Verona, Verona, Verona…

verona 4
Ponte Scaligero
Verona 1
Roman Arena
verona 2
River Adige
verona 3
Ponte Scaligero Market
verona 5
Treats from the market! Crunchy Nutella Croissant 

Traditional Italian beauty defined!

My boyfriend and I traveled to Verona last weekend for a day trip, what a gorgeous place!

To start with, it was easily accessible from the motorway and we found parking instantly on arrival in the city centre – free on Sundays fyi! Not a deciding factor when reviewing a trip – but a positive start!

We started our day in Piazza Arsenale, and strolled along the river towards the centre. My first impression was almost Toulousain, with high stone walls leading down to the pebbled banks of the river, the length of the promenade shaded by trees.

The first gem we were led to by the river, was Ponte Scaligero. The redbrick bridge links the North and South of the city across the vast river Adige. The bridge itself is a hive of activity, there was a lovely market lining the cobbles, selling all types of food, drink and handcrafted articles to locals and tourists alike.

As we weaved our way through the light crowds, the attraction to the bridge was not only on the ground. The top of the bridge is formed of many “towers”, between which tourists clamber in order to snap a selfie & get a glimpse of the river from above.

Along from the bridge, you exit into the Old Castle and are immediately entwined in the vibrant traffic of the city. Turn after turn, it really is all roads lead to Rome, with piazza upon piazza boasting traditional roman architecture and beautiful winding streets.

The Roman Arena is a notable sight from outside, towering Piazza Bra beneath. However, my advice would be to admire from the outside, inside is incomparable to the likes of the Colosseum in Rome or similar sized arena in Nimes, as this has been transformed into a commercial arena for shows. The 11 euro entry isn’t worth it!

The sprawling streets are littered with markets, cafes and bars, leading to piazzas filled with markets cafes and yet more bars! the lively atmosphere makes the romance of the city come alive – especially at Casa di Giulietta.

Of course we cant go without mentioning that Verona, of course is the hometown of Romeo and Juliet! Juliet’s house is a humble house positioned behind a grand archway – which you can expect to be stuffed with tourists wanting to see the balcony and to touch the golden statue of the young lady!

The walls surrounding the house are adorned with messages of love, although, sadly over the years due to a lack of space – many notes are now written on plasters and stuck on with chewing gum as adhesive over the original notes, acting as a modern disruption to the romantic tradition!

The tomb of Juliet, the Duomo and clock tower in the city are amongst other notable sights, however the city can be done in a day – best seen with a bellini from the side of a piazza!

Overall a beautiful city to visit, after Venice, and despite its size in comparison to others — my new favourite Italian City.

Pictures to come!

R x

Advertisements

Joyeuses Pâques!

Switzerland is the most beautiful country I have ever visited.

2003 was my first family visit to Switzerland. Following a two day drive from the UK as an 11 year old girl, I remember vividly being in complete awe of the mountains, and the lakes and landscapes which followed, and ever since, have been besotted with the country and the entwined cultures and languages within it.

Two branches of my family live within the canton of Fribourg, near the district of La Gruyère – yes, the cheese! The area is gorgeous, with rolling, open green landscapes, overlooked by spectacular snow capped mountain ranges, including the 2,000m peak of La Moléson which towers in the distance.

I have been fortunate enough to spend many a summer holiday, and winter weekend in the area over the years, and thoroughly enjoyed returning this Easter weekend to revisit such fond childhood memories.

Over the next few blog posts, I will be writing about different districts and places that I re-visited in Switzerland this weekend, and although they may not be the top tourist attractions, it may be useful for someone, somewhere!

The nearest town to my aunts home is Fribourg. A relatively large town, although the town centre is nothing to shout about, there is a standard commercial centre with a relatively well connected station and university. However, much like other large towns and cities in Europe, there is an “old town” adjacent to the newer, lack-lustre extension. The style of the old town may not be as typically or drastically Swiss in comparison with Basel or Bern, but it still exudes a traditionally gothic feeling as it paves the way into the Sarine valley at the base of Fribourg.

There are a plethora of small cafes, bars and restaurants along the cobbled streets of the old town. Offering a comfortable place for locals to mingle on a Saturday morning.

