For the second week of our trip, we stayed in the small village of Saorge in the Maritime Alps on the Roya river. We had an amazing terrace with a view over the valley and the constant sound of the rushing water. There were cute, little villages all along the river all the way to the coast. We visited a few coastal cities as well – Ventimiglia (Italy, but on the border), Menton (very cute French village, I recommend!) and then Nice.
Spent our first week of a 2-week vacation in the Piemonte region of Italy. We stayed in a huge apartment over a winery, surrounded by vineyards. The week was mostly filled with eating lunch in different little towns. All museums were closed and there wasn’t much to do, but our apartment had air conditioning, which was a treat for us!
A strange time to be in Texas, but we went to celebrate the life of my grandmother, Polly, at a memorial with the rest of the family. Luckily, we also got to meet up with some of our friends.
Our third week in Italy was spent in the Prosecco road, which was named a new UNESCO Heritage Site the second day we were there! This is the area where the DOCG Prosecco comes from. We were in Tarzo – a small village between all the vineyards.
Måns and I went to a Prosecco tasting where they are restoring an old building for a bed and breakfast. The fields have been in the family for 3 generations. We also had another impromtu Prosecco tasting near Santa Stefano.
We visited the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites, which is about where they start. It was really nice! On another day we went to Lido di Jesolo, which is a sandy beach near Venice.
And of course we had another visit to Ai Pioppi. This is the amusement park that one man built in the woods behind his food stand all by himself. All rides work just with human power. He’s been working on it for almost 50 years. It’s an amazing place so we had to go back!
For week 2, we moved to northern Tuscany in the Garfagana region to Bagni di Lucca. This place used to be famous for its thermal spas, and was often visited by musicians and poets (Puccini, Shelley, Byron, Browning). Now they are dead and it’s our turn to visit.
We stayed in a really nice house with a small pool that we could cool off in, which was great since Italy was experiening a heat wave while we were there. The property was surrounded by lemon trees, olive trees and caper vines, which produce a very pretty flower!
We visited all the cute, small villages, including one called Lucchio Alto located at the top of a mountain. The houses have to build their rooms on top of each other because they hang from the cliff. Luckily, our host, Giuseppe took us up because he was picking up some cheese from a lady that makes it on the mountain. At one point, we had to stop the car to let about 20 goats run past.
At the top of that hill was the ruins of an ancient castle. It was really beautiful but it was also extremely hot and a long and steep hike. It was worth it for the views though!
We started our 3 week vacation with a week in Levanto on the Ligurian coast. The plan was to take a direct flight to Milan and then drive down. The reality was that our flight was cancelled and we were re-routed with 3 flights – Stockholm to Helsinki, Helsinki to Rome, Rome to Milan.
We stayed on the top floor of a very nice building in the center of Levanto. We had a huge terrace. Of course, we had to share that with a family of seagulls. They liked to wake us up each morning around 5. Seagull alarm clock.
Of course we went to the beach in Levanto, in neighboring Monterosso and in Santa Margherita. We also took a boat from there to Portofino. “Vacation spot for the rich.” (We could afford an ice cream). On the way to Portofino, there are huge yachts anchored. One had a helicopter landing pad, another had a basketball court and a waterslide from the 3rd floor of the yacht. Again, we were almost out of our price range just affording those 4 ice creams.
A few photos from week 1 of our trip: