Dooid’s Suggestions for This Weekend in Italy

 

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Are you in Italy this weekend and wondering what events might be going on near you? We have you covered here with lots of ideas in every part of the Bel Paese!

Northern Italy

Central Italy

Southern Italy

Our itineraries

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Our hotels

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Pet-holidays-in-northern-Italy-dooidWould you like to stay up to date on all the events happening all over Italy? Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know!

Stay in Lucchesia: discover Lucca and its surrounding area

 

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Have you ever visited the beautiful city of Lucca? Have you ever been there when the camellias are in full bloom? Have you ever dressed up as a ninja with your friends for the famous Lucca Comics event? If not, the time has come for you and a group of friends or family to make unforgettable memories in Lucca. Enjoy this Stay in Lucchesia package!

 

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Cost and Terms & Conditions

Up to 4 guests ( 2 rooms ) € 160,00/per night.

Each additional person is € 25.00 / night. The offer varies according to the number of people.

Minimum stay 4 nights

10% off only with dooid (taxes included) on a minimum of a 7-night stay

 

Payment Method: by bank transfer

How to Book: read the final paragraph and fill out the form below.

Cancellation policy: free up to 30 days before arrival, after this deadline, 50% of the price of the stay will not be refunded.

An additional security deposit of € 400.00 is required for any damage caused to the property which will be refunded upon check out (after checking the house).

The structure

The house was built around 1784, when it originally housed nuns. In the early 1900’s, however, it was transformed into a small farm.   The building has been finely restored, preserving the stone exterior, and is ready to offer tourists an authentic experience. The structure is located in the neighborhood called vicinato, perhaps because it is isolated, but yet close to the real village. This area is the oldest part of the town and if its walls could only talk!

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What to Do and See

Lucchesia, as it’s known in Italianis an area of Tuscany rich in art and culture, but also in various events that attract tourists and enthusiasts from all over Italy and beyond!

The city of Lucca is one of the jewels of Tuscany. The town is protected by walls on which you can take pleasant walks accompanied by the sound of rustling trees. You’ll see the famous towers (Torre delle Ore and Torre del Guinigi) above the rooftops. In the historic center you’ll find the Cathedral: Lucca is nicknamed the “city of a hundred churches” due to the large number of sanctuaries scattered within the city walls.

As you wander along the cobblestone streets of the city and window shop, you’ll make your way to Piazza Napoleone, or Piazza Grande as it’s known by the locals. This is where most of the events, such as Lucca Comics and Games and the otaku event, take place. The piazza is also home to concerts like the Lucca Summer Festival which brings international stars such as Elton John.

Going back towards the village of the camellias, or Pieve and Sant’Andrea di Compito, art and nature come together. Strolling along the streets of these villages, you’ll be able to witness the most spectacular camellias, parks and historic villas. Sant’Andrea di Compito is a charming Tuscan village with narrow streets, stone walls, ancient buildings and even some villas from the 1700s.

Contact Us

If you need additional information or if you’d like to personalize your package, please fill out the contact form below or send us an email at  booking@rimmontech.it. You can also contact us on our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in this offer, contact us for additional information!
Let us organize your stay in Lucchesia:
from your hotel to everything you might need for a pleasant trip!

Package code: 201903141658

Catania package, Sicily: includes hotel, shuttle, meals!

 

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How does a relaxing weekend in CataniaSicily sound? Overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna, you’ll discover Catania’s art and natural beauty. With this special Catania package you can enjoy a well-deserved break and indulge in Catania’s amazing cuisine!

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Cost and Terms & Conditions

199€ per couple (meat dinner menu)

225€ per couple (fish dinner menu)

Offer Includes:

  • 2 nights in a double deluxe room with breakfast
  • 4-course dinner with wine tasting (3 glasses DOC wine)
  • shuttle service from airport/port/station
 

Payment Method: Deposit of 99 € required, balance due at check in. You can book at any time, even last minute (subject to availability).

How to Purchase: Read the final paragraph and fill out the form below

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policy: the deposit amount paid will not be refunded, but you will be given the option of applying it towards a credit for a future reservation (within 6 mos).

Valid During: all year except 3-day weekends and holidays at which point there would be an increase of the offer price.

The Hotel

Casa Provenza

An oasis in the baroque heart of Catania where you’ll enjoy the comforts of personalized rooms, completely renovated spaces, furnishings and colors.

On the fourth floor of the building (equipped with elevator) you will enjoy a 180 ° view from the covered terrace of the most beautiful façade of the city center, in an area with limited evening traffic on weekends.
Ideal for leisure stays, individual or group, or business trips, you will be “pampered” by the managers and the attentive and dedicated staff. Free Wifi, available in all indoor and outdoor areas.

Also available for your leisure: a reading area with seasonal guides and information, tour desk, book-exchange and relaxation room, with refrigerator and drinks, kettle and herbal tea, toaster and microwave.

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What to Do and See

Catania is not just a city of art! It overlooks a crystal clear sea just waiting to be discovered! 
The Riviera dei Ciclopi or the Cyclops Riviera is stunning: characterized by black lava that has reached the sea. Equally beautiful and noteworthy are the Grotte di Ulisse or the Ulysses Grotto where you can take a swim in the clear waters. In the fishing village of Acitrezza you can visit the protected area around the Faraglioni and the Lachea Island by pedal boat. And you cannot leave without tasting the best granita and pastries in the area at the Eden Bar!

