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A walk in Campofontana

A walk in Campofontana

A walk in

Campofontana

on a Winter Sunday
Last Sunday I went to Campofontana for a walk. It was quite busy up there, it’s becoming more and more popular to go to the mountains at weekends.

Sundays in Campofontana

Campofontana, in the Natural Park of Lessinia, is very convenient for those that live in Verona and Vicenza, and it’s beautiful.
campofontana
campofontana

The itinerary

Usually when I go to Campofontana I take the road that from the Cemetery goes up towards the famous beech, passing by Contrà Pagani.

A couple of times I also went to Mount Telegrafo, not this time (due to headache). 

Last Sunday I wanted to try a different path, that I had heard about. I took the road that cuts to the left just before the town of Campofontana, there’s a sign directing to Agriturismo L’Incanto.

This road passes contrade Grisi and Zocca and after the last contrada there’s a gravel road (on the right) and a path (on the left).

The path, number 251, goes through a thicket, that is the reason why I wanted to walk there.

campofontana

Beechwood

And here was the nice grove that I had heard about. A beechwood, to be precise. Beechwoods are particularly nice, trucks are clean and high, the undergrowth is also neat.   Another beechwood I like a lot is the one in Cansiglio, that is much larger, but this one in Campofontana is closer if you live in Vicenza like I do.
faggeto campofontana
faggeto campofontana
We stopped to take some pictures because it was too beautiful. 
parco naturale della lessinia
faggeto campofontana
sentiero 251 campofontana
bucaneve campofontana

Snowdrops

And here comes the surprise: snowdrops. 

You could barely see them, they were just the promise of a white lawn.

There were so many, it was almost impossible not to step on them. 

faggeto campofontana

Lodges/ agriturismi

Agriturismo Bucaneve

Surely, this agriturismo couldn’t have a different name (Bucaneve is snowdrop in Italian). You can get there by car, but of course the short walk in the wood is recommended.

It’s a nice location, near the wood but sunny, at least at lunch time.

agriturismo bucaneve campofontana

Rifugio Monte Torla

The Torla has become very popular since it opened in 2018. 

I don’t know if they refurbished an Alpine cottage that was already there, but that is the style. Beautiful inside and outside. In the toilet the sink is huge, like those of the great-grandparents. 

rifugio torla campofontana

We ate at rifugio Torla, but there were too many people. It felt like the beach in Summer.

Next time I will probably stop in another of those agriturismi nearby. Better to book, by whatsapp as there’s no signal there. 

gnocchi:

Monte Veronese and fumed ricotta

tagliere rifugio monte torla

Cold cuts and cheese

pranzo rifugio monte torla

Bona la mostarda!

Going back we took the other road, the one that goes higher, near the contrada Pagani. 
campofontana

Smog!

These last weeks the smog alert was high in our cities. And you could see it from up there.

There was a pink-grey strip that looked pretty, like low clouds lighten by the setting sun.

But no, it was smog, pollution.

campofontana
Walking back
foto campofontana
lessinia
parco naturale lessinia
paesaggio campofontana
parco naturale lessinia

Contrà Pagani

Anyone who has been to Campofontana before knows Contrà Pagani.

It’s a typical contrada of the Cimbri, the population of the area. 

contrà pagani campofontana
contrà pagani campofontana
contrà pagani campofontana

Campofontana and Natural Park of Lessinia are beautiful in every Season.

It is true that recently they have become very popular, a bit too much to my taste (usually you go to the mountains to find some peace). 

But it must be the fashion of these years, Dolomites are swarmed with tourists too. 

It’s ok, as long as the mountain doesn’t suffer from this, as we should all enjoy the beauties of Nature. 

But it’s important that we respect it. 

parco naturale della lessinia
parco naturale della lessinia
It’s Going to be Perfect!

vieni con me!

Cima Marana in Winter

Cima Marana in Winter

Hiking on

 mount Marana

in Winter

Yesterday, Boxing Day (Saint Stephen here in Italy), I went to Mount Marana (on the Little Dolomites) with my brother, following the usual path that starts at the right of Contrà Gebbani. 

There were many more people that had our same idea; it was sunny and warm, even too warm for December. 

I must say that it was harder than usual. 

