-the world as I see it
*Click* *click* *click* , it was hard not to take my hand off the shutter button of my camera as the train wove its way through lush green landscapes. It was the perfect backdrop to bring out the poet in me –
“A sunny day in the Dolomitic region,
Surrounded by a vast expanse of alpine vegetation;
The turquoise green river keeping me constant company
As the train wove its way along the North of Italy.
Then came the stray tuft of misty white clouds suspended in the bright blue sky,
And I couldn’t help but let out a contented sigh;
There’s nothing like a lovely summer’s day,
To sit back, relax, and keep your worries at bay.”
By now I’m pretty sure that you’re wishing that I had let my poetic skills stay latent. But I couldn’t help myself, you see, I am a sucker for rhymes and I just need to get them out of my system sometimes. Okay, I will stop for real now *clamps hand on the mouth*. Let the pictures speak for themselves.
I feel the Dolomites are one of those regions that I need to go back and visit in the autumn, winter and spring as well. They would look refreshingly different each season and their beauty would, in all probability, never cease to amaze me. Before my trip to Italy, the word ‘Dolomite’ was a term that seemed vaguely familiar from geography and chemistry lessons in school, but my grey cells had retained nothing more about them. So after taking the assistance of google to refresh my memory, I managed to remember what I had learnt almost a decade back. The geography lesson had taught me that the Dolomites are a part of the Alps that are located in the North East of Italy and in chemistry I had learned the chemical composition of the dolomite stone – Carbonates of Calcium and Magnesium- CaMg(CO3)2.
In the medieval times, there were many fortresses and castles erected in and around the Dolomites that belonged to families of the noble and elite classes. The rugged cliffs and high peaks made them an ideal location for defence purposes. The Dolomites were deemed a world heritage site by the UNESCO about four years ago. This area is quite the paradise for geologists because of the various geological formations that you can find here.
Among the many castles in the Dolomites, I got a chance to visit the Thun Castle, named after the family that occupied it. It was built somewhere in the 13th Century. The castle has a very residential feel to it and was home to one of the prince-bishops belonging to the Thun family. The characteristic red and white colours dominate the building as in most of the historic structures in the province of Trento.
After the death of the last Thun member in 1982, the Province of Trento purchased the Castle and converted it into a museum, showcasing artworks. Restoration and renovation efforts ensued. On the way to the castle, I saw a stretch of delicious-looking apple-laden orchards.
Most of the furniture in the interior rooms of the castle has been retained and it is quite interesting to see the old kitchen with some of the utensils that were used during that period. The prince-bishop’s room built with intricately fashioned wood is one of the grandest rooms. Rumour has it that there is a secret door in the room. The chandeliers and collection of majolica earthenware add real character to the castle. From the castle grounds, there are stunning views of the valleys around.
I was able to spot only one other castle, the Castello di Avio, from the highway, on the drive to Verona. If I had more time to spare, I would’ve loved to drive around the Dolomitic region and visit all its castles.
Driving around the Dolomites in Italy would definitely make it to my list of ‘top 10 road trips in the world.’