One of the greatest emotions I experienced during  # wildborneo was at Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a small reserve a few miles from the center of Kuching , Sarawak , which since 1975 has been giving shelter to injured or orphaned orangutans engaging them in a  rehabilitation program that re-educates the animals to wild life. The reserve hosts over 20 specimens including many mothers with their babies.
Every day the rangers involve the youngest orangutans in special programs that teach them to survive in a natural environment : climbing trees , jumping from branch to branch and get food . It is a gradual process that lasts from two to four years, during which the animals continue to live within the reserve , till when they’re ready to return to wild life in the rainforest.

A challenging job that has proved to be have significantly contributed to the survival of the orangutan in Borneo , species in danger of extinction due to the massive and growing deforestation for palm oil plantations , which is stealing vital space to the animals. The reserve also aims to raise public awareness on the care and protection of orangutans , explaining the importance of this species, as well as all the others on the Island of Borneo, has for the future of the planet .

The reserve area is not big enough to ensure the livelihood of the entire population of the orangutans, this is why rangers put food on some platforms where the animals can freely access . During feeding times twice a day , at nine in the morning and three in the afternoon , you can visit the center and see these huge primates hover among the trees and approach the platforms to take sweet potatoes and bananas. It’s important to say that the sighting of orangutans is not guaranteed because the center is not a zoo but a reserve where animals live free and independent and can choose whether or not to come and take the food according to their needs. Given the high number of the population housed, the sighting is fairly common , but if it rains the possibility gets considerably reduced.

The first time I was there it was raining heavily , one of those torrential rains typical of these latitudes and I only saw an orangutan who amusingly sheltered from the rain with leaves; but perseverance has rewarded me and when I got back with the sun I had one of the most amazing travel experiences of my life!
In the silence of the surrounding forest I listened to the muffled sound of the orangutans’ jumps that seemed to twirl from tree to tree suspended between the ropes, land to take food and go up fast along the trunks , elegant and graceful ; I looked at  the mothers taking care of their babies, rocking them , handing them food or teaching them how to jump and move : they had an incredibly human look that expresses all the intelligence and sensibility of these incredible animals; I was moved by the tender gaze of a baby orangutan enjoying a banana while reaching out to his mother with the other hand , to seek physical contact .
I think part of the emotion that observing the orangutans arises is due to their extraordinary resemblance to the human race : gestures, movements and looks are very similar to ours. Watching them move freely in their natural environment becomes a journey in our distant past , a way to see and understand how we once were, and in the loving and caring gestures of the mothers we recognize that same maternal and parental instinct that we still have inside us, ancestral and incredibly intense , despite all the changes and influences that we have built around us.

Visiting Semenggoh is one of many daytrips that can be done from Kuching , capital of Sarawak . The reserve can be reached in half an hour by taxi from the city center : ask one of taxi drivers outside your hotel and agree a price: it  usually starts at 150 ringgit (approx. 35 EUR ) but you can bargain and get a better price; the rate includes two hours waiting in the center; a much cheaper alternative is bus number 6 ( 1.50 ringgit each way , less than 40 cents euro ) which leaves from the bus station in Kuching ( just outside the center ) and stops in front of the reserve’s entrance, but then you have to walk approx. 1.5 km partially uphill to the center: this walk is not to be underestimated either if the sun is shining and the temperature is hot, as well as wet , and if it rains.

In Kuching there are several hotels of different categories, but since prices are very affordable I advice a medium-high class hotel to have modern, spacious and comfortable rooms . I chose Hotel Pullman Kuching where for less than 70 Euros per night I got a huge and very comfortable room , as well as pool and spa. Believe me, after a day in the hot and humid jungle , you will appreciate its fresh 10 mts pool !

Coimbra is a city of art and history, site of an ancient and prestigious university and with many beauties to show to visitors. First of all the location, nestled on a hill and bathed by the river Mondego. 
There are two Coimbra, the upper town linked to its glorious past and tradition, and the lower town, looking to the future: two souls living together without frictions.