Admiring Mount Etna, whose prominent outline is the backdrop to the whole city, is obviously a must.

Besides the amazing gifts of Mother Nature, you’ll also want to visit the Cathedral of St. Agnes which dominates the Piazza del Duomo; the town hall and the elephant fountain; the Roman Theater; Via Etnea and so much more!

Contact Us

If you need additional information or if you’d like to personalize your package, please fill out the contact form below or send us an email at  booking@rimmontech.it. You can also contact us on our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in this offer, contact us for additional information!
Let us organize your Catania package:
from your hotel to everything you might need for a pleasant trip!

Package code: 201903081544

Folk Traditions Festival in Petralia

That’s right, folk is not just tradition, but a life style! It’s like a drug; once you go into the tunnel, you can’t come out. You don’t even try to stop, but if for some reason, you distance yourself from it for awhile, you miss it. After awhile you get used to being without it, but as soon as you hear that distinct sound of a cheerful accordion or an upbeat mazurka, you realize that your feet are independent of the rest of your body being commanded by the beat.

The Festival of Popular TraditionsPantomime dance of Cordella in Petralia Sottana (Palermo) is an example. This will be the XXXV Mediterranean Meeting of International Folklore held every year during August in this beautiful location within the Madonie Park. During the typical celebration of the Cordella dance, the ancient peasant traditions are recalled as a sign of hope for a fruitful harvest and married life. The festival lasts for four intense days that are packed with events, workshops and concerts from morning until late evening. There are even signing and dance workshops for children.

petralia-folk-festival-2018The last day is where the real party takes place which consists of the re-enactment of the traditional Sicilian wedding complete with a church ceremony and a wedding procession that from the village parades up to the pine forest above Petralia Sottana. The traditional Cordella dance concludes the festivities in a blaze of colored ribbons woven by twelve pairs of dancers to the rhythm of the cheerful sound of the tambourines.
Over the course of these four days the city changes its appearance, coming alive with people of all ages who fill the streets. Guests will notice the proud faces of children in their traditional garb and locals who participate enthusiastically keeping their island’s folk culture alive. Parades of local folk groups and international guests, cuisine from around the world, book lectures and finally concerts will delight.

But that’s not all. Grab a speaker, connect to a telephone, find a free square, some dancers and start again. Maybe you’ll only start with a few, 6 or 8 people, but as the music goes on, some passerbys stop to look. The energy and enthusiasm soon overwhelms them, and their swept into the growing climax of the dance. 

Folklore-petralia-sottana-eventiIt captures you and overwhelms you in its vortex.
It is an indispensable exchange of energy! You suddenly realize you are very tired, but the energy that your body expended is all returned to you in spirit by your dance partner, the people who dance around you, the music, the joviality of the moment, the desire to dance until exhaustion, to make friends and to fly … you realize that your body  no longer feels tired.

The newcomers can initially be skeptical, embarrassed because they do not know the steps or people with whom you dance; it’s normal. The Circassian circle loosens tension, loosens the body, confuses you, amuses you. You are inexorably involved. When the music starts, the dancers frantically run in search of a partner. There are never enough men. You search through the crowd looking for a volunteer. You can not find one. You draw one against his will. Resistance. You hastily reassure him that the steps are easy and that he will learn them in a few rounds, at each change of partner. It begins. He’s tense and embarrassed. He hesitates and his steps are uncertain. He continuously makes mistakes, again and again until finally, he’s having fun. He’s passionate and alive.

There is no age. Everyone is dancing with everyone. It is pure magic.

For more exciting ideas in the Palermo area, read our other articles: HimeraPorticello

 

photo copyrights: 
www.radunodelfolklorepetralia.it

Artigianato Vivo Festival in Cison di Valmarino

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Cison di Valmarino

ArtigianatoVivo is an artisan festival held from 5 to 15 August in Cison di Valmarino in the province of Treviso, between Follina and Vittorio Veneto. It has steadily and increasingly attracted thousands of tourists from far and wide since 1980. There is talk of a turnout of 400,000 people this year.

The town of Cison – which has recently been inducted into the exclusive “club” of Borghi Più Belli d’Italia (Most Beautiful Villages of Italy)– comes to the forefront of excellent artisan craftsmanship that Italy truly does best.

200 exhibitors will present their unique products made strictly by hand at stands throughout the village. These types of festivals keep the Italian tradition and the art of “know-how” alive in this technological era in which craftsmanship is slowly dying.

In conjunction with the event, the Proloco organizes a series of side events such as concerts, animation shows, exhibitions and literary meetings.

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Castle Brandolini

ABOUT CISON DI VALMARINO

As I said, the tourist turnout is very high, and the whole territory merits a holiday of at least a few days. The artisan festival is a great opportunity to explore this beautiful area.

Cison di Valmarino is located in Valmareno, a valley dominated by the fortifications of the XII century Brandolini Castle which has been converted into a luxury hotel.

The Brandolini Counts were men of arms in feudal times and later became gentlemen dedicated to the economy, leaving an indelible imprint throughout the village.

The heart of the historic center is Piazza Roma which is dominated by Palazzo Marcello. It was the ancient Venetian villa of the Venetian doges Marcello, famous winners of the battle of Lepanto and the Loggia.

