heading north

So we sunned ourselves well and truly for a few days and headed north towards our final destination of Milan. The east side of Italy was never really hot on my radar bu it did offer some beautiful scenery and routes which I would highly recommend to anyone road tripping in the area. We took some inspiration from the fast car industry and despite being in this huge ass van still loved the winding roads and open landscape on offer in this region. The Gran Sasso D”Italia mountain range sits in the heart of Italy and at an altitude of 1500m it provided us with a cool break from the scorching head of summer. Before long we were well and truly chilly! Be prepared if you fancy stopping off here overnight as these open plateaus are stunning but leave little coverage form the elements.  Stargazing if weather permits is beautiful and we found a little spot dropped down off the main road which even had a little BBQ area. The next day we soaked in the stunning scenery as we wandered across the landscape and even came across a little campsite in the middle of nowhere! Avoiding cattle on the road we headed towards San Marino to ensure we could check off another country from our list.

 

 

It is a bizarre little place, perched up on mountainous terrance it famous three towers look down below. We arrived late afternoon and the weather had taken a turn for the worst. The rain lashed down but it didn’t deter our spirit to explore. The place was full of tourists all clearly shuttered here by bus because…well there isn’t much there apart form the three towers and ample tax free shopping. These shops held a variety of weird and not so wonderful things ranging form knock off perfumes to guns and ammunition (bizzare!) Within a few hours we had grown tired of the place and settled down to enjoy a filling Italian inspired meal before catching some ZZZ’s ready for our next destination.

 

 

Bologna was out stop..this blog post would take an age to read if I added all that goodness into it so I’ve split it up have a read here for the full lowdown on one of our favourite cities in Italy! After a few days you think wed have had enough of Italian food….NEVER! I could live off that cuisine honestly. Anyway our final leg of this road trip took us across a few fabulous places. First up Modena. If you have had balsamic vinegar you have surely lived under a rock. We visited a beautiful vineyard, one of the oldest and most traditional farming methods were used and after have a look around the set we got to the best bit, the tasting! Have you ever had balsamic vinegar with ice cream…no thought not but honestly it was divine. Don’t be using your Asda smart price stuff it needs to be the beautiful organic and rich thick goodness of a quality balsamic and it will change your life. We were that in love with it we picked up a bottle and brought it home to share the experience with our family.

 

 

Next stop further along the road was Parma. Think cheese and ham heaven and it was lunch time so it would be rude not to right? Situated next to the local market which was packing up we sat outside on the terrace and sampled a delicious platter. Everything was local and explained to us which I guess made it taste even better! Little warm pockets of bread..a local type of bread and dunked in balsamic and topped with a wedge of parmesan it was spectacular. Anyway I could go on about the food forever but I guess the main point is about how amazing it was. Next stop Milano!

 

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