The city tour inevitably departs from the city’s jewel, the University , in the old town, that can be reached by narrow streets climbing up the hill: the University also has two sides too, a modern part dating back to the ’50s and the ancient one dating back to the XVI century.
The Universidade Velha is all gathered around the pair das Escolas square, which can be entered through the Iron Gate of 1634, realised in Mannerist style. The square is bordered on one side by columns and  on the other by the Tower from Cabra (Goat), dating back to 700 and so called by the students because it said to “bleat like a goat”.
The University’s masterpiece is the Joanina Library, a baroque jewel consisting of three rooms, richly decorated with gilded woods, marbles and painted wooden ceilings with trompe l’oeil , with over thirty seven thousand volumes and manuscripts preserved in the beautiful Baroque shelves reaching up to the ceiling.
An environment full of great suggestion that leaves speechless in front of such beauty.
The tour continues along the old town made up of small squares, narrow streets ending  in tiny gardens and patios, small cafes and restaurants frequented by students. Coimbra’ secret lies in its ability to mix historical reminiscences and young aspirations, as if along its streets there was long invisible line connecting past and present.
Whichever road you take in the old town, you always end up at Sé Velha , the old cathedral, dating back to 1140: built at the time  of the Portuguese Reconquista, it has the appearance of a fortress because it had to convey an image of strength and power, but still there are Renaissance decorations that make it less severe. Another gem of this historic city  with a young soul.

Considered one of the most beautiful counties in England, this thin strip of land stretching out to the Atlantic coast is the largest and most picturesque part of the island, with breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, green headlands, bays and charming small villages .
Cornwall, as the rest of England, is a notoriously quite expensive destination, due to the always less favourable change, but with some tricks a holiday here can cost less than expexted.

To get here you can use one of the many flights to London offered by numerous low-cost airlines (Easyjet, Ryanair etc.) which, when purchased right in advance, are quite convenient. From there you can reach Pezance by train, the southernmost station , and from here use secondary lines or buses to move from one coastal town to the other, or simply rent a car to explore the region and reach the most remote places.
St Ives
Nestled between high cliffs above a beautiful bay, St Ives is one of the most beautiful towns of the region, known for its numerous art galleries that make it a lively artistic and cultural center. The center is a maze of narrow streets full of nice bistros, restaurants, cafes and art shops. Crowded in summer, the traffic of the high season ruins the atmosphere but you can stay in the nearby Carbis Bay, a spectacular bay with a beautiful beach. Among the many B & B who are here you can try The Borthalan, offering nice rooms with sea view at a right price. Carbis Bay is connected to St Ives via a convenient and cheap local train which arrives in town in a few minutes through a spectacular coastal railway line.
Because of its location, Carbis Bay is a great base from which to explore Corwall with day trips, and then enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of St Ives in the evening.

Gwithian e Godrevy
On the opposite side of the bay, facing St. Ives, Gwithian and Godrevy offer over 4 km of magnificent windswept beaches frequented by surfers and kite surfers. For the lovers of classic English literature, off Godrevy’s coast there’s the lighthouse stands that inspired the famous novel by Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. 

Facing the northern coast among stunning cliffs and white sandy beaches, Newquay is loved  by young people who invade it in the summer and turn it into a sort of Rimini of Cornwall. It ‘a very animated and lively place, full of pubs and clubs and with endless possibilities for cheap accommodation, from hostels for backpackers to the many B & B. The city has a beautiful and lively beach and is considered the surfing capital of the county, with streets always crowded with boys with their surfboards heading to the beach to ride the ocean’s waves.

The Lizard
 The Lizard Peninsula provides the most stunning and romantic views of the county, with rugged coastline, granite cliffs and green meadow. You can get by car (or by public bus service from the nearby Helston) to Lizard, a tiny village with wooden cottage that has the charme typical of all places at the end of the world, and bars more similar to American diners than the typical English coffee shops. From the main square depart many coastal that cross the moor and lead to the Lizard Lighthouse (now fully automated) and Lizard Point, the southernmost point burst by the wind. From Lizard you can take the path in about 2 km leads to Kynance Cove, a beautiful beach surrounded by cliffs and headlands covered with heather.

