Summer adventures in Italy
My summer flew by – as usual. I have kept busy with lots of outdoor activities.
It started with Walking the Italian Amalfi Coast! What a terrific trip! Because it is a one-centre based trip, you stay at one hotel for the week and make it your home. From the hotel we did day walks to the towns of Amalfi and Ravello (my favourite!) and the “Walk of the Gods” to Positano. The walks were about 10KM but not difficult with lots of “stodding” steps, and we had breaks with wonderful views. We also did a trip to the UNSECSO site of Pompeii and then we hiked up to the rim of Mount Vesuvius to peek inside. On a side note, there is an exhibition of Pompeii at the ROM until 03 January. On our free day, a few of us took the ferry to Capri. It was even warm enough to swim in the Aegean Sea!
Our hotel was family-run in the quiet village of Bomerano, which sits high above the Amalfi coast. The restaurant serves local cuisine cooked up by one of the brothers who also gave us cooking lessons! The homemade wine was great and the price even better!
The group of 16 ranged in age from 50 – 70 composed mostly of Brits but with 4 Canadians. The Exodus guide Paul is English and has been leading hiking tours in this area for a while. He knew the trails, where to set up lunch for the best views, and told us about the locals’ evening hangouts.
My last trip to Italy was the Best of Italy. First stop: Roma! On my daily walks I stumbled upon iconic site after iconic site – even without a map! Next up was Florence. I am glad I had pre-booked the museums to skip the lineups – and crowds. The best was to see the breath-taking David!
The old mediaeval wall town of Lucca was next to call my name. We stayed within the city walls in an apartment so I felt like a local. This time our exploring the area was by bike.
The well-known Cinque Terre area was next: hiking the coastal trails for some superb sea views and colourful small towns. Back on the trains to Lake Como outside of Milan (so beautiful!): mountains, lakes and ancient stone towns – easy to see by taking the lake ferries! And finally, Venice. What can I say that you have not heard before? Such an amazing renaissance city to explore by foot and boat through the canals.
It is not a coincidence that the most popular travel books selling in Canada are about this compelling destination. Italy calls everyone’s name at some point. The crowds are thinner in May / early June and then again late September / October. It can be a bit cooler but lovely for sightseeing. Whether you choose a small group tour staying locally or in centrally located hotels; or you choose a tour utilising trains, bicycles, buses or feet through these beautiful landscapes, your Italian journey will be an unforgettable experience. You will not be disappointed.
November 10, 2015