During summer in Italy, set off on a vacation by train from Florence|Miho Bokuda|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2015.07.31
  • During summer in Italy, set off on a vacation by train from Florence
As we enter June and the sunshine intensifies, people immediately start thinking about summer holidays in the context of a short or long-term vacation at the beach or in the mountains.

Italy is a long and narrow peninsula in an area surrounded by the beautiful coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. The land is a rich lush country with vastly changing forests and rivers around the Alps and the Dolomites, for example. A short car or train ride from the city brings you to the clear blue sea or a lush green rural town. Spending time there on sunny weekends is a summer treat for the people of Italy.

夏の海の景観 リグーリアの遺跡前につくられた海水浴場
Summer ocean scene: Sea bathing beach built in front of the Liguria ruins
Everyone has their own favorite place to go that matches their lifestyle, like famous summer resorts or little-known seashores. Even people like me without a car or overseas visitors can enjoy the summer resorts to the maximum by using public transportation. Express boats or planes are needed to reach islands like Sicily or Sardinia, but as long as you avoid faraway places with few trains running each day, the trains are very convenient and are the main form of transportation for travelers. You can also enjoy a leisurely time on the train watching the changing landscape from the window as you travel from your origin to your destination. You can see the unique scenery of Italy, like beaches, lush valleys, and vast sunflower fields.

Train and station
Coastal train line
Inside the train

As for well-known sightseeing spots you can visit from Florence, in the North mountain side, you have Bolzano located in three Northern provinces in the Dolomites that is a registered UNESCO world heritage site about a three and a half hour journey away by express train. In the South ocean side, you have Cinque Terre and other coastal towns of Liguria. Here you can see a quaint old fishing village that is a famous world heritage site and a row of bays. It is about three hours away by train and you can go and see all sorts of bays and islands by bus or cruise ship. Using the express train increases your range of activities, and only a two and a half hour journey to the south of Italy takes you to places like Naples and Salerno. The main train line joining the north and south of Florence shows great variation on both the mountain and ocean side.

Town near Cinque Terre
Coastal landscape
View of Feltre and the monastery built on the mountaintop
At the end of June, I also hopped on board a train to escape the busy city and came here to spend my vacation in the fresh air and lush greenery. My destination was a monastery*1 in Feltre, a town surrounded by the mountains and clear rivers of the Northern Italy Veneto province. This monastery was built in the 12th century on the top of the mountain overlooking the town dedicated to Saints Victor and Corona. It is a small, beautiful monastery and is also used as a base for preserving music and classic culture. It holds organ concerts and genuine seminars on the medieval culture. During this visit, I attended a three-day seminar*2 on “Western-style miniature paintings and calligraphy (miniatures and classic lettering)” that I had always had an interest in. Comparing it to Japan, it was similar to a class on transcribing sutras and tracing the accompanying illustrations.

Inside the monastery

Painting a miniature
I enjoyed the cool breeze near the spring water river flowing into Feltre, then set off for the mountaintop monastery. The moment I arrived at the monastery and the gate opened, I caught my breath at the site of the astonishingly tranquil corridor where time seemed to stand perfectly still. It was a precious experience being able to strongly feel the power of tranquility that is only possible in a completely isolated place contrasted against the expansive seashore. Also, staying at a historical monastery surrounded by deep green mountains and clean rivers and spending time with people I met at the seminar made this short vacation one that I will remember always.

*1 The official name of the monastery is the Basilica Santuario Dei Ss. Vittore e Corona.
    To read about it in Italian, visit http://www.santivittoreecorona.it/storia.html
*2 If you are interested, visit the following websites in Italian and English.


  • Miho Bokuda
  • AgeCow( USHI )
  • GenderFemale
  • JobWestern painting restorer

Majored in Japanese painting at the Faculty of Art at Kyoto Seika University. Founded her own business in the Renaissance city of Florence in 2008 and has been actively involved in restoration of classic Italian paintings since then. On her days off, she enjoys exploring delicious ingredients at local markets, visit nearby towns, and singing in the choir she belongs to.

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