"You may have the universe if I may have Italy"
- Giuseppe Verdi
I have to agree Guiseppe, I have to agree. There are so many incredible places in this world and every time I go to a new place I think this may be my new favorite place and this Italy trip was no different.
When people think of Italy they perhaps think of Rome, Florence, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, pasta, wine but most don’t think about mountains, lakes, german, YES German. We spent this trip in northern Italy, the lakes area of Italy. Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore are the 3 largest lakes in Italy and are all in the northern region that butts up to the Alps. For this trip we stayed on the northern tip of Lake Garda in Torbole for 4 days and then drove up further north to a small village called Caldaro near Bolzano for another 4 days.
Day 1- Travel Day to Torbole
The temperatures for this trip were going to be far above average so I was doing my best to dress for the heat! Comfy, cute sandals are a must! These rose gold numbers were great finds from Office and perfect for this trip!
Day 2- Torbole- sun and food!
I was very eager to paddle board on this trip but sadly the winds were too high for me to get out on the water. Instead we chilled on the rocky beach and watched the windsurfers do their thing.
We had an amazing restaurant just across the street from us called Ristorante Pizzeria Al Porto Torbole sul Garda. We normally don't eat more than once at a place but we ate here twice because we enjoyed it so much. Amazing pizza and salads!
Day 3- Canyoning and Fancy Dinner!
Lake Garda is the more active of all the lakes in Italy. Cycling, windsurfing, kayaking, and canyoning are HUGE. It was ungodly hot so the idea of biking didn't really appeal to either of us. Not to mention I am not much of a cyclist in general. Windsurfing takes at least a week's worth of lessons to pick up on, so that was out. Canyoning was perfect for us because it was a day long excursion that required no additional training and it was higher up the mountain where it was cooler.
If you are not familiar with canyoning, it's basically starting at the top of the canyon and working your way down by jumping, repelling, sliding, and swimming down. I have a slight issue with heights but I am all about conquering your fears! Jumping was no problem, the repelling was more challenging for me as you go backwards down and are trusting someone to hoist you down... All and all it was a fun experience and I highly recommend!
We had actually been to Torbole before. We spent 4 days there for our honeymoon. Last time we were there we went to this amazing Osteria called Osteria Le Servite outside of town that grows the ingredients they use in a giant garden out back. They have an incredible wine selection, amazing food, and great customer service. We just had to go back.
Day 4- Fairy Ride to Malcesine and cable car ride up the mountain
We decided to explore other towns on the lake on Day 4. There is a fairy that runs about every 30 minutes that will take you to different towns on the lake. We decided to go to Malcesine because it has a cable car that takes you up the mountain where you can see over the whole lake. There is also a restaurant, bar and kite sailors running off the cliffs so really worth the trip! It feels like you stepped into the "Sound of Music" when you reached the top. Oddly enough, the hills are alive with the sound of music because cattle that are grazing on the open pasture are wearing bells. It was truly breathtaking! Just make sure you either get up really early or do what we did and go around 3. The cable car stops running at 6 so we didn't have to worry about as much of a line on the way up or down. If you go middle of day, expect a wait fo 45 minutes for car on both ends.
While we were in Malcesine we decided we needed a snack and some wine before we headed up the mountain. We wandered through the old streets until we wandered into a Venetian style eatery called Ciao Bei with cichetti tapas. While on our honeymoon in Venice we fell in love with this style food so were very excited! It did not disappoint. If you aren't familiar with cicchetti it's more or less Venetian Tapas.
Day 5- Drive to Caldaro and my 31st BDAY :)
Our time had come to an end in Torbole. We had a wonderful time and feel we could still go back for another trip to explore even more! But it was onto another beautiful place. Further North we go! So as you may remember at the beginning of this post I mentioned Italy and it's relation to German. I am sure that confused many of you. Well let me expain- the area of Caldaro is very Northern Italy. The area that butts up to the Alps and Austria. This is where German comes into play. German is the first language spoken in this area, then Italian, and them MAYBE English. Unfortunately the small amount of German I had learned in elementary school was of no help. It was a bit more difficult to communicate here but still a good amount of people speak English or enough to roughly communicate. All the signs, roads, and towns have both a German name and then an Italian name. It's quite interesting really.
So we drive about an hour and a half and arrive in Caldaro. It is a STUNNING little village. Best part is they have what they call WINE ROAD. There are 20 wineries in this little town of 7,000. It's beautiful!
Our accomodation was a hotel called Bruhl. It had just opened the year prior and was stunning. It is run by a very sweet couple that are a two person show minus the house keepers. They are running drinks and food out to the pool for guests while answering the phones, while checking in new guests, while answering questions. They were fabulous and so was the hotel!
Day 6- Paddle Boating on Lake Caldaro and Wine Tasting
So about 6 minutes outside of Caldaro there is Lake Caldaro. It is the warmest alpine lake in the world. It's not very big but it's gorgeous! The waters a crystal clear and so blue! There are opportunities to rent paddle boards, wind surfing, paddle boats or just hang out on the grassy beach. I always thought a beach had to have sand but I acutally prefer the grass. It doesn't get hot and it's not a mess!
Time for some wine tasting! We hit up 3 different places in one day. The great thing is that they are all walking distance!
Day 7- Relaxing by the pool and dinner
The final full day in Caldaro was a sleepy one. Just relaxing by the pool and napping. We wanted to take it easy before traveling back home. Our amaxing hosts made sure we were taken care of with delicous snacks by the pool. If only this were only considered a snack :)
Our trip was an amazing one! We think that Caldaro will be an annual trip for us. It was just so beautiful and relaxing, not to mention the wine! If you are traveling to Italy I highly recommend looking into the smaller towns outside of Florence or Rome. It all depends on how you like to travel and what you like to see but my husband and I are all about food, wine, scenic outdoors and relaxing. Northern Italy is our idea of heaven. The landscape, weather, food, people. It has everything we love! Below are the places I would recommend if you decide to take a trip to Torbole and Caldaro.
Ciao Bei (Malcesine)- Cicchetti and tapas
Osteria le Servite (Torbole)- great menu, steak was delicious!
Ristorante Pizzeria Al Porto Torbole sul Garda (Torbole)- good menu overall
Rottenburger Keller (Caldaro)- Good Pizza
Torggkeller (Caldaro)- Meats, cheeses, antipasti
Bruhl in Caldaro
Ritterhoff (ask for Doris )
Erste & Neue (more of a large company, not as personal but good wine)
I hope that you found this blog post interesting and helpful. Feel free to leave comments and forward it on to friends and family!
The Food Fanantic & Exercise Enthusiast