Hello again! I can’t believe its been six months since I last wrote here. Its been a little crazy busy here. My son moved away to university, and my husband negotiated two months off work and (of course) we decided to spend that time in Italy, so we (ahem, I) very quickly had to plan out a trip, find accommodation, book planes, trains and a car and so on… and then of course we were away for two, whole, long, lovely months in the bel’ paese.
Thankfully we’ve done enough longish trips to Italy before and knew the drill: knew who to fly with and what to pack and so on, and I have a go-to list of reliable accommodation websites. That part wasn’t difficult.
But… Italy has so many wonderful towns and places, and we often use our trips to ‘try out’ towns, and ask ourselves: “could we live here?”. How to decide where to stay? How to decide where to base yourself when you’ve ‘done’ all the main towns?
I pored over the map for days, and couldn’t decide where we should spend our time. North…? Mountains…? Sea…? City…? We couldn’t decide.
I started thinking about this dilemma, and realised I’d have to start with what we knew we liked.
We wanted a town that had a good weekly market. It had to have some life to it, have an active community. It had to be well serviced by public transport. This is really important to us, because we’d want to be able to go and visit other places too. It had to have enough residents, restaurants or bars that something would be open on a Sunday. And I wanted people to speak to me in Italian, not English.
A total bonus would be that someone in the town offered language courses, there would be an Apple Computer shop, and my husband wanted a guitar shop nearby. Maybe even a fabric or sewing shop too. A girl can dream.
Eventually, I realised that the towns we’ve really liked in the past that have most of those things ~ Lucca, for example ~ have had a population of about 100,000. So I started looking at towns with similar population sizes, and seeing if I could find one that was similarly well connected… and i came up with Treviso.
Treviso has 87,000 residents, of which only about 8,000 live inside the city walls. It has its own train station just outside the walls, and its own airport. Venice is only 25 minutes away by train, you can get a high-speed train from Venice to just about anywhere, and Venice has its own international airport too. I liked that the Dolomites and the sea are both nearby. Treviso had never popped up on my tourist radar before, and a little research told me that it doesn’t have any major attractions of its own, so therefore (I hoped) not many tourists or crowds, though it does have two rivers running through it, so it looked quite pretty. Its just a quietly prosperous town, going about its own business. Perfect!
I found a holiday apartment and booked it. Off we went. Husband decided that on the third week he’d like to go back to England to visit his family, and I decided to attend a language school while he was away. I fronted up, introduced myself, and enrolled, and in the meantime we got busy acquainting ourselves with Treviso. We rented le biciclette (bikes) and cycled around town, around the walls. Outside the walls. Followed the river. Pretended to be Trevignani.
We discovered that there are not one, but TWO huge weekly markets! One on Saturday and another on Tuesday, both open until 1pm. Woohoo! There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, and many are open on Sundays, and there’s even a supermercato! Wow! Bliss!
The medieval walls only still exist on the northern side, although there are small stretches on the western and eastern sides. The walls are tall and wide and have trees growing on them, rather like a park, and you can wander through the town and suddenly come across the rivers flowing fast. Lovely!
The commune have built extensive cycling paths through and around town, and just recently have created a dedicated 70km cycling path that runs all the way to Jesolo, the beachside town just north of Venice. No cars. No traffic. Just bikes. An active commune! Fabulous!
Even more exciting and challenging was that the shopkeepers of Treviso spoke to me in Italian. Fabulous! Another tick!
So… we started looking at properties for sale.