An Italian Fall 

Tripoto
17th Oct 2017
Photo of An Italian Fall by Aarti Dayal

A 12 day trip to Italy and Slovenia in October, 2017. My husband, Harsh, and I spent the first half of the trip with friends, covering Tuscany and Cinque Terre, while the second half of the trip saw just the two of us exploring the Dolomites, a bit of Slovenia, and the cities of Venice and Rome.

The trip began with us landing at FCO where we met our friends (two couples), and we straightaway headed to Tuscany in our rental car. We'd booked a beautiful property overlooking the rolling Tuscan hills for the night. The homestay came under Italy's Agri Tourism program, and was a delight. We had endless glasses of Tuscan wine and bantered late into the night.

Day 1

As good as it gets - Tuscan wine

Photo of Agriturismo QUERCIA ROSSA, Montemerano, Province of Grosseto, Italy by Aarti Dayal

Day 2 saw us leave Tuscany and venture into the Italian Riviera, into Cinque Terre. Named so because of the cluster of five seaside villages it consists of, Cinque Terre is the cheaper and more charismatic cousin of Amalfi. Colorful houses, pebbled streets, quaint shops, terraced vineyards - this place is an Instagram lover's paradise.

Day 2

The beautiful village of Manarola

Photo of Manarola, SP, Italy by Aarti Dayal

We spent two nights in Manarola, one of the villages of Cinque Terre, at the cutest AirBnB. On Day 3, we did a short hike from Monterosso to Vernazza (two more villages of Cinque Terre), and then spent the evening at a bar in Manarola which had the BEST sangria in the whole world and also the best cold cuts platter.

Day 3

Chilling at Nessum Dorma, a bar in Manarola with an excellent view

Photo of Nessun Dorma, Riomaggiore, SP, Italy by Aarti Dayal

Cold cuts, cheese, sangria - Italy at its best

Photo of Nessun Dorma, Riomaggiore, SP, Italy by Aarti Dayal

Sunset view from Manarola on Day 3

Photo of Manarola, SP, Italy by Aarti Dayal

Day 4 saw Harsh and me break away from the group to go to Lake Garda. The fact that we had chosen a hotel with an excellent view did not matter since the weather played spoilsport and we couldn't see anything! It was such a bummer. :(

Day 4

Fogged out Lake Garda

Photo of Lake Garda by Aarti Dayal

We left for the village of Santa Maddalena in the Dolomites on Day 5 morning. The Dolomites are basically the Italian Alps, but have a very different character. Steep, craggy and pale, they are a sight to behold, especially in the fall when they are surrounded by yellowing trees.

Day 5

The view of the villages in Val di Funes, one of which is Santa Maddalena

Photo of Funes, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

We regrouped with our friends for one last evening here. Since it was cloudy, we drove around Funes and then had a lovely dinner where we discovered various kinds of Grappa, one of Italy's most famous alcoholic drinks.

Day 6

Sunrise on Day 6 at Funes

Photo of Funes, Santa Fe Province, Argentina by Aarti Dayal

Our lovely hotel - Residence Toglhof - at Santa Maddalena

Photo of Residence Töglhof, Coller Straße, Villnöß, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

This is one of the most iconic views of the Dolomites - the famous Santa Maddalena church with the mighty Dolomites in the background

Photo of Santa Maddalena Church, Magdalenaweg, Santa Maddalena Alta, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

We left Santa Maddalena on Day 6 morning, and headed deeper into the Dolomites. Our destination for the day was Lake Misurina, a small village half an hour away from the biggest town in the Dolomites - Cortina d'Ampezzo. To say that the drive on this day was stunning would be an understatement. It had snowed two nights ago, and the combination of the fresh snow and fall colors was heart achingly beautiful.

We had to stop at every corner to take pictures of this breathtaking landscape

Photo of Passo Gardena, Sëlva, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

The Dolomites bear some resemblance to the peaks of Yosemite NP

Photo of Passo Gardena, Sëlva, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

We reached our beautiful hotel at Lake Misurina after lunch. After a quick check-in, we left for the most anticipated hike of the trip - the Tre Cime Lavaredo loop.

The view from our hotel room at Lake Misurina

Photo of Quinz - Locanda Al Lago, Via Guide Alpine, Misurina, Province of Belluno, Italy by Aarti Dayal

By this time it was nearly 3 pm, and biting cold. Not wanting to give up on the hike, we started off, only to be confronted with super slippery black ice 5 meters in. We still continued, and started walking on the snowed out track. The wind was crazy, and so was the cold. We hiked for about 45 minutes, and reached the first landmark - Rifugio Lavaredo. From here, the three peaks or Tre Cime were clearly visible. Not wanting to cause more discomfort to ourselves, we gave in to the hostile weather, and headed back to our car. The snow all around was beautiful, but I wish there was a bit less of it so that we could have hiked more and seen more.

