Emilian mountains for every season

My husband and I were raised in Tuscany, Italy. Many Italians actually don’t live the country for their holidays as there is so much to see all around Italy and every region is so different from one another that you feel a tourist in your own country even just after a few hours drive. That is probably why, when coming to visit our family in Tuscany, we often chose to spend a few days in another beautiful region next door, Emilia Romagna, to have a break and leave the kids with their grandparents without being too far, ideal destination both in winter and summer.

 

The first time we went it was August 2013; we stayed in a town called Porretta Terme where you can relax and have amazing spa treatments at Hotel Helvetia.

There is a beautiful natural park in the area called Corno alle Scale where, with the use of a chair lift, you can do some amazing hiking with breathtaking views on the Appenines mountains or simply walk in silently enchanted woods.

Even just wondering around and discovering nature, little castles and waterfalls is worth your relaxing holidays.

 

Lakes of this region are charming under any weather conditions (first line Lago Santo and Lago Baccio in January, below Lago Scaffaiolo and Lago di Suviana in August – just google them).

 

During our stay for new years eve this year we rented a flat in a lovely little village called Fiumalbo.

 

Val di Luce, which by car is not far from there (surrounded by free parking spaces), is excellent for skiing, even for beginners as it has a very small ski run for lessons, together with the higher and longer ski runs for experts, so even if you are a mixed level group of friends, everyone can ski 🙂

 

 

So if you love mountain in the winter or the summer, Emilia Romagna is one great region to go to in Italy!

PS All pictures in this post were taken by myself between August 2013 and January 2017.

Easter break away from London on the seaside

You don’t have to go far to find beauty. Whilst you may find yourself attracted by foreign countries’ temperatures and landscapes and feel an urge to book an expensive flight to have a proper break from London, there are also lots of little gems at a few hours drive from the capital. It’s ideal when you only have a short break at disposal and a little budget too but you are nevertheless in need of that holiday feeling for the whole family.

That is why last Easter we spent a great weekend in Bournemouth. It was like one of those quick Japanese tours as we only had the Sunday night free (my husband was working both Friday and Saturday) but we really enjoyed it!

First of all, if you drive to Bournemouth from London you have to cross the New Forest so whilst we drove there we made a stop in Furzey Gardens to have our Easter lunch picnic. It was so beautiful! Not only it is really relaxing for the grown ups but there are also lots of things to do for the little ones such as looking for fairy doors, or climb on to small huts!

 

 

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3 nights program in Cinque Terre

If you have never had a chance to visit this beautiful part of Italy, here is a handy 3 days program to make the most of the 5 villages included in the Cinque Terre, with its seaside and its surrounding nature.

Fly into Genova in the morning and take the train to your booked accommodation (around 2 hours journey). We personally stayed in Riomaggiore, which is the southern of the 5 ‘lands’, and it felt the most alive at night time, with plenty of bars and restaurants open until late despite being a tiny town.

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Brittany in my childhood memories

I know Brittany very well. My mum was born and raised over there and I spent every single summer holidays in the area until I was 18. I remember my grandparents country house with that huge garden where I could play for hours (ironically sold in the late 90s to an English man and his wife who I am in contact with twice a year by Xmas wishes and birthday pictures of my kids). And I know by hear the streets of the little main town (Quimper) where my mother grew up and returned to once a year to be closer to her parents and siblings since she lived in a foreign country for her (Italy, where my father is from and I was born and raised).

 

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Perfect summer family holidays in Spain

In the last few weeks I have been finalizing our next summer trip to Portugal at the end of August and whilst I plan it I am immediately taken back every single time to our amazing holidays in Spain last year as the setup will be very similar this year too.

First of all I should say that our trip to the Mediterranean coast was a very special one as it was my dearest aunt who gave me the touristic guide to go and visit that part of Europe: that is the last thing she gave me the last time we met. She had bought it to go and travel there when she would be retired. However her life had planned otherwise: only a few months after she stopped working she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given a life expectation of 4 to 5 years only. She gave me her guide book in February 2015 as she knew she only had a few months left to live at that point so she would not realise that dream, as many others. She passed away in August 2015 and a few week later I booked our summer holidays for 2016 to go and visit those places on her behalf, holding her in my heart and seeing everything through her eyes too. Our holidays there were such an unforgettably beautiful time of our lives that we felt as if she had managed to make us one last gift even if she was not alive anymore: she inspired us for such an amazing trip that would bring us joys for the years to come every time we would remember it…

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Autumn in New York

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I struggle to believe it’s been over a year already since our trip to New York at the end of October 2015. I often catch my mind wandering in a corner of Central Park or admiring the view on Manhattan’s lights from the top of the Empire State Building. Only recently I finally ordered the print of the 160 selected pictures from the thousand my husband and I took during that epic holiday, for us to go through those images again and again as in a dream, exposed in a lovely photo album that we keep like a coffee table book. That was a trip that will definitively remain in our hearts for ever.
When my younger aunt (who was more like a mother to me) was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2011, with a ‘death sentence length’ of 4 to 5 years maximum, I did not think it twice: I took the first Eurostar train with my 3 months old son and my husband accompanying me (as currently in between jobs) and we spent 4 weeks with her in Brittany to encourage her with the first chemo treatments that would have bought us some time. Since then, I would regularly book our ferry tickets and we would visit her twice a year at Easter and Halloween, no matter what, not an hesitation in our minds, not ever a budgeting cut into account.

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48 hours on the Amalfi Coast

If you like the seaside, good food and hiking as much as I do, then the Amalfi Coast is definitively the place to visit! The mountains called Monti Lattari which are part of a natural reserve arrive straight on the sea in this beautiful land with spectacular little towns built on the sides of those cliffs. I discovered Amalfi for the first time in September this year. I had planned to go to Salerno to see a gig of my favorite band when I was a teenager. Since it was on my 34th birthday and I find that beautiful places heal my soul and help me to cope with the family routine of washing up / dropping kids at school / going to work / ordering the grocery / ecc, I decided to give myself a mini break of 2 days and visit the area before going to the concert on the Friday night. It turned out that the trip to Amalfi itself was even more worth it than the gig! Here are my suggestions when you visit the area.

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