Buongiorno Italia, Part I

Welcome to the land of pizza, pasta, cheese, and wine. Also, to the country of great design, architecture, and truly marvelous nature.  In two months we’ll explore most of Italy from north to south, and then up again. It’s a trip that we have been waiting for a long time, so we’re very excited about what we’ll see and experience, and hopefully, we’ll not gain a lot of weight while doing it :).

Welcome to Italy

Welcome to Italy

We're starting our road trip in Trieste

From outside, Italy seems perfect, great weather, beautiful people, good food, and so on. We want to experience the real Italy personally and to understand why everyone loves it. That’s why we’ll try to avoid as much as possible the highway, visit the small villages on the road, and eat local fresh food bought directly from the farmers.

Miramare castle

Miramare castle

in the heart of Trieste

From the first day when we arrived in Trieste, which is our first stop, the weather has been incredible, warm but not extremely hot. The city lies in the northernmost part of the high Adriatic Sea in northeastern Italy and shares a border with Slovenia. Trieste is a port city that stretches up to the mountains. Our first visit was to the Miramare castle, which is located on a cliff. You can also enter the castle, but with the dogs, we skipped it this time. Nevertheless, the walk around the castle and the park is already exquisite. Trieste city architecture is outstanding and definitely worth the exploring.

Trieste panorama

Trieste panorama

next to our campsite
Peaceful campsite

Peaceful campsite

where working seems so easy

We stayed 3 nights on top of the mountain campsite, which had spectacular views of the Gulf of Trieste. Unfortunately, Newton started to feel unwell again, and the old symptoms were back. He was already doing so well.  It was definitely a set back for us. We went to see a local vet and hoped this time we’ll find out what is wrong with our baby boy. The doctor spoke a little English, so we had to use google translate to understand each other. He confirmed what we already suspected that the food causes him all the problems. His stomach simply doesn’t tolerate some foods, so in the future, we have to look into it more deeply. For now, he will be on a strict special digestive food diet.

Newton & Sydney went swimming

Newton & Sydney went swimming

Lago Del Predil has clear blue water
Laghi di Fusine

Laghi di Fusine

was amazing
Paddle boarding

Paddle boarding

with dogs

After Trieste, we headed up to the mountains again, and our first stop was Lago Del Predil. We wanted to stay the night there because it was so beautiful, but the cops came and said no camping. That was our first encounter with the police and wild camping. Legally it’s forbidden to wild camp in Italy, but if you are discreet, then you can bend some rules. We decided to go on a paid camper stop just in case. We felt safe there plus we had a great view of the mountains. Next day we wanted to eat breakfast at a different lake, so we had an early start. When we arrived at Laghi di Fusine, the same cops from last day came to this spot and said to everyone NO CAMPING only parking. We had the receipt from last night, hence we were off the hook. I don’t think they fined anybody that morning, but it’s a big problem for them. When the police left, we took our paddle boards out and went surfing on the lake. Probably the most beautiful place to paddle board, clear blue water and snowy mountains in the background. That’s what I call living life.

The dogs love the Dolomites

The dogs love the Dolomites

The temperature was perfect 25 degrees
We found a nice sleeping spot

We found a nice sleeping spot

next to the forest

After the epic morning, we headed to the Dolomites. There are many places one can visit at the Dolomites, it all depends on what you would like to see. We didn’t have that much time, so our first stop was Lake Misurina, which is 1756 meter above sea level and in the heart of the UNESCO Dolomite Heritage area. Definitely, a must when going to the Dolomites. Even just to drive in the Dolomites is really special, particularly springtime when the roads are empty, and the villages look like ghost towns. You can only imagine how busy it might be here in winter.

Lake Misurina

Lake Misurina

and the snowy mountains

Karl wanted to check out a stunning lookout what he had just found on Google. On the way there we had an argument if we have been this high in the mountains before with the van. He said yes and I no because I could feel the altitude changing, my head wanted to explode. He actually didn’t do the research properly, and the lookout was a mountain top called Passo Giau. The mountain is 2236 m high and covered with snow. We didn’t expect to see snow in June, although the dogs were thrilled, and the views were insane.

As for the rest of the day, we searched for a spot to stay the night. While exploring the surroundings, we crossed paths with a flock of sheep mixed with horses, goats, and donkeys. Never seen anything cuter.

The drive up there was beautiful

The drive up there was beautiful

drive down was even more beautiful
Passo Giau

Passo Giau

height 2236m

We found a beautiful quiet spot near the Vajont Dam, which is one of the tallest dams in the world 262 m high. It’s located on the top of the mountain and looks down to the valley. The dam, unfortunately, holds a sad history. On 9 October 1963, during the initial filling, a massive landslide caused a man-made megatsunami in the lake in which 50 million cubic meters of water overtopped the dam in a 250 meters wave, leading to the complete destruction of several villages and towns, and 1,917 deaths (source Wikipedia). We slept for two nights at the top of the mountain where there used to be a river.

One of the most beautiful places

One of the most beautiful places

we have wild camp yet
Good morning

Good morning

Dolomites

Karl got a message that one of his best friends is sailing on Lake Garda and we should definitely meet down there. We really enjoyed Garda last year, although it was quite expensive to camp there, nevertheless our next destination was the beautiful mountain lake. Luckily, this time we found a place which was a bit further from the lake yet close, and we didn’t have to pay extra for the dogs. Just a side note that some places in Italy can charge up to 6€ per day for one dog, ridiculous right.

On the way to the lake, we also visited the lovely city, Trento. They have a local market every Saturday morning at the city center, so we did our grocery shopping there. One of the reasons why I like Italy so much is the well preserved architecture you can find in every small village, a city where you go. Trento wasn’t in our list to visit, yet we just happened to go there, and it astonished me. Definitely would like to go back there and do some more sightseeing.

Eating ice cream

Eating ice cream

in Trento
Vineyard

Vineyard

we always prefer farms over campers

For the next days, our home was the L’albero delle Mele agriculture farm. The farm is only 18 minutes of drive to Garda, which we tried to do a couple of times with the bicycles. Sadly, the road was too steep, so we had to turn back.

Altogether, Lake Garda is very impressive. If you have some time, then you should unquestionably visit it. Next, we’ll drive to the south and have a proper vacation. 

Amazing view

Amazing view

to lake Garda