Overseas Adventure Travel
Northern Italy: The Alps, Dolomites & Lombardy +
The Swiss Alps Pre-Trip Extension
June 12 through July 4, 2023


Click on the above link buttons that will take you directly to a particular page or area of the review; or you can just click through to the next page at the bottom of each page.
Page 1 – Lucerne, Switzerland
Page 2 – Lucern & Bern, Switzerland
Page 3 - Bern & Zermatt, Switzerland

Page 4 – Lecco, Italy (Includes Milan)
Page 5 -
Lecco & Tirano, Italy
Page 6 - Tirano & Sulzano, Italy
Page 7 - Sulzano & Trento, Italy
Page 8 - Trento & Bressanone, Italy
Page 9 -
Bressanone & Mogliano Veneto, Italy


Day 16 –Sulzano, Italy

Before breakfast I went out to walk by the lake.  The sun was shining brightly on the island of Monte Isola.


I was able to get a nice photo of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Ceriola at the top of the mountain.  Other than the view from the church, there isn’t much to see up there and the walk up is quite difficult from reviews of it.

I could also see the castle on the left side of the island.  I could also get a photo of San Paolo Island, which Amy had told us was owned by the Beretta family, who founded the pistol company.


Once again, we were trying out a new breakfast buffet.  This was another wonderful one.


One of the reasons we were visiting Lake Iseo was that the main trip was half over and it would give us a chance to rest by the lake if needed.  We could also take an optional OAT tour that cost $150 pp to visit the town of Brescia.  I prefer to explore rather than rest while on vacation.  Being retired, I can rest anytime I want at home.  Researching the area, there wasn’t much to do around the town of Sulzano other than lay in the sun or rest.  Plus, Brescia looked like a town that had some interesting things to see.  It was also where Amy lived, so we knew that she would know what to show us.

It was only about a half hour bus ride to the town.  For our break, Amy had a surprise for us.  She took us to her home to meet her family.  She had talked about them during the first week of the trip and we were looking forward to meeting them.

She introduced us to her husband Mateo and her parents.  As we were walking around the house for her to show us her garden, her 94-year-old grandmother came out of the house. 

As we walked out of the screen porch, we saw the largest squash plant we have ever seen towering over us.


They had a nice garden with so many different items in it.

We then were invited to their patio for some drinks, sweets and a cake that Mateo had made for us.  He is the cook of the family, and he made a delicious cake.

Everyone spoke some English, except Amy’s grandmother, but she communicated quite well with us, with just a little help from her son, Amy’s dad.

We had a most enjoyable time and were so happy to meet Amy’s wonderful family.  I took photos of the whole family and then Amy and Mateo. 


As we left to go into town for our tour, they all waved to us.

When visiting a town that we have never heard of, we never know what to expect.  With Brescia, it was such a pleasant surprise.  It is a beautiful town with so much to see and do.  We wondered why the town isn’t better known.  

I liked the statue of Garibaldi with a lion at its base.  Close by was the Castle of Brescia way up on a hill.  We wouldn’t have time to visit it unfortunately.


Since we were in town earlier than expected and had some time before we were supposed to meet our guide, we walked to the Church of Della Carita.  This was a church I had hoped to see based on photos I had seen of it.  When we walked inside, it was just a spectacular sight.  So gorgeous!





In a separate room there was a statue of the Black Madonna.


After leaving the church, we met our guide for the morning, Fedrika.  The first place she took us was to the Capitolium Temple.  It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Brescia.  This is actually two temples.  The one we were looking at was from the first century AD and was on top of another one that we would be seeing later from the first century BC.

Fedrika told us about how the temples were discovered and their renovations.  The one column on the left was the only complete original one.


In front of the temple were sections of the original Roman roads that were there.


When our assigned time to enter the museum and lower temple, we walked down the stairs where we saw some of temple’s remains.

In another room we saw some artifacts and some of the original walls of the old temple.  I liked the floors with pieces of stone in them.


We next walked into an amazing room with 2,100-year-old frescoes on the walls.  It is amazing that the color has remained for so long, but they were underground for almost 2,000 years.



The floor in this room was quite different from the other.

The next room had some tombstones on the floor and other relics on the walls.


The next room was a quite special.  It had a bronze winged victory statue.  This is one of the few Roman bronze statues in existence.  What a beauty it is!  I had to see it from every angle.



The next room was the Chamber of Jupiter.  It was where there was a 15-foot-tall statue of Jupiter seated on a throne.  The original-colored marble flooring we were seeing was once also on the walls of the room reaching 50 feet in height.

The exhibit is rather unusual.  Behind the three statue heads that were found in the temple were videos of gold melting from the heads.  The videos along with the sounds playing in the room made it rather interesting.


We left the museum and walked next door where we could see the ruins of a Roman theater.  Brescia certainly had its share of Roman ruins.


As we were walking to our next stop, we could see the dome of the New Cathedral and tower of the old town hall before coming out onto Duomo Plaza.

Once in the plaza I could get a full view of the 13-century tower in front of the town hall.


