The Italian Principessa found her castle today! We woke up this morning to find beautiful weather. You could see clear across the lake to every house and villa. The previous night we had decided that we would take a hike to this very old castle which we could see nestled high above the water.
Now, this castle is not very accessible. Maps show two roads leading to it. What the maps failed to mention is that the road on one side of the castle is a steep hike that is about one foot wide with very large drop offs down the cliff to the water. The other road, which we took down, is an even steeper four foot wide cobblestone path all the way to the bottom. This path down is very interesting because you really can’t stop yourself because of the grade of the mountain so all you can do is run down and laugh at yourself the whole time. Which I did.
But back to my castle. It’s located in a town called Vezio which we are pretty sure cannot be reached by car. The views once again are phenomenal and on a clear day like today you catch yourself speechless and staring with your mouth wide open at the splendor of it. At the bottom of Vezio is a gorgeous cemetary on a hill overlooking the lake. This cemetary gives a whole new meaning to the term “rest in peace”. It is a rather humbling experience to see such beautiful headstones each with a picture of the person, a light, and fresh flowers on almost every one. Italians are known to love their family, but this gives a whole new meaning to family and how they continue to take care of each other long after they have passed.
We gathered our breath and hiked the remaining way up to “my” castle. It was breathtaking! The people who maintain the grounds of the castle also perform falconry. As I understand this is the process of keeping and training falcons. These are huge and scary looking animals but when you see them interact with their trainers they seem harmless. Although I would be lying if I did not say that my heart was in my throat as the falcon was flying right over our heads.
We ventured inside the castle and climbed all the way to the tippy-top. We still can’t believe someone actually lived in there. We loved the height of the castle and the completely unobstructed views but quickly ached for some solid ground under our feet. That’s when I found a suit of armor lying old and rusted around the castle and had to try some pieces on just to get the full effect of “il castello”.
Our return down the mountain “road” was much easier. Although, we met some Frenchman along the way who were begging us to tell them it was only ten minutes more to the castle. I think they found out quick enough that it wasn’t and are probably camped out in the castle for the night. I was promised cookies and gelato at the bottom of the mountain so I basically ran down the mountain the whole way.
Tiramisu flavored gelato really is the best thing in the world. You can bet I savored every bite and still had room for more but I was urged onto the ferry to come home. Lucky for me there is gelato everywhere I go.
Well, The Italian Principessa is now curled up in her villa staring across the lake and wondering how big this world really is. I only hope much of it is discovered in the next few days. A trip to Milan for some window shopping and strolling around the Duomo is on the itinerary for tomorrow. Hopefully lots of gelato too.