Discovering: Italy

Arriving in Tuscany, Italy

I recently headed out to Tuscany with my girlfriend, flying to our first stop: Bologna. After picking up the Fiat 500 we took an hours drive to our first of five locations. Only staying for one night, we really enjoyed the Renaissance buildings, leaning towers, especially the Asinelli Tower, which we literally had to climb up, and the food was superb, as was the overall buzz of the place.

 

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After a bar-setting trip to Bologna we headed to Castello de Gargonza, a 13th-century castle and village, in the heart of Tuscany. We were here for two nights, and were gutted to leave. It was absolutely beautiful, a place you could fully switch off and relax in. Again, the food at the onsite Michelin Guide restaurant was completely perfect and reflected the real true Italy, which is exactly what we were after.

Camogli was our third stop, for another two night stop over. Our room was probably the least fabulous, but the vista was sheer class. Overlooking the marina of this quaint fishing village, located not far from another beautiful spot called Portofino, in Genoa, Liguria. We happened to be graced with a two-day-long Beatles Day celebration, that featured an all day disco and a band performance each night. The local art shops, focaccia, Beatles, marina, wine and local characters were perfect for our stay. We literally sat on the dock of the bay, each day.

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Up next was Florence, which was noticeably hotter and more humid than the previous places. We did a lot of walking around the streets and churches of the city, most notably to the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Watch out for the unbelievable queues to get in, though! There’s only a 20 minute wait if you head over with about an hour left till closing time, it was nice to go in but was done and dusted in 15 minutes.

The hustle and bustle of tourism in Florence is great, the city is pretty, and the streets and people are great to take in. But apart from watching the sun set accross the city, whilst sat with hundreds of people, whilst having a drink, we couldn’t wait to leave and see what our next and last place was like.

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The last place to get to was Orta San Giulio, located literally on the waterfront of Lake Orta. We stayed at B&B Al Dom, a peaceful and very pretty, family-owned business. This was by far, our most favourite place of the trip. All food and drink was locally sourced, mostly coming from Piedmont. This region of Italy borders France and Switzerland and sits at the foot of the Alps. The sights were truly beautiful, the staff and people we spoke very poor Italian to were very humble and welcoming. We made some good friends there, having mostly spoken about food and drink, and football. Lake Orta is definitely worth a trip, I highly recommend it to couple and families of any age.

 

Submitted by Matt, from Manchester

 

 

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