Africa, Asia, Europe · 14 Days · 41 Moments · June 2017

Varanini Travels Italia

4 July 2017

San Gimignano was buzzing with people. Buss loads of tourists were streaming in. Every second shop is a leather shop with the most incredible shoes, bags, wallets and belts! ๐Ÿ˜
A stop off in Montepuliciano, Tuscany

3 July 2017

Castiglione del Lago โค๏ธ What a stunning place! There were movies showing on a big screen in the old castle! Unfortunately we got there half way through so we didn't watch but what a stunning setting! Loved this place!
Today after a long drive back north from Sicily, we made it to Castiglione del Lago and decided to find somewhere to stay over for the night and carry on traveling tomorrow ๐Ÿš™ We decided to have a quick dip in the lake across the road to cool off before dinner ๐Ÿ– A beautiful spot!

2 July 2017

Fresh swordfish for dinner that we bought at the market this morning! ๐ŸŸ we even got Ryan to taste it and he didn't mind it! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ SUCCESS!
Last day in Ortigia, Sicily. This mornings breakfast plus some pics from the market down the street. We bought some fresh swordfish for dinner tonight which had just come off the boat! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐ŸŸ

1 July 2017

Tonight we ate at Archimede, a pizzeria/trattoria in Ortigia, a few streets from where we are staying. It is in a courtyard setting with a typical Italian feel. The pizza was by far the best I've had so far and very reasonably priced! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ• definitely worth having again!
Today we explored the town of Noto which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693. The entire town and surrounding towns were rebuilt in a Baroque style๐Ÿ› We then had the typical Sicilian breakfast (granita with brioche) at Cafe' Sicilia. The cafe' was voted the number one coffee bar in Italy a few years ago ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผโ˜•๏ธ

30 June 2017

We just got home from exploring the town by night! The busy narrow streets were filled with people eating, dancing and singing. A beautiful, festive little town! We had delicious ice creams from Belbon! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฆ Ryan and I are more than satisfied after having peanut butter flavored ice-cream! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ
We arrived at our accommodation (Dione) in Ortigia and were pleasantly surprised! It is situated in the centre in a typical narrow Italian alley. The interior is exquisite with impeccable attention to detail! It is a mix of modern with antique pieces to incorporate the history of the building. A dog (Tyro) from next door payed is a visit and gave us our dose of furry love! โค๏ธ๐Ÿถ
This morning we left Calatabiano and headed towards Ortigia. On the way we stopped and had a walk around Catania where we had a look around the fish market and munched on some delicious focaccia! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

29 June 2017

We ate at the Blue Ice restaurant which is on the beach in Calatabiano. We tried the seafood risotto, swordfish and a full calamari ๐Ÿ˜‹ delicious!
The small town of Castiglione di Sicilia where we are about to have our first Arancini of the holiday. Arancini are typical of this area and are rice balls filled with mozzarella cheese! (Pics to follow as we are currently waiting for them to finish up in the oven) ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ
We explored the base of mount Etna and jumped out of the car to get close to the volcanic rock! ๐Ÿ—ปWalking around in the volcanic ash and between the black, almost metallic looking rocks made us feel like we were on some other planet in outer space! ๐ŸŒ‘ The small "pebbles" seemed almost weightless and crumble quite easily! We all scavenged for a few "special" pieces to take as souvenirs! ๐Ÿ“ธ
Locals insisted that we try the typical Sicilian breakfast, Granita al Caffe' con Panna e un Brioche, translated into coffee slush with whipped cream and a breakfast cake. โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿช It reminded me of an iced coffee with the cream on top as opposed to stirred in! Eaten with a teaspoon...DELICIOUS! ๐Ÿ˜€

28 June 2017

Taormina by night! ๐ŸŒŸ Amazed at how well kept the streets and buildings are! Every corner is spotless and it's difficult not to want to constantly snap pics (which is exactly what we did the whole night) We also tucked into amazing ice cream from Capriccio. Definitely one of the best we've had! (The ice cream in the pic is apparently one scoop! ๐Ÿ˜• definitely not complaining about the portion size though!๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ) Pistachios are a Sicilian delicacy and while these nuts are used in a number of Italian dishes, most of Sicily's pistachio production is used either in pastries or in ice-cream ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ Sicily is the only region of Italy that grows pistachio nuts!
Today we explored the beautiful town of Taormina in Sicily. The town was exquisite with beautiful cobble roads, Bougevvilla decorated balconies and beautiful churches! We visited the ruins of the ancient Greek amphitheater commissioned in 270 BC before It was restructured in the First Century AD by Roman Ceasar Hadrian. The theatre is frequently used for concerts and operas

