Way back in 2001 we went to Lombardy for Easter. We stayed at a lake side hotel along Lago di Garda. We thought the hotel was called Hotel Garda and we soon found out that, that would not be enough information. There are hundreds of Hotel Garda along Lake Garda, so on our first trip to Italy we learned that you need the full address if you really want to find something.
At the recommendation of our hotel manager, we spent hours wandering around the Il Vittoriale fascinated by the history and enormity of the gardens.
The next day against the recommendation of our lovely hotel manager we drove to Venice. On the way to, we took the highway about an hour and 30 minutes. We parked in a public parking house. While we were parking 10 men showed up to guide us into our parking space. When we got out of our car, they started asking us where we were going and if we need a lift into Venice. They could get us there in a private boat for not so much money. Sure we said, because it seemed like the only acceptable answer and they lead us down a back alley to what I can only image was a pirate taxi. On returning to the parking garage with the public boat we realized that we had truly been swindled.
Hubby hates driving the same way twice to so he wanted to take the northern route back to our hotel. The map was a tourist map of Lake Garda without elevations and what we had expected to be a short trip turned into a 10 hour nightmare. We drove over several mountains and on one particularly narrow road, we learned how the Italians maintain their speed on hairpin curves, they just honk to warn the other cars they are taking a blind corner.
We came across no cafes, no gas stations, no public services whatsoever and then suddenly we say a maze of building jutting out the side of the mountain. We later found out the Basilica Santuario Madonna Della Corona is a monastery from the 17th century and should have been on our list of things to see. But alas, we were on the wrong side of the mountain.
Buona Pasqua or Happy Easter!