Spent the best part of the day after Venice at a laundrette with Fynn and Caro before saying our farewells. With most of our clean clothes packed and a few still swinging on our “indoor washing line”(!), we decided to eat up some miles and spent the rest of the day driving on the SS309 along the coast. Spent the night in Mesola; small, quiet village and cooked up some tuna&sweetcorn pasta for dinner.
Had a fairly early start the next day and had a quick look at the map to decided where to head to next. Decided to take a look at Ravenna so headed on the S349 for around an hour and a half before arriving. First impressions weren’t great- we’d mostly passed residential and industrial areas. However we thought for €2.25 for 24 hours on the carpark was worth it as it meant we could spend the afternoon having a look round the city in addition to having somewhere to stay overnight.
Glad we decided to stay; not long after we parked up a market was starting to be set up despite the rain! Whilst we waited for the rain to stop/ the market to start we treated ourselves to a ‘Pizza Fritta’ from a small cafe situated in the middle of the carpark. Basically fried pizza – tasted so so good! We followed it up with an amazing selection of ice creams from one of the market stalls in addition to 3L of a local white wine to stock the van with !
After sampling the wine we decide to explore the city – again we’re glad we stayed! Apparently famous for it’s late Roman architecture and Christian monuments; Ravenna kept us busy for the afternoon with plenty to see!
Visited a small bakery on the way back to the van and bought a couple of little biscuits to try. Spent the eve in the van, caught up with the family and also made some pretty amazing pancakes (looking back now we had a right feast on this day!!).
Next stop was Rimini, left Ravenna the next day and took the SS16 coast road. Luckily we found the camperstop easily and was in walking distance of the centre – another bargain for €10/ 24 hours (www.riminiparking.it). Spent the afternoon backing up our photos, chilling out in the sun and getting through our 3L bottle of wine ;)! The lovely weather continued into the late afternoon/early eve as we walked into the centre.(Many people have since told us the beach is definitely worth a visit too, we didn’t visit but there’s always a next time!)
Rimini was full of history and parts of the old city wall could still be seen amongst other examples of Roman architecture such as the ‘Arch of Augustus’ (the oldest Roman arch which has survived!), ‘Ponte di Tiberio’ – a beautiful bridge to walk across and get a view of the city across the water and we even came across where the old fishmarket (Antica Pescheria) used to take place in ‘Piazza Cavour’.
After taking it all in we were getting pretty hungry and found a great pizza place – ‘La Capricciosa’ with really friendly staff and amazing tasting pizzas! Even got some complimentary biscotti. Left feeling completely stuffed but satisfied and got back to the van just before midnight.
Left the camperstop early in order to make our way to San Marino – we’d seen on the map it was a tiny country and neither of us had heard of it so thought it’d definitely be worth a visit (and another sticker to add to our growing collection for one of Charlie’s windows!). Headed inland on the SS72 with ‘Monte Titano’ drawing closer as we made our way to the supposed ‘Oldest Republic in the World’.
San Marino is situated on the slopes of the mountain which was a challenge in the van…but we got there! It was a steady climb up and we didn’t appreciate how high we were until we checked out the view- stunning.
After seeing a few old cars driving around and reaching a ‘checkpoint’ we assumed some sort of race was on and kept an eye out for more information whilst we explored. (Didn’t find out what it was about but did discover that the pretty famous classic car race ‘Mille Miglia’ was happening in the next few weeks!)
After walking round steep cobbled streets;taking in the view and watching the cable cars, rain started to pour so we sheltered in a small cafe and fuelled up on caffeine waiting for it to subside.
Calmed down a bit so we decided to venture further up towards the’Three Towers’ which are situated on the three peaks of ‘Monte Titano’. An even better view up there and really cool to see the old architecture!
We took the “scenic route” back to the carpark through woodland (still chucking it down – not a good day for flip flops as Zo found out..!) and eventually found the van. Took a great countryside road out of San Marino towards Pesaro – SP2 and the SP18 before heading back on the SP16. Topped up the vans supplies before finding a stop. Made some pretty amazing nachos and stayed in the van all eve due to the rain not giving up!
Drove to Ancona in the morning and spent the day at a free stop at a shopping centre as we had a few bits to sort out and the wifi was free (we also could charge our laptop there!) Left late afternoon the next day eating up some miles along the coast before stopping in Tortoreto Lido; found a carpark early eve to spend the night in.
Our next plan was to see how far we could get down the coast before coming back up for the Mille Miglia and a VW festival taking place in North Italy later on in the month…