Friday, May 2, 2014


Traveling by train from southern Italy to the upper north gives you an interesting perspective on the economic differences between the southern and northern parts of Italy.  In the south the cities look a bit seedy--trash on the streets, sidewalks crumbling, buildings with faded and peeling facades.  As you move north you see a gradual improvement until the towns are clearly well maintained and clean.   My trip from Bari to Milano took 8 hours, and the weather deteriorated as we moved north where it's been raining quite a bit.  My train from Milano was cancelled, so I had to scramble to get to the ticket office and see if there was a later train.  Luckily, there was and I was on my way to Peschiera del Garda after just an hour delay.  My hostess kindly picked me up at the train station and I was tucked into the most comfortable bed I've had in a while by 11:30 p.m.

The place I'm staying is 3 kilometers away from Lazise, a small town on Lake Garda with a population of about 6300.  I was lucky that the forecasted rain didn't begin until late the following day, so I had some time to explore this fairy tale town that I immediately loved.  It has a castle that is just what you'd imagine in a respectable fairy tale.

And it's right on Lake Garda, and I mean that literally...the water laps against some of the town's buildings.  

And it comes right into the main piazza where you can moor your boat and enjoy a gelato and the beautiful vista.  The town was crowded with people because May 1 is a national holiday in Italy (their Labor Day), as well as in Germany (as I learned from a German couple staying in the bedroom next door).  So there were lots of German and Italian cars clogging the roads.

There's a small church here on the piazza with some frescoes dating back to the 12th century.

After the ornate Baroque churches of Lecce, there was a humble simplicity in this place of worship.

I wandered through shops looking for an umbrella, since I left mine in Antonio's car in Lecce.  And it did rain, so I headed back to my cozy room.  The rain didn't last very long and I took a long walk before dinner to enjoy this gorgeous country scenery.  There were plenty of olive orchards.

And, of course, vineyards abound.  This vintner was patriotic, and being a national holiday, there were several Italian flags fluttering in the neighborhood.

The backdrop for the orchards and vineyards were these beautiful mountains.

The forecast for all four days I am here is rain.  And I was lucky yesterday that it didn't rain very much.  Today it's raining quite steadily.  I have a bicycle at my disposal, so if it ever stops raining, I'll check out more of this beautiful landscape that surrounds me.

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