You will notice while walking through Cison that almost all the old houses have red or maroon shutters; a red that in these parts is called Rosso Brandolini.

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Antiche Cantine Brandolini

Another example of the restoration of feudal buildings is the Antiche Cantine Brandolini. The building already appeared, as a basic structure, in fifteenth century maps. It has always been a particularly important place for the life of the village: built by the Brandolini family, it was initially used as a stable and then adapted to the wine production and conservation of agricultural products. It’s proof that the viticulture industry was already present in this area in distant times due to the high demand from Venice and the entire Veneto region.

As early as 1440, Valmareno already specialized in the cultivation of vines … and even today the entrire economy of the area is based on the production of wine, especially Prosecco.

Needless to say, this is an area where food and wine tastings are among the top tourist attractions. 

Cison-artigianato-vivo-2018-rolleRolle of Cison di Valmarino

You can not go to visit Cison di Valmarino without going through Rolle, a very small town surrounded by Prosecco vineyards. The poet Andrea Zanzotto defined it as “a postcard sent by the gods”. Beautiful all year through, the most fascinating season to visit Rolle is undoubtedly in autumn when the hills glow red.

 

Copyright photo The most beautiful village in Italy + Antiche Case Brandolini + Rolle: Carla La Rocca

Copyright photo Palazzo Marcello: villevenetecastelli.com

Copyright photo Castelbrando from above: hotelcastelbrando.com

The Sunflower Season in Le Marche

The Marche countryside is known for its rolling farmland dotted with little hilltop towns which, for a few weeks in July are ablaze with yellow fields of sunflowers

Many of the little towns in this stunning region have been awarded the title of I Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia or “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”, 23 in fact. One of these is Cingoli, known locally as “The Balcony of Le Marche”. On a clear day, most villages offer breathtaking views, with the Adriatic Coast to the east and the Apennine mountain range to the west.

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The best way to see Le Marche and its sunflowers is by car. Or perhaps hire a bike and pick a cycle route that takes country roads in the Le Marche region. This website is great for finding cycle paths all over the world.

Whatever your wheels, look out for crops of olive trees and grapevines, which keep the region flowing with olive oil and wine. But neither of these compare to the stunning display of the sunflower season.

The sunflowers are at their peak only for a few weeks. Which, is what makes it such a treat. In general, the season runs from mid-June until early August. However, if you’re seeking the perfect yellow petals, you’ll need to arrive in the middle of this. Early to mid-July is probably your best bet for sunflowers in Le Marche and its neighboring regions: Tuscany and Umbria. But keep in mind that the flowers will bloom earlier the further south you are.

It is a fast-growing crop that thrives in the sunshine, hence the English name sunflower and the Italian name girasole, which literally means “turn to the sun”. The sunflower season marks the change from the lush green fields of spring to the hot summer, during which the panorama is characterized by shades of yellow and brown.

Passing through the countryside, you’ll see locals tending to their crops from large-scale farming to individual vegetable patches for the family table. Everyone in Le Marche seems to have a green thumb.

For those that don’t have space to grow, many small towns have a regular farmer’s market. If you’re visiting the area, a farmer’s market is a wonderful way to start the day. Early in the season, you can pick up a basket of strawberries to fuel the day’s exploring, or later in the heat of the summer, you can cool down with a juicy slice of watermelon. To find out when and where local markets are happening, it’s worth asking at your hotel or B&B as information isn’t easy to find online.

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The perfect way to see Le Marche is by choosing some beautiful hilltop towns to visit either overnight or simply as a quick stop for a gelato or an espresso in the piazza. Then as you drive along the rural roads, you can enjoy the extensive views of the countryside and, if you time it right, the sunflowers.

 

Article and photos by: Ella Beeson

The Secret Behind Lucca’s Wine Renaissance

Lucca has recently moved up the ranks on the Tuscan tourist trail as more and more people hear about its intact walls, its curious tree-topped tower and its epicurean specialties from tordelli lucchesi to buccellato. But the city—and the rolling hills surrounding it—is gaining fame for another reason, all to do with its wine.

Lucca’s Wines Are Quickly Rising to Fame

Whilst Tuscany has long been known as a key wine-producing region in Italy, the wines of the Lucca province have largely been overshadowed by household names like Chianti and the Super Tuscans of Bolgheri. One group of producers is working to change that: using biodynamic techniques, they’re producing exciting wines that are quickly becoming the talk of wine importers and restaurants in places like London, Copenhagen, and New York.

Biodynamic Farming

In 2013, thirteen wine producers from the Lucca region began an informal association that by 2016 would officially take shape as Lucca Biodinamica. Convinced that biodynamic farming was the best way to ensure the fertility of their soil and—most importantly—the quality of their wine, they came together to share experiences, promote the biodynamic approach and spread the word about the high-quality wines emerging from the hills of Lucca.

The Next Generation of Wine Producers

Seven of the now 16 producers are run by people under 40, suggesting that this isn’t a fad, but a fundamental shift likely to be increasingly adopted by the next generation of winemakers. And, true to the importance that biodynamic farming puts on biodiversity, the organisation includes not only wine producers but also those focused on olive oil, vegetables and honey.

