The Camminata per la Vita (Walk for life) in Restena, Arzignano, is?one of those walks that are organized around Italy all year round, but mainly in Spring, when it is not too cold nor too hot, and nature is blooming, the perfect conditions for this type of activities.
In 2020 and 2021 the walk was suspended due to CoronaVirus. In 2022 it’s finally back. It’s a walk among cherry blossoms, old unbalanced houses, amazing wild flowers and ancient villas up for sale.
Usually at these walks there are paths of different lengths; here in Restena you can choose to walk 4, 6, 12 or 17 kilometers. Along the way there are some “ristori“, refreshment areas, where you can eat and drink something.
I really enjoy these walks because they take you to discover your own region; for example, I had never been before on these hills at just 10 km from home. And the view from there was breathtaking. Plus, you get to walk with dogs that are so happy that they run like crazy and children that proudly walk their first 6 km on a row. The event was a true mood-enhancing. At the end of the 18 km I could actually barely walk, but I was very happy.
This event is particularly important because it is also organized to raise funds for the research on Cystic Fibrosis or Rare Illnesses (depending on the year, it changes).
These walks are a mix of nature, food and socializing; they are a great way to meet new and old friends, spend some time in the nature and discover the territory.
One of the next walks of this type in the same area is in San Zeno.
On a hot summer Sunday we decided to go cycling along the Anello Fluviale di Padova, the Water Ring in Padua.
In the past water was very important for Padua, it was used to transport goods, inside the city and in the trade with others, and to irrigate the fields. Today the transportation system is different, but some of the canals are still there, and have become a great spot for relaxation.
The Anello Fluviale di Padova follows canals and rivers around the town centre of Padua. It’s a ring itinerary of 47 kilometers (29 miles), almost completely reserved to bikes and pedestrians, only a few kilometers are on roads shared with cars, but traffic there is very light.
Here is the itinerary on Strava:
We started our ride from ponte del Bassanello, as suggested by a guidebook by the Touring Club Italiano; we found a free parking nearby (it’s not difficult as it’s outside the centre of the town) and we started riding. The path is well marked everywhere, you don’t really need a guidebook.
The ride is basically flat, the height difference is of 58 meters up and down (about 63 yards), not difficult at all, just a bit long, if you are not used to cycling for long distances. The first part towards West along the Bacchiglione and North along the Brentella Canal till Limena was very pleasant, I liked the landscape, with farms and nice houses, and it was mostly in the shade. I would have liked to stop more often to take pictures but we were riding fast and eager to go, at the beginning.
The Itinerary of the Water Ring in Padua
From Limena to Stra the path follows the Brenta River and then again two canals, the Piovego and San Gregorio, to the Bassanello Bridge, a section that is mostly in the sun, so it’s better to avoid it in the hottest days (unlike we did).
The guidebook suggests a few places to visit along the ride, like the Certosa in Vigodarzere and Villa Giovannelli in Noventa Padovana, but we are not strong riders and it was satisfying enough for us to get to the end. But in Stra I took a short detour to give a look to Villa Pisani. I’ll have to go back and do part of te path to Vigodarzere and maybe cycle a bit in the town centre of Padova.
There are some drinking fountains along the road and you often cycle near towns with cafes and restaurants, but you still should have your water bottle with you. We stopped in Limena, Stra and a cute little café along the Canale San Gregorio where there’s a tiny beach where you can swim and sunbath. I would have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, to rehydrate with beer and lemonade, but if we relaxed too much I wouldn’t have been able to cycle the last few kilometers.
I have always used the bike to move in the cities where I lived, and I also like to visit a new place by bike, even though it’s not the best if you want to take pictures, in particular if you are traveling with others or have to ride for many kilometers. But I hope to cycle more and more often, maybe doing an eco-friendly holiday with a bike and bags in the back. I’ll let you know if I’ll ever do it.
