We’re down to only two weekends left! There are so many amazing places that you can travel by train in Italy. We’re glad that we’ve got to go to as many places as we have but with time going by so quickly and our budget getting down to the end we’re deciding to stay close to home. We’ve perfected taking the train to the nearest city, Modena. Next we decided to get a little adventurous with the kids and went to the next nearest city, Mantova. It’s a 45 minute train ride from Carpi. We know we could make it by train to places a little bit more well known and farther away but even this short train ride and day trip is exhausting with kids. Mantova here we come!
We had read online that Mantova is surrounded by man made lakes and is said to have the highest quality of life in Italy. We headed out on the train and made it to Mantova by about 10:00. We knew there was an outdoor market going on in Mantova so we made that our first destination. On our walk to the market we decided to stop for a relaxing cafe and pastry. This time it was not so relaxing the boys did not want to sit still and stone had to go to the bathroom like 3 times we went back inside the shop to battle the crowds for the bathroom. We slammed our cappuccino and espresso and then headed off to the market. This market was pretty much like all the other markets in Carpi so we wandered through and came out the other side ready for lunch. The whole time we were walking through the market Stone kept talking about running down the ramp. A ramp that he saw at the beginning of the market. So, before we found a lunch spot we made a quick stop to go run down the ramp. Okay, now time for lunch!
We saw this old traditional looking restaurant in the main piazza called Taverna del Duca. That’s where we decided to try to have lunch. It all started out great, the kids were sitting at the table and we were in a room with no other people eating so we wouldn’t have to worry about the kids being a little rowdy. The waiter even suggested we start off with some Prosecco during lunch. Sure, this was going a little too well! Then things took a turn. Crosby dumped over his juice… the room all of a sudden filled up with tons of people… and we had to change an explosive diaper in an old bathroom on the floor with no changing table. Once we were done taking turns cleaning up our messes and getting through all the obstacles we all were at the table again. We made it through our meal and it was a meal we’ll always remember. We had read online that one of the traditional meals in Mantova was pike in green sauce with polenta so that is what I had. Jesse tried a beef dish with polenta and the boys shared a chicken and potatoes dish. What the boys enjoyed the most was taking their breadsticks and dipping it in their juice and then eating it… gross? yes! But it kept them entertained while we ate our meal and drank our prosecco.
What to do after lunch? It’s time to find a park in Mantova! While we were looking for a park we met some crazy characters. A man stopped and talked to us and told us about his american road trip he took back in 66′ and then Crosby befriended an old lady who got a kick out of Crosby the little blondie. We walked for a bit along their lake and then headed back inland and stumbled across a great park and let the kids burn off some energy.
We had heard from our friend Melissa that there is an awesome Gelato shop called Grom. We found the Grom in Mantova and stopped for a Gelato break. On our walk back to the train we walked past what looked like a little canal that you would see in Venice. Now that would be an amazing place to see but I think we’ll have to save a trip to Venice till the kids are older. But for now back to the train.