Even a casual chat with these producers quickly reveals what’s different about this group. These are not big companies churning out dozens of wine types, each hardly distinguishable from the next, but rather individual, passionate producers, eager to create wine that reflects the land they work on daily.

Tenuta Valgiano

Laura Collobiano of Tenuta Valgiano paints an evocative picture of her wines, some of the most sought after in the region: when asked how they express the terroir she said, “The Lucca hills are smooth, gentle, silky. Our wines embrace these characteristics; every corner {of the land} would have attracted Van Gogh.” Like the soft scenery of the region, these wines go down easily, she suggested, pointing out their “huge drinkability.”   

Poderi Concori

When asked what aspect of his work gives him the most satisfaction, Gabriele Del Prato of Podere Concori, a founding member of the Lucca Biodinamica, said, “…to see the public drinking your lands.” It’s clear that no matter what grape they’re made of (and the group showcases a wide range, from international grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah to local varieties such as Vermentino and Sangiovese), these are not your bog-standard supermarket wines: instead, these wines ask you to sit up and take notice.

For wine lovers, Lucca Biodinamica’s launch has brought about a new opportunity to explore a wide variety of styles, grapes and stories behind what’s filling your glass, whilst being confident that what you’re drinking respects the environment and the people working it.  The fact that this type of farming creates vineyards filled with life, means that Lucca Biodinamica’s members are also located in some of the most beautiful areas to visit in the region. 

Fabbrica San Martino

As Giuseppe Ferrua from Fabbrica San Martino shared, “I’m proud of all my wines: they tell all about my work and their origin. They are the books in my library.” Judging from the wines that he and his Lucca Biodinamica colleagues are producing, it’s a library that many of us would happily spend many hours perusing.

Biodynamics: The basics

Biodynamic farming is about respecting the land and ensuring that farming is being done in an environmentally sustainable way.  Biodynamic winemakers don’t use man-made chemicals but instead work using natural methods to create healthy ecosystems where plants, animals and people work together.  The end results are wines that reflect the land that they’re grown on—its soil, its climate– and the plants themselves. 

Read more about other places to see in the Lucca province like Montecarlo and Barga.

Copyright photo 1: italiaatavola.net

Copyright photo 2: theflorentine.net (Ph. courtesy of Tenuta di Valgiano)

Copyright photo 3: theflorentine.net (Ph. courtesy of Agricola Calafata)

Sant’Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany’s Apuan Alps

Have you ever been to a place where so much sadness and tragedy occurred that you almost feel like you shouldn’t take any pictures? And if you do take any, then you should definitely refrain from smiling out of respect for those who came before you? Sant’Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany’s Apuan Alps is such a place: a place with a tragic history; a place of extreme reverence; a place that should never be forgotten. 

Getting There

On a perfectly lovely day in mid-May, we set out on a day trip to the historical mountain town of Sant’Anna knowing full well its infamous history. There is only one road that will take you there and it is not for the faint of heart.

From Camaiore (province of Lucca), expect 10 km of hairpin curves that hug the rocky mountain on one side and the woods on the other. In many places, you’ll wonder how it could possibly be wide enough for two cars to pass, yet they do. Sometimes, depending on the car you meet and the location, one vehicle may need to back up to allow the other to pass. Most of the road does have a guard rail, but not all of it. If you know the history in advance, you will also wonder how in the world the German troops discovered this remote area.

Once you’ve parked, blotted off your nervous perspiration, and applauded your brave driver, you will immediately see a little chapel dedicated to Anna Pardini, the youngest victim of the massacre who was just 20 days old. 

August 12, 1944: A Day That Will Live in Infamy

This is a solemn place. Aside from the paved parking lot and the signage retelling its history for visitors, not much has changed in Sant’Anna since that horrific day on August 12, 1944. The 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division brutally, mercilessly, inhumanely, slaughtered 560 villagers that day: mothers, pregnant women, babies, children, and the elderly. The village priest pleaded with the troops to spare the innocent lives of the townspeople, but to no avail, they murdered him as well. When there was no life left, they burned their bodies, their livestock, and their homes until absolutely nothing remained of Sant’Anna. 

Visiting Today: What to Expect

The tiny church dates to the 16th century and inside, you’ll find the altar draped with rainbow flags and prayers for peace for the war in Ukraine, almost 80 years later. 

sant'anna-stazzema-chiesaThere is a little bar adjacent to the church lawn that serves exceptionally good coffee, drinks, and sandwiches. You can eat outdoors on the lovely patio and ponder about the events that transpired here. Personally, I couldn’t help but wonder what the villagers would think of the place now and how no one could have ever imagined that people would be coming from all over the world to pay their respects. 

A recently constructed museum is open every day except Mondays and is free of charge. Please leave a donation! It is extremely well done with testimonials, photographs, and a fantastic museum curator that is passionate about relaying the village’s story to visitors. The day we visited, there just happened to be a very large group of middle-school-age kids on a field trip and she apologized profusely for the inconvenience. I told her that it was wonderful they were there lest not we forget the horrific history of Sant’Anna. 

The Via Crucis Walk

I highly recommend taking the walk up the Via Crucis to the ossaria monument. The hike is paved with uneven stones and is steep at times, so it isn’t for everyone. When you reach the top, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Tyrrhenian Sea below and Tuscany’s Versilia coast where some of the most luxurious beach towns are located.