27 June 2017

We finally arrived at Calatabiano near Taormina after more than 12 hours of traveling today! We are staying an old farm house which has a beautiful recently renovated interior ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿƒ (Sunsea apartment, Felice Villa) From the front balcony we see Mount Etna which is Europe's largest active volcano! In the photo you can see how it is smoking from the top. According to locals it has been smoking for 3 days now ๐Ÿ˜ณ
We finally made it down to Villa San Giovanni and took a ferry over to Sicily! โ˜€๏ธ We are currently waiting to get off the ferry and then we have an hour drive to Calatabiana near Taormina โ˜€๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ
The beautiful beach town of Amalfi! โ˜€๏ธโ›ต๏ธ The region is known for its beautifully hand painted ceramics! The Amalfi Cathedral makes a grand statement with its impressive Romanesque architectural style and striped marble and stone facade โ›ช๏ธ
We stopped off at a view point in Positano and were drawn to this fruit stand that had the biggest lemons I've ever seen and the most beautiful fruit! We were introduced to their friend "John Lemon"! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‹ grabbed some cherries for the long car ride to Giardini Naxos near Taormina โ˜€๏ธ

26 June 2017

Tonight we guzzled down our pizzas at Ristorante Da Michele down at the marina in Massa Lubrense! I decided to be a bit adventurous and try a pizza with walnuts, prosciutto crudo, provolone cheese and lemon zest ๐Ÿ‹ The air of Massa Lubrense smells of lemony citrus! ๐Ÿ’› Lemon trees surround us and are used to make Limoncello liqueur, typical of the region! ๐Ÿ‹ great pizza and great prices too! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ Note: Dad reckons the espresso here is brilliant! โ˜•๏ธ
Ale and Ryan spent the afternoon on Capri with goggles on and the GoPro in hand! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿฆ€๐Ÿ“ธ
The sun was blazing and after lots of walking we decided to give Anacapri a miss and head to the beach to cool off! We took a 20 minute walk down from Capri main town to the bottom where we spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach before heading back to Massa by boat โ›ต๏ธ It's safe to say we are all ROASTED! ๐Ÿ…โ˜€๏ธ Pizza for dinner tonight! ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ˜
After taking the funicular from the harbor to Capri Centre, we explored the island for a few hours which is covered in Bougevvilla! ๐ŸŒบ The clothing stores are incredible and all the bars have photos outside of celebrities who have visited (Simon Cowel, Anne Hathaway, Beyoncรฉ, Hilary Duff, Barbra Streisand to name a few)
Today we took a boat from Massa Lubrense to the island of Capri. It was a 2 hour tour around the Island stopping off at the grottos along the shore. The water was an unbelievable turquoise colour and crystal clear! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒŠ

25 June 2017

Ice cream from a popular little gelateria in town called Primavera with an insane selection of flavors! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿญ They were making their own sugar cones and people were pouring in! We also tasted the most divine cappuccino cookies from Limonoro Bakery in Sorrento! Ryan and I both stocked up after we were offered a taster and fell in love! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿช I also added to my ring collection with an absolute beauty that Ale picked out for me ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’
Beautiful sunset in Sorrento tonight before heading out to town ๐ŸŒ… we are staying at a great little self-catering spot called Adelina e Quendalina!
We finally reached Massa Lubrense. We headed straight down to the beach to have a swim. The water is warm and crystal clear...absolute paradise! โ˜€๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ Ryan enjoyed his first Italian beer overlooking the ocean ๐ŸปLoving the beautiful purple Bougevvilla flowers all over the town ๐ŸŒธ Tonight we are heading into the main town of Sorrento to have a walk around (pics to follow) ๐Ÿ˜
Pit stop for coffee to break our 8.5 hour road trip down to Sorrento! โ˜€๏ธ I'd love to know how many coffees these guys turn out in a morning! ๐Ÿ˜ฒโ˜•๏ธ

24 June 2017

Italian pastries (pasticcini) anyone?? ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
Amazing afternoon walk around Como โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿนcute little shops, cafes and smells of Italian pizza and coffee! โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ•
Funicular up to spectacular views of Lago Di Como (lake Como) โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿน

23 June 2017

Two old Italians making dinner! ๐Ÿ˜‚
The heat today was unbearable! ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜ฒโ˜€๏ธ went for a walk down at the Lago Di Varese (Varese lake) but it wasn't any cooler down there. Saw the cutest swans and their babies! ๐Ÿฆ

22 June 2017

My dads beautiful town of Varese ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 9pm and it's still light and bright outside! โ˜€๏ธ Love the beautiful architecture and manicured gardens ๐ŸŒฟโ˜€๏ธ
First dinner! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ• Italian style. At our favorite pizza place in Varese called La Paranza! As usual we were offered their limoncello so chances are we are crawling home tonight! ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
26.5 hours of traveling and 4 hungry kids to feed! ๐Ÿ˜‚ half a kg of crisps will do! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ
Touch down in Abu Dhabi! ๐ŸŒโœˆ๏ธ

21 June 2017

Almost through security! Time for adventure! ๐ŸŒ
Ducky made the cut! โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿฅ