Visit the cathederals and...
Visit the cathederals and museums, and try to stay at an agritourismo for a night or so. We enjoyed so many things, including walks on the meadows by our pension in the Dolomites, cruising the waterways in a gondola in Venice, taking a walk along the Cinque Terra, driving the Amalfi Coast, walking among the ancient Greek ruins in Paestum, and visiting the Vatican in Rome.
Cycling into Italy
The coastal road from France into Italy is a almost unbroken stream of resorts, apart from the notable exceptions of Monaco and Monte Carlo nothing seems to distinguish one from another. I stayed near Cogoleto, "Camping Europa Unita" is a friendly site with english speaking owners. Climbing into the hills above Genova the country becomes greener, the villages more intimate and there is a feeling that these are living communities. Camping at the summit of these hills I listened to a sad Ukrainian girl working in Italy but missing her home. Below us a forest fire gradually took hold and we watched as first the local fire brigade were beaten back then helicopters and finally planes were brought in to subdue the flames.
The following day I rode down into the Po Valley and by chance came across the small town of Busseto, Verdi's birthplace, a pretty town in its own right with arched walkways and attractive squares. In the main town square overlooked by Verdi's statue you can hear local music societies sing extracts from his operas while you enjoy a drink or meal.
"The Po Valley"
I was heading for Venice and the Po Valley offered a fast and easy cycle route there but oh, it is dull! The unremitting flatness was only relieved by sights like the local below, he was catching fish from one of the irrigation channels by a method used for hundreds of years and still in use across the world from Egypt to India. He uses a net suspended from a rod, is he an angler or a fisherman?
The fish certainly weren't short of food, the heat and humidity had caused millions of ants to take flight and for mile after mile I was covered in them, at times I was unable to see and more than once veered across the road into oncoming traffic trying to escape from them.
First stop as I approached Venice was the attractive town of Badia Polesine, there is a very little budget accommodation around here but I found a simple but well run albergo ristorante in the town "Sant' Antonio" offers dinner bed and breakfast for about 30 euros. It is located on the east of the town across from the river Adige. From here it is a days ride by cycle to Venice, however whatever you do, don't try to cycle up the S309/E35 into the city, it is a very busy and fast road. Instead, take the small country road that runs parallel with it this will also lead you to an excellent Agritourismo farm and campsite called "La Chioccia" at Lughetto. Here you can camp and eat with the family in a large, very pleasant dining room, the food is authentic Italian and not for the faint hearted included on the menu was "horse lasagna"! There is a direct train into Venice three kilometres from the farm. The area around Venice has some good cycle trails guiding you to some wonderful countryside and architectural sights you may miss if you limit your stay to the city, "Touring Club Italiano" produce a useful map of the area.
Advise for a first timer
Myself and my girlfriend are in the initial stages of planning a ten day trip to Italy in a couple of months, and are in desparte need of help.
We both like lush quaint oldie worldie places where you relax watching the world go by, eating in local cafe's helplessly trying to understand italian!!
On the other hand a City with fashion shops, historical places to visit and stunning arictecural scenery is also nice, oh yeh did i mention a gorgeous beach, basically we wnat itall, for this reason i think a two part holidat flighing in of one place and out of another is gonna have to be the way.
Although we also want a holiday that isn't gonna break the bank, so if any one knows any cheap funky B&B's that could tie in with our plans pleae let us know
thanking you in advance
Jono & Cazza XXXXXXXXxxxxxxxXXXXXXXX
RE: RE: Advise for a first timer
I agree, Tuscany is mind blowing we went for a few days last September and stayed in Greve.With a car Florence and Pisa are easy to get to and the beaches not much further we stayed on a vineyard with the most impressive views I've ever seen,It was also self catering which suited us, We found these on the agritourismo internet site.If this is what you fancy reply and I shall look up the correct www.site- Also it was with ryanair flights an extreemly cheap break.