Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 2 July 2010

Run From The Sun

It's 6.30pm and I've just accidentally deleted the posting I started at 5.30. I'm sure most bloggers experience that sinking feeling from time to time.

Anyway, we've headed away from the mid 30's of Lago di Garda, into the mountains where there is no phone signal but the thermometer is sitting comfortably in the low 20's C.

We started the day at the characterful campsite in Verona, where we had avoided the plague of ants suffered by some of our compatriots (from Timperley - it's a small world!), and we hadn't noticed the rat in the vine trellis above the tents.

We managed to bumble our way through the atrocious Italian traffic with its atrociously poor drivers, to the small town of Sirmione which occupies a 4km promontory of land that juts out from the southern shore of Lago di Garda.

Some had advised us to steer clear of this tourist hot spot, others had highly recommended a visit. We accepted the latter advice, ignored the 'tat', and enjoyed visits to the two main attractions.

The Scaligeran fortress at the entrance to the town dates from around 1277. It's in good condition despite having had a colourful life. Today's 'invaders' were hundreds of screeching swifts, using gaps in the structure for their nests. The first picture shows the view from the main tower.

The Roman Villa at the head of the promontory is a much more impressive structure, though not as well preserved as the fortress. Constructed over a 200 year period between the first centuries BC and AD, it occupies an area of 167 x 105 metres. Meticulous restoration, and an informative museum, are of a very high standard, with useful information boards telling you exactly where you are and what the villa may have looked like in its heyday.

Some of the remains of the villa are pictured below.

But it was hot; a cool breeze was needed.

That's why, after lunching in the shade by the ancient San Pietro church, we headed in increasingly sweaty gloom with great booms of thunder, up the mountainside from the picturesque village of Gargnano, in a bid to escape from the heat and humidity.

It worked. Turano, our first port of call, had a bank, post office, alimentari, town hall and church, but exhibited no evidence of either inhabitants or places of rest for overheated wayfarers.

So we moved on to the smaller village of Persone, which makes a point of welcoming strangers despite having none of the above facilities except a church. But it did have two old men on a bench who helpfully directed us to a bar. (Maybe they were called Alan and Phil!) Literally 20 seconds later we were installed in a brand new double room with a working shaver light in Rifugio Monte Cingla, which is part of the Antica Osteria Pace restaurant - and the bar to which we were directed. We are up at 900 metres here, so it's pleasantly cool.


The restaurant has no menu - it's a Posto Tappa sort of place but we are B&B, not half board, so have no idea how much our meal has just cost. We suspect it will be good value. For the first time this trip we have not been asked for passports - everything is on trust. Home made ravioli followed by pork (wild boar?) cutlets and salad, etc, has been washed down with some excellent house wine.

A wander around the small village, cool after some rain, has revealed a very pleasant and scenic place, it's one of a number of 'small but perfectly formed' villages in the Upper Garda Bresciano Park, which was only formed in 1989.

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Louise said...

And we've just cancelled our long weekend camping trip to Durness due to the high winds forecast.

No, not jealous...

Dot said...

I note that you intend to return to Riva later. I spent a week there in 2003 and one of the trips I made was to the Pyramids at Renon - rock formations that are well worth seeing.