The Call of the Mountains: Italy 7

If anyone was to ask my favorite thing about Italy, I think it would be a toss-up between its people and the mountains. But I guess I like the people in small doses.  Venice was beautiful and intriguing but too crowded. And it was time to move on.

Before we left the states while I was looking for lodging, I found one that I insisted upon. There weren’t that many reviews on the agriturismo site, but the photos were stunning. They showed a small stone house dwarfed by snow-capped mountains. Up to this point, I had only reserved rooms at establishments that had many positive reviews, but the photos made me want to give this place, Pian dei Tass, a chance.

As we drove from the Venice area towards this new place, I expected the flatlands to gradually become rolling hills and then develop into mountains. This was not so. It continued flat, and then flat and, well, flat. I wondered if maybe these Dolomite Mountains weren’t going to be all that I dreamed. We were both a bit weary by this point. I almost wished that we could just be done with this whole trip and go back home. We had traveled so many miles, walked many cobbled streets and slept in 5 different beds. This map shows our travels in Italy.

Map from Google maps

Map from Google maps

It was time for rest. But we couldn’t call it quits. Matt still had much more work to do including one more installation of equipment in Italy. Just when I was about to give up on the mountains, I saw them in the distance, shrouded in clouds. The landscape went from totally flat to humongous mountains! This sight did wonders for my disposition. There, indeed, was more Italy for me to discover!

First, I had to endure two more tunnels. The first one was curvy and over two miles long. Did I mention I hate tunnels? I gulped a large breath of air when we escaped that one. Then we rounded a curve and came upon the most astonishing water I have ever seen. It was Lake Barcis and filled with beautiful turquoise colored water.DSC_3095 6

I stared at the water as we kept going and we came to the dam that made the lake.DSC_3609

We crossed it and went into a one lane tunnel. It was very tight and hewn from the rock. I fussed a bit, but Matt kept on. Thankfully, it was a short tunnel and just a bit from our agriturismo.DSC_3622

What a lovely spot! I got out of the car and slowly spun around. We were completely encircled by the Friulian Dolomites. I could not get over their beauty and majesty!DSC_3219 2

DSC_3321 2As I listened, I heard a bird call. It sounded exactly like a cuckoo clock! I had heard this bird in the mountains when we stayed with Sergio. And here it was again to welcome us back. You can hear it here.

We met our new hosts, Mario and Olga. Once, Mario, the youngest of seven sons, had left this glorious haven to see the world and earn a living. He worked in Africa and Saudi Arabia for a construction company. While visiting at home, he saw a lovely young woman and asked her to dance. That started a lifelong romance with this shy Belgian girl, Olga.  He took her away with him on his travels.DSC_3662 3

But the call of the mountains beckoned him. Mario returned when his parents were elderly and took over the farm.  As he says, “People are more interesting in the country. Things are too easy for them in the city.” And here in the glorious mountains, he, Olga, their son, Marcus, and their granddaughter Marie, work hard to bring joy to their guests.DSC_3330 3

DSC_3664 2I guess when you come from such a long heritage; you just can’t resist coming home. Mario told us that his family migrated from Austria in the 1300s and has been there ever since. It hasn’t been an easy journey. When he was just one year old, Nazis marched up the hill straight to his parents’ farm. One of them picked him up on the way. The women from the town of Barcis were all taking refuge in their home, while the men hid in the mountains. The Nazis were looking for the man from the town that had blown up the tunnel to keep tanks from making their way to Barcis. When the Nazis couldn’t find the man, they took it out on the town and bombed it.DSC_3419 2

Maybe that is part of why Mario left the area for a while. Times were hard. But just as the cuckoo bird welcomed us back to the mountains, so did they to Mario and his family. And I’m glad to have met these wonderful people.

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We were tempted to buy this fixer upper!

We were tempted to buy this fixer upper!

A family we met at the agriturismo. Such lovely people!

A family we met at the agriturismo. Such lovely people!

The mountains are beautiful, but dangerous. A man lost his life here taking photographs.

The mountains are beautiful, but dangerous. A man lost his life here taking photographs.

I still can't get over the color of the water in Lake Barcis.

I still can’t get over the color of the water in Lake Barcis.

The apple trees were in bloom.

The apple trees were in bloom.

A photo of Mario as a young man.

A photo of Mario as a young man.

We did much hiking. Here, Matt, walked up a snow glacier to the waterfall. I had fun throwing snowballs at him while wearing short sleeves!

We did much hiking. Here, Matt, walked up a snow glacier to the waterfall. I had fun throwing snowballs at him while wearing short sleeves!

So many ruins all over Italy

So many ruins all over Italy

I just can't resist taking photos of the flowers. The mountain woods were full of tiny wildflower blooms.

I just can’t resist taking photos of the flowers. The mountain woods were full of tiny wildflower blooms.

I think I could have stayed here forever!

I think I could have stayed here forever!

Read the rest of our adventures in Italy: Italy 1, Italy 2, Italy 3, Italy 4, Italy 5, Italy 6

After this we go to England! England 1

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16 thoughts on “The Call of the Mountains: Italy 7

  1. A wonderful photographer also…the most beautiful butterfly I’ve ever seen…with a touch of orange…your favorite color. And how long did you have to wait to capture the shadow on the tiny white wildflower bloom…?

    • Hi janine & matt – we enjoyed meeting you last night in the tower bank arms and thanks for letting us see your blog – love the photos especially cambridge which is where we grew up! Have a fab time in Edinburgh , Sarah, Paul & Emily xx

      • It was wonderful meeting you and Paul and little Emily! We are going to follow your suggestion and go to Tarn Hows tomorrow. This is such a lovely area! Thanks for commenting on the blog.

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