Maybe because I was heavy with winter clothes and a backpack (usually in Summer I hike on shorts and a water bottle), or I was heavy with the Christmas lunch of the previous day; or simply I’m out of shape (I don’t do much activity anymore). 

But at the end it took us the same time as usual (about one hour and 15 minutes).
The path was quite clean and dry until what we call the quarry. From there it was muddy (the snow was melting), with a bit of snow and a short part icy and slippery.

But nothing a 42yo out of shape couldn’t do.

Of course, had there been more snow, I wouldn’t have gone, because I don’t have the tools nor the knowledge.

We didn’t stay too long on the peak, despite the sun it was a bit chilly.

Going back down we met a group of youngster that were going up to spend the night there.

Cima Marana is always a nice walk.

It’s Going to be Perfect!

vieni con me!

Bolsena Infiorata

Bolsena Infiorata

Bolsena

Infiorata

Corpus christi

Bolsena, a medieval village on the shore of a lake with the same name, on the day of the Corpus Christi becomes even more beautiful with the Infiorata.

The infiorata is an exhibition of drawings made with flowers, seeds, leaves and peat along the streets of the town.

(Bolsena is also famous for the hydrangeas, there are plenty around town and there’s even a festival a couple of weeks before the infiorata, dedicated expressely to this flower) 

I was in Bolsena during the infiorata in 2019 and I took loads of pictures, that I obviously would like to share. 

but first, a bit of history…

In 1263 AD in Bolsena during Mass a consecrated host started to bleed, as if it was flesh. This miracle was considered proof that the body of Christ is in fact in the Eucharist. So the following year Pope Urban IV established the feast of Corpus Christi, that previously was only celebrated in Belgium. From that date, during the Corpus Christi the Eucharist is exhibited and carried around the towns.
In Bolsena the procession is particularly important because with the Blessed Sacrament there’s also a “Sacred Stone” that is taken around, the stone where the blood dropped. 

Moreover, since 1995 the celebration got even bigger with the Infiorata.

Getting ready

Works for the Infiorata start a few days before the Sunday on which the procession will take place.
Along the streets of Bolsena you can meet groups of women that separate petals from the flowers, the main material used in the Infiorata.
The Infiorata and procession are held on a Sunday, but some groups start to draw on Saturday night, because it’s very hot during the day and it’s more difficult to work in the sun. 
Creating the drawings is a team work, everybody is busy, from the youngest to the elderly. It’s a nice party of the town that involves everyone.
Sunday
On Sunday works start early in the morning  and continue without break.

Before

 

After

Flowers are kept wet throughout the day, so that they stay fresh and they don’t fly away.
Here are two galleries of images (click on the arrows to see all the pictures) 
Many drawings represent religious images, but there’s more. 
The procession
At 4 pm starts the procession during which Eucharist and Sacred Stone are carried around the town of Bolsena, followed by representatives of the town, of the Church and of the communities. 
The procession follows the drawings on the streets. Only the priest carrying the Sacred Stone can walk on the flowers, the others must walk on the side.
Once the procession is finished you can walk on the drawings. If you are strong enough. 

Personally I didn’t feel like ruining these works of art that took days to prepare, just an hour after they were finished.   

Another gallery. I took so many pictures, and the drawings were so all so special, it would a shame not to share them all. 

I was impressed by the quality of the drawings made with products found in nature 

and there are actually many people involved in the making of the Infiorata, with great care and attention

truly beautiful

It’s Going to be Perfect!

vieni con me!

Georgia Diary

Georgia Diary

diary

georgia

photos and stories
  • Italiano
  • English

the trip

Luca and I went to Georgia in June 2017.

It was a guy I met in Gjrokaster, Albania, who made me want to visit Georgia and Armenia. He said that these were his favorite countries (he visited plenty), but he decided to open and manage a hostel in Albania because he thought it had much potential. And I believe he was right.

Anyway, one year after Albania I was in Georgia.

 

Tbilisi, the capital, was the first stop. I was immediately fascinated by the elegant decadence of the Old Town.

We stayed in Tbilisi for a few days, I didn’t want to leave. The town is charming, food is delicious and guesthouse very welcoming.

The guesthouse!

Some pictures of the guesthouse, Skadaveli, that from outside seems to be falling down, but inside it’s all renovated and very warm and welcoming. In the historic centre of Tbilisi. So welcoming that I want to go back and just stay there for one month.

