In the North of Italy, After Leaving Lake Garda, we continued on our search for good coffee, gelato & amazing landscapes..
We ventured south into Tuscany, which won us over instantly, besides the beautiful scenery we found that you could stop at any Tabacchi &/or café and get two cappuccinos and an incredible naughty treat (soft pastries with crème inside), for no more than €4. The beauty of travelling by road is that you have the freedom to stop & venture into little towns that you fancy, we love this side of van life!
Riamaggorie, a cluster of brightly coloured houses on the steep banks on the Ligurian Coast, is the most Southern of the five fishing villages that make up Cinque Terrewe. We stopped in Riamaggorie for a beautiful morning of wandering its tight narrow streets and passages. Note you cannot park campers in the towns from Riomaggiore to Manarola. It is forbidden! There are some parking spots up the top of the hills where you can fit campers / cars & it’s a good hike down. We got our sweat on, that’s for sure.
We discovered a great little café in Riamaggorie called ‘Bar e Vini a Piè de Mà’. It’s located at the entrance to the ‘lovers walk’ overlooking the sea crashing into the coast below. The bruschetta & coffee was amazing! Everything that came out of the kitchen looked fresh, rich in flavor & was very Italian.
Pisa was on our list of places to see & draws its fame from the tilting tower built on insufficient foundations. Unfortunately the world-famous Leaning Tower is the only noteworthy sight in this city, at least in our opinion. It was great to see it given the story behind the building; however, it doesn’t have too much more on offer, it’s very touristy! In our opinion if you are passing by, stop by, but don’t make the trip there just to visit Pisa!
From Pisa we went to Florence, just in time for the afternoon rush for some gelato. If you want tasty gelato & a good waffle cone visit ‘Riva Reno Gelato’. Florence is a beautiful city, worth the visit, we did notice an unusual number of American students there…
Venice is a must do, to think a city is built in this lagoon is baffling.
If you are going by car or motorhome there is really good and cheap parking, in Venzia Tronchetto. You can get around by boat or you can walk through the narrow backstreets, it’s amazing to see the neighbourhoods lined with shutters, terracotta roofs & priceless marble. You must see the Grand Canal, so aptly named as the Grand Canal reflecting the glories of Venetian architecture lining its banks. On a hot day an ‘Aperol Spritz’ goes down a treat.
Overlooking Venice’s signature waterway, Palazzo Ducale and Basilica di San Marco is a great place to rest the feet too, we enjoyed a Biere Moretti here.
In summary, the Italian experience is perfectly in symbiosis with the land. We love the vibrant colours, flavours & welcoming people it has on offer.
Make sure you try a ‘caprese salad’. We made a few of our own too!