There is an exquisitely carved marble sculpture of a woman holding an infant where visitors still place flowers to this day. I got goosebumps on my arms when a visiting German couple opened up their grocery sack, removed a potted flower they had purchased, and solemnly placed it on the steps in front of the statue.  

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A huge marble slab holds the names and ages of every victim of the massacre, including the eight Tucci children and their mother. The father was not killed that day but lived another eleven years in presumable hell until he took his own life in 1953. 

I struggled to comprehend how in a place of such beauty- the very quarries from where Michelangelo obtained the slab of marble for his “David” and the colorful beach cabanas of Versilia all in sight- such unthinkable sadness had transpired. There really is no simple answer, nor justification. 

sant'anna-stazzema-lucca

Sant’Anna di Stazzema is a place that we need to visit- that we must visit- both to honor its fallen victims and to learn from history’s mistakes so as never to repeat them. 

Learn more about the Apuan Alps and the Garfagnana area of Tuscany and the coast of Versilia.

 

Val Vestino near Italy’s Lake Garda

Magasa-itinerari-valvestinoSomewhere around the 1950s, the farmers of the Brescia valleys began leaving their homes and a life of hard work in the fields and pouring into the city of Brescia and other larger towns of Upper Garda. Only a few “philanthropists” and true mountaineers kept some of the tiny villages alive, as in the case of Val Vestino.

Legend has it that seven brothers who did not get along very well settled with their families in seven different homes which were positioned in such a way that the chimney smoke would never disturb their neighbor. Hence the six villages that to this day make up the municipality of Valvestino and Magasa.

Today, the seven villages have almost been entirely abandoned but are meticulously kept by the few remaining residents as if they were precious gemstones. There are a few services here for visitors such as restaurants, cafes, and grocers.

Magasa-valvestino-itinerari

Today this valley is protected by the mountain community and is part of the Alto Garda Brescia Park. It has been a well-kept secret known only to hunters and locals but now, little by little, hikers, paragliders, and mountaineers (especially path number 2) are exploring the valley. There is also an observatory for the stargazers among you. 

If you happen to be fortunate enough to be invited to share a coffee with a local, then you might be able to learn more about the secrets hidden among the mountain pastures, paths that only the locals could know, escape routes between old trenches, and even, some love stories. 

Photo credits: camoscibianchi.wordpress.com; valledeilaghi.it

Rosolina Mare in the Veneto Region: Sea, Sport, and Tranquility

A blue sea, sunny beaches, an unusual botanical garden, bird watching, biking, and much more await you at Rosolina Mare in northern Italy’s Veneto region. 

Fine, white sand beaches and bathing establishments are perfect for any type of tourist, including those traveling with their four-legged friends. There are plenty of hotels to satisfy every need as well as green and luxuriant campsites. But there are also apartments for rent, residences, villas with swimming pools, bed and breakfasts, pensions, and more.

Rosolina-mare-fenicotteriRosolina Mare is among the smallest beaches on the entire Adriatic coast. Over the years, the non-frenzy of over-building has allowed it to maintain a naturalistic aspect that distinguishes it from all the towns overlooking the sea. This means that you will never find it too crowded or chaotic here even at the peak of the summer season.

A dense pine forest develops along the main axis of the town, embracing it and purifying the air. To get there, you take a long road built between the mouth of the Adige river and the internal lagoons. And it is in these lagoons, partially used to raise fish and to cultivate the exquisite clams, that one begins to observe the splendid “green” and naturalistic aspect of Rosolina Mare. You will come across thousands of birds, from herons to cormorants, and again, oystercatchers, grebes, gulls, marsh harriers, and often, pink flamingos.

Rosolina welcomes its tourists with the classic welcoming roundabout so typical of Italian beach towns. From here, you can go in three directions.

The more “extreme” one on the left leads to “Casoni” and is right where the Adige river meets the sea. Free beaches, small lagoons, and a majestic steel watchtower 20 meters high with a fantastic view is what you’ll find here.

The central street will take you directly to the heart of Rosolina Mare with its tree-lined avenue, hotels, restaurants, clubs, and large piazza and beaches.

rosolina mare-veneto

The third exit on the right will take you along the woods along a trail leading you to the famous botanical garden. Part of the Po’ Delta Park, the Giardino Botanico Litoraneo di Rosolina Mare is a must-visit. For a mere 3.50 euro, you can completely immerse yourself in this unique natural environment. 

Established in the 1990s, it houses an infinite number of local flora and fauna species. Spread out over a 4 km route it is characterized by narrow paths in the pine forest and walkways suspended over the water. You will fall in love with this enchanting garden suspended between the lagoons and the sea. 

For the outdoorsmen and sports enthusiasts, not to despair, because Rosolina is a biker’s haven. You can easily travel for kilometers on well-paved cycling paths where cars never pass. These are the famous streets of the valleys, which branch off from Rosolina Mare to the island of Albarella. From here, you can always continue by bicycle to the Po Delta. Breathtaking views are the order of the day.

Rosolina mare shines from late spring to early autumn and really knows how to give its visitors a completely relaxing holiday.

