Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vieste, Gargano Peninsula in Puglia. Love this town. Better than Amalfi

It's true - I really do think the Gargano Peninsula is better than the Amalfi coast. The Amalfi coast, while gorgeous, is such hard work walking up and down all the steep steps. And it is so busy and full of tourists. Honestly for me seeing anyone follow a tourist guide holding up a stick with a fluffy toy on the end of it getting 40 international tourists to follow them, makes me want to run in the opposite direction. Anyway Phil and I spent a week on the Amalfi coast years ago so we decided to have a week at the beach in Vieste, Puglia. Best decision:)

We stayed 6 nights at the Hotel Falcone: a family run business: 3 generations of family, grandparents, 5 brothers and then all the kids who are working and studying at uni. They were so friendly and the hotel is so lovely and a great price. 

What a civilised way to go to the beach. Lunch in the shade with an aperol and a farmers plate : piatto rustico. We loved it all. And the water here is crystal clear. 

We went on a boat trip on the "Desiree" with Francesco and his dad. They are great hosts and the boat trip in the grottoes and cliff lined beaches was amazing. Well worth the 20E a person. Just a half day trip but we swam at the beach lined with white cliffs and it was divine. I came home and slept 3 hours straight in the afternoon that I never do. 

Vieste is an old walled town with marble streets and beautiful views. We celebrated Phil's 45th birthday. Beautiful seafood dinner and lots of fun.

What great views. We were almost crying leaving Vieste. One of the grandkids, Juicy,who worked in the hotel had also studied engineering (like me and Phil) and she was so gorgeous and friendly and we now want her to come visit us in Australia. Funny how you can connect with people completely different ages but really like them a lot.

So relaxed and happy 😊 

 Lots of photos of Vieste but I think it's definitely underrated. Maybe I should be the Italian ambassador:)

Fiona xx

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spello, Italy: Italy's most beautiful town

They say that Spello in Umbria is Italy's most beautiful town and I'd agree. We left Verona and headed south. We had heard about Spello after watching SBS's Italy Uncovered and knew we wanted to go. You can see why....

Spello is a beautiful little walled hill top town, about 10 minutes from Assisi. We were so glad we had chosen to stay here. We stayed in a lovely B&B just at the edge of the old town which had lovely rooms and a beautiful pool. I'll pop the link below if any of you ever get to this beautiful place. 

The town is filled with flowers in pots and there are some annual flower competitions : one for the most beautiful street and then a festival for pictures made from flowers. We didn't see that as I thinknit is in August when it's a bit cooler. 

We first night we were in Spello there was a disco in the main square: free for everyone and such a lovely summer vibe. They even played my favourite Italian song: L'ombelico Del Mondo by Jiovanotti. So good.  There were little stalls with all the regional food. The porchetta paninis were spicy and delicious.  

We also spent an afternoon in Assisi- such a religious town. Good for an afternoon visit but I preferred spelloto stay in.

We B&B we stayed in is called B&B Villamena and we found it via The pool is fantastic. What a beautiful place to relax after a day exploring. The kids were so happy playing in it also. 

Good to get off to major international tourist route and go to a quiet little town. bliss.  Hope you are happy to s
ee all my photos. I did cull them but there are just so many beautiful things to see. 


Saturday, July 15, 2017

One night in Verona

We had planned on staying longer in Verona but we decided to spend more time in the Dolomites so ended up in this beautiful city for one night only...but we sure know how to pack it all in. A "passiagiata" around the old town, delicious dinner, a saxaphone concert in a church with the Sydney Conservatory of Music starring Jonty's saxaphone teacher Sam, and then a mad dash to catch the end of the Opera at the Verona Arena.  We stayed at the beautiful Villa Frascatti which was a 16th century villa and now a youth hostel. Basic rooms but beautiful surroundings. 

Villa Frascatti youth hostel

Juliet's balcony and a lovely dinner: very hot evening. 

The saxaphone concert was at the Sant'Eufemia church and it was magical. All classical music which was really lovely seeing the sax played so differently to the jazz you normally associate it with. So good for Jonty to see his teacher play and to see where music can take you.

And then a mad dash across to the Arena to see some of Rigalto opera. Shame we didn't see all of it but when you only have one night what else can be done

Fiona Xx 

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Dolomites- get there at least once in your life

I didn't expect to be blown away by the Dolomites. But I was. Which is always fantastic to love something that you weren't expecting to fall in love with. The scenery is spectacular and it's like you have left Italy and entered Austria. Actually it used to be part of Austria until it was swapped for Nice and Corsica back in Napoleon's time. A lot of people there still think they are Austrian and the houses and food reflect that.  It made us miss Italy :)

 We stayed with my aunt and uncle and my cousin and her beautiful family. They come every year from Florence to escape the heat. So lovely to spend some time with our family who live so far away.  My aunt is actually my mum's cousin but we are close as I spent some time in Italy when I was younger studying Italian  in Florence where they live. 

My cousin Simona and her beautiful little boys. We will really miss them.

We did lots of hikes , traveling up the mountains in the very well connected system of funivia and chair lifts. 

The view from the house that my aunt rents for holidays was gorgeous. So green and delightful.

I can only imagine how lovely it all looks covered in snow. And what good skiing it would all be.

We ended up skipping our visit to Venice to stay here longer. Given the heat and crowds in Venice, I'm happy with our choice. Phil and I have both been a few times before to Venice and the kids will get their chance when they are older so better to spend time with family and the gorgeous little boys. 

Have you been to the Dolomites?
Makes me want to go to Thredbo in the summer. not sure it would be as beautiful:)
Fiona xx