my travel guide. There is also an amphitheatre in Verona! I had already seen the one in Rome and even one in Tunisia. Apparently, the Verona Arena is the third biggest in Italy and could seat 25.000 spectators.
First, we had to get rid of the car and walk through some of the grand streets of the town. Then we arrived at the largest piazza of Verona, the Piazza Bra, where the arena is located. It’s more than 130 metres long and 110 meters wide; I simply could not fit it in one picture.
We didn’t go inside the arena though. Instead, Lars and I went for a drink and soaked up the atmosphere. The arena and Juliet’s balcony have to wait for our visit…
Although the Christmas festivities have already started in our home – Danes also celebrate the 23rd of December and Lars is no exception – I still have time for another post. It is not related to Christmas at all, but I simply cannot wait any longer to show you more pictures of our trip to Italy.
After our stay in Tuscany, Lars and I didn’t feel like going home immediately. We spent another three days at the south side of the Garda Lake at a camping place. It was my first time at a camping place and I loved every minute in our mobile home! I especially loved the evenings, sitting in the restaurant, eating a giant pizza and watching the sun go down.
Anyway, the first place we visited was Sirmione. The town is known for its historical centre and especially its 13th century castle. Oh, and its beautiful location at the lake, of course.
Vehicles are forbidden in the town; in the high season this means trying to get your car lost at one of the nay parkings, while avoiding being run over by the many tourist buses. When we were there, it was April, so not too many tourists.
Lars and I soon realised that there was another reason for the “lack” of tourists. It was Monday and all the points of interest were closed…
Well, at least Lars and I enjoyed a cozy walk in Sirmione!
This Saturday, we will leave for the south of Germany. If our Internet connection permits it, we will regularly post pictures. Or maybe a video, if we are lucky…
Unfortunately, we cannot find the address of this winery, but we remember that it was not far from San Vincenzo.
Not an inviting tasting area (it was very cold), but beautiful red wines and a grappa to die for! A big white dog keeps you company while you taste, choose and buy…
Winery of Bulichella
Loc. Bulichella, 57028 Suvereto
Suvereto was the small town where we stayed for a week. Just outside the center is this beautiful winery, where a lady in perfect English guides you through their wines. Be sure to taste their white one, it is extraordinary! Afterwards, go for a stroll in their winery.
Our verdict? Outstanding service and produce! Highly recommended!
Needless to say that most of the wines we had bought did not leave Italy… Anyway, this is our last post about Tuscany, but not about Italy. Stay tuned for more beautiful pictures.
Photographing the backroads of Europe, exploring beauty and enjoying life at our own pace