From time to time I go to Milan for a walk. For those living in the North of Italy it’s quite easy to get there by train, and it makes a perfect day trip destination.
There are 5 places in particular that I like. And they can all be visited on foot.
Duomo and Gallery
Duomo e gallery don’t have much in common, but they are so close one to the other that I consider them part of the same stop.
The Duomo is the symbol of Milan. It’s the largest church in Italy and it took almost five centuries to build it. Its beauty is impressive, so rich in details, with these pinnacles that you can see from close if you go up to the terrace.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was built at the end of the XIX Century in a Renaissance style. It’s Milan’s living room, a pedestrian path lined with historic and luxurious restaurants and shops. The central dome in glass and iron is what captures my mind mostly, in particular with the late afternoon light.
At the other end of the gallery, when coming from Piazza Duomo, you end up in Piazza della Scala, where you can find the Opera House of Milan, one of the most prestigious in the world.
Piazza Gae Aulenti
Piazza Gae Aulenti is one of the most recent areas of Milan, inaugurated in 2012. It represents the contemporary Milan, and I link it to the City in London because of the skyscrapers occupied by offices. Here you can see the Unicredit Tower, that with its 231 meters is the tallest skyscraper in Italy.
From this square you can also see the palace with the Vertical Forest.
I don’t particularly love skyscrapers, but this area is very nice, a good example of urban redevelopment. It’s a very green place, despite all the concrete, because it was built with a great attention to the environment: some windows around the square and the tree lamp have photovoltaic cells that produce power for the buildings.
The Sforza Castle dates back to the XV Century and is situated at one end of Parco Sempione. In the past it was one of the most important fortresses of Europe, and together with the Duomo it’s one of the landmarks of Milan.
Nowadays here you can find some museums and interesting exhibitions.
The Navigli are channels that connect Milan to lakes Maggiore and Como and to Po river. In the past they were used to reclaim the land, water the plantations and for trade (for centuries Milan was a fluvial harbor).
Today, the area is best known fo the spritz aperol and the aperitivo. There are traces of its old history, like the “Vicolo dei Lavandai”, the alley of the laundrymen, that still displays an old basin used until the 1950s; there are art galleries, many cafes and restaurants. It’s a hipster area of Milan.
I’ve kept the Monumental Cemetery as last site, but it’s actually my favorite. Maybe because a cemetery is not the first place you think of visiting when you are in a new city.
Ho tenuto il Cimitero Monumentale per ultimo ma in realtà è quello che mi piace di più. Forse perché un cimitero non è il primo posto che ti viene in mente di visitare quando sei in un posto nuovo.
The Monumentale was inaugurated in 1866 and hosts the remains of important figures of Milanese society. What I like are the statues, the chapels, the amazing funeral works, most of which cost more than my apartment. You should spend a day there to see enough of them.
These five sites can be seen in one day during a walk around Milan.
From the train station you can walk to Piazza Gae Aulenti, and from here heading West you get to the Monumental Cemetery.
The Sforza Castle is at one end of Parco Sempione, that you can reach following an alley that starts from the entrance of the cemetery. You can cross the castle and if you take the alley right at your front you can get to Piazza Cardusio, from where you can see the Duomo.
From the Duomo it’s a 30 minutes walk to the Naviglio Grande. Probably by the time you are here it’s the right time for an aperitivo. From here you can go back to the station on foot (about one hour, but I was quite tired at this point), or you can take the underground at Porta Genova station.
I suggest to walk in Milan, as it is beautiful, full of palaces, small gardens and arches that surprise you at any corner.
Last Sunday I went hiking with my brother on the mountains not far from home.
Wanted to go to Cima Marana how we often do during the year, but instead of taking one of the most common paths, those starting from Contrada Gebbani (or Castagna) and going up directly to Cima Marana, we chose Sentiero 203, that from Gebbani goes to Malga Casoline and ends at the dirty road that goes from Piatta di Montefalcone.
