Coming to Italy for the week between Israel and backpacking with Zach in Eastern Europe may have been decided on a whim, but Italy and especially San Giovanni have always been very special for me.
My Italian adventures always provides a complete tease of the senses in every respect…
From the moment, I arrived in this beautiful part of the world all of my senses have been ablaze, from the incredibly bright blue sky to the sound of cicadas filling the air, to the sweet aroma of honeysuckle and lavender filling my nostrils. Seriously its sheer paradise!
Although only here for a week I had no agenda and so could totally relax. Indeed, one morning I even slept all the way to 7:15 am no less! Whether shopping at the local farmers market, or at my local café that often carried the vast majority of things I needed for cooking my days went something like this.
After showering and getting organized I’d nip downstairs (its ten steps from the front door to my apartment building – yes, the ancient alleyways are super narrow) to Neńe to grab a latte macchiato and fresh croissant (or two) for breakfast.
Practicing my very poor Italian on one of the unsuspecting servers at the counter was always a high point of my day, but probably not so much for them.
Each morning I’d chart out the rest of my day which also generally included a couple of hours to lay out on my private terrazzo in the sun and read or nap… My mornings always included a hike of some variety. A big thank you to Mich (see below) who was very generous at giving me tips for some amazing local hikes. We caught up over breakfast a couple of mornings and a just awesome to be immersed into the local community.
The most memorable hike was the one up to Perlo Panorama which is only about a 30 min hike up the mountain from San Giovanni. It was a tad steep in places and you had to follow your instincts on a couple of occasions as you literally cut through a farmer’s yard on the hike, but the views when you make it to the top and stand overlooking the peninsula of Bellagio and see the two fingers of the lake and Alps spread before is truly stunning!
After a 30-minute photoshoot in one of the most beautiful places on earth I strolled down to Bellagio for a bite to eat for lunch and a meander through the streets until it was gelato time.
In Italy, every afternoon has gelato time! Just sayin…
To get back to San Giovanni I could either catch the ferry or walk the two kilometers back via the Melzi gardens and Loppia. A simple choice really as the gardens are so pretty at this time of year with the wild hydrangeas growing in abundance all along the route within the gardens.
My days generally ended in a similar way, after a sun tan or sleep on the terrazzo it was time for a well-earned glass of Italian red wine and contemplate what concoction I experiment with that evening in the cucina (kitchen).
Then after dinner, I’d wander down to the harbour, and watch the locals all congregate in the main piazza, which in every village in Italy is a nightly custom…young and old alike all get together and talk, the kids play games and chase each other all enjoying this communal time of day.
What wasn’t lost on me was the fact that I didn’t see one kid with any electronic device of any kind during my visit. They were either playing games in the alleyways with their friends or swimming at the stony beach near the ferry dock or fishing from the jetty. They were always polite, friendly and best of all they smiled and laughed with abandon with every interaction both between themselves and the non locals like me.
Kids being kids! So refreshing to witness…
Somehow, I had been transported back to the days of my childhood and it made me smile and reminisce on those simpler times, where the outside world was my domain and electronics unheard futuristic phenomenon.
Whether it be day or night, if I encountered a local they would always greet me with a buongiorno or buonasera (depending on the time of day) and smile. I found myself smiling more and greeting people as well which was surprisingly refreshing.
And although my Italian continues to need a lot of work, (I need to attend language school next time around…immersion is the only answer to becoming more fluent, well that and then living here for part of the year) everyone is extremely patient with me which I appreciated enormously.
With every visit, I become more attached to San Giovanni and my new friends who are all so welcoming and kind.
This is already my second trip to Italy this year…I’m already already trying to plan when to come again…
Where will my love affair with Italy end???
p.s. I want to send out a huge thank you to my friends in San Giovanni and Bellagio – Mich Gandola at Bellagio Watersport for taking me on an amazing kayaking tour of the lake…totally amazing experience! This #1 Trip Advisor rated activity in Bellagio is an absolute must do when you visit – just say Terence sent you! 🙂
And to Clizia and Alissa for allowing me to once again stay in the beautiful one bedroom apartment in San Giovanni, as always very special and look forward to my next visit.