Copyright foto: www.aqua.it; www.pepemare.it; www.magicoveneto.it

The Novella River Park: Canyoning in Trentino

The Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy is one of the most sought-after destinations not only during ski season but also in the late spring and summertime. For travelers who love the outdoors, Trentino literally offers endless possibilities for people of all ages. The Novella River Park, or Parco Fluviale Novella, is just one of many spectacular places to visit during your stay.

Trentino’s Val di Non

The park is located in the beautiful Val di Non or the Non Valley about 45 minutes north of the city of Trento and about an hour southwest of Bolzano. This is an ideal part of Trentino to call your “home base” as the sheer number of activities is truly endless. Visitors can experience everything from food and wine tours to hiking, cycling, petting zoos for the little ones, apple farms, horseback riding, lake sports, canyoning, and river rafting- and that is not even a complete list!

novella-parco fluviale-santa giustina

The Novella River Park

The Parco Fluviale Novella is open between the months of April and November but the best time to visit to take full advantage of the park is between June and August. The astounding deep canyons and gorges that we see today were formed due to two key principles- water and time. 

Activities Within the Park

There are a variety of adventures that await you at the Novella River Park. One of the most popular is kayaking. An experienced guide will accompany you along the river and your ticket will also provide you with all the necessary equipment such as life jackets and helmets. Various options are detailed on the park’s official website and range from a trip from nearby Santa Giustina Lake to the canyons. Generally speaking, the experience is appropriate for children ages 5 and up.

Novella has an elevated walkway making it possible to trek along the river’s pathway and through the gorges in complete safety. There is also an audio guide to accompany you along the way so that you won’t miss any important details about what you’re seeing. 

novella-parco fluviale-trentino

For the true adventurers among you, canyoning excursions are the way to go! Children as young as 8 years old can participate in the approximately 3-hour, guided trip to the Castelfondo canyon. You will obviously get completely soaked so come prepared. 

Lastly, and especially fun for kids, is the “AlMeleto” trail that takes you on a discovery of the river park’s apple orchards, one of the region’s many specialties. You can either go on your own or hire a guide. 

Whether it’s to admire Mother Nature’s natural erosion process or the park’s apples, any way you slice it, the Novella River Park should definitely be a priority when visiting Trentino’s Val di Non. 

For complete details about opening hours and tickets, visit the Parco Fluviale Novella‘s official website in English. 

What are you waiting for?
Book your room at the Agritur Pisani Agriturismo in Brez, Trentino.

Just 15 minutes from Novella River Park!

From the hotel,  you can visit…

5km away

Rio Sass Canyon

15km away

Santa Giustina Lake
30km away Thun Castle
50km away Trento
44km away Merano
75km away Rovereto
30 km away Tovel Lake

 

 

 

 

 

Tovel Lake in Beautiful Trentino

Tovel Lake is in the gorgeous Trentino region of northern Italy where the skies are blue and the water is bluer. Every season offers a different experience and an astounding array of colors from Mother Nature’s palette. Tovel sits at about 1,100 meters above sea level (3,800 feet) in the Adamello Brenta Natural Park and about 50 km north of the major city of Trento

Why It’s Known as the “Red Lake”

If you do an internet search on Tovel, you’ll see a lot of hits about a “red lake” or “il lago rosso“. It’s true that in fairly recent history, the entire lake turned crimson due to an overgrowth of algae called tovellia sanguinea. 

You won’t be able to get a glimpse of the amazing natural phenomenon anytime soon, however, and the reason is due to the fact that animals no longer graze on the shores. The last time the algae “bloomed” was in the summer of 1964, and since then, fewer and fewer animals have been leaving their phosphorus and nitrogen-rich droppings along the lakeshore. 

Like with any strange natural occurrence, legends are born in order to explain them. Tovel’s legend tells of a princess named Tresenga who was famous for rejecting all of her suitors. The most persistent of them was Lavinto, king of Tuenno, who after being rejected numerous times, decided to send his army to attack Tresenga’s father’s army. A bloody battle supposedly took place on Tovel’s shores tinging the lake water ruby red and sadly, the princess was killed by Lavinto’s own sword. 

The “Caribbean of Trentino”

But not to worry because even though you’ll miss out on seeing a flaming red lake, there is no shortage of color on lake Tovel. Depending on the sun’s position and time of year, the water ranges from turquoise blue to emerald green. The stunning combination of transparent water and white sand beaches gave it the name of the “Caribbean of Trentino”. 

tovel-lago-tuenno

Trails and Enjoying Nature

Surrounded by the peaks of the Brenta Dolomites and a thick pine forest, it is the perfect place to be one with nature. In the summertime, visitors of all ages enjoy walks along the numerous trails, biking, picnics, and for the brave at heart, swimming (the water is cold year-round due to the high altitude). There is an easy walking trail that loops the entire lake and takes under 2 hours to complete and is wide enough for strollers. 

Make sure to visit the visitor’s center or the Casa del Parco Lago Rosso along the shore which has an interesting display of photos and explanations about the biodiversity and red algae. 

Rislà Falls

Don’t miss the fairly easy trail that branches off from the lake and leads to the Rislà waterfall. Depending on the season, of course, the amount of water varies, and many adventurers even make the trek in the dead of winter when the falls are frozen solid and suspended in air. 

