Ciao Italy. Part 1 (August 2016)

Our beautiful vacation in Italy in August started with planning.

We chose northern Italy, because it was cooler. I rented a car and found a wonderful house through my favorite AirBnB in a small town of Gudo Visconti, near Milan. I want to mention negative sides of August Italian trip right away – all Italians are on vacation and there are too many mosquitoes ☹

Everything else was just bellissimo! I will start with an overview of the town we stayed in.

I've never seen playgrounds like the ones in Italy! In our town we had two of them and visited both every day. We even were not afraid of mosquitoes:) My son was bitten a lot every day but he had so much fun there, so we could not resist!

We saw farms near our town, so we went to one of them in nearby town of Vigano Certosino. Food and dairy there were delicious! But like I said before - everyone was on vacation:( During the open season they have store and restaurant there.

However, the  owner still sold us a lot and allowed us to do a self-guided tour though the farm:)

Next day we visited charming Italian town near us - Gaggiano. It's hard to explain in words all the beauty we saw there, so I will make tons of postcards:)

We decided to reserve a whole day for visiting Verona. Drive to the Verona was 2 hours and cost us 60 Euros (I used a wrong toll lane and did not get the ticket, so in the end they ticketed me for the whole road and not just the small part we drove through), so be aware of the tolls!

But enough about sad stuff - let's see what beautiful Verona with a lot of history can offer! We didn't plan to see all the historical places this city can offer, we decided to just walk through the center and enjoy time with family and amazing ice cream!  For parking, we chose covered parking space near the center, under the Burger King (Via Carlo Montanari, 10), it was cheap and had a great location.

 

So, even without the plan, here is some of the sightseeing:

1. Arena di Verona (Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra built in the first century. It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there). 

Piazza Bra, often shortened to Bra, is the largest piazza in Verona, Italy, with some claims that it is the largest in the country. The piazza is lined with numerous cafes.

We liked showcase of knights that was in the square at that time (don't know, maybe it's always there).

2. The Torre dei Lamberti - Verona's tallest Medieval tower, built by the Lamberti family in 1172 and offering panoramic views, as people say (we didn't go to the top). In May 1403 the top of the tower was struck by lightning, but the restoration works didn't start until 1448 and took 16 years. During that time, the tower was enlarged: The more recent sections can be recognized today by the use of different materials (such as marble). The large clock was added in 1779. 
Near the tower you can find a market where you can buy different souvenirs.

3. Arco della Costa (Arch of the Rib) - The bone, believed to be a rib, hangs in the center of the medieval entry point between Verona’s Piazza Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. It’s been hanging there, suspended from an iron chain, since at least the 1700s, though some estimates suggest much longer, possibly since the 15th century.

 

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance era, the walkway above the arch provided a safe passage for judges and magistrates between the city hall and their living quarters, so that they would not associate with the common or “corrupt” people bellow. This may be the ironic origin of the myth of the whalebone’s magic: It’s claimed that it will fall on the first innocent or truthful person to walk under the archway. 

4. Casa di Giulietta - Gothic-style 1300s house and museum, with a stone balcony, said to have inspired Shakespeare. I think this is the one of the best examples of how to make a money from a thin air :) and as you can see they are making tons of money; you need to pay to go to the balcony and they are selling a lot of stuff related (or not) to the Giulietta :)

Then we were walking and enjoying those beautiful buildings, lanterns, doors and windows...

And we are off to see a new small town. For me, it's much more interesting to walk through a small town than a big one. The town on our map - Bernate Ticino. We went there to see view point, but there was nothing to see. So, we walked on the streets and picnicked at a beautiful park with big playground near the nice church (will show you in next slide)

Here it is - Chiesa di San Giorgio

New day and a new place to visit - Morimondo Abbey (Italian: Abbazia di Morimondo), a former Cistercian monastery located at Morimondo. The surviving structure is Romanesque and Gothic. It was founded in 1134 as a daughter house of Morimond Abbey. And they sell their own wine and beer:)

Castello di Soncino - filming location of Ladyhawke with the best actor of all times - Rutger Hauer!

Safari park in Pombia is not our first safari, but the first one where all the animals are outside. Territory of the park is huge, a lot of animals and tons of people! Will tell you what we saw inside during our ride: when we moved to the wild cats territory and stopped to see lions, the door in the car in front of us opened and the driver pushed the women out of the car, closed the door and drove away. All of us, the zoo worker and even lions were in shock! Zoo worker didn't know where he should run first- towards lions or towards the woman. He eventually ran with the woman towards the car, ordered the driver to open the door, put the woman inside and asked the driver to park the way that he could not open the passenger door and took the keys. I think lions didn't realize what a nice meal they missed:) 
P.S. My father thought that it was definitely driver’s mother in law:)

Thank you for reading!  Travel more!

To be continued...