Good morning on Wednesday 24th February as we saunter our way along the catwalk of life towards the middle of the week. Milan Fashion Week is now underway and will continue until 1st March, albeit "virtual" and probably a bit rubbish let's be honest.
Hopefully this time next year we'll be talking about real events taking place as they used to but we're still not quite there yet. The number of new Covid 19 cases was up to 13,314 yesterday, a big increase on the day before (9,630) which seems to have been nothing more than a temporary downward blip.
The Italian news centres around the repatriation of the bodies of the Ambassador and an Italian carabiniere who were murdered in DR Congo earlier this week. The newspapers are full of speculation as to why it happened and are pushing for a UN investigation. Aside from that, there are no more crumbling cemeteries or coffins floating in the sea today and that can only be a good thing.
Today's weather is providing the main cause for excitement; as long as you're not in Trieste (7° Celsius), you should be enjoying some lovely spring sunshine all across the country. Catania (18° C) is the warmest today but temperatures are also quite impressive in some of the central and northern cities with Pescara and Prato both 17° C and Bologna 16° C.
It's that time of year when we start looking outside at our gardens once again, assessing what needs to be done with them after months of winter neglect. Italy is of course famous for its gardens and there are some real beauties out there. Some of my personal favourites can be found around two of the great lakes in the north of Italy: Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. Around Lake Como there are the likes of Villa Carlotta, Giardini di Villa Melzi and Villa Monastero in Varenna, while the Villa del Balbianello will be strangely familiar to fans of James Bond (Casino Royale 2006) and Star Wars (Episode II Attack of the Clones 2002) as it was used as a filming location for both.
West of Lake Como, the beautiful Lake Maggiore is split between the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont, with my favourite garden situated on the Piedmont (western) shore. Villa Taranto, created by Scotsman Neil McEacharn, is a short walk from the city of Verbania and leaves a lasting impression with its array of colour. If gardens are your thing then this really is the place for you as you can take a ferry across from Villa Taranto (which has its own Lake Maggiore ferry stop) to the Borromean Islands. Two of those islands: Isola Bella (not to be confused with the beach island of the same name in Sicily) and Isola Madre have stunning gardens of their own, while the third island, Isola dei Pescatori is bursting with charm, garden or no garden.
The regions of Lazio and Campania are also notable for their gardens but I'll cover those at a later date so as not to dilute the taste of those mentioned above.
I'll be back with more tomorrow.
Buona giornata a tutti!
My name is Dion Protani, founder of Italy Review. The Italy Review blog is designed to provide ideas and inspiration to visit places in Italy you might not have heard about, as well those you have.