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Lately Audrey and I have seen a shift in our travel preference from larger urban centers to more remote quiet towns. Coming from Milan to Chiavenna allowed us to slow down the pace of our travels and really get to experience what this quaint town situated in the Italian Alps has to offer. During the two days we spent here we had an opportunity to visit an Italian castle, a grotto restaurant, an artisan’s workshop and attend the Bresaola festival just to name a few. One of the highlights was waking up early enough to drive across to Switzerland to eat some Swiss chocolate and snap a few photos of the ice capped mountains in the distance. Out of all the places I had a chance to visit in Italy I liked Chiavenna the most and would gladly return again someday in the future.
So Hello again from Italy! Today we are visiting a town called Chiavenna which is just two hours by train from Milan. A super easy day trip and it is a beautiful town. Very colorful, so we’re going to be showing you some of the attractions around town as well as the outskirts.
So next up we’re about to visit Palazzo Vertemate Franchi. So let’s go in and find out who used to live here.
This Renaissance masterpiece was commissioned by the Vertemate Franchi family, which was one of the wealthiest families in the area. Within the walls of their property you’ll find manicured Italian gardens, a chestnut grove, an array of fruit trees, and even a vineyard. Needless to say, this place would have been quite impressive back in the 16th century.
So I’ve learned two things about this palace. First off, they have the only walled vineyard in all of Chiavenna. And I also learned that the family had their own chapel because they were very noble and didn’t like mixing with the commoners at the local church service.
After touring the outside, we went inside the palazzo where we found painted ceilings, secret compartments meant for spying, and tiny beds because apparently people used to sleep seated and propped on pillows back in the day.
So we are standing next to the portrait of Aloisius who was a member of the family. Now apparently he was a bit of a womanizer. He really liked the ladies and these days his ghost roams the halls looking for women. So beware if you visit.
We also made sure to have a drink at the nearby fountain of youth.
Apparently if you drink this water you’re going to be young and healthy the rest of your life. So I’m going to go have some. Maybe have a bath in there. I could use a bath.
That’s ice cold and I got it all over my mouth. Feeling young and healthy right already? Oh, yeah. Sure.
Don’t bite me now that I’m petting you. Don’t bite me. Your friend is just angry that’s all. Jealous. Oh, bye puppy. Bye puppy. You’re very very cute. Very very sweet. Okay, bye puppy.
Awe, you’re cute. Yeah.
We then visited the Acquafraggia Waterfalls which were visited by Leonardo Da Vinci himself. Apparently he was so impressed by their beauty that he even wrote about them in his journal.
From there we headed to a local artisan’s workshop who works with pietra ollare – a local stone that he uses to create both art and cooking pots.
And because we suffer from just-one-more-country-syndrome, we couldn’t resist crossing a nearby border. Yes, we went to Switzerland!
Where we were based in Italy we were only 10 kilometers away from Switzerland so we thought why not drive over here and pickup some chocolate. Yum! Swiss chocolate!
So I’m going to try my Swiss chocolate in Switzerland. We chose some beautiful views over here. Trust me, there are mountains covered in snow. It is just that the fog is rolling in at the moment but it is a pretty setting.
Anyways, time for the chocolate. And look, it opens like an envelope. I broke the envelope. Fancy. The chocolate is like a letter in the envelope. Oh la lah.
Swiss chocolate. It is so innovative. And this is milk chocolate I believe. Wow, that looks thick.
Ready to try some? Oh, yeah. Mmmmm.
That is so creamy and rich. Um, I think there is like a nougat filling in the middle because it is really soft and extra creamy. Oh my. What kind of chocolate is this? Mmm.
Almond cream. Good stuff guys. It was worth the drive out here.
Where are we? Switzerland!
So I wasn’t lying about the views. You can actually see the mountains now and they are pretty majestic.
And that’s a wrap for our time in Chiavenna. It was a short and sweet visit, but it made us hungry to come back to the Alps!