On our way back to Florence, we decided to drive up to Campo Imperatore, which is at an altitude of about 2100 meters. All along the two-lane highway that leads up to the Campo Imperatore we saw cavalli (horses) and mucche (cows) grazing. There were very few cars driving down the road, but when we arrived up at the stazione sciistica (ski resort), there were a few cars, motorcycles and a bus.
The moment I opened the car door, I felt the cold wind outside. I opened the bagagliaio (trunk) to pull out a pair of pants, a sweater, and a shawl. It was hard to fathom the difference in temperature from the spiaggia (beach) where we were only a few hours earlier.
Campo Imperatore as well as the entire area in the Gran Sasso d'Italia is beautiful and so peaceful. I almost wanted to stay longer, but instead we had to hit the road to get back to Florence.
I can only imagine what the Campo Imperatore looks like in other seasons of the year: with its blanket of snow in the winter and the flowers along the highway in bloom.
We wanted to walk up to the rifugio (shelter) where people can eat and stay the night at the top of the mountain, but I didn't have the right shoes on for the short hike.
We got back in the car and drove through Umbria and then Tuscany. I never realized how peaceful the countryside around Florence is in comparison to the busy city until we were driving along the lungarno (street along the Arno river) in the traffic.
We drove over 2000 kilometers on our five-day excursion around Italy, and we visited so many beautiful and diverse places. I was especially touched by the two paesini (small towns) of my nonni (grandparents). I am so fortunate to have fulfilled my dream of going to their hometowns. Because I never met either of them, this was my way of getting to know them a little better.
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