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Salerno boasts its very own castle. While this may seem like a big deal in the U.S., it is almost ho hum in Italy where there seems to be one on every hilltop. However, Castello di Arechi has been nicely restored and features a wonderful panorama. It’s close to the city center and doesn’t take long to tour but it is definitely well worth seeing.

Here is a Wikipedia entry about the castle. It is in Italian but I can summary a few points. It is a medieval castle 300 meters above sea level overlooking the Gulf of Salerno. It is called Arechi because it is normally associated with the Longobard Duke, Arechi II.

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castello_di_Arechi

Here is a link to the Castle’s rather annoying website:

http://www.ilcastellodiarechi.it/1024_768.php

View of the castle as you approach from the street and parking lot.

Rear view of the castle. There are also a few hiking trails on the castle grounds.

View of Salerno

Here are some actors practicing for a performance….I think it was something of Dante’s. They often use the castle for theater and musical performances. The castle is beautifully illuminated at night. You can see it way up on the hill from the city center.


The Dolomites

Last week we traveled up to Canazei in Trentino for our settimana bianca (white week). What an incredible place to ski! The Dolomites are beautiful and I have never been to such a huge ski area. It was unseasonably warm when we arrived so we were a little concerned. The temperature dropped and we had nice fresh snow for our first couple days of skiing. As a New England skier, I actually didn’t know how to deal with the powder at first. Where was that reassuring sound of my skies scraping across what we fondly refer to as packed powder?

Yah, Snow!

Russell climbed this big hill by the apartment. He really misses playing in the snow!

Loving the snow

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we skied the Sellaronda which is a circuit around the Sella Mountains crossing the four passes. It’s about 40 km long (some of which is done on ski lifts, of course) and on average takes between 5 and 6 hours. Day one we went counter clockwise; day two we went clockwise. On the first day, we hit an area of fog so thick you couldn’t see where to go. It slowed us down quite a bit. Of course, Luca wanted to beat the average time. He gets a little crazy after he clips those skis on. He was satisfied with our 2nd day’s time of 4:26 hours. I didn’t even get lunch that day. Good thing I tucked some salami in my pocket.

http://www.sella-ronda.info/eng/index.html

Looks pretty happy, doesn’t he?

Refuge at 2,500 meters

What’s up with the enormous 1990’s ski goggles? (I bought new ones.)

Kinderland

http://www.scuolascicanazei.com/kinderland.htm

While we were off skiing around the Sella Mountains, the boys were at a ski school called Kinderland. At first, I had a twinge of guilt at leaving them there all day. They loved it. In fact, when we came a bit early to pick them up, they didn’t want to leave….so we took a walk around Canazei. They had ski lessons in the morning and either played inside or outside in the afternoon. By Friday, they went up skiing on the big mountain.

I highly recommend this ski school. The staff was friendly and energetic. The boys talked about how they were funny and silly or how one could stand on her hands. They were also very organized.

Duilio on the way to the practice slope.

…and here’s Russell!

Duilio skiing down the course. They had a “competition” on Friday afternoon to finish the week.

Russell’s big finish UNDER the last gate….on purpose. Of course, the next kid followed the same route.

The best part…medals for everyone! They were so pleased. Russell wore his to school the following Monday and wooed back his lady love, Ludovica.

They even put together a slideshow video of the week at Kinderland:

http://youtu.be/NZBOpyXFYe4

I can’t wait to go back next year.