Our longest excursion while staying in Sestri Levante began one Saturday at 9 am and ended around 6 pm. We left from the train station, traveling to the town of Levanto, where we walked around and visited the church, and then headed for a 5 kilometer walk along a former train track that is now designated for walks and cyclists, passing through the very small villages (or borghis) of Bonassola and Framura.
Our stated purpose for two summer weeks in Sestri Levante was to attend an Italian language school http://www.abcschoolsestrilevante.com, but escaping the scorching city heat became equally important as our un-air conditioned Milan apartment climbed into the 90’s during July!
On the recommendation of a friend, one of our last fun trips with Mom on this “Mother-Daughter Trip of 2019” was a day trip to Vigevano from Milan, known as the “Ideal Town”; home of a modern-day “Museum of Shoes” and boasting a beautiful piazza and castle.
By the time Mom and I made it to Vienna, we were ready to slow things down a notch.
I met a lovely woman in Milan who originally hails from Budapest, Hungary. She also happens to own a flat in the historic Vth District of Budapest (the “Pest” side), on the very desirable pedestrian street of Vaci Utca. Venturing beyond the safe confines of the European Union border, my wish for our mother-daughter trip was to get out of our comfort zone and experience an area neither Mom nor I had visited before. What better place to visit than Budapest?
After seven years of life’s interruptions delaying our trip, Mom (Grandma Suz) made good on her 50th birthday gift to me, which was to take me on a trip abroad, wherever I wanted to go.
After a few days in Taormina, we packed up and headed to Central Sicily with anticipation. On our list: touring the Greek ruins of Agrigento; staying at an agritourism site; enjoying a visit to Racalmuto (childhood home of Kevin’s grandfather); and stopping in the famous ceramics town of Caltagirone.
We are living in Italy so our expectations about the quality of food and wine have risen exponentially over the past 8 months. Granted, access to fresh food with few preservatives means frequent trips to the markets and stores, but the trade off includes enjoying delicious produce that actually tastes like it is supposed to! Our week in Sicily did not disappoint on the culinary front. Bring on the food and wine of Sicily!
Our first trip to Sicily began in the famous resort town of Taormina where on a clear day Mount Etna looms large from on high, and the aquamarine blue waters, with crashing waves and dark, rocky beaches, beckon below.
One could spend years visiting the villas and adjacent gardens around Milan and the lake region in northern Italy and still not see them all. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. First stop- Villa Arconati!