From Feb 15, 2013 to June 24, 2013:
295 days of #vanlife
Italy is one of those places that many dream of visiting, but strangely it wasn’t on my wish list. I was pleasantly surprised by all the country had to offer. And it made me quite happy that I accidentally got hooked up with and wed not just an Italian, but a Sicilian. Take a look at our first glimpse of Italy, and tell me you’d never regret not visiting. Ha.
Trullos in the south of Italy, specifically (I think-?) in Puglia are absolutely amazing. I don’t throw around such words lightly. Imagine houses that are perfectly made, from perfect stone-building, that are functional in the winter for heating and functional in the summer for cooling. Trullos.
How funny or odd is it we stayed with a local circus in Italy, eh? But we did, and they were a lovely family. The kids embraced us and we were able to meet an Australian girl (hello, you) while staying there- on top of being amazed by their skills and shows.
We were driving down the road. Armando turned to me, and asked: Want to stay at a circus? And I replied: Why not-? So yes, we stayed for a little over a week with an Italian circus. How cool is that, eh?
We stayed here at Masseria Ospitale, where they have an amazing Italian chef that uses just organic (as in grown by them) products. It was a very welcoming and historic atmosphere, only made better by the people who run it. Highly recommended.
We sometimes traded in the south of Italy and Sicily a video for staying at a B & B. This is one of the nice places we discovered.
Another one of the places we stayed had a wood-worker that made us a very touching tribute.
I took this shot of Armando funning around on the ferry to Sicily. As you can see, it was more than a little windy. Grin.
Armando makes a lot of Italian or mafia jokes, because he can. However, one of the funniest moments was eating pasta, watching the Godfather and staying in Sicily at that moment. Crikey-!
A view from Mork at sunset that I caught.
Local Sicilians speak about Mount Etna like she’s a testy old aunt. They say things like ‘Mama Etna is angry today.’ We apparently caught her on a placid week, luckily, without a lot of angst.
Right next to Mount Etna, we were locked in for the night so the animals could roam on a natural farm. Nice waking up to deer looking at us like we were insane. Ha.
We met some other van travelers on the road in Italy.
No camping allowed.
We hiked down for roughly 30 minutes to the Italian Grand Canyon (apparently the only one in Europe) to find this crystal-clear pool. We both jumped in. If I remember correctly, Armando called it ‘fresh’- I called it holy-heck freezing things off.
It’s one of my favorite memories: visiting a random and relatively unknown historical site. The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento.
The salt flat at sunset, when it was off-season and quite quiet. Serene, in fact.
A sunset shot of Armando fishing. I do believe he was lucky that day and brought home some catch. I was able to capture my love in a quiet moment, so I was lucky, too.
We did a lot of free camping, or what we’d call in the States ‘off road camping,’ and sometimes because it was late at night we’d no clue where exactly we’d wake up. This was a gritty but actually nice place we stayed.
On the coast, in Sicily where we were completely isolated and surrounded by this insurmountable beauty and blue sea. Unforgettable.
I’ve always loved street art, as random and as vocal as it might be. In Palermo this caught my eye because it made me laugh out loud, perhaps more a guffaw than a chuckle.
The Italian countryside at sunset can be stunning. Tuscany.
What about you? Have you been to Italy? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below