Adventure 15 // Northern Italy 1
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Length of stay: 14 nights
Accommodations: Apartment in Brusaporto
Travel Time: by rental car from Lucca about 3.5 hours with stops
Goal: Slowly explore nature in Northern Italy
Family Friendly: ★★★★
If we actually titled our blog travel posts uniquely, this would be the Italian Nature Edition! One of my favorite things about traveling is that I am almost always proven wrong. Seems odd to want to be proven wrong, but it’s so interesting to see how off I am, that I don’t mind being so wrong, so often. I see a place and have a feeling I suspect I will have when I am there, then when I get there that feeling is so different from what I imagined. Northern Italy was all Frank Sinatra and and Mama Mia stereotypes for me, and I was put in my place real hard and real fast.
Northern Italy is fascinating, ancient, and loaded with so much beautiful nature we couldnâ€™t switch our plans quick enough to adapt to what was the obvious choice for us. Roaming Milan for high fashion and cuisine quickly turned into mountain hikes, lake days, and rope courses.
The Waterfalls of Val Vertova
I feel like I have been searching for this place all my life. Itâ€™s cool, calm, and has a path running along side the creek and waterfalls. The plants are incredible, the creek access is plentiful, and the water is so beautiful it looks fake. You could walk for hours and still be impressed with something new every few minutes. We went twice and wished we had time to go more. Some things to know! Itâ€™s a tricky drive up to The Waterfalls of Val Vertova with minimal street parking. There is a â€œpay lotâ€ at a little food stop and a free lot at the beginning of the path, but the local rules call for no driving past 6am if you arenâ€™t a boca. At least thatâ€™s what was explained to us. Itâ€™s a single lane for both coming and going traffic with the occasional pull off to allow each car to drive by. There are cliffs, it is scary (at least for an American like me with no mountain driving training) . An alternative? 5 euro will land you a to and from spot on a bus from town to the beginning of the path. Last bus back to the parking lot is 5pm.
I suggest giving this park a minimum of two hours. I do not suggest strollers, bikes, or anything wheeled. Wear hiking boots, even though the walk is quite easy. The smooth rocks in some parts can get slippery and you may be forced to trek in some very shallow water.
The Python Park
A suggestion from a new friend, we tried this park to avoid what looked like a torturous ride up a mountain to Parco Avventura Selvino a Bergamo. The ride up to The Python Park was no joy ride for me. I couldnâ€™t imagine things being worse, actually. Nonetheless, it was worth it because Atlas faced some fears too and zip lined three times and also completed a roams course three times. The Python Park is basically a curated nature park with various level ropes courses for children and adults as well as activities for kids, nature walks, and camps. There is a lovely picnic area and plenty of space to hang out. Itâ€™s charged by the house for the ropes course and I believe in total we paid 9 euro for Atlasâ€™ three sessions. He loved it and I would do it again, even though the ride up will still shake my nerves!
You could spend an hour here, or hours here depending on if you bring lunch and hang out and do more than the ropes course. You may also be tempted to pull over a few times on the way up the mountain because the view is spectacular.
Lake Como, Lecco
George Clooney! Every. Single. Person. mentioned this whenever we mentioned Lake Como. I am here to tell you there is a lot more to do than stalk movie stars. This place is so beautiful, you may shed a tear. We went twice. First when we discovered it by way of a trip to Lecco, which is on the lake. Why Lecco? Because the street sign looks like LEGO for a brief moment. Thatâ€™s all is takes folks. I saw it coming into Bergamo one day and then we figured, why not check it out? On a whim we did and awe struck were we. Then we got to planning and rented a boat and went back for the day. Best. Day. Ever. at that. A three hour boat ride, including gas, training, water, and blankets ran us slightly under 200 euro and also came with free coffee at the cafe after. The folks were nice and informative and the boat was clean and new and fun. We used Boat2Go in Lecco and we highly recommend them, our full experience was great. We canâ€™t wait to do it again.
If wandering around Lecco, you will find two kid friendly parks, easy to walk paths, and unbelievable amount of gelato and strangely enough, the best vegan Indian meal I have had in many years.
Another unreal moment on the map where things are too pretty to be true. Not as taken with Gara as Como, but pretty close. We did less “lake stuff” and more walking. The swans in the perfect blue water had me questioning if we walked into a movie set. Lots of places to stop and eat and beautiful views of that signature water/mountain view Norther Italy has perfected. Boat rentals are plentiful here too, and seemingly a little cheaper.
Our Favorite Vegan Spots in the Area (in order of deliciousness)
Lecco - Punjab (specifically ask to make it vegan)
Osnago - Naturangolo di Alessandro Mandelli
Lake Garda - Marco e Daniela Time - Peschiera del Garda
Where we Explored
The Python Park
Our suggested length of stay is 5 days/4 nights if you are with a child.
PPS Want to check out all our travel videos and posts? Here is a shortcut.
Family Trips to Date: 43
Countries: w/o Atlas: 9 with Atlas: 4
States with Atlas: 16
Carousels Ridden: 10
Roller Coasters Ridden: 2
Rope Course: 1