Driving through Italy & Cremona, the city of violins

On Thursday morning, we left Manarola early on the train to La Spezia. Once in La Spezia, we found the Avis rent a car place, then my mom and Laura got coffee while I got a mini pizza on focaccia bread. Then we drive until 12 30 when we made it to Cremona.

Cremona is to the north of the Cinque Terre, and is most famous for their quality violins. Violin makers attend the prestigious school for years in order to get their licenses. The are more than 70 shops just in the middle of the city! We were lucky to stumble across the tourist office and were quickly directed to the Violin Makers Association office. The lady who worked there knew so much as was very helpful. In less than 2 hours Laura was able to pick out and purchase a violin for Alexa and we even stopped for sandwiches at a cafe for lunch.

Then it was time to be on the road again. Most of our day was spent in the car. When we first got to the motor way, we somehow missed the toll so we had to stop the car and walk back to get a train ticket so that we wouldn’t be charged too much at our exit. While Laura drive and my mom navigates, I put in my headphones and read on my Nook. Outside the window, beautiful Tuscan country homes and small hill towns passed by.

We finally got into Cortina a little after 7 – like I said, it was a long day of travel. After helping another client for mods than 20 minutes, our gravel agent, also named Laura, greeted us and took us to our house. My mom and Laura had booked the place because it had a patio with a view and because it is built into the ancient Etruscan walls.

Quite a lot of work has been done to the place since the time that the Etruscans lived there, though. The house now has 4 different levels. On the first is a small sitting area/ coat room, the second floor holds a cute modern kitchen and bathroom as well as the balcony Witt beautiful views over the valley below. The third floor is the master bedroom and bath and one more flight of stairs leads you to my space. In my space, there was a pull out bed, a fireplace, a flatscreen TV, and a loft with 2 single beds. Kids room, for sure, but still nice. After we unloaded our things, we headed to the Piazza Della Republica, which is the main square in town, for dinner.

I wolfed down some yummy home made ravioli underneath the facade of the old 12th Century town hall. The full pack of fresh cherries that I devoured that afternoon in the car were not enough from keeping me from destroying that ravioli. Then we went back and drank wine on the terrace with lights twinkling in the distance below and stars twinkling up above. I watched “Dear John” in my flatscreen and fell asleep after that.

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