I’ve been back in the mothercountry since June 1st and so far, so amazing.
I was expecting nothing more from this trip than a couple of dinners with my family members and maybe a day trip to Venice to show my girlfriend one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but over the last 5 days I’ve discovered much more.
I think in all of my European travels over the past 8 years I have found that the place I have been visiting since I was 2 years old is very possibly the paradise I’ve been looking for. And I’ve only realized that through the eyes of my girlfriend Kate, the English-Canadian who knows maybe 3 words in Italian but has endured an onslaught of Italian conversations and house-to-house visits like a pro.
Castelfranco, Veneto is a decently sized city that inhabits dozens of small towns and a reasonably busy downtown area. It’s the only place I’ve seen, noted by Kate, where you can live completely in the country but still only live 5 minutes away from a full service mall, grocery store, and enough restaurants and pubs to always have a destination for dates and social gatherings.
On top of this Castelfranco is within a reasonable driving distance of all sorts of places:
- Asiago -the home of the cheese and nestled into a ski-village type of town in the Dolomites (90min drive)
- Verona- the home of Romeo and Juliet (75min drive)
- Venice – the city on water (60min drive)
- Bassano Del Grappa – at the base of Mount Grappa (30min)
- Caorla – the Adriatic sea resort town famous for their restaurants and family getaway apartments
- Jesolo- the “daytona beach” party town on the Adriatic for those fun hot summer nights
- Lake Garda (2-3hr drive)
And MANY MANY More…
Castelfranco is also a 3hr train from from Florence and Milan (in opposite directions) and a 4-5hr train ride from Rome.
All of this wrapped into a city that in and of itself is rather perfect to live in.
I’ve spent the last few days traveling to most of the above places in between having some of the best meals while gathering with some of the most important people in my life.
Each trip back to Italy (and Europe in general I suppose) has brought another touch of knowledge and experience into my life that has continued to make me a better and more inspired person. Spending so much time walking around a continent that is a living window into the past easily puts life’s (see: north american) trivialities into perspective.
I think the more time I spend in Europe the less taste I have for any beach centric (caribbean) vacations in excess of 1-2 weeks. I really just don’t know what I would do with myself there for longer. I’ve always been an “on the go” type of traveller; new places, new people, new cultures, and new discoveries.
I can’t describe to you how much fun I have had improving my Italian and stoically hacking my way through Spanish while living in Barcelona.
And my all-time best days during my time in Italy has been when we’ve spent a full day of walking through the streets of some historical city, and arrived back home close to midnight with enough energy left to slide in and out of the shower and collapse on the bed in full surrender to a self-induced coma for the next 8 hours.
Staying in Castelfranco has been such an adventure. I FINALLY drove a car in Italy and I couldn’t have loved it anymore. I rented a Fiat 500 for 5 days and drove to and from Venice, all over Castelfranco visiting relatives, and then 2 hours into the mountain for an amazing day in Asiago. What an adventure.
I really didn’t have anything meaningful nor poetic to say in this post, but all I can say, is that anyone planning an extended trip abroad must seriously think twice about highly considering Europe as their destination.
Italy in particular has enough incredibly fun and meaningful destinations to keep your experience meter running off the charts for years if you’ve got the time. And if you have someone fun and meaningful to share it with…. well, then there’s even more reason to get yourself here.
Its hard to spend an extended period of time in a place like Italy and not have their passion for food, love, and living rub off on you in a most positive way. I have been to Veneto (a region in Italy) well over a dozen times, and each time I’ve found a new place to visit, new things to learn and a feeling of belonging that is hard to match anywhere else.
Viva Il Veneto!