 One the most beautiful stretches of the South West Coast Path is certainly the one that in about 10 km connects St Ives to Zennor, a quaint village where DH Lawrence used to stay. Here is you can stop at the Tinner’s Arm pub, a traditional inn with wooden ceiling and slate roof where the writer used to stay; those walking the round trip from St Ives can stay overnight at the Old Chapel Backpackers Hostel, located right along the coastal path at Zennor, a well maintained hostel with double rooms or dorms.
Those reaching the village by car wil try the thrill of the typical Cornish countryside streets, narrow and lined with  walls, a bucolic landscape but quite a little relaxing experience for those who have to drive: better to rent a small car !

Land’s End

Land’s End is the most extreme of the region where the cliffs surrender to the turbulent waters of the Atlantic. Definitely one of the most spectacular places in Cornwall, the magical atmosphere is unfortunately ruined by the theme park (a kind of 3d cinema) that was built right next to the visitor center, on the promontory overlooking the extreme point of the coast.
You can still enjoy the beauty of the place and enjoy the surrounding landscape walking along the coastal paths that start from the visitor center.

Land’s End is well connected to St Ives by public buses (1 hour and a half). 

Useful Information:
Public Transport: site: collects information and timetables of all public transport (trains, buses, ferries) that connect cities and major tourist destinations of the region.
Accommodations: The best value for money is offered by numerous B & B; they can be booked independently or at

Meals: in every town and village there are pub who serve tasty and cheap meals.

The oldest district of Lisbon owes its name to the Arabs: Alfama derives from a deformation of the Arabic word alhaman  and refers to the fountains and pools of the lake Alcacarias.
Not only its name gives its origin away but also its  appereance, a maze of narrow alleys overlooked by buildings close to one another as a kasbah , and arabesque motifs adorning the facades giving an exotic tone to the neighbourhood.

It was perhaps thanks to the reduced buildings’ height  that Alfama survived the devastating earthquake that struck and destroyed Lisbon in 1755, thus allowing this piece of the past to arrive to us intact. No coincidence that even today the inhabitants of the district are of rural origin, descendants of those peasants who, during the Second World War, moved here from the countryside to work on the docks, which in  those days  knew a period of great traffic thanks to the neutrality of Portugal .
Today as in those years Alfama is made of narrow alleys (becos), squares, benches where old people sit observing the tourists going  up the challenging climb that takes here. It is precisely this growing tourist attention that is slowly changing the soul of the neighbourhood, with new antique shops and swanky boutique that has little to do with the true and simple character of the district.

If you want to get to know the authentic Alfama come in the early morning, when the streets are still empty and you can see a truly  unique Lisbon: fishmongers and  bakery shops that open up and expose their goods on the windows,  the smell fo basil, fresh bread and soap spreading in the air, fresh laundry hanging between houses, cats peeking in front of the windows to get their daily ration and azulejos shining under the sun.
A whirlwind of tastes, smells and shapes, East and Europe seems to meet here mingling togetherit’s impossible and even useless to distinguish these two souls  because Alfama’s secret and charm lies  precisely in this indissoluble interweaving of both worlds. 

You just have to breathe in the air filled with spices and perfumes and get gently enchanted by the sensory labyrinth of its streets.

Here we are, the countdown for holidays has finally started! I’ll soon be leaving for one of those trips with a capital T, the kind of trip you get on a plane, you spend about ten hours watching movies, listening to music, reading and eating and then you find yourself on the other side of the globe, ready to discover a new land.

Not that short and medium trips are uninteresting, on the contrary, but sometimes I have a physical need to leave old Europe and get to distant countries, to throw me for a while everything behind and immerse body and soul in a new dimension, where to loose the coordinates of everyday life and let myself surprise by the country which reveals to me. 
When the plane touches the ground and the excitement skyrockets, I always wonder how the world out there will be, how are streets, houses, people, what they eat, how they sleep, if their life is similar or different to mine. 
Each trip is a little mystery that is revealed, a piece of our extraordinary world to discover and that I know from the very beginning I will carry with me forever, because the simple fact of being thousands of miles from home makes it special and unforgettable.

