Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Soave--Italian Castle Virgins No More

The tiny Italian walled city of Soave (pronounced Suave-a), with its quaint charm and easily accessible castle ruins will always hold a special place in our hearts because it was the first castle city we visited as a family in Europe.  We went for the first time on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon in February, unusual because the weather in February is usually so cold and rainy.

We arrived in the afternoon because Soave castle does take resposo (a period of rest for several hours during the day--similar to the Mexican sieste)

We parked our car on the outside of the walled city because only residents with special scannable (similar to an E Z PAss at a toll booth) permits are allowed to drive inside the city.  This is fairly typical for most European cities we've visited, not to mention the fact that roads are very narrow--far to narrow for our giant American car--and parking tends to be almost nonexistent.

We all cracked up when we looked down at our car from the very top of the castle and had no problems picking it out, simply because it was SO much bigger than the rest of the tiny European cars

After a leisurely stroll through the quaint town of Soave, we made our way up to the stone walkway to the castle.  The walk up until this point had been challenging with kids, but nothing too difficult.  The streets were paved, the sidewalks were even marble (something very common in Italy).

 Looking up at the castle from the parking lot

Our family walking through the walls of the city

Looking back at the part of the wall we just walked through.  You can see just how high the walls actually are!

The arches over the windows remind me of home

I love Italian doors!

Marble sidewalk

 Pushing the stroller didn't last long.  It soon became impossible.

Walking up the narrow walkway to the actually castle was a different story!  It was a very steep climb!

Flowers growing around the caretaker's window 

My feet were killing me by the time we got to the top.  The rocks were so round and walking on them was so uncomfortable!

Inside the castle wall--some of it is original to the 1300's 

This is the only part of the castle still standing that you can actually go inside

 This is outside the staircase leading inside the castle

 Looking out on the non-walled part of the city

 Viva Italia!

 Trey has apparently inherited my fear of heights

 If you look closely, you can see the part of the city that is still walled.  I love this region of Italy!

I love this kid...

 The kids were fascinated with the holes where they would shoot the arrows

Apparently, there used to be a chimney here

 Supposedly, this painting is over 800 years old. I am skeptical...

We met this fella on our way back down.  He spoke not a word of English but when he found out we were Americans, he was quick to tell us that his brother lives in Chesapeake, VA--minutes from where I'm from.  It IS a small world.

Check back on Thursday!  I've got a funny little story to tell about our adventures at Soave!

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