Next to the town hall was the New Cathedral.  It was built in the 17th century and was referred to as the Summer Cathedral.


Next to the New Cathedral was the 12th century Old Cathedral.  It was referred to as the Winter Cathedral.  It is rather unusual to see two cathedrals right next to each other.


There was also a beautiful fountain in Duomo Plaza.


From the plaza, we could see a most unusual statue of a suspended rhinocerous.  It is a very popular photo opp.


While we were walking to our next destination, Amy stopped in front of the Teatro Grande.  She was most surprised that the building was open, and some people were going inside.  She was thrilled since she didn’t think that we would be able to see it.  She went inside to see if it would be OK for us to go in.  When she returned, she was smiling and told us we couldn’t go into the auditorium itself but could see the vestibule.

As we walked up the inside staircase, we could tell that this was going to be a special place.  The chandelier was massive, and the frescoes and ceiling were beautiful.


We hadn’t seen the best yet.  We were blown away when we entered the vestibule.  It is a truly overpowering room with so much beauty to take in.




We couldn’t believe how lucky we had been to be able to see the theater.  It was unplanned and just a great treat for all of us.  We would have loved to see the theater too, but what we saw was amazing.

We next walked over to the Plaza Vittoria.  This is referred to as the Fascist Plaza due to its design and that it was built by the Fascist politician Mussolini.  It isn’t that attractive.


It does have a lectern in one corner of the plaza where Mussolini gave speeches.

We next went to the beautiful Piazza della Loggia.  It is a beauty!


At one end is the Palazzo della Loggia.  This 16th century palace is now the seat of the city’s municipal council.


Above a portico on one side of the plaza is an astronomical clock.  Above that are two bronze statues that strike the bell at the top of the hour. 


Amy told us that the plaza is a popular place for large gatherings.  At an anti-Fascist protest in 1974 there was a terrorist bombing in the plaza.  Eight people were killed and 102 wounded.  Her mother was on the way to that gathering when the bomb exploded.

After leaving the plaza, we headed for lunch at L’Oste Sobrio Restaurant.


Two of the main courses for our included lunch were a casoncelli pasta ravioli and eggs with truffle. They were both delicious meals.


The tiramisu was the most popular dessert option, and rightfully so, it was great.

We had a cute heavily tattooed waitress that one of our group, Alex, wanted to have a photo with.  She was a very good hard-working waitress.

After lunch we took a different walk back to the bus.  We passed so many beautiful sights.




This one building didn’t look that photo worthy at first, but the frescoes just under the roof changed my mind.



Before getting on the bus, we came to Piazza Arnaldo.  There is a bronze monument to Arnaldo da Brescia.  He was a priest wanted to reform the Catholic church and its power structure.  That was obviously not looked at positively by the church.  He was first hung and then burnt at the stake in Rome in 1154 by Pope Adriano IV.


On our way back to the hotel, I thought back to what an amazing touring day it had been.  Brescia is a real treasure.  I hope that more people get to experience it in the future. 
When we got back to the hotel, we had the rest of the day free.  We were on our own for dinner.  Amy said that we could take the ferry over to Monte Isola and she would show us around.  That sounded like a great idea.  We met outside the hotel and walked to ferry pier to meet the ferry.  The ferry was pretty full, especially in the front where it was cooler with the breeze.


Once out in the water, we were finally able to take photos of the land side of the lake where our hotel was. 


It was more interesting looking at the island as we got closer to it.  We had to be quick, since it only took five minutes to get to the island.

Once we docked, we began our walk along the water with Amy pointing out where we might want to eat if we were eating dinner on the island.  There were also some posters that showed the workers building the floating pier.


As we were nearing the corner of the island, where it turns north, we saw a path going up the mountain.  There was a large hotel, Residence Castello Oldofredi, where they hold large events and weddings.



As we came around the corner, I could see the castle that I had seen from the hotel when we first arrived, Torre Rocca Martinengo.  It was much closer now.  It is now a private residence and can’t be visited.


We were also closer to San Paolo Island, but the Beretta family doesn’t allow visitors there.  I was glad the zoom lens made it possible to see what was on the island.  It looks nice.

On our walk back to the main commercial part of the island, we were trying to decide where we wanted to eat.   We stopped at a place to just rest and have a beer.  After waiting way too long and having others that came in after us being served, we left.  Close by, we found Chuck and Alice sitting at a table outside a small restaurant. 


He had a big bottle of beer, so we sat down to order one.  He told us that they had ordered some lasagna.  The proprietor recommended it.  That sounded good enough for me, so we both ordered a beer.   The photo of the lasagna on a sign looked more like I was used to with marinara sauce on it, so I had to order it.  Cathy got a sandwich.  With the high temperature, the beer was heavenly.  The lasagna was also great.  We were glad that our friends had found the place.  We had a nice view of the lake from our table that added to the experience.


Day 17 –Transfer to Trento, Italy

I was looking forward to moving to a different town that would have more to see and do.  We left the hotel at 9:00.  The total trip to Trento would be just under two hours, but we would have a couple stops on the way.  The first stop, Desenzano, was just an hour away.  It was a nice looking town on Lake Garda.

