Italy
Arezzo

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37 travelers at this place:

  • Day204

    Snow storm West of Parco Sasso...

    January 16, 2017 in Italy

    Next on our itinerary were the Frasassi caves, the largest of which is big enough to fit Milan Cathedral inside. We set off along the Apennines but at around 2:30pm it began to snow. It continued snowing and began to lay on the road. After a while it got so bad that we started to slip and were unable to climb the gentle slope ahead. We stopped, put on our required fluorescent vests, deployed the warning triangle and strapped on the snow chains. In Italy it is obligatory to carry them in winter and we were very glad we had a set. A little further on we pulled into a layby west of Parco Sasso Simone e Simoncello as we didn't want to risk going any further. By this time we were at 525m above sea level and the layby had 9cm of snow, but we thought we'd wait out the worst of it then continue in the morning. We'd checked the weather forecast before we set off and did so again, but there was no snow forecast.

    Well, nothing much else happened for the rest of the day other than it continued to snow. In fact, it continued to snow all day and all night too. A local farmer had been enlisted to drive his tractor up and down the road with a snow plough attached to the front and a gritter to the back. He did this from just after we arrived, every couple of hours throughout the night. A few locals and one or two small delivery vans were still using the road but the vans had rear wheel drive which made a big difference. The wind whipped the snow off the trees and cliff face that rose up opposite the layby and added to that already covering the ground and the van. We were partly enchanted by the beauty of it and partly terrified we'd get stuck! Vicky took a tape measure when taking Poppy to the toilet and we saw the snow rising from 9cm, to 13.5cm, then 19cm, 25cm and when we got up it had reached 48cm on average. It was only when we looked back at the photos we realised she was measuring in the lea side of the van and that it was well over half a meter at the deepest parts!

    In the morning we had to push snow away from the van with the door in order to open it. It was certainly the deepest snow Vicky had ever seen and Will had only seen it as bad once when he was in primary school in 'the long hard winter of '63'. Poor Poppy's shoulders only just reached above the surface and she strangley didn't seem quite as enamoured with the white stuff as she had been the previous night!

    The snow was still falling heavily and didn't look like easing up anytime soon. We decided to abandon our trip to the caves and try instead to get back to the coast.

    We'd wished for snow at Christmas but this wasn't quite what we'd had in mind! The old saying 'be careful what you wish for' seemed most apposite.

    To add to our predicament, Vicky had developed a trapped nerve in her neck overnight and so couldn't drive... no pressure Will! Trapped nerves sometimes come about due to anxiety; can't think what she had to be anxious about!

    We started the engine, checking the exhaust was able to escape. Snow had blocked up all the engine's air vents and Vicky was just brushing as much as she could clear when lo and behold a saviour in the form of a snow plough appeared, heading up the hill towards us! With almost ecstatic relief we watched as it turned to plough the snow from in front of the van. It went back and forth pushing swathes of snow aside. Will backed up as much as he could so it could clear as close to the front as possible, leaving only about half a meter thick wall of snow for us to get through. After a good number of attempts, slipping sliding and stalling, Will broke us free! The snow plough had moved to clear the snow behind us in case we couldn't get out but Will had managed it!!

    He drove extremely carefully along the winding roads as the snow kept pouring from above and being blown in all directions. After a while we felt able to stop and check the snow chains, only to find one hanging off and dragging behind the wheel. It must have broken during the struggle to get free. We didn't have a spare so just had to take it off and hope.

    We had programmed in a coastal town but had to ignore the sat nav when it tried to direct us off the main road, because no other road had been cleared. It just made us feel all the more grateful for having been on a major route when the snow came in, goodness knows how we would have got out otherwise.

    After nearly an hour and a half of driving, we came across a petrol station and being a low on fuel, pulled in to top up. It turned out to be a garage with refuelling facilities and they had snow chains for sale. We asked if they had some for our van and after umming and ahhing they said yes, went away and found a set. €100 later we had a brand new pair, one of which they had fitted for us.

    We were beginning to see more signs of life, with people pushing snow clearing machines and shovelling snow off their drives. After a while we started to see tarmac under the snow and were eventually able to take the chains off and breathe a sigh of relief.

    High winds and heavy rain greeted us as we drew nearer the coast but they paled into insignificance after the conditions we'd just been driving in.

    We made a video on the way back down that we'll post the link to here once we get enough signal to upload it!

    Finally managed to upload the video! See the link below or in the comments:
    https://youtu.be/aLaDR6RctIo
    Read more

  • Day12

    On to Tuscany!

