Our third day in Italy started off a little closer to schedule than the previous day. We actually woke up on time, got ready, and were able to enjoy the breakfast provided by the hotel. After breakfast, we had planned to spend the day visiting my dad’s family that lived just outside of Rome, in a small town called Marino.
We were picked up in the morning by my dad’s cousin Silvanna, her husband Enzo and his brother, who’s name I’m very sorry I cannot remember. They were in two cars so my dad went with Silvanna and Enzo’s brother, and myself and my mom went with Enzo. It was about an hours drive to their home, so we tried to make conversation, but since my mom and I don’t speak Italian, it was slightly difficult with the language barrier. There was one point however, where Enzo was trying to ask us if we liked the backstreet boys because his daughter Georgia had one of their CD’s in the car and was asking if we wanted to listen to it. We were super confused with what he was trying to say at first, but we had a good laugh once we figured it out.
When we arrived, we immediately headed out for a walk around the small hilly town.
Marino is exactly what you would expect from a small town in Italy. The buildings are close together, with balconies that nearly touch. They’re separated by meandering cobblestone streets, but joined by laundry that hangs across the way.
One of the neat things about the town is that there is a very narrow alley that our family took us too. I believe they told us that it was the narrowest street in Marino. They called it baciadonna, which literally translates into “women kiss”. What’s meant by it is that the street is so narrow that if two women were in the alley, they would be so close they would be kissing. At least it’s something along those lines…
We then meandered through town a little more until we got to a kind of town square. There is a fountain in the middle that gets filled with wine during a wine festival that they have there in the summer! Enzo also took us down into the Grotto where they keep their wine. Its down a very steep staircase into the earth and they were actually used during World War II, which I thought was pretty amazing!
After our tour around the town, it was time to eat. If you walk away from an Italian meal and you’re still able to breath comfortably, you haven’t eaten enough. We had a delicious lunch of pasta (obviously), breads, cold cuts, wine, cheeses, and assorted cookies for dessert. The meal was followed by a very lengthy, very loud conversation of which I understood little, but enjoyed thoroughly. I attempted to learn Italian before we left, but once Italians get talking at a rapid fire pace, it’s nearly impossible to catch more than a fleeting word.
We then all piled into three different cars and drove to a nearby lake to enjoy a walk by the water in the beautiful Italian sun.
The drive ended with Gelato at a nearby restaurant and then back to my family’s house for, if you can believe it, another meal! Basically, the leftovers from lunch were brought out and everyone had small bites to eat while chatting.
Around 9:30 we were driven home, and I basically collapsed into my bed after another long day.
For day four, we only had one place to stop by, and then it was going to be a long day of driving as we drove across the country to the East Coast.
We grabbed breakfast at the hotel and then walked over to see the Spanish steps. We entered from the top of the steps, so we didn’t really get to appreciate the view until we got to the bottom.
We did a bit more walking through the city to get back to our hotel, but by this point I was starting to get a cold, so I didn’t feel much like walking around anymore.
Once we packed up at the hotel, we took all our luggage on the metro and rode to Rebibbia Station. It was at the end of the metro line in a more run down area just on the outskirts of Rome. We were supposed to be met by a man who would be delivering our RV to us. The plan was to pick up the RV from this company and then be able to drive it around Italy for the next 10 days or so. He was suppose to meet us at 11am. I don’t think he showed up until 4pm when we were all incredibly stressed out and worried that my parents had lost out on thousands of dollars when they paid for this service online.
Thankfully, our RV did finally show up and we packed our things in and were on our way to Fano. Since I’m sure you’ve never heard of it before, Fano is a small fishing town with a long strip of beach along the Adriatic Sea. There is a small piazza in the core of the city, complete with classic narrow cobblestone streets. Also, the grocery stores sell pasta for dogs.
This photo above is from our drive across the country. Every so often, there would be tiny towns nestled right into the hillside. So beautiful! There were also huge fields of sunflowers all along the sides of the highway, which made for a huge pop of colour among the greenery. We stopped along the way at a gas station to fill the RV and grab some food, and I was incredibly surprised by how good the food was there! They basically had full service restaurants in some of them, complete with a small grocery store. If you ever find yourself driving around Italy, and need a quick place to grab some food, don’t shy away from the gas stations, you’d be pleasantly surprised by how tasty their food is.
We had a fairly smooth ride to Fano, but once we got into town we drove around for probably another 2 hours trying to find the house. My dad thought that we would be able to find our way there just because of a 30 year old memory he has of the last time he was in Fano. This was entirely not the case. It was almost 10pm by the time we reached my Zio and Zias house. Nevertheless, there was still a large meal waiting for us complete with pasta and home made cold cuts. So worth the drive!
It was really good to be able to meet my family in Italy that I had heard about for the last 22 years! My sister decided not to come on our vacation with us, but if you have the chance to visit family in your home country, you should definitely take it!
Next Italy post, we’ll be exploring the town of Fano! Stay tuned!