I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Our Italian Honeymoon - to sum it up

Well we are now home and it’s back to reality. I can’t believe that it’s only 10 ½ weeks since Richard proposed to me in Barcelona – it really has been a whistle stop time.

To sum up our holiday in Italy.

Rome was amazing. I have been to several large cities in the world but I think that it has to be in my top 3. We have definitely got to go back and finish the sights – 2 days is just not enough. The Coliseum and the Vatican were fantastic even though the Sistine Chapel was rather a disappointment. We still have much more to see. There is a definite buzz about the city too.

Solento is divided up into three provinces, Brindisi, Taranto and Lecce – with Lecce being by far the largest, I think we covered about all of it. The area is steeped in history but most of it is to do the local people fighting to keep the area. The Greeks were first to invade in the 8th Century followed by the Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Goths and Longobards. Nearly every town has a castle and it seems that most of them are still standing today.

The land is very fertile with an abundance of olive trees and some vines. Olives from here are exported all over the world. We didn’t see much arable farming – but then again it is probably a bit too early for that. There were no animals in the fields – though we did see one shepherd with his sheep – but only one.

The coast line is very different and really split into four different types. We enjoyed the east coast best but maybe the west coast comes to life in the summer but it could be too touristy then.

There is a lot of deserted building work too but we noticed the same in Tenerife – all down to the recession I guess.

Venice was everything I had hoped for and more  I really was in a trance on our first morning. We aren’t very cultural people (!) but really appreciated looking at the outside of the buildings especially from the canals. The alleyways were fascinating – I think we only came to a dead end once or twice! I loved the way that an alleyway would suddenly open up into a Palazzo or onto a tiny bridge over a canal. We loved the water aspect as you can imagine and enjoyed our trip on the lagoon. St Mark’s Square at night was a hit – I’m glad we went back and saw it. The America’s Cup being in town was an added bonus – we can now say that we have seen an America’s Cup race. Venice is not a very pleasant place to be in the rain! Too many puddles, people with umbrellas in narrow alleyways and rain water pouring off roofs.

Our train journeys were a great way of seeing the countryside and how it changes from north to south though nothing seemed to change much as we went west to east. The trains are quick and comfortable though not as reliable, timewise, as I had always thought European trains were – maybe we were just unlucky.

We were very lucky with our accommodation. The whole holiday was built round our “free” week at the Masseria Appide. The apartment in Rome, Emma, was lovely and quirky. I chose it because of a photo on the website that really took my fancy and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The bathroom was rather small but it did have a good shower. It was well situated and we had a view which is quite unusual in Rome as most buildings just look out onto other buildings.

The Masseria Appide was beautiful and with our upgrade to a superior room we loved it there. Everyone was very friendly and couldn’t do enough for us. The waiting staff in the restaurant loved trying to teach us Italian as they spoke little English. The swimming pool is nice but we only had one day when we felt it was hot enough to use it. We loved walking round the grounds after dinner as there was very pretty lighting everywhere.

The Venice apartment, Ca Bernarda, was good but very dark. It is surrounded by other buildings and the lighting inside is poor. It is very well situated – being very close to the Rialto Bridge. It is part of a very old building and we could imagine what it would have been like when it used to be one home.

Lastly I have to mention the driving and the mentality of an Italian on the road!

It really would help if there were road markings in the towns we went through so that we had some idea of who had right of way – but then again it did make Richard look twice at every junction which seemed to come every few hundred yards. Pedestrians just step off the pavement without looking so not only do you have to anticipate what other cars are going to do but what the pedestrians are going to do too.

On the open roads we seemed to have a “Luigi” up our backside most of the time and they seem to take bigger chances on overtaking than I have ever seen before.

We loved the way that people just throw their cars into parking spaces – lots of people don’t bother to manoeuvre the cars into spaces they just drive in and leave the back end sticking out!

I am surprised that we didn’t see many accidents! When we picked up the car Richard couldn’t believe that the excess on the car insurance was 1000 € - it didn’t take him long to realise why!

So 14 days and 13 nights in Italy made for an idyllic honeymoon. I am so glad it all worked out the way it did as the holiday would have been lovely if we hadn’t just got married but as it was it was just perfect, amazing and romantic :-)

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