Monday, January 30, 2012

Madonna di Campiglio


One of the things that fascinates me about Italy (or really Europe in general) is that if one travels two and a half hours one finds a new culture, language, cuisine and people within ones own country.  If I traveled two and a half hours from Rhode Island I'd be in New York, or maybe New Hampshire, but the people I'd find on the other side of the journey would pretty much be the same as the ones I from the beginning.  If I traveled eight hours I'd be in Maine, and although they'd probably be dropping a few more R's than I would, we'd still be of the same womb. 

Not so in Italy.  Travelling two and half hours from Milan I find myself in Madonna di Campiglio, in Trentino Alto-Adige.  The people look more German and sound different, an almost sing-song accented dialect, eat unique cheeses and speck from their valley, enjoy porcini mushrooms straight from the wood tossed with fatto-in-casa tagliatelle, and need I mention how different the landscape is from the smoggy plane of Milan?  The snow-capped peaks jut straight into the heavens from already gigantic mountains.  The air smells of pine and wood smoke.  The overall effect is breathtaking. 

I stayed with some friends there (over a month ago...I need to get better at uploading photos) that are 100 percent Trentini...who also cannot speak any English, which really put my language skills to the test.  If your learning a language and find yourself at that plateau I was talking about, I recommend staying a week with someone who cannot speak your language.  After an afternoon I felt myself improved, and after three days like I'd made a breakthrough!  I digress.

Our days were spent exploring churches with pagan origins high up on wooded cliffs over looking peaks and valleys, admiring their frescoes that had survived more than a thousand years...



visiting waterfalls frozen over during the winter months...


strolling down the chic streets of Madonna di Campiglio, where every Milanese would-be skiier is in head-to-toe Moncler (commencing eye roll sequence)...


and the best part, climbing the peaks in knee deep snow, on a day that was perfectly beautiful, ending the day with a local brew and sunburn!




That's Maurizio, our friend and guide.  A former professional Alpine skiier, who climbed in a T-shirt and was pretty much always half a mile ahead of us.

As you can see there wasn't much snow, but now I hear the mountains are full of it and I'm itching to make a quick drive up there for some skiing!  How lucky the Italians are!

5 comments:

sarah said...

how lucky YOU are! your photos and description are breathtaking... and your comment about language is encouraging as well, making me want to hop the next flight to brazil.

Blue said...

Beautiful photographs! You're right about the short distances to be traveled between different cultures and languages - that is what makes Europe so exciting.Even when we lived in Holland there were different dialects,in regions only an hour or two apart, especially where the official languages, French, German and Dutch met.

Because neither of us are, as they say, "not from around here" we love the nuances of language and accent outside the cities in the United States.

As I mentioned before, we are exploring Italy and getting to know the language. I need to do what you are doing and immerse myself in a place that does not speak English.

anzelina said...

I would love to take a stroll through that town, in the snow.

Paul Gervais de Bédée said...

Glad to see you're moving about, nice shots of the mountains and snow and winter fun!

Jenna Schold said...

Oh my, this takes my icy breath away!