And what can I say about the food except YUM! I actually remember the first time we tasted fresh pasta at the restaurant in Vico Pancellorum. It was served with chingale (wild boar) sauce and the pasta was so soft it just melted in my mouth. We dined out quite often and the pasta was consistently very good everywhere we ate. Needless to say, we managed to gain a kilogram to two.
Italian coffee is also the best in our opinion. This is smooth, creamy and served with passion. Every cup is delivered to you with the expectation that it will be the very best cup you will ever drink.
As I mentioned, we dined out quite often, due to the fact that the cost of living in Italy was much lower than here in WA, making it affordable for us. The cost of seasonal fresh vegetables and fruit from the markets and prices at the supermarket were also much lower than WA.
We regularly visited the nearby villages, which were perched higher up in the Apuan Alps, part of the Apennine Mountains. They each have their own charm and character and it was lovely to see them in the changing seasons. It was snowing nearby when we arrived in March and by the time we left at the end of November snow was again falling in the higher villages. Coming from Western Australia this was a great sight, as we don’t see snow in our part of the world.
One of the highlights of our stay was a regular visit to the beautiful coast of the Cinque Terra. We have walked the famous Cinque Terra trail, visited the five villages by train and also taken the ferry on a perfect day to see these beautiful villages. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this area it is without a doubt one of the most scenic parts of Italy.
I seem to be using the descriptive words beautiful and lovely so often, but they really do describe the scenery, the smells, the sights, the experiences and the people here.
I could continue on for pages, but instead here is a quick insight to just some of the amazing adventures that we experienced while in Italy.
We explored the beautiful cities of Lucca, Florence, Pisa, Modena, Bologna, Genova and Milan. They are all steeped in history and beauty.
Visiting the Etruscan villages of Volterra, Orvieto, Pitigliano, Siena, San Gimignano and Pienza in the Chianti region gave us a insight into the history and turbulent times of the Italian culture.
The coast is just as you imagine it would be in the summer months. Brightly colored umbrellas with deck chairs and sun lounges underneath are very popular with the Italian sun lovers who flock to the coast – particularly in August, which is traditionally holiday time for all Italians. It is a wonderful sight. The beauty of the coast from Forte dei Marmi to Portofino and the Cinque Terra makes you want to spend time at the beach.