    September 19, 2017 in Italy

    We started our day in Rivotella, the town where Linda's maternal grandfather was born. Linda took a photo of gray Lake Garda. We then took a long drive to Creti in Tuscany, where we will stay for four nights. The Italian drivers all think they are Mario Andretti, but they appear to be consistent about it. We did some shopping after the long drive and made some salmon and salad for dinner. Touring Tuscany tomorrow.Read more

  • Day13

    Touring Tuscany

    September 20, 2017 in Italy

    On Wednesday we took a private scenery/wine/cheese tour of the immediate Tuscan area. Beautiful rolling hills, somewhat reminiscent of California. It's a bit drier than Asolo where everything was still green. Great wine tour today along with the best gelato we have found - in the small village of Lucignano.

  • Day14

    Cortona

    September 21, 2017 in Italy

    Cortona is the walled city made famous by the book and movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" (with the ever homely Diane Lane). We didn't see Diane, but did stroll the streets and had an opportunity to hike up to the Church of Santa Margherita (the path leading to the church is captured in a couple of today's pics.) Beautiful day in the low 70's and sunshine. We also spent some time in Foiano, where we sought out another gelato shop. Ay caramba!Read more

  • Day11

    Gray day at Lake Garda

    September 18, 2017 in Italy

    Linda's Nonno was born in a town near Lake Garda in northern Italy, so we made sure to stay in the area for the day. Sorry to say that we had a wet gray day to ride the ferry to Sirmione from Desenzano. But we had fun in Sirmione. This must be the gelato capital of Italy. The shops are thicker than Starbucks in Seattle.

  • Day15

    Day 13. Passo della Consuma

    September 8, 2017 in Italy

    A little stiff this morning as we eased ourselves up the mountain for Diacetto. A steady climb. Got lost once but we made it for coffee and dolci. This was followed by about 5 kms on a quiet lane. We met Kathren, Belgian, as we rested on a bench before entering the forest and the afternoon's climb.
    The track had been chewed up badly by the loggers and this made it difficult on the steeper sections. We had plenty of shade in the forest, which was welcome. The total climb was 1050 metres. We were glad to arrive in Consuma.
    Our hostess drove us about 500ms to the accommodation. We had a 3 bedroom house to ourselves. Irina drove us to and from for dinner and breakfast.
    Gerry and Alice(Americans) who we met yesterday were supposed to have dinner with us but they were billeted about 25kms away. Dinner was Kathryn, Ronald(Dutch) and ourselves. It made for a pleasant evening.
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  • Day15

    Day 14. Stia

    September 8, 2017 in Italy

    Irina picked us up for breakfast at 7-30 and we breakfasted with K & R. We left at 8 but the other two waited for the Americans and the two Aussies we have yet to meet.
    We looked over pass but it was shrouded in mist.
    Today was supposed to be an easier day, mainly downhill, with some ascents. Didn't feel like that.
    Shirl was having back problems so it made it a very difficult
    day. Beat in mind the only way out is to walk. It was a struggle for her. I took the heavier items out of her to try and ease the load. We made it but what an ordeal for Shirl.
    Shirl's back injury is similar to the one she experienced on the South West Coast walk.
    As soon as we arrived she showered and after a massaged and some painkillers she went to bed to get as much rest as possible.
    In the meantime I had to re-arrange our itinerary. The biggest problem is transport in these remote areas.
    There is always. solution to all problems and by the time Shirl had rested the problem was solved
    We will remain on Stia tomorrow and then travel by bus for two days in Badia Prataglia, an original stop for us.
    Then two days in Sansecolpro before, hopefully continuing to walk.
    I had already programmed som rest days. Little later on and we will still have them.
    In the evening we went to dinner and finally met up with Sandie and Roxanne, two Aussies from Perth. There were 8 of us for a very pleasant dinner. Non stop conversation.
    A good night pity I left my mobile in the room.
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  • Day16

    Day 16. Badia Prataglia.

    September 9, 2017 in Italy

    Today's journey to Badia involved two buses as it's out of the way. This was where we were suppose to walk to. Shirl's back is much better and tomorrow we might walk part of the track, without packs, to see how she goes.
    We don't plan to do a full day's walk for 4 days. It will give her back a good rest. After that we had planned to miss 3 long stages so hopefully by the time we reach Assisi all should be well.
    Well tonight in Badia Prataglia is the Festa dei Fochi. (Fie Festival). Their version of bonfire night. Quite spectacular but dangerous. With Italian precision it started 45 mins late.
    Then the fireworks until 2 pm.
    Read more

  • Day17

    Day 17. A dismal day.

    September 10, 2017 in Italy

    We woke to thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Our thoughts were with those walking. A good day to be indoors.
    A lazy morning , resting and planning.
    After lunch we caught up with some fellow pilgrims we had seen in Stia. Isa and her dog, Kira, Francis and Annimie.
    They walked today and the forest gave them some protection. It was a short walk and they started late.
    In the evening they had a Choral concert in the church opposite. 3 groups from Pistoia. The first group were the best by far. An enjoyable concert followed by a pleasant meal with the other pilgrims.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Province of Arezzo, Arezzo

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