Tips For Your Visit

Keep in mind that the road leading to the lake is typically closed between the months of November and March. For a number of reasons, the summer is definitely the best time to visit. There is a convenient shuttle to the lake that leaves from the public parking lots in Tuenno and Cles. For more information on parking and the shuttle service, visit this helpful website.

The Adamello Brenta Natural Park website in English provides some good information as well as a link to download the official park app. 

tovel-lago-trentino-trento

What are you waiting for?
Book your room at the Agritur Pisani Agriturismo in Brez, Trentino. Just 45 minutes from Tovel Lake!

From the hotel,  you can visit…

5km away

Rio Sass Canyon
15km away Santa Giustina Lake
30km away Thun Castle
50km away Trento
44km away Merano
75km away Rovereto
   

 

 

 

 

 

Sapri in the Campania Region: The City of the Gleaner

Sapri and Pisacane’s Expedition

The older generation of Italians will surely remember this beautiful poem by Luigi Mercantini, “The Gleaner of Sapri”, which tells of the unfortunate expedition of Carlo Pisacane. On June 28, 1857, Pisacane and about 300 other men arrived in the Gulf of Policastro aboard the steamship “Cagliari”. They disembarked during the night in Sapri.

Their mission was to recruit locals on their journey inland in order to overthrow the Bourbon government led by Ferdinand II. Unfortunately, Pisacane was unsuccessful and got no support from the local populations, if not from a very few liberals. When they arrived in Sanza, they were decimated by the city guards and soldiers sent by Ferdinand II. The few remaining patriots were almost all brutally killed. Pisacane was one of the first to fall to the gunshots of the locals.

Pisacane chose to land on the beach between Villammare and Sapri since it was a strategic point between the regions of Campania and Lucania. The shallow shore was full of hiding places thanks to the inlets and overgrown reeds.

sapri-città-cosa-vedere

Sapri and its Famous Gleaner

Even to the modern traveler, who comes from the north along State Road 18, Sapri still looks as it did when the brave, yet unfortunate captain landed ashore. Encompassed in a semicircle of evergreen hills, cloaked in extensive woods of olive trees, carob trees, oaks and cork oaks, and overlooking the crystalline bay.
The first buildings that appear to the visitor are the complex of Santa Croce on the left, the Specola, an astronomical observation tower, on the right, and, between the two buildings mentioned, the remains of a Roman Maritime Villa inhabited as early as the first century BC.

The Santa Croce complex was built at the end of the 19th century at the behest of Giuseppe Cesarino, who emigrated to Brazil from Sapri and who, having had no children to leave his belongings to, decided that his wealth would be used for humanitarian purposes upon his death. By 1905 under the management of the Gray Fathers of Charity the building became the most important educational institution in the entire Gulf of Policastro. The church is in neo-Gothic style and was renovated in the 1920s.  
The Specola, a tower used as an astronomical observatory, rises in front of the Santa Croce complex. Of the same period and with the same neo-Gothic structure, it constitutes a pleasant urban setting on the coast.

The Ruins of the Roman Villa Patrizia

The Gulf of Policastro and Sapri itself, thanks to the favorable climate, have always been beloved territories of the “Gens Romana“, despite the considerable distance from Rome. Cicero himself defined Sapri as “parva gemma maris inferi” or “little gem of the South Sea”. What remains of the impressive Villa Patrizia confirms the interest that the Romans had in the area.

It is a maritime villa that probably belonged to the Sempronii family between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Villa Patrizia extended for over 6,000 square meters with terraces on the side of the hill, up to the sea where there was a landing place, as evidenced by the finds both on the beach and in the water. Unfortunately, many of the furnishings have been lost. A spa and a theater were attached to the villa. The complex was also equipped with a drainage system for rainwater as well as a highly sophisticated bath which is still efficient today. Some sections of the water system’s lead pipes are still visible today.

cosa-vedere-nel-cilento-sapri

Sapri’s Beaches and Sea

Leaving the complex of Santa Croce, Specola, and Villa Patrizia behind us, the lovely, shaded promenade appears on the right. This is a popular spot during Sapri’s sultry summer months for a late afternoon stroll by both locals and vacationers alike.

Like many other places in the Gulf of Policastro, Sapri has long been awarded the coveted Blue Flag thanks to both its crystal clear water and services offered to tourists which include a wide variety of accommodation options, beaches equipped for disabled visitors, and loads of family-friendly events. From the Roman villa all the way to the Brizzi bridge, there are numerous access points to the extensive beach. 

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Sapri’s Historic Center

From the seafront, numerous alleys branch off towards the historic center of town where you can see the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Built around the year 1720, both San Biagio’s and San Vito’s relics are kept here. On June 15th of every year, Sapri holds a celebration in honor of its patron saint, San Biagio.

In December, the days preceding and following the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a market fair is held in honor of the Virgin Mary in Piazza Plebiscito in front of the Church and in the neighboring streets. This celebration is highly important to the residents of Sapri and tied to the roots of its peasant past.

Make sure to check out the Roman funerary stone located that dates to the 1st century AD in a corner of Piazza Plebiscito. The stone was actually found near Villa Patrizia and then later transported to the square towards the end of the 1700s.
Not far from the church, is a neo-Gothic building from the early 1900s called the “House of the Good Shepherd” which overlooks Piazza Municipio. It’s definitely worth a short visit. It was donated to the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth and used by them as a hospice for the elderly, who would have otherwise been abandoned.