This year I will go back again to the Far East, which has haunted me with its warm exotic and relaxed atmosphere. My destination is Malaysia, where I’ve already been and enjoyed the magnificent beaches and sea. This time I will visit Borneo , the lush island rich in flora and fauna that extends between Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia, stretching out to the Philippines. 

First I will stop in Sarawak , the region that according to many has maintained the spirit of the original people of this land and where nature has been preserved intact.
I will visit Kuching, the capital of the state that promises atmospheres of old Indochina, and from there I will visit  Bako National Park , which in spite of the proximity to the city is considered one of the most beautiful Borneo’s natural parks, where I hope to see orangutans.

I will then fly to Mulu National Park , a series of huge underground caves immersed in the lush tropical forest where I will delight over hanging bridges to observe the exotic wildlife and go trekking along huge caves. I will also try the thrill of hearing the sounds of the forest at night since I will stay in one of the bungalows inside the park.

I will then fly to Sabah that, although it is said to be the most exploited region of Borneo, full of huge plantations, I hope it will surprise and delight me with its fantastic islands, worldwide known for the extraordinary richness of the sea as well as for the stunning landscapes.
But the program would not be complete without a little of metropolitan world, which is why on both ways I will stop  in Singapore , an extraordinary city that I’ve visited a few years ago during a short stay , but I want toexplore better in this new journey. In just two years many new amazing buildings have been built, expression of the spirit of innovation that is the hallmark of Singapore. An extraordinarily lively and energetic city, famous not only for the futuristic and modern buildings and luxury shopping, but also for the great culinary offerings, thanks to which it has been nominated the  culinary capital of Asia.
An  exciting journey in the heart of the Far East to breathtaking metropolis and intact and wild nature. All I have to to is waiting for the countdown to end, take a deep breath, close my eyes … and leave for a new adventure!

Follow me on # wildborneo ! Stay tuned!

“There are no flowers that are equal  
to the colours of Lisbon under the sun “

 Fernando Pessoa 
Lisbon is a surprisingly varied city, thanks to its past and the many reconstructions that helped to make a collection of different styles. 
Lisbon is medieval, Baroque, Manueline, eighteenth-century, modern and futuristic, many pieces of a mosaic put together in a seemingly chaotic way and held together by a special light that illuminates and warms it all year around, giving mild temperatures even in winter.
Lisbona is called “the white city” for the blinding whiteness of the facades and streets’ marbles, but white is mixed with  the blue of the azulejos , the coloured tiles that adorn palaces, churches and fountains, and are the unmistakable leit motiv of the city.
It’s hard to define Lisbon because when you start to get to know it, it suddenly changes.
A visit to Lisbon starts from the Rossio , the main square with buildings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries where you can wander among shoe shine boys, lottery sellers and historic cafés.   
From Rossio you can gently slips to the Baixa with its right angles streets forming a perfect chessboard; here the elegant and spacious rua Augusta leads towards the other great urban square,  Praca do Comercio , surrounded by buildings painted in ochre, laid on long rows of arcades, as legs of dancers on tiptoe.
Then everything changes: soon wide streets become narrow lanes that climb along the sides of the hills on which the city lies, crammed with old houses that seem to hold on not tumble down.  The Barrio Alto can be reached by foot or by taking the historic  funicular,  an old yellow wagon squeaking along the steep climb. A few minutes run are just enough to be thrown into a different world: here the aristocratic Lisbon gives way to the medieval one populated by sailors and fishermen; narrow streets and old people sitting at the door or on the benches. In the evening the Barrio comes alive, small tavers have now become trendy  restaurants full of young people and tourists looking for relaxing atmospheres.
On the opposite side, the Alfama is the counterpart of the Barrio: here arabesque notes hidden in thefacades lead along quiet streets bordered by houses with flower-filled balconies, roof gardens and walls covered with azulejos.

In Belem Lisbon expresses its gothic soul, performing in complicated patterns that adorns the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos.
Santa Maria Church has two magnificent and highly decorated portals and in the inside there are three beautiful naves,  miraculously survived  to the earthquake of 1755.
But it is in the cloister that the gothic art performes at its very best: a perfect square, two galleries and complicated stone patters as graceful as laces that fill eyes and senses of wonder in front of such stunning beauty.

