Austria to Spain – Part 2: Italy

After crossing the border to Italy we drive down the Kanaltal or Val Canale where the river Fella gets bigger with every stream coming down the high mountains on both sides. The toll free road is in good condition and we enjoy the landscape.

at the Tagliamento river

We want to visit Venzone, a little town which was badly destroyed by the earthquakes of 1976, but completely reconstructed afterwards. We miss the official parking but found a nice place near the bridge over the Tagliamento close to the center. (46.334927, 13.135459)
Its a lovely little town and you find some information on the earthquakes in the church and the Townhall.

Venzone

Townhall of Venzone

City Gate of Venzone

The church after the earthquakes of 1976

The reconstructed church of Venzone

Enjoying bella Italia!

The day ends with a glass of wine and cheese on the main square.

Tagliamento

In the morning we cross the Tagliamento and pass a little village with narrow streets before we are on the road down the river. We stop for a morning walk along the river before we reach  the Natural Reserve of the Cornino Lake. There is a parking near the information center (46.225971, 13.019424). The main attractions are the cristal clear glacial lake and the colony of vultures. We are lucky and can watch about 40 of them circling upwards when they get enough thermic with the morning sun.

Lake Cornino

Vultures

Afterwards we cross the Tagliamento again to reach San Daniele de Friuli – famous for its prosciutto.
We park at the free caravan parking and walk into the center. (46.156573, 13.013814) It would be a nice stop for lunch, but we both have an upset stomach so we soon head back and drive on.
We cross the Tagliamento one last time and head to Bassano de Grappa, where we want to spend the night. There is a park & ride area with a designated caravan section. Every 10 minutes goes a bus into town. Very convenient! (45.758292, 11.731312) It is a sunny Sunday evening and the town is vibrant with lots of life. Bassano is famous for its covered bridge, which is beeing renovated at the moment. We very much enjoy the atmosphere of this town.

near the Bridge of Bassono del Grappa

Main Square of Bassano del Grappa

Bassano del Grappa from the bridge

In the morning we drive on west and spontaniously decide to stop at Vicenza. We choose one of the park & ride places and again, it has a caravan parking, so you could stay overnight (45.563444, 11.547726). From there we take a bus into the center. The instructions on the ticket machine are not easy and we have no idea if we pay to much or not enough, but the bus takes us into town anyway.
Vicenza is famous for its Palaces designed by Andrea Palladio.

Vicenza – Basilica Palladiana

Vicenza – Piazza dei Signori

Vicenza – Torre del Tormento

We pass Verona in the south and while we drive on, the weather gets worse and worse and the streets are quite bad. As it gets dark we reach Valeggio at the Mincio river. We park at a parking near the center (45.351542, 10.734311), equip ourselves with every piece of rain gear we have and bravely visit the village and its castle. Up there it is hard to hold the umbrella above our heads and when we get back we are soaked. But we saw a nice restaurant and a little bit later we head there and enjoy the italian cuisine as we don’t feel as sick any more. Maybe it was to early and to much for our poor stomachs. The next day we feel bad again 馃檨 The Giardino Segurt谩 would have been nice to visit, but also the next morning it is gray and rainy. We ignore the limit of 5 tonnes for the famous bridge over the Mincio and have a short glance at Borghetto, which would be lovely on a sunny day. There is a big caravan parking next to this village.

Borghetto at the Mincio River

On the Visconti Bridge

Our next destination on our way west is the Certosa de Pavia – a famous monastery south of Milano. We reach it just when the monks close for there 3 hours lunch break. As we don’t feel well we park at the caravan parking and have a nap. Digesting the heavy meal from last night, we sleep for hours, but in the evening the sun comes out and we finally visit the church, sadly most of the other parts are closed for renovation. I would have loved to see the houses of the monks with their own vegetable gardens. We end up staying overnight at this parking (45.256975, 9.140711).

Certosa de Pavia

Certosa de Pavia

The next morning we drive first to Vigevano which is famous for its shoe industry. The big parking near the center is blocked by the weekly market so we park further outside and walk into town. We walk through the Castello Sforzesco which houses a couple of museums, the covered bridge into the castle and over the very impressive Piazza Ducale. We visit the Leonardo da Vinci Muesum in the castle, which has it’s focus on the relation between Da Vinci and his patron, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milano.

Piazza Ducale

Piazza Ducale

by Leonardo da Vinci

Piazza Ducale & bicycle

Finally we head into Piemont, one of our favorite parts of Italy. We first reach Asti. It was market day, but now in the evening we can easily park at the Piazza Campo del Palio (44.897116, 8.208902).
It is dark and rainy again, but a recommended restaurant is just around the corner. We haven’t needed our umbrella as much as in Italy up to now. This time we think about our offended stomachs and don’t order too much. A lesson we learned the last days.
The next day it is sunny and we walk through town and even enjoy a coffee outside.

Piazza Campo del Palio

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Inside of the Cathedral

The wall comes of next to the confessional

all you need to make pasta

Newspaper Stall

We leave in the late morning and take the road to Alba. On the way we come to a car accident which blocks the road. Cars try to get around and it is chaotic. We escape by driving through a muddy strip of gras between  the two lanes. We manage at the third attempt to get through and sigh with relief.
Alba welcomes us with sun and a free parking (44.703492, 8.028662). We stroll through town, buy some cheese and bread at the market and some little stores. It’s a lovely town.

Alba
Truffle Shop in Alba

Have you heard about Nutella und Ferrero chocolates? They come from this town, and you will see the big factory close to the centre but also many hazelnut bushes growing in this area.

We are now looking for places we know from past visits so we drive through the hills south of Alba, visiting Barolo, Monforte and La Morra. It gets rainy again and we end the day at the parking in La Morra (44.638754, 7.931708). There is a special caravan parking near a small lake (44.637582, 7.928347), which would be lovely if the weather were better.

It is dark, foggy and rainy when we walk through the streets, looking for an open wine store and bar or restaurant, at the end we find all in one.

Looking for a good Barolo wine

Tasting the flavours of Piemont

The next morning it isn’t raining, so we try to take some pictures of the area.

La Morra
View from La Morra

Barolo

Our plan was to go to Cuneo next, which is the capital of this region and then via the Coll de Tenda  into France. When I find a webcam of the last village before the pass and I see snow on the streets, the decision is made: We have to take another route. We drive straight south over a lower pass, through mountains and finally to the Ligurian coast at Imperia.

If the street brakes away, just make it narrower 馃槈

We want to visit Sanremo and head to the big parking next to the old train station, but it is blocked by the Sanremo Rally – what a nice surprise! We find a parking outside of town and take the bus back.
(43.802715, 7.747972)

Perfect parking near Sanremo

First Stop – Gelati Grom – very very good!
Sanremo from the harbour

Osteria Tipica

Casino Sanremo

Impressions of the Rally:

Race car drivers – a girls dream 馃槈

The next day we will go to France – read on!

Did you read about the first part in Austria? Here you go ->

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