31
Mar
14

Europe Trip – Italy – Across northern Italy to Venice

NORTHERN ITALY PICASA PHOTO ALBUM (124 photos)

During our first week in Italy, we travelled from West to East through the northern region. We stayed away from the Alps and Dolomites as the weather would still be too cold, the roads too difficult and to top it off we didn’t have that much time to visit all of Italy.

So we started with Genova or Genoa, the capital of Liguria and the once ruler of entire medieval Europe through its maritime powers. The abundance of elaborately decorated palaces, majestic fountains and baroque churches was enormous and a precursor for the rest of our trip in Italy. We spent time looking at the black-and-white striped cathedral, the two streets filled with Palazzi die Rolli, the Ducal Palace and the harbor area.

The Riviera di Levante, further east on the more and more precipitous coast, contains some beautiful spots and we spent time navigating the steep and small streets of Camogli, Santa Margherita and especially Portofino, a jet-set elite resort filled with expensive stores, but also a dramatic setting with cliff top castle and church.

The five crazily constructed fishing villages of Cinque Terre, a Unesco site, were our next stop. Because it is impossible and forbidden to get there by car or camper, we took the train connecting them through a series of long tunnels. The towns of Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Manarola were each unique to explore, each having pastel colored houses tumbling down steep streets and steep mountains to small harbors.

Surrounded by three lakes, the town of Mantua is home of some sumptuous ducal palaces and a string of atmospheric cobbled squares. It was a nice stop on the way to Venice, one of the major tourist attractions of Italy. We spent three days exploring the town, each time coming by ferry from our campsite across the bay. As the distances for Kyle were too big to walk at a decent pace, we had to take a stroller with, which made it all the more challenging and tiring for us to go up and down a million bridges. The town however is unique and despite all the tourists, merits time to be discovered: the San Marco square, Ducal palace, Basilica and Ponte di Rialto are but a few highlights of our visit.

South next, towards Tuscane filled with historic cities amidst the rolling hills.

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