• Walking barefoot on the Vadehavet

    In 2020 I happened to appreciate much more than ever the contact with the nature. Although the spreading of the pandemic we were not subjected to restrictions as for how to spend our time outdoor. We were instead often encouraged to spend our time in the open air instead of lock ourselves home. Last summer was therefore an amazing time because it let us put the spotlight on exploring the nature. We experienced a pace quite unknown, we lived at a slower speed while enjoying the little things and being surprised at the wonder of the natural world, which we, perhaps, often give for granted. Among other experiences, I chose for today's blog post to tell you about the excursion I did in the national park Vadehavet (the Wadden Sea). It deals with a trip that you should definitely organise too. It could be an idea for your future holidays, if you live in Denmark, in accordance with the covid-19 restrictions. It could likewise be an option if you do not live in Denmark assuming that traveling for tourist reasons will be allowed. If not within summer 2021, just save the idea for another moment: the Vadehavet doesn't run away!

    National park and unesco heritage

    The Vadehavet is a coast line that stretches from Den Helder in the Netherlands to Esbjerg in Denmark as well as the result made from the meltwaters during the last ice age, namely the Weichselian glaciation, which ended around 9600 BC. Thanks to its 1459 km² the Vadehavet is the largest national park in Denmark (there are five in total). Nevertheless only 10% of the entire ecosystem is to be found here given that the park stretches further southwards along the German and Dutch coasts. Besides being designated national park in 2010, the Danish part of the Vadehavet was also listed as unesco world heritage in 2014. The decision was made after recognising the international importance of the swamp and tidal area as well as the dynamism of the ecosystem, which represents a vital source for flora and fauna. The Vadehavet is actually a rest area for million migratory birds and a breeding area for birds, fish and sea mammals. Furtermore, the area boasts a rich cultural history as for land reclamation and dam construction.

    The islands

    There are five islands in the Danish part of the Vadehavet. Three out of them are populated since the Middle Ages. They all have got something unique to offer: from the villages with thatched-roof houses in Fanø island, to the almost totally uncontaminated landscape in Mandø, and the large wild spaces in Rømo. However, Mandø island holds a surprise given that it is reachable only during periods of low tide.

    The tides

    You'd better inform yourselves about the time of the tides in advance before you reach the island. According to the local guide I met in Mandø, people usually drive to the island thanks to the low tide and are not able able to drive back though if not until the following tide. This is a consequence of not being aware of the ecosystem's nature. Most of the seabed dries out two times within an average of 24 hours. The difference in height between the low and the high tide is 1,8 meters in some places. "Vadehavet" means exactly "the sea" (havet) "whose seabed dries out during the low tide" (vade). I recommend you to always contact a guide with expertise since the tides can change accordingly to the weather and the area requires a deep knowledge of the local conditions. You will enjoy an amazing experience this way without unpleasant surprises.

    Low tide between Mandø island and the mainland.

    Flora and fauna

    Mandø is rich in wild herbs and flowers as well as native animals. Among the others it is possible to spot migratory birds such as the red knot, the grey plover and the curlew, and nesting birds such as the western marsh harrier, the arctic tern and lots of anatids just like the gadwall, the northern shoveler, and the widgeon. You will also find lots of blue mussels, sandworms (they pretend they are dead during the low tide so not to be eaten by other animals), grey seals, brown shrimps, plaice, crab and herring. Last but not least, you will see many sheep grazing. In Mandø you will find the common sea-lavender which you will easily recognise thanks to its distinctive blue-violet colour. The flora and fauna that you will be able to see in the island change according to the season. As a matter of fact you will be able to experience different excursions depending on when in the year you visit the national park.

    The common sea-lavender, one of the wild flowers in Mandø.

    My experience

    I am going to tell you how I organised my exploration in the island so that it can be of inspiration for you. The road that connects the island to the mainland is called Låningsvejen and it is 7 km long. The easiest way to cross it is aboard a tractor-bus, which leaves from Vadehavetscenter in the countryside of Ribe. I stayed at a splendid location in Ribe within walking distance from the magnificente cathedral. And I explored the surroundings on a bicycle that I rented at Danhostel. On the day of the excursion to Mandø I reached the Vadehavetscenter on two wheels. 10 km of beautiful landscape, which I would have easily done in less than half an hour, but the strong wind and the mistaken sand tracks made me late. Do not be deceived by the side paths, just continue along the main road and leave well in advance! I made it to the tractor-bus 30 seconds before the excursion started. We were a group of approximately fourty people in total: all Danes except for me and my travel mates. This was a clear sign of the pandemic 'cause that bus would have otherwise been crowded with many other nationalities. The naturalistic guide was a biologist with expertise about the local flora and fauna. As we reached the island, we got off the bus and enjoyed the path back to the mainland by taking advantage of the low tide. I walked barefoot on the seabad. The water was warm as well as the air temperature. It was July and the weather conditions were very pleasant.

    Practical information

    If you wish to reach Mandø on a tractor-bus, book in advance the tickets and possibly the bicycle to move around. A Spasso con Elena will be happy to plan the itinerary and provide reservations for you. You are welcome to contact us to know further. I recommend you to check the forecast so to get dressed accordingly. My advice for a summer trip is to wear shorts (the water level increases as you walk along the naturalistic path) or, even better, those hiking pants that you can modify in lenght. What else? A t-shirt, a sweater, a lightweight waterproof jacket and a cap. I recommend to take off your shoes and enjoy completely the contact with the sea by walking barefoot. However, there are lots of mussels in some places, which can hurt your feet. Therefore, I would take along a pair of rock/cliff shoes to wear in case you need. Do not forget to bring water, snacks and your camera. This excursion is suitable for all ages as long as you are able to walk well. You will not have to run, but you will have to hurry since there is a limited time during which the tide is low. It is for sure an awesome experience for kids. If you wish to take your dog along, you will have to keep it on a leash besides reading carefully all the rules that applies.

    Useful links

    You find lots of information on the Vadehavet's official webpage (just choose English if you do not understand Danish)


    If you wish to sleep under the stars in one of the many shelters scattered in the wild nature, check this page

    You can check the tides on the Danish weather institute's page

  • Treviso vs. Copenhagen: similarities and differences. A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 9


    Valentina joined our guided tours this summer. After having explored Copenhagen together, the idea came to write an article about the experience. In order to create something interesting out of it, that would combine the interest for both Treviso and Copenhagen and after having realised that there are points in common between the two city, we decided that an article about their similarities and differencies would be of inspiration for our readers. Enjoy it and let us know what you think!

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    If you know Copenhagen well, or you live there and feel part of it, surely spending a few days in Treviso will make you feel like home with a touch of relax. Last summer I spent a couple of days in the Danish capital for the second time in my life after almost twenty years. At that time it was one of my very first trips round Europe and memories were a bit faded, so before leaving I took back those photos to revive those feelings.

    Being back in 2018 it's been a lovely flashback, I recognized some spots of the city and I reminded some funny anecdotes experienced with my friends. And you know what, the more I thought and stared at Copenhagen the more I noticed similarities to Treviso.

    I collected some of my thoughts:

    Canals that intersect the city walls, appear and disappear under buildings with a relaxing water sound that slips away towards the sea. Of course, in Copenhagen canals are a little wider and navigable, but both cities have a strong connection with water and sea.

    However, elegance is the main characteristic of them both: elegance of their buildings as well as their inhabitants. Elegance in the cultural offers of modern art galleries and art exhibitions. Intense cultural, artistic and musical activities with concerts of various kind of music spread around the city. A number of comics, independent cinema and literature festivals are part of Treviso and Copenhagen.

    Copenhagen's Old Harbour. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Without too many traffic jams, the center of Treviso is calm and streets are pleasantly conquered by people on bikes or by foot as well as in Copenhagen. Although the Danish capital is much bigger than our city, cars are rare. Here the traffic jam is caused by bikes, bikes are everywhere and for everyone, Copenhagen is undoubtedly the two-wheeled paradise. In Treviso cars get tangled mostly outside the walls, but at least the city center is free from them.

    The cyclist in sculpture along the Viale B. Burchielltati in Treviso. Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    Green areas are well integrated in the two cities, places or parks where you can spend some time outdoors, including walking, jogging and cycling. But it is also common to canoeing along the city canals, appreciated both by the inhabitants of Treviso and by the Danes.

    Browsing around both cities is safe during the day and at night. You really feel free and safe and I promise you, this is priceless.

    Easily reachable from the airport, Treviso by bus and Copenhagen by train, you can get off in the center in 10/15 minutes.

    The conviviality of their people, the pleasure of sitting at the bar sipping a drink or grabbing something to eat with friends is remarkable in both places. Clean and tidy cities both on a human scale, they are extremely careful to recycling. Eventually I must say that Treviso and Copenhagen have a number of peculiarities that make them closer than expected.

    But now you would ask what makes them unique and worth for a visit?

    As soon as you set a foot in Treviso, you will notice the large number of Osterie (typical bars), where you can pop in for an aperitif or for a proper meal. Food, good wine or spritz always come along when you meet your friends in Treviso, people in town love to enjoy life at fullest. The variety of food options in Treviso are much wider if compared to Copenhagen, but this is certainly an Italian tradition. On the other hand in Copenhagen you will have a large choice of Smorrenbrot, slices of bread stuffed with anything tasty, but besides Smorrenbrot there is not much else to try.

    Without too much effort you will notice, how much cheaper Treviso is compared to Copenhagen, certainly a consequence to a Danish life standard much higher than the Italian one. Although Treviso is even cheaper than other Italian cities. Particularly if you think to the nearby Venice.

    Modern area, buildings or attractions are missing in Treviso, unlike the Nordic capital, but in this case we have to dig into the past, as Capenhagen has undergone a number of fires during the ages, thus making possible its reconstruction and renewal.

    Several mutual peculiarities with their own identities make Treviso and Copenhagen destinations extremely interesting and relaxing to visit, but they are above all to be discovered in their uniqueness.

    Riviera Santa Margherita in Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

  • Did you know that there is a little bit of Denmark in California?

    This is the time when, after the never-ending work high season, I begin dreaming of my coming holidays, but, since the time doesn't really fly when you're waiting so much for something to happen, it only remains for me to stick to the happy memories of my past trips around the world. Last year I travelled to California - I should have written about this experience beyond the Øresund Strait much earlier than now - and even thousands of kilometres away from my adopted country I found some of it there. I knew it in advance, but I couldn't imagine it would have been looking like a Danish kitsch wonderland. If you haven't guessed what I am talking about yet, well, it deals with Solvang, California's little Denmark. Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, that we visited after having spent a wonderful time in San Louis Obispo and before heading to Santa Barbara, indeed. It is located about 25 km from the coast and it is quite near to the huge Los Padres National Forest. Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes and 5800 people still live there. It is 18 times bigger than the freetown Christiania (in Copenhagen).

    After having parked our car next to the reproduction of a Danish royal guard's red cabin, we couldn't wait to taste a "wienerbrød" pastry at one of the several bakeries in the town. We chose one and had a fun experience. The managers didn't speak any Danish, that's maybe why we got something else than what we ordered, and the taste of the pastries was not that authentic, not at all similar to what we are used to in Copenhagen.

    We hadn't really felt like home until then if it wasn't for the houses built after Danish typical architecture. Nevertheless, something we hadn't discovered yet, was hiding. I am not referring to any ghost or witch - Halloween had passed already! As soon as we started to walk around, we found ourselves surrounded by Danish symbolic monuments: the Dybbøl windmill and the Round Tower. We have been said there were also copies of two well known sculptures, one representing the little Mermaid, the other depicting H.C. Andersen.

    Personally, I think that Solvang is a rather touristic place, which is fun to have a stop by while driving in that area of the country, but I will not recommend to make a detour to visit it in case your trip will be focused on another part of California.

    I would like to hear from you whether you have ever happened to be in Solvang and what was your read. Please let us know more in the comments below and share with us your experience! Find our pictures below!

    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

  • Venetian Spritz? Yes, please! A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 8


    When I was a little girl, I was always impressed by the color of that liquid substance shining from those many wine glasses seen through the narrow streets in my hometown, Treviso. There was a stain of orange or red color just on each of the tray tables downtown. I could notice that a couple of ice cubes was in the glass too, as well as some slices of orange or lemon, chips and olives on the tables and people, talking, smoking, smiling, kissing, enjoying. I am sure that my family was promptly asked by me about the essence of that colourful beverage I could not stop looking at. And I am sure they explained me the whole thing the first time, while just giving me a simple answer all the following times although you can't really make a story short when talking about the Italian "aperitivo". It not only deals with what to drink or eat, but it is a social moment, a habit that reflects the way people live their life, a key situation for the Italian culture. You'll most probably order a "Spritz" in Veneto region, but it's not dramatic at all - even if someone would declare just the opposite - if you do not drink alcohol. In any case, the aim is to join your friends and family and have a good time. There is a wide variety of possibilities for "aperitivo" and different traditions are to be found from region to region or even from town to town. These have to do with the time, the location, the drink itself and so on. When I was in high school (last year of it since in Italy you are not given any alcohol when you are younger than 18 years), I would join my friends for aperitivo at 7 on a Friday evening. In my university days the "spritz day" became Tuesday. There is also a wide range of recipes, of ways of presenting as well as of food to be eaten with. Some people like it "liscio" (only prosecco, sparkling water and a slice of lemon), other people prefer it with Aperol (sweeter), with Campari (bitter), with Select (a middle ground) or non alcoholic (what a scandal!). Further variations are to be found when travelling along the Boot on the way you make it as well as the name you call it might change from north to south. Have you ever heard of it or tasted it the real way? Since I live in Copenhagen I haven't drank a good one, sadly, but maybe you have! Please tell me more in the comments! If you want to be advised on some good places where to drink the best Spritz in Treviso, instead, please do not hesitate to send me a private message. Now I pass the word to Valentina who will tell us more about the Spritz's origins and curiosities.

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    Every place has its habits and I love to explore their customs when visiting other places or other cultures. And when your own habit is spreading around the world, you feel in between proud as well as protective. Yes, protective, because people ignore the roots of it and this is exactly what has been happening in the past few years to the Spritz. Spritz is a local drink and as a child I remember that it used to be drunk by old people, it was not a trendy drink and commonly it was sipped just before main meals. Now it is the most widespread and common aperitif in the North East of Italy and in Treviso as well. By far, it is the perfect drink to accompany cicchetti (typical finger-food) in the many osterie (taverns) in cities as well as small towns.

    Lately its popularity has crossed the border region, thanks to a strong advertising campaign by Aperol liquor. In the last decade, Spritz with Prosecco has become the most popular type served all over Italy. What makes the difference having it in Veneto is the price. While in Veneto is still sold as a common drink, and if you are lucky enough you can spend 1€ per glass, in other areas of Italy it is served as a cocktail with an accordingly price. It’s become quite popular in the menus of half Europe and not long ago I had the chance to have it in Cape Town, South Africa, while recently I saw it served in Copenhagen as well. Actually, I was not impressed by those, as their color was a pale orange and not tempting at all.

    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Ever wondered where it comes from? It’s a legacy of the Habsburg domination in Veneto between 1814 and 1866. Indeed “Spritz” derives from the abbreviation of the German word “Gespritzter” used to indicate the white or red wine diluted with water, which was ordered by the Habsburgians, for whom the Venetian wines were too high in alcohol. And so they got used to order a glass of wine with a “spritz” of water. That’s why if you go to some areas of the Northern East of Italy and you order a Spritz without mentioning whether you wish it with Aperol or Campari, you may get a glass of white wine mixed with some water. Usually called Spritz Bianco - White Spritz in Treviso.

    Would you share a glass of spritz with your friends? Just follow this recipe for a traditional spritz: 1/3 Prosecco wine, 1/3 Aperol liquor (or Campari), 1/3 sparkling water (or soda), a slice of orange and a few ice cubes. Then blend them and serve, better if with some cicchetti.

    Enjoy its unique taste and participate to the popular Venetian ritual! Cheers!

  • Let's discover the three Palladian Villas in Treviso. A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 7


    Hello everyone! How are you today? I hope that you are enjoying your summer to the most! Here in the North, it is the hottest summer of the last 130 years, somebody says. If I was in Treviso now, I would take a trip on the trail of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio for sure. Not only I recommend you to visit Vicenza, where you will find a lot designed by him, but also to explore the Villas, scattered all around Veneto region. In this article, three of them are set out, but there are many more you could pay a visit to! Enjoy the reading and see you again in September!

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    The Palladian Villas, spreaded all over the Veneto region, are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1996. The Palladian Villas were built after the second half of the 15th century thanks to the Italian architect Andrea Palladio. At that time the noble Venetians wanted to get away from the sometimes unhealthy city life and to take refuge in the countryside. Three of the twenty-four Villas which were designed by Palladio are located in the Treviso province. Among them, two can be visited: Villa Barbaro and Villa Emo, the other, Villa Zeno, can only be visited after prior agreement with the owners.

    Villa Barbaro in Maser is a masterpiece of architecture situated on the slopes of the Asolo hills. It was built between 1554 and 1560, when the noble Venetian family commissioned Palladio to restore their medieval house. For the first time the manor house, namely the central body reserved for the nobility as a place of representation, is aligned in a single unit with the barns ("barchesse") intended for servants. The reasons are probably due to pre-existing medieval structure and the fact that Villa Barbaro is located on the slopes of the hills. The interior is embellished by six rooms beautifully decorated with frescoes by the Italian artist Paolo Veronese, while next to the Villa, Palladio realized the Tempietto with circular floor in 1580. The orderer Marcantonio Barbaro wanted to donate a new church to the town of Maser. The very last masterpiece before the architect's death. If you walk along the path on the back of the Villa, you will reach the Carriage Collection, which deals with about thirty antique pieces. Never forget to take a look at the opening hours on the website before paying a visit.

    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Villa Emo in Fanzolo was commissioned to Palladio by Leonardo Emo around 1550 since he wished to make a plan for his country house, as he was willing to leave the city and devote himself to agriculture and farming. Palladio planned these mansions based on usage and the need for which they were commissioned. In this case he planned a noble center, which could be developed on one or two floors, from which it could also be particularly effective the control of the farmers work. While on the sides the barns took shape, which had to be symmetrical and facing the south, according to Palladio. Even in this case the barns were nothing more than the workplace for the farmers. They were separated from the noble part this way. The frescoes by Battista Zelotti, Veronese’s partner and collaborator already by that time, enhance the architectural harmony of the Villa. My favorite room is the Hall of Arts, in which the muses of music, poetry, architecture and astronomy are represented. A curiosity: Villa Emo no longer belongs to the original family. The only thing they still own is the coat of arms hanged in the main hall. After the visit, bare in mind to keep the ticket, as you will get a discount to visit four other nearby sites within a year: Museo Casa Giorgione, Museo Civico di Asolo, Villa Barbaro in Maser and Canova’s Plaster Cast Gallery.

    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Villa Zeno in Cessalto is perhaps the less known Palladian Villa, dating back probably to 1554 by the will of Marco Zeno. In "The Four Books of Architecture" by Andrea Palladio, the Villa is represented with four barns, whose construction only took place in the 1600s. It is highly probable that Palladio realized Villa Zeno on a pre-existing building. This would explain the particularity of the plant, which has undergone important changes over the centuries. Currently the Villa, listed in the Unesco World Heritage Sites, needs restoration works for which it is not regularly open to the public. You can still visit it by making direct contact with the owners.

    Photo credits: Alessandro Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Here a link for you to the map of the Palladian Villas in Treviso.

  • The Ai Pioppi handmade amusement park. A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 6


    "Ai Pioppi": I pronounce it once, and a scenario full of happy memories and fun moments come up to my mind. Every time I remember my childhood in Treviso, I feel immensely glad and deeply nostalgic at the same time, but I guess the latter is rather related to the inevitable passing of time than to the place itself which I left some years ago. Speaking of time, the Ai Pioppi amusement park is that very place where I feel like the clock has stopped. I feel like I have entered another world where the traditional conception of place and time do not apply. I feel quite the same when being inside Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

    The way up to Montello Hill to reach Ai Pioppi hidden gem appear vividly before me. As a little girl I have never been a fan of the rides and I still remember being amazed at what, by that time, I would describe among the scariest rides! I was too young to appreciate the craftmanship and the creativity of the inventor who built that world of wonders. I would rather be focused on how to slide down without hurting myself or looking bad. I would rather look forward to enjoy an ice-cream together with my siblings, after the sweats and the adrenaline rush.

    The name of the park comes from "pioppo" which is a kind of tree, namely the poplar. There is plenty of them up there (do not be deceived, for in the truth, the Montello rises to a maximum of 371 m elevation, which can be anyway quite a lot if compared to my beloved flat Denmark). Besides being it an amazing natural oasis, the Montello offers a variety of local restaurants where to taste delicious food. Among other typical specialties from Veneto region, you will be able to try the "polenta" and the "formaggio fuso" (melted cheese) at Ai Pioppi. Do you like the sound of that? Then I suggest you continue the reading to take a dive even more into this magic place.

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    Between the intense green of trees and the gentle ups and downs of the streets that break through the vegetation suddenly you bump into a sign: OSTERIA AI PIOPPI. The handcrafted amusement park stands right in front of you. Childhood memories of many locals, because sooner or later all of us took a trip to Ai Pioppi.

    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    The peculiarity of Ai Pioppi, besides attracting the curiosity of the international press, has brought FABRICA up to the Montello hill. Actually the creative center founded by Luciano Benetton dedicated a documentary video to its history. I promise you, take some time to watch it, it's extremely exciting and it touches your heart.

    Ai Pioppi started by chance in 1969, when Bruno Ferrin took a jug of white and red wine, some sausages and soppressa (local cured meat) and set up a sort of restaurant along the street. A successful idea and at the end of the day all the food supplies are over. But Bruno's talent is not just limited to food and when some time later he needs some hooks and as the blacksmith is not available, he learns to weld by himself. And little by little the Ai Pioppi amusement park takes shape right from his own hands.

    Bruno, born in 1939, has created on his own all the attractions, which grow among trees as works of art. An astounding talent and an extreme passion for an activity started and created almost by chance.

    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Looking at a leaf hovering in the wind or staring at a branch rolling on the ground, Bruno's mind immediately thinks of an attraction to be created and he starts working on it. The immense passion and satisfaction expressed by Bruno's words deeply touches my heart. And when one of his attraction is completed and it actually works, he stares at it with his eyes and his heart full of joy.

    After listening to Bruno' story you'll love even more this place, which marked the childhood of many people in the area. Ai Pioppi is a sort of expression of our land as well as our people, when back in the 60s the economy was really poor while the resourcefulness of its people were enormous.

    In addition to being the expression of a territory, Ai Pioppi is free entrance. Which is something unusual nowadays. But you will wonder how it still can be open? Next to the amusement park there is an osteria (a tavern) and a restaurant. The osteria is wonderful in its simplicity, just like Bruno. Once you take your order, sit down in the shade of the trees and taste your simple food enjoying the light breeze blowing in the Montello hill.

    I have been several times to have fun among the rides of Ai Pioppi and, to be honest, I would say that it is a playground more for adults rather than for children. However, outside attractions, if they are not recommended for children, you will find a sign explaining it.

    Do you want to know my favorite? The slide of course, which stands in among trees. Before sliding you need to get a piece of cloth, climb stairs - please, don't do it, if you suffer from vertigo - and when it's your turn sit on it and go down. A unique fun!

    The uniqueness of this place is its history itself. It's not a multinationals amusement park where its attractions are advertised anywhere. Where expecting a long queue at the entrance gate and a ticket to pay. Ai Pioppi is a reality that geos deep into everyone's heart, which is part of our region's roots and I promise you, you will want to come back. No matter the age.

    "If you see a ride that is about to break, please advise at the cashier". Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

  • The human scale

    Have your ever wondered about how important the architecture is in people's life? Have you ever considered a human scale as a reason why people are happy in a country or the other? Besides talking about the hygge, the welfare state and the good Danish beer, I think that we should also take into consideration the role that architecture plays in our lives. If Copenhagen is such a lively city and Denmark is such a happy country, maybe architecture should take credit for it. Copenhagen has of course not been always as it is today. Its present scale has been achieved thanks to the research made over the last decades. If Copenhagen succeeds in meeting people's needs while being a safe and liveable city at the same time, it is partly thanks to Jan Gehl. He is a well known architect and urban designer who started to investigate the human behaviour in relation to the urban space in 1965, after having attended the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copehagen. He visited many cities in the world which inspired his research focused on the changes that Copenhagen should have undergone in order to be a better city for people. He lived in Italy for quite a while. The question he asked himself was: "Why is Italy known as such a good country for people?". That's why he travelled to Siena where he began to look at people and reported their behaviour based on a scientific method. It must have felt strange, maybe challenging sometimes, but his research contributed to important considerations that broke up with the tradition that architects were carrying on back at that time. "The human scale" was published in 2002 as an evidence of Jan Gehl's commitment to the urban life. I warmly recommend you to watch it by either buying it or going to a library or a vidéothèque. You can use the "Cinemateket" in Copenhagen. You'll find it at Gothersgade 55. In the following lines I would like to give you an introduction to this intriguing movie hoping that your interest will arise too. Architecture reflects our behaviour and evolution through time. This is why we should think about it and question ourselves about the cities we live in. Are we happy there? Apparently people who live in Copenhagen are, and I myself confirm it. But let's explore together some of the motivations that make Copenhagen such a good place for homo sapiens:

    Public spaces

    A city is well organized when it offers venues for gathering in which you do not feel like you are in a private property or that you are bothering the others. A public space has been well conceived when people use it and they feel like being part of a whole there. When they feel at ease even when surrounded by strangers. In Copenhagen you find several examples. Have you ever passed by Ofelia Plads? It is a platform on the water used as a cultural space for theatre, dance and music events. Its completely open structure invites you to spend your time on it. The swimming pools along the canal are another public and open-air example. They are five in total and they are just perfect for enjoying the sunny days in the city. Last but not least, there are also a bunch of buildings where you can spend time inside, which is perfect in case of adverse weather. Among the others, the recently opened Blox is just a wonderful venue for life.

    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    Buildings at eye-level

    How do you feel when having to constantly look towards the sky to understand where you are, or what the building in front of you is for? Wouldn't you feel more confortable while not having to do so? Well, most probably your neck would. We are not giraffes and our surroundings should be designed so that they make us feel at ease. Copenhagen is a quite a good place in this sense. The horizon is not decorated by skyscrapers (there are very few of them - among others, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, which is anyway nearly 70 meters high), but by the gentle and charming towers of churches and palaces.

    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    Hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes

    I love spreading the bicycle culture because I think it is one big reason why people feel good. Not using the car implies much less stress since you do not have to face regular obstacles that arise in a typical trafficated day in a big city. I am talking particularly about parking spots and long and boring jams in the middle of the smog. Biking makes you save your time as well as your money when looking for a parking. In addition, it makes it easier to navigate your way in the city and avoid traffic.

    Our cities shape us and the way we live there. We should not understimate the value architecture and urbanization have in our everyday life. I am happy to live in a city where bikers and pedestrians have gained a rather big authority and car drivers respect it. I can clearly see the difference when I travel to cities which do not share Copenhagen's human scale.

    Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

  • A walking tour to the discovery of Treviso's watermills. A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 5


    There exists something in this world which is particularly relaxing. I am talking about the sound of rushing water. Have you ever stopped by a mill and closed your eyes while listening to that? I did and I think there is a magic in those moments. I used to walk to the mills during summertime. There I used to find some rest from the hot and humid weather. The repeated bubbling of the water would produce a movement that generated a pleasant breeze. It is impressive how clear Treviso still appears in my memory. Its pictoresque streets, its canals and the sound of the mills. That sound was the soundtrack to my many walking tours around the town. Furthermore, the view was always extremely romantic, no matter what the season was. I would find people kissing each other there. Lovers holding hands. Artists making a painting. Others would stop by and perhaps notice someone looking at the water or just enjoying its sound. That someone could have been me. If you are going to visit Treviso, I suggest you to take a walk along the canals while not missing the precious mills. You will find a proposal for a tour with some information about the various mills hereafter. Get ready to your holiday to Treviso by reading all our articles in this section! Enjoy the reading!

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    The calm Sile river surrounds Treviso and its headwaters are few minutes drive from the city centre. Its shores attest the work of farmers, hunters and fishermen during the ages. And actually many trades have been transmitted for generations along with the slow passing by of time. The historic centre of Treviso is characterized by a maze of channels that chase each other, intersect, appear and disappear under the narrow streets and medieval buildings, in a constant gurgling sound that soothes the spirits of locals as well as turists. And therefore with my mobile in my hand I went water mills hunting, looking for wheels still moved by the water making Treviso even more unique. Four I found, but I'm pretty sure there are others hiding here and there.

    The rush of water near Ponte San Francesco whispers us that the first water mill is right there. To me this is one of the most picturesque corners in Treviso, take some time just to enjoy and admire the elegance of the city itself.

    A few steps forward towards the Pescheria isle you bump into another waterwheel caressed by the Cagnan river and one more amazing view discloses right in front of you. Going ahead with my "water mills hunting" let's cross the Pescheria isle, where every morning you can buy fresh fish coming from the near Adriatic Sea. And another wheel is moved by the stream.

    After a quick gaze at Piazza dei Battuti, I walk through the University area and the Quartiere Latino, where your eyes are cought by the tangled streams till you find a wheel that is slowly moved by the running of water.

    The Sile river has always been an important way of communication between Treviso and Venice. This can be seen by "I Buranelli" neighbourhood, where a sixteenth-century building used to be home and warehouse of merchants coming from the lagoon isle of Burano. Water was an essential element for Treviso, and along the Sile river a number of water mills grind the flour to be brought to Venice.

    Still the Sile river connects Treviso to the Adriatic Sea, and by cycling or for the more adventurous running along the Greenway del Sile, you can enjoy wonderful marsh landscapes until you breathe the salty breeze coming from the Sea. Meanwhile have you found out another water wheel in town? Let me know and I'll add it to our map!

    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.
    Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

  • A mini guide to the Prosecco Wine Road. A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 4


    Good afternoon, everybody! How are you doing? It is our fourth meeting today and we look forward to presenting you the theme that we have chosen for today's post. If you are visiting Veneto region these days, don't miss the advice we are going to give you in the following paragraphs. It looks like the temperature will reach 27 degrees today, and that the weather will be awesome the whole weekend, so why not to dive into the Prosecco Wine Route and taste some quality wine? The Prosecco hills offer a variety of options to spend a beautiful day immersed in the nature. The Prosecco wine is famous all around the world and many know it just as "the sparkling wine". In Denmark, for example, it is well known and available at almost every supermarket and wine shop. Following the Italian tradition, Danes love drinking it as an aperitivo while having some delicious appetizer. We are so fond of this habit too, that is why we want to guide you trough the region where the Prosecco wine come from. This, moreover, is the aim of our cooperation, namely to give you the possibility to discover Veneto territory. We like doing it by giving you advice which are useful if you are in the area or if you are planning to visit it in the near future. Let's imagine ourselves in the Prosecco hills, down this beautiful sunshine, enjoying a glass of Prosecco wine. Let's explore together the Italian hygge!

    Enjoy the reading!

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    If you have some time to spend around the Treviso province, plan a day trip to The Prosecco Wine Route. This unique area stretches for 120km on the rolling hills between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, so even getting lost in the winding lanes can turn out an outstanding adventure. This is the area where the Prosecco D.O.C.G. grapes are cultivated and the combined activities of man and nature turn into the Prosecco wine. Not only the nature and landscapes are amazing, but there are a number of little and tiny borghi spread all over the hills.

    The beautiful Prosecco hills. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Well, let's start our trip from Valdobbiadene and drive towards San Pietro di Barbozza, from where you can admire long stretches of hills lined by Prosecco grapes, occasionally giving way to a small village, wineries and ancient stone houses. The sinuosity of the hills and the vivid green of the vines make this natural spectacle a great place to experience a direct contact with nature.

    As you leave behind the village of San Pietro di Barbozza look for the Osteria senz’Oste –osteria without a host. There are no signposts to get there, so finding it is a sort of treasure hunt. Simply follow the signs to the Col Vetoraz winery, leave the main street – Via San Pietro – turn right and down towards the winery and you can park between vineyards. Once there take the path that branches off to the right of the winery itself. Here a stunning view discloses over the surrounding vine-clad hills. What makes it an exeptional place? The house is open and the fridge is full. You choose whatever you'd like to eat and drink and you pay. Everything is based on the trust of the people. While you are there you experience the feeling of being back in times. Just a laid back place where to relax your soul surrounded by vineyards. And why don't you sip a glass of Prosecco while gazing to this spectacular view?

    The Osteria senz'Oste, Valdobbiadene, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.
    The Osteria senz'Oste, Valdobbiadene, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Continuing along the Prosecco Wine Route towards Follina you drive through the villages of Combai and Miane. Follina is well-known for its Abbazia di Santa Maria, which, dating back to the 12th century, is a spectacle of architecture. Take some time to visit the Abbazia as well as the church and wander around the small town as well.

    Few minutes further there is the charming village of Cison di Valmarino. It perfectly preserves the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista built in the 17th century, the Loggia, now seat of the town hall, old Brandolini cellars and courtyards. Pay a visit to these main places and if you are up for it, have a walk around the village just after and a coffee in one of the lovely and tiny cafes right opposite the church.

    Plan a stop off in Revine Lago for a walk along the lake banks in Lago and Santa Maria. There's a path surrounding the lake where you can spend some time just walking or running around it while discovering the flora and fauna of the Lakes of Revine, born after the withdrawal of the Piave glacier.

    The Molinetto della Croda in Refrontolo is a place not to be missed. Dating back to the 17th century, completely renovated and turned into a museum. A sort of fairy tale place just off the country road, where you can fill up with relaxation and tranquility.

    The Molinetto della Croda, Refrontolo, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Do not miss the nearby charming little village of Rolle nestled among the vines and the swaying Prosecco hills. The last stop on the Prosecco Wine Route leads to the church of San Vigilio in Col San Martino, a lovely church of the Roman era. As it is open only for religious functions, it's difficult to visit it inside, but if you are willing to, walk uphill and once on top you can be awarded with a breathtaking view overlooking the entire province.

    San Vigilio Church in Col San Martino, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    After a trip around the vineyards why don't you taste the Prosecco wine? Please, make sure you choose an organic wine, with no chemicals involved either during the growing of grapes or winemaking. In this way you do not get headache after a couple of glass wine, but most importantly you preserve the environment. It is possible to grow the vines without any chemicals and the proof is Perlage Winery. They've been producing organic as well as vegan wines since 1985 and believe me or not, they are excellent! So, why don't you book a wine tasting and maybe a tour of the cellar? You can even find their wines in Denmark, as they are distributed by Løgismose.

    I hope to see you one day browsing around this beautiful area. And if it is the case, I would be more than happy to giving you further advice.

  • Tips for a green tour in Copenhagen

    Did you know that 50% of the population commute by bicycle instead og using the car in Copenhagen? And that the harbour water is so clean that you can enjoy taking a bath along the canals or in the urban bathing facilities? Did you know that in Copenhagen there are several buildings, among others, hotels and private residences, which make use of all available natural sources, such as rainwater, sunlight, and wind, to produce energy and make heating, drainage and other systems work? Well, I could carry on by mentioning all the good initiatives that Copenhagen has been taking in these last years. This is all part of the objective of becoming the first carbon neutral city by 2025. In this article you will find some tips for planning a green tour in Copenhagen in order to see some concrete measures with your own eyes. If you haven't planned to visit this beautiful city yet, a green tour could be an idea to start convincing you to do so!

    First of all, move on foot or by bicycle in order to really enjoy your stay like a local and feel like you are also participating to the plan that Copenhagen has for its future. If you want to rent a bicycle, there are many options in the city center and surrondings. You are just spoiled for choice, really! What I recommend you, though, is keeping in mind that biking is not a game, and that traffic rules apply. Keep the right on the lane, do not stop for taking pictures on the lane (if you want to stop, go on the sidewalk), do not bike in public gardens and parks, do not use the phone while biking, make a sign to those who are behind you when you turn or stop, and rent a helmet, just in case!

    Memory of a beautiful bike tour last summer. Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    Even though it is not allowed to bike in gardens and parks, you can still carry your bike by hand while crossing them by foot. In this way, you will enjoy the nature even more since you will be able to stop easier for taking pictures, and, why not, laying down on the lawn and have a snack, immersed in the green. There are several green areas in Copenhagen, just take look at your map and choose the one you prefer, depending on what you want to combine it with. My favourite are Ørstedsparken, a few steps away from the market place, and Dyrehaven. This last one is 20 km further north though, but you really cannot miss it, if you are a nature lover!

    Dyrehave, Klampenborg. Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    As I mentioned in the introduction, Copenhagen's harbour has been undergoing a big water purification process, that is why it is a pleasant experience to take a bath along the urban facilities. There are three free harbour baths in Copenhagen: Copencabana (Vesterbro); Islands Brygge Harbour Bath (Islands Brygge); and Koralbadet (Sydhavn). All of them are easily reachable by bike, on foot or using the public transportation. Be aware that they are only open between june and august, but if you wish to challenge yourself in another season, go to the beach (Amager Strand or Svanemøllen Strand are definitely good options)! You will see people ejoying the fresh seawater also in the canals, besides within the public baths, and you are welcome to do so too, but take into account that there are some places where this is not allowed and others where it might be dangerous for you. For instance, I do not recommend you to take a bath in the main canal due to the endless stream of boats. A nice area where you could head to is, instead, Refshaleøen.

    People enjoying Copenhagen's clean waters. Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    Another aspect that you cannot afford to miss is related to the blooming urban farms. Plan a tour in order to dive into the urban agricolture! There are several options in Copenhagen, that is why I am going to give you some inspiration now. In 2015 the Ministry of Environment and Food in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture founded Kongens Køkkenhave (The King's Kitchen Garden). It is located in one of the most central parks in the city, namely Kongens Have. During spring and summer you will see a tiny greenhouse and several potted plants in the park while enjoying the view to the beautiful Rosenborg Castle. In Nørrebro and Østerbro you find two urban spaces: DYRK Nørrebro and Østergro. They are urban garden communities working to spread the message of ecology and a greener city. They are both located on the roof of a building: DYRK Nørrebro on Blågårds School, while Østergro on Copenhagen's oldest car auction house, Nellemann huset. Last, but not least, the world-famous restaurant Noma has recently reopened in Copenhagen, in a new location, with a new concept, surrounded by a urban farm in order to be able to grow its own vegetable and fruit.

    Copenhill, Copenhagen New Incinerator. Photo credits: A Spasso con Elena. All rights reserved.

    Finally, I recommend you to plan a tour in a sustainable neighbourhood. There you will see with your own eyes the several attempts made by architects and engineers to make us enjoy a cleaner and greener Copenhagen. A few examples of buildings to see are: Crowne Plaza Hotel, the Royal Arena, 8 House, The Mountain in Ørestad; the new Copenhagen International School and The Silo in Nordhavn. In any case, you do not need to go far away to be able to see some amazing sustainable architecture, as a matter of fact you will find it also in the city's heart (e.g.the Confederation of Danish Industries, The Royal Danish Playhouse, Copenhill New Incinerator etc.).

    Find out more about CPH 2025 Climate Plan here!

    If you are planning on visiting Copenhagen, rely on a professional certified guide: send me an e-mail to [email protected] See you soon in Copenhagen!

  • A mini guide to Treviso. A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 3


    Hello everybody, last time we lured you with good food without even tell you about the Tiramisù town itself. Today, we wish to take you for a walk through Treviso's pictoresque streets and make you dream og being there! Treviso is a small town, which is home to about 85.000 people (figure of the whole administrative division), and it offers a lot of possibilities to its visitors: history, art, culinary traditions, architecture, valley, hills, mountains, rivers, lakes, and the sea. It is located in a strategic position which suits you very well in case you plan to visit the whole Veneto region. Indeed, you can reach - just to outline a few places: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Bassano del Grappa, Montello Hill, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Caorle, in maximum 2 hours by car. You cannot miss Treviso, in any case. It is a real jewel. Some call it "the small Venice" for its many canals. They peacefully flow, one after the other, like in Venice. Nevertheless, you not only move on foot from a place to another, and there is no water bus, in Treviso. You might be able to visit most of the town in a day. I strongly recommend you to do so on foot in order to be able to go into the most secret spots, but I also suggest you to rent a bicycle, especially if you love experiencing the nature and if you stay several days in town. Listen to the advice of the local guides on where to dare to set pedal in, though. It can indeed turn into an unpleasant experience, if you don't, especially if you are used to the road safety in Copenhagen.

    I will now give the floor to Valentina who will make us dream about strolling together in Treviso with her words.

    Enjoy the reading!

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    Treviso is an elegant and laidback city and the best way to experience it at its most is overnighting in a B&B in town. In this way you can start your trip from the neighbourhood called Borgo Cavour, as everything can be reached in walking distance. Browse around the walled city, and enjoy it by getting lost in its narrow cobblestones alleys where sometimes you can be astonished by lovely views. This makes Treviso the perfect gateway destination for a break. Places that cannot be missed when in town are: the Buranelli Canal, a bucholic place, where you feel right into a romance. This is the place where people from Burano – the isle in the Venetian Lagoon well-known for its laces – used to moor their boats and actually there's a 16th century granary along the canal shore. Just around the corner, walking through small lanes interrupted here and there by a number of tiny rivers, you reach Ponte San Francesco where to admire another breathtaking view. Few steps further there's the ancient Church of San Francesco, where Dante’s son and Petrarca’s daughter are buried. Take some time to step into the church and have a look to this impressive religious building founded in 13th century.

    Ponte Malvasia, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Once you are done and happy with that, stroll along the pedestrian alleys towards the Pescheria neighbourhood, one of the most characteristic spots where every morning the fish market is open. Here there's a large selection of osterie (such are called the typical bars in town) and restautants, which turn into meeting points for aperitifs, meals or cocktails. In particular in the warm season you'll see people in the street sippind a glass of spritz - typical aperitif in north east of Italy - and chatting till late night. I advice to stop for a drink at Abitué in Corte S. Parisio, this risto-pub is into an old cloister dating back to 15th century and everyday in the front square takes place the fruit&veg market. I've never had a meal there, but once I tasted the brunch and I was impressed by it.

    If you are looking for a real traditional meal where locals go, well, go to La Colonnetta, to me the best in town. The food served is traditional, fresh and tasty and IsaB, the owner, will entertain you with funny anecdotes. It doesn't matter which language you speak, she will always turn to you in our dialect. Give it a try and you'll laugh a lot while tasting delicious food. The restaurant is right behind Piazza dei Signori.

    Piazza dei Signori, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Then after having satisfied your hunger, you should head towards the Quartiere Latino area. One of the most suggestive areas in Treviso to admire buildings that reflect in the river Sile waters just before blending those of the Cagnan river at Ponte Dante. The Quartiere Latino inaugurated in 2006, is home to the city's university buildings. It is characterized by the beautiful Piazza dell'Umanesimo Latino and by the wooden bridge over the Sile river. The history of this area is very old: as early as the 14th century, the hospital known as Santa Maria dei Battuti had been moved there. The palace is also known as "Customs" as it was used for these purposes during the Austro-Hungarian period in the mid-1800s.

    Ponte Dante, Quartiere Latino, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    At this stage you have to options. Taking a stroll along the Sile river banks in the Restera, here locals come for biking, running or just walking surrounded by this relaxing landscape. Or going on exploring the city center. Head to Piazza dei Signori, that is the real center of Treviso, with the elegant facade of Palazzo dei Trecento, home of the municipal council and it dates back to 13th century. The square is filled with restaurants and cafes, as such it is a meeting place for young and old. Just following a tangle of lanes you’ll spot an hidden gem: Fontana dee Tette - The Fountain of Tits - you cannot miss this statue and its unusual history. In 15th century the Venetian Republic decided that it had to pour white and red wine during special occasions and citizens could drink wine for free for 3 days. You can imagine how popular it was!

    In Treviso there are a handful of art galleries to be visited and I've selected a couple of them exhibiting mainly contemporary art: T.R.A. Treviso Ricerca Arte is based in Ca' dei Ricchi, Via Barberia 25 - a noble palace - it hosts exhibitions of contemporary art, talks, concerts, workshops and meetings. It investigates and promotes contemporary art in its moltitude of forms and expressions: this is T.R.A. Treviso Ricerca Arte, a private cultural association in Treviso. Visit its website to check the line-up, it is in Italian, but you can easily understand the dates and timing. Besides the admission is free most of the time. Although you might not be interested in their exhibition, take some time to explore the building and this area, as it is lovely. Downstairs there is a bar serving delicious tramezzini (typical filled sandwich of white soft bread) though.

    Take a walk along Via Cal Maggiore towards the Cathedral, which stands where an Ancient Roman temple and a theater used to be. Not known much, it hosts the Annunciazione Malchiostro, a masterpiece by Tiziano. Right behind the Chathedral step in the Vicolo del Duomo a tiny lane closed at night that leads you to wonderful remains of a Roman mosaic.

    Vicolo del Duomo, Treviso. Photo credits: Valentina Facchin. All rights reserved.

    Head to the third main church in town, San Nicolò is a massive building built out of brick and wood, it’s an example of Italian Gothic style in 14th century. Its walls are adorned with frescoes by Tommaso da Modena dating back to 14th century and it’s well-knowm due to the first spectacles to be depicted.

    The second art gallery is B#Side Gallery - Vicolo Isola di Mezzo 3/5. An association carrying out activities supporting people in their cultural well-being and their specific skills, with a particular inclination towards visual arts. And every 45 days the exhibit changes. Talking to these guys I surprisingly realized they have a special bond to Denmark. I tell you the story. Some time ago, they brought a work of art to the permanent collection at Mosede Museum in Tunestillingen, and with Hans Ulrich Appel, a Danish curator, they managed to explore rooms and spaces dedicated to the contemporary art and they got to know all curators and managers of the gallery. How did this experience impact on B#Side Gallery? By bringing natural light into the gallery as well as reproducing it through the interior lighting system. While natural wooden furniture and white surroundings lead to spirituality providing rest for the eye. Everybody is welcomed in, firstly admission is free and B#Side Gallery is at the ground floor with big windows letting people see what's in without any barrier.

    After a long art and cultural marathon I suppose you need to recover yourself with something sweet or sour. Well the choice is up to you of course! Need a sweet bite? I would recommend to step into Camelia Bakery, an old style sort of bakery where tasting delicious handmade cupcakes. Although this is not our traditional kind of cake, well, believe me, it is worth tasting at least one of them! Time for an aperitif? Try the most typical osteria, Dai Nanetti, no tables are there, you order at the bar your glass of wine, or spritz usually accompained by typical cicchetti - finger food, that could be a sandwich with cured meat or a slice of bread topped with several typical and mouthwatering ingredients.

    To me these are the main things not to be missed and to be experienced when in Treviso. What I would suggest is taking your time to enjoy it with no stress. You’ll notice how people are keen to meet in the osterie, in laidback as well as smart locations to relax with friends. And enjoying life. And if you wish so, have a look at Treviso City Map to easily find the places I selected for you.

    Enjoy your stay and stay tuned to discover more about Treviso!

  • Do you like Tiramisù? A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 2


    Good morning, everybody! Today we are going to reveal you the origin of one of the most popular desserts in the world. We are talking about the elegant and generous Tiramisù. If you speak Italian, you will notice that this name is made of two words "tirami" and "sù", which refers to the action of "pulling up". Literally translated, it means "pull me up". That is what your kids beg you to do when they fall down while making their first steps, looking all moony-eyed at you. That is what savoiardi biscuits would shout at you, if they were alive. Not leaving them for too long in the coffee is actually one of the most important rule to follow, if you want to make a proper Tiramisù. The tips are countless, and some of them are secretly kept in the recipe holder. Making Tiramisù is an art that combines memories and traditions with innovation and creativity. All my Danish friends and colleagues love Tiramisù, nevertheless, the majority do not know who is its mother's home. Someone guesses it deals with Toscana, some others even doubt it is related to Italy. So while we wish to spread knowledge about our lovely hometown, we think that being aware of the culinary tradition is important to enjoy a total experience. This is why we will tell you more about the histoy of Tiramisù, today.

    Valentina - Around & About Treviso:

    A creamy dessert known worldwide and prepared in a number of different ways: this is the Tiramisù. Well, do you know where it was made for the very first time? Treviso (Northern Italy) claims to be its birthplace. Actually, Ristorante "Alle Beccherie" served it in the 60ies, when the owner Ada Campeol apparently needed a boost after the birth of her child. Layers of sponge fingers soaked in black coffee and a mixture of egg yolks, mascarpone cheese and sugar, dusted with bitter cocoa powder. This is the original recipe and my favourite of course.

    Restaurant "Alle Beccherie" is located in the heart of Treviso, just a few steps away from Piazza dei Signori. Photo taken by Valentina Facchin.

    In 2013 the Bristish Daily Telegraph dedicated an article to our dessert witnessing the popularity of our mouthwatering masterpiece. Since then several promotional activities have been put in place to support its roots, such as the very first Tiramisù World Cup taking place last November 2017 and I participated as judge. Passionate cooks or simple food lovers compete in creating the best or unusual Tiramisù by following the traditional recipe with six basic ingredients: ladyfingers savoiardi, mascarpone cheese, yolk eggs, cocoa powder and sugar or adding a touch of creativity with a maximum of other 3 ingredients in addition to 4 of the traditional version. I was really impressed by the event: a sort of "Taste Itinerary", where the leitmotif is the Tiramisù. Discovering history, art and tradition of our land through a simple but extraordinary spoon dessert. A fusion of flavors linked to cultural heritage of a territory. A great result that is planned to make the second edition in 2018.

    Tiramisù made according to the original recipe at Restaurant "Alle Beccherie". Photo taken by the restaurant.

    Another important step was taken lately at Ca' dei Carraresi in town. Every Friday afternoon anyone who has anecdotes, photos, memories or personal recipes related to the Tiramisù can go there and have a chat with the former owner of the restaurant "Le Beccherie", Carlo Campeol, son of Ada, who added the dessert in the restaurant menu in 1962. The recipe of the "Tiramisù delle Beccherie" was filed with notarial act by the Italian Academy of Cuisine on 15th October 2010. According to this, if you want the best place to taste the traditional Tiramisù in town, look no further than the restaurant "Le Beccherie".

    Would you make Tiramisù by yourself with a touch of creativity in the selection of the ingredients? This is the recipe to follow!


    We are looking forward to meeting you again next month with another revelation about Treviso!

  • Have you ever heard about Treviso? A cooperation with Around & About Treviso - 1


    Hello again! How are you doing? Yesterday I posted the first article in this new section of my blog. If you have read it, you already know what I will be talking about in the following lines. If you have not, just go back to here in order to read more about who am I and what do I do. I am here today to officially introduce you my new project. As I have already said, despite my lovely relationship with Copenhagen, I am still very close to my home country, that’s why I have decided to devote some time to spread knowledge about it. I will be writing particularly about Treviso and Veneto region, but Italy and the Italian art and culture in general will be also taken into account. When possible, I will also try to make comparisons with Copenhagen, Denmark, and, why not, other countries that I have visited. The best part of the project, though, is that I will be sharing it with someone else. It had already been a while since I started to think about how to begin. One day, while I was searching the Internet, I stumbled upon an amazing blog about Treviso. From the very first moment I felt that the person behind it, must have had many things in common with me. I looked for more information, and I found her name: Valentina Facchin, a friendly and smiling girl in love with Treviso. I spent some time trying to figure out how could I introduce myself and my project to her. Then, one day, I sat at my desk and sent that e-mail. Just half an hour later I received a reply, an enthusiastic one. This is how our cooperation started, but I am not going to reveal you more, since I now turn it over to her, who will continue the story!



    It was early December 2017, and my mind was already thinking of the next summer holidays: going back to Copenhagen, visiting Odense to taste the magical atmosphere of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales and then immerse myself in the wonderful Legoland world in Billund, when I receive an e-mail. Elena is a young lady from Treviso living in Copenhagen for a few years, and she has been guiding foreigners to the happiest and most environmentally friendly city in the world. But something else new comes up to her mind, "why don't showing Treviso to the Danes?".

    A leap of blinding enthusiasm does not make me think twice and in my heart I had already accepted her offer. Although I have no clue how to support her stunning goal.

    I'm Valentina, I founded Around & About Treviso in July 2013, when I was living in Cape Town, ZA. Over 10,000km away from my hometown urged me to tell people the beauty of my land, the extraordinary nature of my roots, describing myself through places, customs and traditions that have shaped myself for better or for worse.

    To be honest, "A Spasso con Elena" had already caught my eyes, while peeping here and there other blogs. Intrigued by her expats life, wondering why she landed in Copenhagen. Fears and courage that led her to cross the home boarders. But on top of it why someone should choose to live in the cold and winter darkness?

    And so I was looking forward to chatting with Elena. A few days after Christmas we catch up in Treviso. Between sips of hot ginger tea and stories of the north, sharing the same passion for travelling and curiosity for different cultures, we decide to start a cooperation. We will try to post a new article on the third Saturday of each month, but this is not a rule, so just stay tuned! Treviso is a small treasure to explore, a small as well as elegant walled city. It hides a number of secrets, facts and anecdotes that turn out to be unknown even to its own people. Based on that Elena and I fulfilled a list of peculiarities of Treviso and I will write you in depth about them.

    But I'll tell you something, I act like a tourist in my hometown and looking for beauties and curiosities hidden in the roots of our land.

    Next post will be published on Saturday, the 17th of February at 10am. We are looking forward to meeting you again next week to start discovering Treviso together!

  • Why I moved to Denmark and more about my new project


    Hello everybody, I am here today to tell you about my new project. First of all, I am writing in English, which is already some news. As you might know, if you follow my blog and social media, I live in beautiful Copenhagen and I own A Spasso con Elena Tour Agency (A Spasso con Elena stands for “Strolling with Elena”), for which I also work as certified tourist guide. I landed in Copenhagen in October 2012 for the first time. Together with my better half I came to Denmark to check it out since he was offered an interesting position in his field of work and he would have had all the reason to wish to stay there for a while. At that time, I was attending my Master Degree’s last year in “Contemporary Art History” after having gone through a Bachelor in “Languages and Cultures”. Exactly by the time my boyfriend (who is my husband now) moved to Copenhagen, I was looking for a museum where to accomplish the internship hours, necessary to submit my request to graduate. Of course, my university didn’t have any cooperation with Denmark, so I had to find myself an institution to start the exchange with. After several applications, I happened to know that the National Museum, more precisely their related Open Air department (Frilandsmuseet), was in need of an assistant for their theatrical production of “Pelle Erobreren” (Pelle The Conqueror). That was fantastic! That was my opportunity to both finish up my Master, reach my love as well as experience a new country. That’s how my very first statement to my husband “Just go, I will maybe reach you” turned out to be “I’m cooooming”, barely four months after he moved. Therefore, my journey to Denmark started officially in February 2013. It was not at all love at first sight! I struggled for many reasons. My internship that had to be approved, my dissertation to be done, a new language to learn, a cold weather to get used to, new friends to make, a new doctor to talk to, a tiny apartment to live in. Well, if you have moved even just once in your life, you can imagine what I am talking about. However, all the challenges that I have just mentioned are, at the same time, strengths and improvements that you collect in the big luggage that is your life! That’s why, still not happy to be in Copenhagen only for an internship, I decided to write my thesis there and to start building up a professional career, because, of course, I could not live there on savings - you know how expensive life is in Denmark, at least compared to Italy!

    Italy, yes, I have not mentioned it before because my new project is actually focused on it, on my roots, and I will tell you more, but, let me just finish the story of my moving.