Breakfast was not included, but there was a small shop not far from the house selling fresh bread, cheese, tomatoes and eggs. The best breakfast.

There’s an antiques market in Tbilisi with many russian and Orthodox relics that I really liked. Sort of an open-air museum.

 

For a couple of days we walked around the Old Town, the markets, the castle, the Baths…

 

Davit Gareja

Public transport is quite efficient in Georgia, and moving from one part of the country to the other is pretty easy. But not to Davit Gareja, a monastery in a semi-deserted area at about 2 hours drive from Tbilisi, near the border with Azerbaijan. To go there we took a tourist minibus leaving at 11am from the center of the town. You get there that it’s very hot, you can visit the monastery and in a couple of hours you can walk around the hill where you can see some caves with frescoes that are part of another monastery. All very interesting. And amazing panorama.

 

Oasi Club

Going back from Davit Gareja we stopped in a hostel-campsite for lunch/coffee/snacks. An amazing place, seems out of the world, with grazing pigs, horses, hammocks, good food, a lot of books. A place to go back to and stay for a few days, even though sleeping and eating there is slightly more expensive than in the city. 

Other than Davit Gareja, we did another day trip while staying in Tbilisi.

Mtskheta

The spiritual capital of Georgia, Mtskheta isn’t very far from Tbilisi and can be reached by Marshrutky, the public buses of Georgia.

One early morning we left to go to Armenia, about which I will write in another post…

Below continues the trip in Georgia. 

Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia

We went back to Tbilisi on a minibus from Armenia. After a short wait we got on another bus to Akhaltsikhe.

Along the road we passed through Borjomi, a quiet resort with thermal waters, surrounded by nature. Having more time, it would have been nice to stop there for a bit. Backpacking it’s nice to stop in a quiet place to rest from time to time.

In Akhaltsikhe there’s a castle that has been recently refurbished, pretty but seems fake, but the town is famous for Vardzia, a caves village. Born as a monastery, Vardzia grew into a small town that could host up to 2,000 monks.  A very special place, not to miss. 

Unfortunately with public transport you are not free to travel at the time you want, I would have liked to be there for sunset, but we had to take the bus back to Akhaltsikhe (I am traveling on a budget, I can’t afford a taxi for 60 km). 

Akhaltsikhe town

Pretty and comfortable. Guesthouse brand new, very clean and very welcoming. 

I must say that guesthouses in Georgia are very good. 

Vardzia

Vardzia. Hot hot hot. It’s recommended to bring a lot of water from the town, as there are no villages near Vardzia, just a small restaurant with a nice terrace, but to visit the site you need a couple of hours and there’s no water on the hill. 

The North

After Vardzia e Akhaltsikhe we went North.

We hadn’t booked any place for the night because we weren’t sure where we would stop.

The fist minibus took us to Kutaisi. I was thinking of stopping there, but it was very hot and the city seemed so big, I thought it would be difficult to find a place to stay.

So we took another bus to Zugdidi. We were also thinking of Batumi, a holiday resort by the Black Sea, but we didn’t have the time during this trip. We preferred to focus on other parts of Georgia.

Zugdidi seemed a bit anonymous. The interesting side of this town is that it’s near the border with Abkhazia, and in the last decades Zugdidi has hosted many refugees from this part of the world.

There’s a nice museum/palace with a beautiful park.

For many it’s the departure point for Mestia and the Svaneti mountains.

This is just a small preview of Svaneti, because I want to write a whole post about the trekking here. It was the best part of our trip in Georgia.

Mestia, Ushguli e Svaneti

Svaneti belongs to the Caucasus and it is the highest inhabited area in Europe.

From Mestia we hiked for three days up to Ushguli, three days in the nature, among fields in bloom, glaciers and old villages with the traditional medieval towers.

I didn’t really want to leave the little paradise that is Svaneti, but the trip must go on.

There was a minivan going directly to Tbilisi, fortunately, but the trip was quite long anyway, we arrived in Tbilisi at 7pm.

The Skadaveli guesthouse was fully booked, so we decided to rent a room in the new part of the town.

Very nice there too.

Davit Aghmashenebeli Avenue is a walking street completely renovated, with pretty pastel houses, small restaurants and many clubs. Very touristic, but pretty nonetheless.