Continuing along the route, you’ll arrive at Piazza Vittorio Veneto directly across from the train station. A monument was erected in honor of the fallen of World War II appropriately placed since the train station was subjected to heavy bombardment. August 15, 1943, was one of the most infamous days of World War II in Sapri when many were killed and numerous historical buildings were completely destroyed. 

Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park

Sapri is just a few kilometers from the luxurious Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with loads of nature trails suitable for both beginners and experts. In the winter months, there are even snowshoeing excursions as the highest peak reaches 1,500 meters.  

If you enjoy hiking in gorgeous surroundings, make sure to check out the following trails: “Apprezzami l’Asino Path”, “The Ring of Monte Ceraso” and “The Ascent to Monte Coccovello”.

Sapri is the perfect location for anyone looking for a place where history, culture, and nature intertwine.

Read more about the Cilento coastline of southern Italy

Sicily’s Riserva dello Zingaro by Boat

It’s true that the island of Sicily is the sea, and yet, more sea! For those of us that would like to see the best the island has to offer in a short amount of time, a private boat tour is definitely the way to go. The Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro is one of Italy’s most stunning natural areas and in this case, the secret coves and grottoes along the rocky coast are an added bonus.

zingaro-riserva naturale-palermo

Our Tour Departed From Castellammare del Golfo

There are many companies that offer tours either by motorboat or catamaran and many can be catered to the specific interest of the tourist. Ours began in the coastal town of Castellammare del Golfo (province of Trapani). If you love the sun, a pleasant sea breeze ruffling your hair, and seaspray to cool you in the summer heat, then the place spot for you is at the bow. If, on the other hand, you prefer to avoid getting a sunburn and would rather leave the breeze to someone else, then opt for the deck.

Riserva-dello-zingaro-escursioni-in-barca

Depending on the tour you choose, both the stops and the menu offered on board will vary.  Yes, food is an essential part of any proper tour because, after all, we are in Sicily. From seasonal fruit, pasta with pesto alla trapanese, or pani cunsatu (a sandwich with olive oil, sliced tomatoes, and salted sardines), it’s all fabulous.

The Riserva dello Zingaro encompasses an area of about 1,700 hectares of vegetation and its coast extends for 7 km from the southern entrance of Scopello to the northern entrance of San Vito Lo Capo.

The only way to visit this wonderful reserve is either on foot along a dirt path (about 2 hours total) or by boat. We chose the latter.

By boat, you’ll see the entire shimmering coastline including all 8 of its coves and its waters ranging from blue to even bluer.

Enjoy a Swim

Not to worry because your tour will likely include a stop in several coves and a much longer one in San Vito Lo Capo (where our tour stopped for about four hours). You’ll have plenty of time to splash around in the water, relax on the beach, and sip on a granita while strolling around the small town.

The return usually includes one last swim stop and a snack, before returning to port in Castellammare around 6 pm. 
But you couldn’t possibly end your tour without trying the delicious cassatelle with fresh ricotta cheese, one of Castellammare’s signature dishes. Find a pastry shop specializing in this divine dessert and buy some extra to take home with you because like your unique experience along the Sicilian coast, you won’t find this dessert anywhere but here!

Escursioni-in-barca-riserva-zingaro

copyright foto barca e torre: Giulia Moscato

We suggest staying at…
Casa Ruffino B&B in Balestrate 

 

From this bed & breakfast, you can easily visit…

50km away

Palermo
26km away Segesta
14km away Castellammare del Golfo
 50 km away Erice
 56 km away Trapani
 68 km away Selinunte
 59 km away San Vito lo Capo

 

 

 

 

 

 

The City of Palermo as Seen From the Cathedral Rooftop

Palermo‘s cathedral is fascinating not just for tourists, but even for the locals who pass by on a daily basis. During the daytime, the Romanesque, Norman, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical details are all visible, and in the evening, aglow with yellow light, it becomes even more impressive and seductive.

Palermo-visita-tetti-cattedraleFortunately for us, the cathedral offers numerous tours in both the daytime and after dark. One of the most spectacular is the rooftop tour.

After gathering a certain number of people inside the church, the group is invited to ascend. It feels a little reminiscent of a Dan Brown novel as you gain access to the roof via a hidden passage behind the chapel.

The sheer amount of stairs, narrow quarters, and height make the rooftop tour inadvisable for anyone suffering from a heart condition or claustrophobia, but for those who can handle it, it is beyond worth it.

On the first few terraces, a guide begins with an introductory explanation of the church’s history and architectural style using a very useful laser pointer. If you are part of a large group, I recommend staying as close to the guide as possible so that you can hear better.

The second part of the visit is walking along the rooftop in autonomy when you’ll be able to admire Palermo by night from above the spectacular city.

The climb alone is exciting as you make your way up the cathedral tower and catch glimpses of the city from various perspectives through the tiny cutout “windows”. 

The visit ends inside the church where some of the royal tombs (from the Normans to Frederick II) are located and tell part of both the cathedral’s and Sicily’s fascinating story.

Overall, the nighttime rooftop tour is a pleasant way to productively spend an hour of your evening learning about Palermo’s history and being seduced by its many charms.  

For more information, visit the Cathedral’s official website

Copyright foto: yesnews.it