    As I have already said, I did not fall in love with Copenhagen as I set foot in it. There were too many things which I thought I could not get used to, and I missed my family so much. I went through some hard times during which the uncertainty of staying or going back was really overwhelming. All this was probably related to the anxiety of defending my dissertation. After that, I initiated a long process of construction of my professional path and I began to feel in love with Copenhagen everyday more and more (read also: The reasons why I love Copenhagen so much). I have been studying languages since I was six years old and I have always conferred them the importance to speak them fluently. At the same time, I have always been devoted to the interest in art and art history. The two coincided when, after having taken my Master’s Degree, I decided to sign up to the Tourist Guide Program. I finally knew I wanted to be a guide, an ambassadress of Denmark for foreigners living there and for travellers (coming from all over the world). Eventually, I achieved the goal in a year of hard work. But again, still not happy, I decided that I wanted to develop my own tours, to continue building and protecting a high quality niche tourism focused on art, architecture, design and alternative routes. That’s how I began to consider starting my own business, which is running today under the name A Spasso con Elena and it is one year old now (officially opened in January, 2017). I love working with people, and helping them to discover the local culture by having at the same time a unique and authentic stay. I also write a blog in Italian, where I post about Copenhagen’s events, art exhibitions, the Danish style, culture and traditions in order to provide even those who are not planning to come out on a tour with me with precious information and recommendations. You find it here.

    Besides my everyday-stronger-relationship with Denmark, I am still very close to my country of origin, Italy. After having shared a more than detailed presentation - there was a need, though, for expanding my short “about me” section - I am finally reaching the part where I will tell you about my new project. Italy is deeply rooted within me, in my memories. My whole family lives there as well as many close friends. My husband is Italian too so we speak Italian home. 50% of my heart is still there and it will always be, no matter what the politics and economics will turn out to be. Italy has a huge heritage, which needs to be (re)discovered day by day and probably one lifetime is not enough. Its beauty and spontaneity are some of the reasons why so many fall in love with it, and, yes, in most cases it deals with love at first sight. The people, the sun, the nature, the streets, they all smile at you. Its diversity makes me feel rich, when talking about art, culture and traditions. I was born in Treviso and there I lived twenty-four years, well, maybe a little less if I remove the time spent in cultural exchanges, Erasmus projects and other travels. Treviso is my charming city, located in Veneto region. It is the land where many famous products come from. You might even make use of them in your everyday life, without knowing they come from there, among others, Prosecco wine and Tiramisù. When I moved to Denmark and any time I travel, I meet not many people who have heard of Treviso. The Danish travel agencies and tour operators offer many departures to Costiera Amalfitana, Rome, Sicily, Toscana, Venice and Verona. Not including Treviso and its surroundings, the Marca, on their journey, I think travellers are missing so much. That is why I will try to tell you more about it. I will carry out my mission of ambassadress in cooperation with other active actors in the promotion of Treviso and Veneto region. In particular, my blog will be enriched thanks to Valentina Facchin (blog editor and owner at Around&About Treviso). She is fond of this territory just the way I am, or even more!

    Valentina and I will officially introduce ourselves and we will tell you more about how we met each other and how our cooperation got started in the next post, which will be published tomorrow, the 10th of February. We are looking forward to meeting you!

  • The reasons why I love Copenhagen so much

    Hello everyone! Today I am here with my first post in English. Well, it has been a while since I first thought of starting a blog in English, of creating a corner where I could tell about my life in Denmark (as an addition to the one I am handling in Italian - you can visit it here). Why in English? Well, it is the language that most of you understand out there as well as the one that most of the travellers use when visiting Copenhagen. It is no coincidence that I am posting now: five years ago today my Danish life would start. Five years ago today I would get on my flight to Copenhagen, one way. On the 8th of February 2013 I would land to the Danish coast at 16:30 and a little after I would reconcile with my better half, who was looking forward to my arrival at the bagagge area. Maybe holding a bouquet of roses. Definitely waving a Danish flag. In this post I shall not dwell on who was I before moving, and who am I now, on why did I move and so forth, but I will reveal you the reasons why today I am happy for living here. I will tell you why I love Copenhagen so much precisely five years after my moving. This is my way to recall my life over the last, approximately, 2000 days of Denmark.

    If you follow the news, you might know that Denmark has gained the title as "happiest country in the world" already three times (in 2013, 2014, and 2016) on The World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. News, magazines, books, newspaper have been explaining the reasons by addressing to the GDP, the welfare system, the cultural secret corresponding to "hygge" and so on, but I am now going to explain you my simple reasons why I love Copenhagen so much:

    Copenhagen is for everyone

    Copenhagen is quite a liberal and tolerant city. Danes accept generally others' choice, always that it doesn't cause damage to people and things. Denmark has been the first state in Europe to legalize homosexual civil unions in 1989, and 90% of the population tend to agree with the statement that "LGBT people should have the same rights as heterosexual people". In terms of gender equality, Denmark is working hard day by day to balance society more and more. Also, there are a number of benefits for people with disabilities as well as for whom might experience a down phase in their economic life.

    Photo taken during Copenhagen Gay Pride, August 19th, 2017.

    People trust you

    I cannot hide the fact that I have considered even naive the Danish behaviour in several occasions. I have been trusted by the shop assistant when I returned a pair of trousers even if I had removed the paper tag; when I cancelled a meeting; when I told the bartender the total amount of beer to be paid; that one time the ticket inspector surprised me without a valid ticket; also when I declare my income, SKAT (Danish Tax Agency) trusts me. This behaviour, which is not at all "naive" as I thought at the beginning, is exactly the way to educate you to trust and not to lie by taking advantage of the others.

    Copenhagen is safe

    Denmark is listed among the safest countries in the world, as a matter of fact crime levels are generally low. It is safe to move around its capital at night, also by feet or by bicycle. I have had to go back home late at night, alone, and I have never feared it because the city never gave me the reasons to do so over these last five years. Neither did my girl friends nor the women with whom I happened to talk. I love not having to worry about whether it is a good moment to go out or come back home. In Denmark people tend to keep an eye on each other so that, if something happens, they can help. I love the feeling that even when I am by myself, I am actually with so many others. This explains to me the Danish sense of community, which is so important when talking about safety.

    Biking is the way to happiness

    I have never biked as much as I do in Copenhagen. It is not a matter of having a good/new bicycle or feeling like biking, it has to do with proper infrastructure. Providing roads with safe bicycle lanes, and squares with decent parking spots for bicycles. Offering the possibility to enter your bike in the subway (in the local trains is even free to do so) and educating people to have respect towards the most defenceless on the road, namely cyclists and pedestrians, this really is what makes it a pleasure to bike. I am still not completely Danish (and I will probably never be) as a matter of fact I would rather take the bus when it pours rain or snows, but otherwise I love biking all around and this is a reason why I love Copenhagen so much. Here, the bicycle is the way of transport that best fits with the city's scale. Thanks to it, I do not have to worry about finding a parking spot, about paying it, arriving late at work, or having to leave in advance for the fear of not arriving on time to a meeting and so on. My bicycle gives me freedom, and, at the same time, it is a way for me to make a little contribution to reduce pollution.

    Life is cheaper anywhere else

    This might make you smile, but it is true: almost anywhere else I have traveled to I found cheaper prices. That's fantastic! Life is quite expensive in Denmark for most of the travellers, not if you live and work here (except for real estate market, maybe). That's why if you earn money here, you can enjoy life to the fullest when travelling abroad!

    Copenhagen is multicultural

    As many other capitals in Europe, Copenhagen is multicultural, as a matter of fact my circle of friends is international. Even if you do not work in incoming operations, as I do, you can easily build an international network, in general. Copenhagen is full of students from all over the world, it is experiencing a growing tourism and a lot of big events take place yearly. Thanks to several established communities, it is also possible to eat authentic food from around the world, speak languages other than Danish, and experience other cultures. I love being able to do all that. By the way, another reason why I finally decided to start a blog in English is to let my international friends and colleagues understand what I am writing about!

    Photo taken during the inauguration ceremony "Århus European Capital of Culture", January 21st, 2017.

    This was a short list of reasons why I love Copenhagen. They are based on my personal experience, and there are of course exceptions. When talking about safety, for example, I am referring to major crimes. In Copenhagen, as well as in all other big cities, pickpockets and bag-snatchers unfortunately operate, overall during the high season and in crowded areas.

    Last but not least, this article is thought to spread knowledge about Copenhagen's strenghts seen by my point of view. It is clearly not my aim to state that there are no weaknesses in Denmark. However, all the reasons that I have listed here above help me overcome obstacles such as the boring weather, the lack in the variety of fruit and vegetables, and the attitude of the locals lacking in spontaneity.

    I hope you have enjoyed the reading! Feel welcome to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments! And, now, there's nothing for me, but celebrating my Copenhagen fifth anniversary! Looking forward to meeting you again in the next post!

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