The view from the hiking trail

Photo of Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Aarti Dayal

Snowed out trail

Photo of Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Aarti Dayal

A church on the trail

Photo of Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Aarti Dayal

We went back to our hotel, and had some grappa and a huge dinner to get ourselves warm and cozy.

Sunrise on Day 7 morning near Lake Misurina

Photo of An Italian Fall by Aarti Dayal

The unusually cold weather had made us cancel all our planned hikes, so Harsh came up with the idea to explore the many lakes around on day 7.

First up was this lake with such still waters that the reflection was perfect

Photo of An Italian Fall by Aarti Dayal
Day 7

We then hiked the circumference of Lake Braeis, and it was stunning

Photo of Braies Lake, Prags, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

The contrast of the blue of the water with the yellow of the trees was breathtaking

Photo of Braies Lake, Prags, Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Italy by Aarti Dayal

We drove around a bit after this hike, and then ended the day early.

Day 8 saw us venture into Slovenia, where first up was the famous Vintgar Gorge. The one hour hike (one way) into the gorge was beautiful, and Harsh stopped at several places to click pictures of the flowing water using a tripod.

Day 8

The path into the gorge is well maintained and looks quaint

Photo of Vintgar Gorge, Podhom, Slovenia by Aarti Dayal

Fall colours added to the beauty of the gorge

Photo of Vintgar Gorge, Podhom, Slovenia by Aarti Dayal

The hike ends at these falls

Photo of Vintgar Gorge, Podhom, Slovenia by Aarti Dayal

We reached Lake Bled, one of Slovenia's most popular destinations, by evening and checked into our hotel - the lovely Pension Mlino.

Lake Bled and Bled Castle at sunset

Photo of Lake Bled, Bled, Radovljica, Slovenia by Aarti Dayal

We then drove an hour to reach Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, and walked around the main square to get a feel of the city. Post dinner, we drove back, and ended a rather long and tiring day.

Day 9 saw us wake up super early to catch the 10 am tour of the famous Postojna Cave. While we'd seen similar caves before (Carlsbad in New Mexico), the sheer size of this cave was what enthralled us. We rode into the cave on a train for TWO KILOMETERS and then started exploring on foot for an hour or so. Humongous is the word!

Day 9

Exploring the Postojna Cave

Photo of Postojna Cave, Jamska cesta, Slovenia by Aarti Dayal

After Postojna, we'd planned to go to another well known cave - Skocjan. However, we felt very rushed, and instead opted to sit at a cafe overlooking the charming Predjama Castle.

The Predjama Castle is literally built into a mountain!

Photo of Predjama Castle, Predjama, Postojna, Slovenia by Aarti Dayal

Post Predjama, we drove non-stop for three hours to reach Padova and checked into our AirBnB. After resting for a bit, we left for our evening in Venice.

We'd heard mostly bad reviews about Venice from people who'd been there, and were disappointed to see that we too ended up with the same opinion. Over hyped, very touristy, not worth it.

A typical Venetian shot

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by Aarti Dayal

Day 10 dawned, and we sped off to Rome, where we first returned the car we'd hired at FCO, and then took an Uber to our AirBnB in the city. After checking in, we bought a 24 hour metro pass, and embarked on our exploration of the Italian capital.

Day 10

The Trevi Fountain was full of tourists but was also rather pretty

Photo of Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Trevi, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Aarti Dayal

Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and some shopping later, we ended up for dinner at what I would call my favorite restaurant of all time. La Prosciutteria is a cute little place near Trevi Fountain and has the BEST cold cuts of all time. A must visit for anyone who likes cold meat and is in Rome!

Day 11 was all about the Vatican and the Colosseum.

Day 11

The beautiful roof of the Maps Room at the Vatican Museums

Photo of Vatican City by Aarti Dayal

Everything at the Vatican Museums is intriguing and so over the top

Photo of Vatican City by Aarti Dayal

St. Peter's Bascilica - the line was super long and we couldn't get in :(

Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Aarti Dayal

The Colosseum from the inside...

Photo of Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Aarti Dayal

... and from the outside at sunset

Photo of Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Aarti Dayal
Day 12

Day 12 was spent traveling back to India.

4 Comment(s)
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Thanks girls! :)
Thu 01 18 18, 04:26 · Reply · Report
Awesomely penned down Aarti!! The pictures and description give an amazing description of the Italian trip. Lovely!
Wed 01 17 18, 22:48 · Reply · Report
Very well written Aarti...the essence of the trip is so well captured.
Wed 01 17 18, 22:08 · Reply · Report
Very well written Aarti...the essence of the trip is so well captured.
Wed 01 17 18, 22:08 · Reply · Report
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