Let’s get Italian

I’m just prepping up for the next Tour which departs this Sunday. I’ve done this one before and it’s a good one. The hotel is very strong, in an excellent location and with a hands-on Manager who runs a very tight ship. This will be the first of several Tours that involve the Italian Lakes.

We’re staying in Sirmione on Lake Garda. Sirmione is at the tip of the long, narrow peninsula that sticks out into the Southern end of the lake, in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy. We’re travelling down by rail, via Paris, Lyon & Milan and on the return via Turin. The Tour enjoys a gentle schedule with day excursions to Verona, Venice and Malcesine and three full Free Days in between for my clients to recover at their ease.

The Scaligero Castle (13th century) in Sirmione is of interest because it presents the typical Ghibelline swallowtail merlons (nope, me neither) and has some really good ice cream shops nearby.

Verona is one of my favourite Italian cities. It’s renaissance pretty, not too large, not too crowded and has lots of character with many bridges over the Adige river. Its’ heart is dominated by a large, well-preserved 1st-century amphitheatre, the venue for the city’s annual summer opera festival.

In the evening of our Verona day we finish with a side trip to the Valpolicella area for a tasting of local wines and homemade dinner at a traditional family-run wine estate.

It’s also going to be fascinating to visit Venice. Pre-pandemic, Venice was on the point of being spoiled – huge numbers of tourists, usually from the massive cruise ships or organised Far-eastern Tours had made any visit to the city a profoundly tedious business. I’m hoping that this time Venice will have a more manageable volume of Tourists and life should be better. I’ll let you know. For those that have visited before, I’ve got some lesser known spots to visit…

What you think Venice will be like
What Venice was actually like (previously)

Our excursion to Malcesine on Lake Garda should give us time to take the Cable-Car(s) up to the top of Monte Baldo, the tallest peak overlooking the Lake. As regular readers of this blog will know, Cable Cars are my ‘bête noire’. I’m not a happy Tour Manager when suspended in a small box over a chasm hanging from a piece of Italian string and I’m usually to be found in the centre of the Gondola, eyes shut and clutching the most substantial handhold I can find. I’m going to have to man up a bit for this one.

Finally… I’ve been learning Italian. I already speak French & Spanish and for the longest time I’ve been speaking these languages with a cod Italian accent at Italian people. It sort of works that way, but let’s face it I’m being lazy and disrespectful so it’s time to do it properly.

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