Tbilisi New Town

Kazbegi

The following day we left for Kazbegi, about three hours away, on a marhrutky.

Kazbegi is in the mountains (near the border with Russia), famous for a church on a hill overlooking the town.

Tsminda Sameba Church (not easy at all Georgian names) can be reached on a easy hike, the path is steep but short.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stop for too long here neither, there are some nice hiking trails to be tested.

The following day we left.

Marshrutky to Tbilisi (basically you need to go back to Tbilisi almost any time you move from one part to the other of Georgia) then another to Sighnaghi.

Kakheti

Sighnaghi

Kakheti is the main region for the production of wine in Georgia.

We stayed a couple of nights in Sighnaghi, a pretty little town, and we stayed in a guesthouse overlooking the valley.

On the way to Telavi

From Sighnaghi we took part to a tour organized from our guesthouse to take us to Telavi. We took advantage of this tour, so that on the way to Telavi we could stop at a monastery, at the house-museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, at a winery with a museum and the qvevri, large terracotta pots buried in the ground, the way wine is traditionally made in Georgia.

Telavi

Telavi is a bit too modern maybe, with some picturesque corner, very welcoming indeed.

Once we put foot out of the guesthouse to visit the town, we met a guy on a bench who invited to his house to drink Georgian wine and eat some snacks (probably I don’t have big memories of Telavi because we spent most of our time with our new friend). 

At dinner we decided to eat at the guesthouse. The host cooked so much for us! And everything was delicious, another proof of the quality of Georgian cuisine.

Last days in Tbilisi

And here we are, at the end of the trip. Last couple of days in Tbilisi before we go back to Italy. 

We walked around the old town again, always charming, we also went back to the new town to take some pictures in the night, and one early morning we flew back home.

GEORGIA ON THE TABLE

Short recap of the delicious dishes of Georgia.

It’s Going to be Awesome!

Come with me!

Hiking between Marana and Montefalcone

Hiking between Marana and Montefalcone

  • Italiano
  • English
Hiking between

Marana and Montefalcone

among clouds and nature

Last Sunday I went hiking with my brother on the mountains not far from home.

Wanted to go to Cima Marana how we often do during the year, but instead of taking one of the most common paths, those starting from Contrada Gebbani (or Castagna) and going up directly to Cima Marana, we chose Sentiero 203, that from Gebbani goes to Malga Casoline and ends at the dirty road that goes from Piatta di Montefalcone.

The sentiero 203

Taking the path that starts between the Gebbani and Castagna contrade that goes directly up to Cima Marana (the path we call “of the ridge”), not far from the departure point there’s fork: to the left you go to the Marana peak, to the right you go to Malga Casoline, that is Path no. 203.

Here we were close to Malga Casoline, at about one hour from departure.

The 203 is longer and a bit harder than the other paths that go to Cima Marana, but it’s almost entirely in the shade and it crosses a beautiful forest.

Passo della Porta

After about 2 hours of hiking (consider that I’m not very fit), we got to Passo della Porta, along the dirty road that connects Campodavanti to Montefalcone.

Instead of walking on the road to go to Montefalcone, we decided to walk on the ridge. 

But on the other side of the mountain there was quite some fog, adn we could see nothing.

The view from up there is amazing.

I know because I took the same path one year ago, in a nice sunny day.

That is why I am showing you here the pictures I too one year ago. 

The ridge one year ago

You can see the Carega peak and Rifugio Fraccaroli from up there, if it’s not foggy or raining.

Towards Montefalcone

It might have been foggy, but I managed to find some pretty cute things that deserved a photograph.

And finally, the Rifugio Montefalcone

It took us more than half an hour to get to the lodge from Passo della Porta, partly because I was starting to feel tired and the ridge has some pretty hard climbs, partly because I was taking pictures on the way. 

Lunch at Rifugio Montefalcone with minestrone soup and red fruits strudel 🙂

Towards Cima Marana

After a short siesta we left for Cima Marana.

Again, beautiful landscape and nature, despite the fog. 

what about these roots???

Cima Marana is one of the southernmost peaks of the Dolomites, and one of the lowest.

At 1554 meters above sea level, it has a special view of the Chiampo and Agno valleys and you can even see the Garda Lake and Venice Lagoon on bright clear days.

It’s a shame there’s always someone who leaves some garbage behind. 

