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Northern Italy, September 2020...

Landing in Bergamo airport, we collected our car from the rental area (an ancient model which we later learned didn’t have Bluetooth, definitely not ideal when you have a 2 hour car journey planned later in the week…) and drove to Sarnico, with the sun shining down on us the entire time. After a series of so-so weather experiences on our trips within the UK, we were gifted with sublime weather for the entirety of our time in Italy.

 

Sarnico and Paratico (where Rory’s father and sister live respectively) are situated on the beautiful Lake Iseo. Sarnico is a lovely town with lots of cafes, restaurants and a surprisingly busy nightlife. It wouldn’t be difficult to spend most of your day walking along the waterfront and admiring the boats and swans, stopping to have a caffé every now and then… Our favourite restaurant, however, was just over the one bridge that connects the towns together: La Stazione – the pizzas were amazing (Rory and I are big pizza nerds) and the view is really special.

 

The purpose of our trip to Italy was to see Rory’s niece christened, so we spent the first few days with family. However, as Italy was our first (and later to be our only) holiday outside of the UK, and Sarnico and Paratico are only a couple hours drive from Venice, Florence and Verona… it only seemed right to take a few days to visit one of these historical cities. It was hard to choose but, in the end, it had to be Venice–the Floating City was as empty as it would ever be in a September.

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Venice truly feels magical—especially at night. The peaceful lapping of the water wherever you go, the narrow streets and bridges that make you feel as if you're in a maze... Walking around at night it almost feels like being inside Alice in Wonderland, not knowing what interesting scene you will find around each corner. And in the day the sun looks like thousands of tiny, sparkling diamonds glistening off the water... A city with such an incredible history deserves more time than we had to give; there is so much to explore, and we only had 3 days, but we had a wonderful time taking things slow and not trying to see everything.

Venice is perhaps the one city which I would love to visit in the winter – I’ve seen how beautiful it is with perfect weather, how the fish swim in the canals next to the gondolas, how the gold of its buildings shimmer in the sun, and how the sunsets looks like paintings… now I want to see it dark, gloomy and romantic in its mysterious ways…

Maybe I am romanticising it a little bit too much, but Venice is a city that is begging you to romanticise it – to make a story out of it. I don’t think there is a single crevice of the city which couldn’t be made into a fantastical story or poem by any one of its visitors.

 

Alas, our little journey to Venice had to come to an end…we were about to travel to a small island on Lake Iseo called Monte Isola.

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From one dream to another…

Monte Isola is a beautiful small Island with a population of only 1700 people. We spent two nights on the island at the phenomenal Castello Oldofredi. I could not recommend this residence enough – the staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, the food was lovely (only a couple vegetarian options, however, I’m sure if you talk to them in advance they could arrange more) and the grounds and view were absolutely spectacular.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how incredible Monte Isola is, as we made the decision to spend our one full day on the island entirely at Castello Oldofredi. Really, it would take a lot to pull me away from the stunning, ancient building and its extraordinary views, but Rory and I already have plans to go back to Monte Isola and explore the island fully, as we know it will be incredible.

 

As we are now so many months away from these experiences, this trip truly does feel like a dream, and I am so grateful that we were able to have our time in Italy. I hope the video and accompanying photos were able to help you go on our journey with us, even if just for a short while…  

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