Across  the street a huge bow of stone carved with a crowd of men peering over the horizon: it’s Padrao dos Descubrimientos , the city’s tribute to the great navigators who set off from this place to the unknown, facing the sea, the infinite and their dreams.
Of those dreams today remain memories of a great past as capital of a rich and powerful colonial empire and a subtle melancholy, the suadade , which is the very essence of  fado, Lisbon’s  melody and soul, the music that pervades the city at sunset and makes it vibrate . A solo voice that starts slow and calm as background music of dinners served in the many tavernas hidden in the belly of Alfama. 
But soon the voice rises and attracts attention, everyone becomes silent and listens dreamily to poignant stories in a language that manages to be universal, because it comes right to the heart.
And even if you still haven’t got to know it completely, you suddenly realize  you’ve already fallen in love with Lisbon.

Bali is called the Island of the Gods but arriving in Denpasar, its chaotic main city, or in nearby Kuta, the famous surfer’s beach, you get the impression to have arrived in a noisy hell made ​​of bars, pubs and clubs, rahter than in the idyllic and mystic place its nickname promises.

 But for those who want to really get to know Bali, it is easy to leave behind the hustle bustle of Kuta, renting a car or one of the many taxi vans, to discover the  most authentic soul of the island, a world of peace and quiet where religion is deeply rooted in people’s life and is expressed through a high respect for nature and a sincere devotion. The religious sense is experienced and lived with great joy, with ceremonies made dance, music and ritual gestures that convey serenity and harmony,  the principles of the Hindu worship.
Just outside the town of Kuta a winding leads across green terraced hills , the typical landscape of the island that tells about its rural heart, made ​​of rice cultivation and hard work in the fields; among these terraces , where water reflects the clouds  creating an amazing perspective picture , it is easy to see some farmers bent over rice paddies: ancient gestures so far from the hustle and bustle of the tourist centres.

Along the way you will find small villages where if you’re lucky enough you could stumble on one of the many colourful religious ceremonies Balinese people are so fond of:  choral festivals full of joy, where people get on the streets carrying statues, garlands and baskets with votive offerings. One of the best memories I have of Bali are the women walking in a line, carrying fruit baskets on their head and wearing beautiful and welcoming smiles on their face!

Pay attention to the many tourist traps and beware of the ceremonies proposed by not authorized tour guides, you could run into one of the many theatres have been made up to extort money from tourists. 
When entering the green hinterland you will come to Ubud cultural and artistic center of Bali. Immersed in the lush vegetation of the tropical forest, the village offers many trekking paths in the nearby mountains and is home to many artisan workshops where expert hands create beautiful batiks, wooden statues, kites, jewellery and many other handcrafted items. 
You can spend hours admiring these stunningobjects or looking at a craftsman paiting a batik. 

Ubud is full of tiny restaurants serving typical Balinese food and small traditional hotel, oasis of peace and tranquillity surrounded by greenery, with rooms overlooking internal gardens adorned with fountains and flowers. Even if it’s a well-known tourist destination, Ubud has retained  an aura  of piece and quiet that is the true essence of the island.
While visiting Bali you cannot miss a visit to one of the many Hindu temples scattered throughout the island, but even here one must be careful about which one to choose, the most famous are unfortunately also those where the atmosphere is ruined by the crowd of tourists and where it is easy to be picked up by fake guides who will insist to show you around. 
One of the most visited temples is 
Tanah Lot , perched on a cliff and famous for sunsets: a place unquestionably impressive if it were not for the crowd that invariably every night invades the cliffs making the experience somewhat disappointing. Better try one of the temples of the hinterland, lesser known or in more remote locations, where you can still enjoy peace and quiet, and get to know the deep religious spirit of these people and harmony with their land. 

Many come to Bali expecting to find a beach destination but I think of all the natural beauty that the island has to offer, the sea is perhaps the less impressive: although there are beautiful beaches, those  expecting typical tropical landscapes will probably be disappointed. Kuta Beach is famous for high waves that attract surfers every year from all over the globe. For those who want to relax on the beach better to opt for other places such as Lovina, famous for its characteristic dark sand or other more secluded bays uo in the north. 