Sights in the town are relatively limited, however, here are a few recommendations for anyone who happens to be visiting:

  • Cathedral of St Nicholas
    • The cathedral is the focal point of the old town, surrounded at the foot by small restaurants and bars. I believe you can venture to the top of the cathedral for a small fee.
  • Les Bains de la Motta – Public Swimming Pool
    • This was undoubtedly the best place to go as a child! Located at the foot of the city, the 50m pool is still enticing. There are water fountains, diving boards and two pools for children and adults, alongside a large sunbathing area with many cabins and lockers – a popular attraction for locals and tourists in the summer sun!
  • Poya Bridge
    • The new bridge connecting the two sides of the valley is a modern addition to the old fashioned town. The bridge provides some great views of the valley below, and can be accessed by car and on foot.
  • Villars Chocolate Shop
    • Swiss chocolate is a delicacy, and in Villars chocolate shop – a delicacy that one can behold! Villars has a small shop and cafe at the top of the town offering some good deals on the most popular of its selections. A specialist item to be tried here is the “Têtes au Choco”, biscuit based, marshmallow filled, chocolate covered bites!
  • Fribourg Gotteron Ice Hockey Team
    • Fribourg Gotteron is the local hockey team, for a real taste of local experience and a fun evening out – I recommend trying to catch a match, of course, during the winter months!
  • The Valley of Sarine
    • The valley itself is an unexpected sight within the town. You can catch great views of the dense forestry and rivers below from any of the crossing bridges.

Beyond Fribourg, many traditional Swiss houses lay in small communities, with their top heavy, terracotta tiled roofs, and stockpiled logs for the winter snow. These villages between Fribourg, stretching to the other side of La Gruyère are so peaceful, with the only audible sound quite often being the cowbells worn around the necks of the roaming livestock.

Fribourg 2
Sarine Valley, Fribourg
Fribourg 1
Fribourg

Although Fribourg is not the first place I would recommend to visit,  hopefully this will be of use to anyone in the area! More to come on La Gruyère and Montreux Riviera.

R x

Lovely Laveno

The spring has struck in Italy. The change in the season has seemingly shocked my system! In England we have failed to differentiate seasons properly for some years now – mild precipitation blending the seasons into one.

Despite the piercingly bright, clear skies in the towns, the haze around the mountains remains, creating a sleepy vibe for those strolling around the lakefront, passing through the small antique markets and stopping for their morning espresso.

Laveno is a small town, perched on the edge of Lake Maggiore, between Angera and Luino, and facing Stresa. The town still belongs to the locals, with notably less commercial sway and thus, less traffic than nearby locations of Angera or Arona. Despite this the streets hold a typical Italian charm, with plenty of small sailing boats bobbing around the hazy harbour.

Outside of most tourist’s peripheral vision, this town boasts fantastic views of Maggiore, and in the summer a funicular to transport you to the top of Sasso del Ferro, boasting views of the entire lake and surrounding cities.

Although the town itself is somewhat subdued, without the designer appeal of Lugano or Como, a hidden gem is the Villa Della Porta Bozzolo. A short drive from the town centre, this typical Italian Villa is set into the nearby village of Casalzuigno.

On approach the Villa is not an obvious attraction, somewhat cramped between the surrounding rustic houses. Set back into the hills, the levels of the gardens form a steep cascade into the central theatre, overflowing with buttercups, and subsequently onto a courtyard of lemon trees and fountains, further adding to the grandeur of the Villa, which dates back to the 1500’s.

Certain elements of the Villa have been restored, however many original pieces remain among the sprawling floor plan of hand painted bedrooms, cellars and salons.

The Villa is undoubtedly an unexpected find in the area, and a welcome alternative to the bustling streets of the surrounding towns.

R x

 

 

 

 

Rachey on the Road: Pilot

Evening fellow bloggers, and welcome to my first blog post. Ever.

21:39, Tuesday 4th April.  Sitting here in my apartment in a small town in Northern Italy, I have to be honest, Rachey on the Road is pretty much unplanned at this point. I’ve decided to start writing for the pure motive of sharing what I’m seeing and feeling with others, including you!

I’m 24, and I’m currently living near Milan in Italy for work, an aspect of my life which may feature every now and again on here… however the main content will be centered around my love for holidays, travel experiences and tips, personal anecdotes and perspectives, and food!

I look forward to learning about your travels, stories and recipes too !

Enjoy!

R x