Again this year we will be spending Whitsun (Pentecost) in Salzburg attending the Pfingstfestspiele. You may recall that as we left the Hauptfbanhof last year en route to Verona I was already - optimistically - booking this year's tickets. Once again we are breaking the journey into several stages and stopping off in a few places en route - sort of a weekend that starts on Wednesday and ends the Friday of the following week.
Tomorrow the first leg of the journey takes us from Roma to Bolzano. Its the same train we took to go to Trento a year ago but this time I'll watch my wallet. We don't want a repeat of last year's adventure! We'll spend a day exploring the old town of Bolzano (Bozen)which is the gateway from the Italian speaking Trentino region to the German-speaking Alto Adige. The scenery is Alpine and the architecture distinctly un-Italian - the region itself was part of the Austrian Empire until the Treaty of Versailles gave it to Italy in 1918.
Then once again up to Innsbruck and a short wait for the connecting train to Salzburg. Then its a four day glut of Muti, Napoletano music,Philippe Jaroussky, Accordione and Mozartkugel! This time we're going to try and get out to Helbrun Palace and its water garden. And I'm already looking forward to morning coffee at the Cafe Bazar. Whit Monday we're off for an overnight stay in Villach then down to Trieste on the Italian-Slovenian border.
The history of Trieste is checkered - at various times it has been ruled over by the Venetians, Napoleon, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, the United Nations and finally Italy. Its streets are still more Mittel-European than Italian and though mainly Italian is spoken it is not unusual to hear Slovene or even the Venetian dialect. And it is unusual in that the main piazza gives onto the harbour and the Adriatic. And the surrounding area has some wonderful castles and remnants of the rich history of the area.
Then its back to Roma via Venice - though this time without a stopover. We will have clocked something like 2000 km - which should count for something on my TrenItalia points!
26 maggio - San Filippo Neri