Nov 01 | Linda, CFO
Northern Italy was our destination – Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. What a gorgeous area! My husband Kevin and I were invited by our friend Sally to come along on her house trade to stay in an apartment in Toscolano-Maderno, a small town on the hillside with views of the lake and the Alps.
Even though we did not speak or read much Italian, we managed to eat and drink well. The pizza (same in English and Italian) was delicious – but sometimes our meals were a surprise!
Our first trip out and about was to travel around the lake, going north to the town of Trento, traveling through lots of tunnels. After checking out the old town of Trento, we traveled south to the town of Torri del Benaco on the other side of the lake, where our GPS told us to take the ferry – for the faster time “home.” What a delight! The ½-hour car ferry went straight to our town. We took the ferry many times.
We dressed in evening attire for our next trip to Verona Arena, one of the best-preserved ancient structures and third largest Roman amphitheatre (built in 30 AD). The opera Aida, a complicated love story with an extravagant Egyptian set and cast of hundreds, was being presented during their Festival season. Our seats were on the stone steps way up top (and the stones retain their heat from the daytime) – but we also rented thick padded cushions for a little more comfort. Candles were distributed to the audience to light after sunset around the arena – what a sight to behold! The acoustics were amazing – even from the top of the arena steps! The performers were spectacular in voice and in costume.
Our next visit was on the charming island commune of Venice, one of most beautiful cities built by man – the City of Canals. We arrived by car to park outside the city and took the water taxi through the Grand Canal to our destination of the famous San Marco Square. We awed at the spectacular piazza and visited the Basilica where the golden mosaics graced the walls and ceiling, then climbed the steps to the terrace to view the city. Venice is the world’s only pedestrian city and easily “walkable” – a very pleasant experience, especially if you “get lost” on purpose in the back alleyways away from the tourist-filled square. By exploring on our own, we discovered superb architecture in empty palaces and many quaint bridges across smaller canals, and watched many gondolas gliding slowly in the many waterways. We found our way finally to a restaurant on the Grand Canal at the base of the famous Rialto Bridge. Our dinner was delicious and the canal view at sunset was very romantic.
Other trips included the ancient walled town of Bergamo, the towns of Mantua and Lodi, and the charming town of Sirmione on the southern peninsula of Lake Garda.
You too should plan a trip to the wonderful northern area of Italy – and especially to “get lost” in the City of Canals. We plan to go back to visit other famous areas of Italy. See you there. Arrivederci.