But the real authentic Bali is far away from bars and beaches and is made ​​of dance, music, flower gardens and immense rice fields: this is the island that will transport you to a magical dimension, where you can enjoy slow rhythms and rediscover the value of a smile, the beauty of simple gestures. A place to see at least once in a lifetime.
Once you get to know this Bali you can say to have truly reached…the island of Gods.

When I think of Provence lavender fields come to my mind, huge spots of purple mixed with grass green. 
Provence has a special light, warm and welcoming, and it was perhaps this light that inspired many impressionist painters who produced here their most famous paintings. From Cezanne to Van Gogh’s, many talents were bewitched by the magic of this land. 
Follow me in a tour on the footsteps of the great master painters to revisit the same places that inspired them and that became subjects of their immortal masterpieces.

Our itinerary begins in Aix-en-Provence,  the birthplace of Paul Cezanne and site of a prestigious university; Aix is a city with an important cultural and artistic heritage whose heart is the Vieil Aix , the Old Town, crossed by the Cours Mirabeau , full of cafes and elegant buildings of the seventeenth and eighteenth century; the city has dedicated to  its most famous citizen the Circuit Cézanne , a well marked route which starting from the Tourist Office goes through the neighborhoods and the places where the painter lived, arriving at his studio at No. 9 of Av Paul Cézanne, where he produced his works and where everything has remained as he left it.
Aix is also famous for the production of almonds, used not only for cosmetic products but also to  prepare the calissons , typical sweets made ​​of almond paste coated with icing.

Continuing in our artistic itinerary we arrive at Arles, not without first making a few detours to enjoy other Provence’s jewels, as  Gordes , considered  one of the most beautiful villages of France; perched on a hill, the village is famous for its square where some scenes of A Good Year with Russell Crowe were shot; an excellent time to visit the village is on Tuesday when the local market is held, full of stalls with food, clothing, craft items and much more. Climbing up  the streets you get to the castle that hosts a museum. 
Just 5 km north of Gordes a winding road leads to Cistercian Abbey of Senanque, dating back to 1148: one of the greatest examples of monastic architecture, this place is a corner of peace and quiet away from it all. 
Continuing north we reach Chateauneuf du Pape , which is particularly attractive in autumn during the harvest period since the place is famous worldwide for its renowned wine production; in the city there are many wineries that offer free tastings.
Following the course of the Rhone we arrive at Avignon , one of the most beautiful historic cities of Provence, famous for being the papal seat from 1309 to 1377; not to be missed is a visit to the opulent Palais des Papes , a UNESCO Heritage which includes two buildings, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Nuovo. The Tourist Office offers 4 walking routes to explore the hidden treasures of the city.

Last stop before arriving in Arles is Saint Remy de Provence , birthplace of Michel de Notre Dame, aka Nostradamus, and home to the most famous maitre chocolatiers. A wonderful town to be discovered at slow pace walking through the narrow streets crowded with shops or stopping for a coffee in one of the many lively squares. Here there is also the psychiatric hospital where Van Gogh painted over 150 paintings: today the place hosts a museum which traces the human and artistic path of the painter. 

And finally Arles , universally famous because Van Gogh moved here in 1888 and in this period he produced some of his most famous masterpieces, as The Alyscamps and Starry Night Over the Rhone. Even though there are no paintings of Van Gogh left in Arles, the city celebrates his most famous citizen with a dedicated route, the Circuit Van Gogh , well-marked by license plates which serves to identify the precise points where the master posed his easel to paint the landscapes and cities of Provence. 

Another interesting historical circuit is the Roman Arles that includes the Roman amphitheatre Les Arenes, the ancient theatre and Alycamps, a long avenue where many Roman tombs are aligned. 
With so many historic towns, vast vineyards and traces of the great painters, Provence is the perfect destination for a charming vacation!