There was an unusual statue where we got off the bus.  The sign on it said, “To the Aviators of the High Speed Department”. 


There was a nice marina with small boats nearby.

We began our walk up to a higher elevation where we would be going to the Castle of Desenzano.  This was a defensive enclosure and fortress for the town.  On the way there, we came to a monument for the Bersaglieri.  This was the name for troops of marksmen in the Italian infantry in the early 1800’s.


We finally arrived at the stone fortress.  The views of the town below made the climb worthwhile.



We walked inside the castle gate, but there wasn’t much to see.


We returned back down the hill to the narrow streets and porticos lined with many shops.  Cathy decided to explore that area while looked for other things of interest.


While checking out the area I came to the Duomo.  As you should know by now, I can’t pass up many churches.

It was a pretty church, but after some of the beauties I had recently visited, this one didn’t take a lot of time to see.





We stayed in town long enough for the girls to do some shopping and for some of us to get gelato.  We then headed to our next destination.   On the way, we saw a large castle up on a hill.  I don’t know who’s it was, but it was a big one.

We next went to the Frantonio Manestrini Olive Oil facility where they raise the trees, produce the oil and distribute it.  Our guide for the tour showed us old equipment that used to be used for squeezing the oil out of the olives.  This one went way back.


She took us out into the orchard where we could see some young olives growing.  She told us that each tree would only produce 4 to 6 quarts of olive oil per year.  I thought it would be a lot more than that.


We then saw some progressively newer machines.


We walked into the plant where we were shown the newer more efficient and better methods that they now use.



After we learned about the production, we moved to a room with a long table for us to do some olive oil tasting.  In front of each seat were five samples of different types of olive oil to taste.

She described the flavor of each one and we would take a sip of the oil so that we could understand what she had just described.  I personally didn’t care for sipping straight olive oil.  It would have been much better on some bread, but that would have changed the flavor.  I guess that I am no connoisseur of olive oil, since they didn’t taste that much different to me. 

After the tasting plates of different foods were passed around family style to have for our lunch.  The photos are at different stages of them being taken or consumed, but it will give you an idea of what we had.  All of the food was good, but the baked chicken was outstanding.




Dessert was a type of lemon bar.  Also, very good.

Since we had taken a different route to get to the olive oil factory, it would take about an hour and a half to get to Trento.  The countryside was gorgeous.

We were staying at Hotel America in Trento.  It was in a great location, close to where we would be sightseeing.

We were glad that we had some seating area in the room, since we needed it for one of our suitcases.  We also had a nice size bathroom with adequate counter space.



The only issue was that the air conditioning couldn’t be controlled and it wasn’t as cool as we prefer, but it was adequate for sleeping at night.

We did our orientation walk going down some of the main pedestrian streets.  Some of the buildings had frescoes on them, adding a nice touch.



As we got closer to the Duomo Plaza, we could see the bell tower.  I liked the design on the pathway.

When we got around the corner, we could see the bell tower was part of the Tridentine Diocesan Museum.  A pretty impressive building.


We were also impressed with the beautifully frescoed buildings right across from it that housed the Café Italia.  They are from the 14th and 16th centuries.


In the center of Duomo Plaza was the beautiful 18th century Fountain of Neptune.  So much to look at and admire.



On one side of the plaza was the Duomo, the Cathedral of San Vigilio.


Amy had been pointing out possible eating establishments during our walk since we were on our own that night.  She pointed to one opposite the cathedral that she said was very good, but a more expensive restaurant, Scrigno del Duomo.  She told us that they had tables in their basement that was from a Roman foundation.

We had lots of choices for dinner.  I remembered reading that Trento had several Michelin starred restaurants.  Unusual for a smaller town.  I asked Amy if there were any that were in walking distance.  She looked on her phone and said that Scrigno del Duomo was one.  Now that was convenient.  I didn’t think that we would be able to get reservations for that night, but I figured I might as well check, since it would be our only opportunity to eat there.  To our surprise, we got one.  I would finally get to eat at a Michelin starred restaurant after all these years.  We were excited.

We went back to the hotel, since our reservation was for 7:30 PM when they opened for dinner.  At the appropriate time we strolled out of the hotel and walked back to Duomo Plaza, admiring the lovely city of Trento.  We were seated at a nice table with a view of the plaza.


Along with some delicious red wine, we had a wonderful dinner.  We shared a beef tartare with sweet and sour onion, stracciatella and pistachio.  For dinner, Cathy had linguini with zucchini cream, smoked trout, its caviar and toasted pine nuts.  I had meatballs of veal, mashed potatoes and mushrooms.


It was an outstanding dining experience.  We loved every minute.  Michelin restaurants are known for being expensive.  We were very surprised at how reasonable the prices were.  The total bill was just 83€.

After we ate, we asked if we could visit the cellar.  It was a nice bar/dining area with the exposed Roman walls in parts.


Rather than having dessert at the restaurant, we walked a few doors down to one of best gelato shops we visited during the trip.  We were looking forward to our next two days in the lovely town of Trento.



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