I collected 5 cigarette butts, only around the cross of Cima Marana.

 

The descent towards the Gebbani was a bit hard for me, I was feeling more and more tired and my knees were starting to ache. 

but I love this itinerary so much, I’m looking forward to the next time!

It’s Going to be Perfect!

vieni con me!

London Planning

London Planning

I’m so excited, I’m going to London very soooonnn!! I am staying at friends’, so I don’t need to look for an accommodation, but I only have 3 days and so many places I want to go back, I need to plan my visit carefully.

I lived in London for 4 years, between 2005 and 2010. It’s such a vibrant city, you surely can’t get bored here, and I loved it. I loved its parks, its musical shows, the architecture, the Thames, the markets, the pubs. Even the cemeteries! Living there was really nice, but I missed family and friends, and decided to move back to Italy.

And after 7 years I am finally going back. While I was living there, I was coming home every two months, so when I left London I thought I wouldn’t have missed it much as I could always come back, once or twice per year. But I didn’t. I don’t know why. And now, looking again at the tube map, at the name of the places that I almost forgot, I get emotional.

London Planning Ahead

So, as I mentioned I am staying only for the weekend, and I have to select the places I don’t want to miss and think of a rough itinerary. I know I want to go to Notting Hill, Borough Market, South Bank, Brick Lane, Canary Wharf if I manage to, possibly the famous and new Sky Garden (it wasn’t there 7 years ago), Hyde Park. I would also like to go to Putney, where I used to live, but I don’t think I will have time for it. London must have changed so much, I am really curious.

london

Transportation in London

I am not sure my Oyster card is still working. It’s a card that you buy (I think it’s 5 pounds), but you can have a refund if you give it back once you leave London; you have to top it up and you can travel anywhere. If you plan to use the tube quite often, you should buy a one week travelcard (with Oyster it’s cheaper than the paper card) or check at the TFL (Transport For London) website what the best option is. And the coolest part is that even if you don’t buy a one day card with your Oyster, you still get charged up to the cost of the day card; every time that you travel, the cost of the trip is taken from your Oyster, but up to the maximum cost of a day card. This is what I used to do. I used my Oyster, and already at the second trip it would only take the money up to the day ticket. Public transport in London is quite expensive, but if you buy a travel card, or even better an Oyster, it’s more affordable.

I am super excited because there’s a pretty good bike rental net now in London. I have always owned a bike while I was living there. Cycling to work was a great booster and quite often I also cycled to Soho or Old Street to meet with friends. On Sundays I was cycling to visit new places. It would have been sad to go back to London and take bus or tube all the time (you can’t really walk from one place to another in London, it’s too big), but this new bike rentals think has made me the happiest girl in the world. And it’s actually fairly cheap. You pay 2 pounds per day, and every time you take a bike you have 30 minutes free. So, for example you can rent a bike in Hyde Park and cycle to Piccadilly, park your bike, visit a bit on foot, take another bike and cycle to St. Peter’s, park and walk to South Bank, and so on.

There’s an excellent app where you can check where to park and where you can find available bikes. You can also choose the best itinerary for you.

Things I want to do in London

There are a few things I used to do in London that I miss:

  1. Visit a Charity Shop. I don’t know how many second-hand books I have bought while I was living there. Charity Shops were my favorite, for books and other stuff. I could please my random need of spending money and feel good at the same time.
  2. British Breakfast. Oh, I miss hash browns and beans so much! I must have one English Breakfast at least once.
  3. Read in a cemetery. In Summer months it was my favorite activity. After work I often stopped at a cemetery on the way home, and spend one hour there, relaxing and reading. There’s a different attitude towards cemeteries than there is in Italy: you can often walk through them, families have picnics, you meet friends, you go jogging, they are almost like parks. And I love it. You get to live with the passed ones as if they were there again.
  4. Have a beer at a pub along the Thames. There are so many gorgeous pubs along the river in London! I worked in one of them, and it was super popular, in particular on Sundays. But there are some that are even better. I have great memories of time spent at pubs. In particular watching the World Cup with friends.
  5. Enjoy the view of London from the Tate Modern. You have a great view over London and in particular St. Paul’s from a terrace on the third floor of the Tate Modern. And entrance is free.

So, two days to go and I’m super happy. Hopefully it won’t be 7 years again before I go back to London.