Spectacular bays, white beaches, steep cliffs plunging into the sea, this is the business card of Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, a paradise where even the sun wants to stay forever.
When I think of Algarve I picture in my mind the strong contrast between the golden sand and the blue sea, an imagine which is hard to forget.
As any attentive host, Algarve makes sure to deliver a beach paradise for everyone who choses to come here.

The region from the Spanish border to Faro is called Sotavento (up-wind) where stretches of soft sand gently lull those who let themselves go in the warm embrace of these shores.
In Barlavento (leeshore) small beaches struggle to find their place among steep cliffs that seem drawn by an imaginative sculptor. And finally, the most western region, bare and tormented coasts exposed to the Atlantic winds.
Here the nature of the region stands at its best, with breathtaking landscapes, vertiginous cliffs stretching out to the sea in a last desperate attempt to prolong land a little further before surrendering to the ocean.
From the stacks you can hear the roar of the waves slamming on the rocks trying to climb up the steep walls to gain new space, as if the ocean they belong to was not big enough.

Silent and deserted streets that twist and turn along barren headlands take to Cabo de Sao Vicentethe end of the world as it’s called. No sign of human presence except for a lighthouse that stands alone to watch the ships venturing on these seas and a small group of tourists who come here to enjoy the almost surreal atmosphere of this place. The cliffs draw the landscape’s contours slowly disappearing in the fog, as in the most perfect of pictorial perspectives.

It’s from this remote strip of land that the great explorers embarked on ships laden with expectations and wishes, in their eyes great visions of new horizons, in their hearts hope and the recklessness of those chasing a dream at all costs. An exciting and fascinating place, where in the power of the wind that blows ceaselessly you can catch hints of the energy that allowed those men to bring their dreams to new worlds.

(Leggi questo post in italiano)

This post could begin like this: Once upon a time there was  an enchanted castle nestled in the mountains overlooking a beautiful lake….
And I  could go on adding to the story a beautiful princess trapped in the tower and saved by her prince charming. 
But it would be too mushy and I’m not just the kind! 
Castel Toblino actually looks like a fairy tale castle, nestled between lake and mountains. Located in the Valley of the Lakes above Riva del Garda, in the province of Trento, this magnificent building is a rare example of Italian castle lake, and one of the most famous castles in Trentino. The structure is built on a small peninsula overlooking Lake Toblino. The beautiful crenelated walls that runs all around the complex and that borders the park gives a  medieval touch and lightens the whole structure, which in itself is quite majestic.

The original castle dates back to 1100 when it was owned by the vassals of the Prince-Bishop of Trento. Later it was bought by a noble family and only in the fifteenth century it returned to the bishop property. The castle that can be admired today is the result of the reconstruction commissioned by Bernardo Clesio in the sixteenth century, during which the building took on its actual Renaissance style.
Today the castle is privately owned and has a restaurant that I haven’t got the chance to try but that undoubtedly enjoys a fabulous view! From the courtyard the glance is really impressive with green waters reflecting the castle and the mountains’ profiles fading in the distance, creating an artistic mirroring effect. 
The mountains all around with their shiny rock walls seem to dive into the water creating  an exceptional setting and a unique landscape. It’s a shame that a high traffic road runs right behind the castle ruining part of the atmosphere: a place like this deserves to be in a secluded valley crossed only by minor streets, the castle and its setting  would gain tremendously! 

Nevertheless, Toblino Castle is definitely worth a visit in the spring, when nature flourishes, in the summer to escape the heat or in autumn when the leaves of the trees becomes of  a thousand shades of yellow making the scenery even more spectacular. 
Like any true castle, Toblino has a beautiful and rich tradition of legends , often dark and gloomy, which found in its massive walls and wide park the ideal place to be born and passed on. According to one of these legends, the castle was once home to  fairies to which in the third century was dedicated a temple, as evidences still today a plaque in the porch of the castle. 
Toblino has it all, a magnificent, majestic and mysterious castle. Treat yourself by sitting on the beautiful terrace of the restaurant’s bar sipping a coffee in the shade of the mountains, watching the swans gliding elegantly on the water, behind the mighty walls of the castle: it will be one of the most fabulous coffee that you have ever taken!

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