We left the Trulli which we had loved and headed north. According to our books, not many of the campsites along the east coast of Italy were open in March so we decided to head for the Republic of San Marino. A 400 mile journey so a long day and we got there. San Marino is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy. It’s just over 24 sq miles and an estimated population of 32,000. It claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. It is a country with more vehicles than people! We spent a day in San Marino on an overcast and cold day, but what a treat we had. We bought the multi ticket for all the castles and museum and set off into the castles. The two castles were magnificent. La Costa o Fratta – seconde Torre and La Rocca O guita – Prima Torre. Built on the edge of the cliff in good defensive positions but with fantastic views over the vast view.
Our next stop was in Ravenna, one of the towns highlighted in our guide book for its early Christian and Byzantine mosaics that adorn the churches and monuments. We were not disappointed and saw some wonderful mosaics in a range of public buildings, including the basilica if Saint Apollinaire Nuovo and the Neonian Baptistry. The buildings were lovely and the mosaics truly fantastic. Mostly these were on the ceilings, and were very detailed.
We then continued north to Venice, one of Roger’s particular favourites. We walked miles but saw some spots that we’d not seen last time, including the Palazzo Ducale which was very large and impressive. Predictably I found the cell area of the building the most interesting! We also went into the Basilica and climbed up on to the roof. Very impressive mosaics again. We travelled on a ferry and had another good day.
We then travelled further north crossing the border to Austria. We stopped just over the border in a snowy campsite which I loved. Nestled I a lovely snowy valley, we enjoyed good walking on a beautiful sunny day, and cold nights, down to colder than -5.8 at one stage.
This brought us nicely to Viehhofen for a week of skiing with the kids. Let the learning curve (and falling down) begin!