Viva Italia!

IMG_0921RIOMAGGIORE, Italy — Rome has the romance, Florence the flair and Venice the mystique.

But there’s much to see in Italy beyond the big three.

If you enter the country from the north, past the Austrian and former Winter Olympics city of Innsbrook, you’ll come upon The Dolomites.

The Italian Dolomites are spread over 90,000 mountainous acres and sit in a corner of the Alps. Scientists claim their geological origin dates back some 230 million years when the rock was deposited in the form of marine sediments and coral in a low open sea. That material formed the foundation of the mountains.

We dropped into Balzano and zigzagged our way on a 45-minute shuttle ride to Castelrotto, a mostly German-speaking ski town that sits amid the clouds.

In the offseason, the village is quiet — save for the unending clang of church bells. But what it lacks in bustle, it gives back in eye-popping scenery.

If you prefer the surf over the peaks, a visit to Cinque Terre is a must. Cinque means five in Italian, and these towns that hug the Ligurian Sea make up part of the Italian Riveria.

Before you walk the trail that links the villages —  a recent landslide has closed part of the pathway — enjoy the vantage points from the water.

Once aground, work your way west from the easternmost village of Riomaggiore. Snap a picture on the rocks at Vernazza, and if you haven’t had too much pasta for lunch, slide up the ultra-tight staircase leading to the top of Castello Doria, a 15th century fortress.

The ambiance and colors of Cinque Terre won’t disappoint.

Italy never does.

 

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2 thoughts on “Viva Italia!

  1. So wonderful to log in to my computer and read your comments about Italy……brings back some wonderful memories……..

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