The sentiero 203
Taking the path that starts between the Gebbani and Castagna contrade that goes directly up to Cima Marana (the path we call “of the ridge”), not far from the departure point there’s fork: to the left you go to the Marana peak, to the right you go to Malga Casoline, that is Path no. 203.
Here we were close to Malga Casoline, at about one hour from departure.
The 203 is longer and a bit harder than the other paths that go to Cima Marana, but it’s almost entirely in the shade and it crosses a beautiful forest.
Passo della Porta
After about 2 hours of hiking (consider that I’m not very fit), we got to Passo della Porta, along the dirty road that connects Campodavanti to Montefalcone.
Instead of walking on the road to go to Montefalcone, we decided to walk on the ridge.
But on the other side of the mountain there was quite some fog, adn we could see nothing.
The view from up there is amazing.
I know because I took the same path one year ago, in a nice sunny day.
That is why I am showing you here the pictures I too one year ago.
The ridge one year ago
You can see the Carega peak and Rifugio Fraccaroli from up there, if it’s not foggy or raining.
It might have been foggy, but I managed to find some pretty cute things that deserved a photograph.
And finally, the Rifugio Montefalcone
It took us more than half an hour to get to the lodge from Passo della Porta, partly because I was starting to feel tired and the ridge has some pretty hard climbs, partly because I was taking pictures on the way.
Lunch at Rifugio Montefalcone with minestrone soup and red fruits strudel 🙂
Towards Cima Marana
After a short siesta we left for Cima Marana.
Again, beautiful landscape and nature, despite the fog.
what about these roots???
Cima Marana is one of the southernmost peaks of the Dolomites, and one of the lowest.
At 1554 meters above sea level, it has a special view of the Chiampo and Agno valleys and you can even see the Garda Lake and Venice Lagoon on bright clear days.
It’s a shame there’s always someone who leaves some garbage behind.
I collected 5 cigarette butts, only around the cross of Cima Marana.
The descent towards the Gebbani was a bit hard for me, I was feeling more and more tired and my knees were starting to ache.
but I love this itinerary so much, I’m looking forward to the next time!
Last weekend (April 9-11, 2016) about 150 makers?of natural wine introduced their produce in Villa Favorita, in the countryside of Vicenza, in occasion of the event organized by?VinNatur. VinNatur is an association of wine producers born in 2006 that every year holds this?event at about the same time of?Vinitaly, the wine exhibition held in Verona (April 10-13 in 2016), to give its associated the opportunity to showcase their wines.
The wines presented at the VinNatur are as natural as a wine can be. There’s a minimal intervention in the making, both in the land, in the grapes and in the wine, there’s no use of chemical additives nor pesticide (for more information, check VinNatur website).
For me, what makes VinNatur so special is that the event takes place in a beautiful ancient villa, Villa da Porto, also called “La Favorita“. The villa was built between 1714 and 1715 for Giovanni Battista da Porto, based on a design by architect Francesco Muttoni.
The wine tasting is inside the villa; the upper floor still displays some frescoes, and gives an idea of the opulence of the villa during its happiest time; the lower floor is more rustic, looks like a cellar with archways. Some producers even brought a piece of the land where their vines grow; it was quite interesting.
Outside the villa there’s a beautiful garden, where a big tent was set up for food and drinks and some live music. Luckily the weather was great, so many people sat on the grass to enjoy their meal and wine, picnic-style.
On the side of the main building there are two “barchessa”, rural service buildings that were used as stables and host to the farmers’ families. Nowadays the barchessa are quite often more fascinating than the main building.
Normally Villa Favorita is closed to public, it can only be rented for weddings or events; so the VinNatur is a great opportunity not only to taste some great natural wine, but also to visit this little jewel.
I have always loved traveling, since I was in my mother's womb. I love to see new places, meet new cultures, eat the food of the world. Recently I discovered that pictures can sometimes show more than I can do in words.