Wednesday 29 July 2015


We have been fortunate enough to explore Italy on three separate occasions before this trip. Each time we chose a different region to discover, and we have always impressed with the diversity that Italy offers from one area to another.

The first time we did the classics - Rome, Venice, Florence, with some surrounding historical towns into the mix, such as Padova, Siena and San Gimignano. The second time we went south and worked our way north - starting in Rome, again, but then taking a train down to Naples and exploring the Amalfi Coast - and getting incredible history lessons at Pompeii and Herculaneum. We moved north to work our way along the Cinque Terre and northern coastal towns such as Genoa, as well as Pisa, of course.

The last time we went to Italy was when our son was two years old. After studying the Italian language for several years we decided on a different type of experience and organised home exchange accommodation. As luck would have it, we didn't have to reciprocate any of our hosts. However, they were all incredibly generous with their homes and time. We stayed in an apartment in Rome - the home of a journalist, writer and TV producer - and he took us out for dinner with a group of his friends. We met our next host in Bologna and had a picnic with her and her daughter, who was a similar age to our son, and learnt that she had studied at a Sydney university before returning to live back in Italy. She gave us keys for her holiday apartment in the sleepy seaside town of Porto San Giorgio in the Marche region on the east coast. Our last stay was in Vigevano, an old town on the outskirts of Milan. We loved staying in less obvious places and getting a chance to experience life the way that Italians live it. It was also great practice for our Italian as many of these places weren't tourist destinations and so the locals didn't always speak English.

For our recent trip with three children in tow, we wanted to discover some new areas and the Piemonte region was unchartered territory to us. Being able to explore the mountains intrigued us, and we were interested in seeing some more lakes, such as when we had visited Lake Como and Maggiore on a previous trip. Once we found our accommodation, the beautiful Mill House, we set about exploring its neighbouring towns and places of interest. After getting our bearings in Varallo, we set our course for Lago d'Orta (Lake Orta).

We drove to the town of Pella and filled ourselves with pancakes then took a ferry across Lago d'Orta to the peninsula Orta San Giulio. It was a lovely town to wander through streets filled with old villas and cobbled stones. There was little traffic to worry about and plenty to please our eyes for the day, as well as enough to interest the children. 

The ferry ride to and from the town was definitely a highlight for the children. For us, too. Sometimes having the opportunity to do nothing but observe spectacular scenery is the best journey of all.

images the indigo crew

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