Last week my department sequestered itself away for a couple days in a castle-turned-hotel/conference center in a small town about 30 minutes North of where we live in Regensburg. The hotelly parts of it seemed a little spooky — we got the impression we were the only guests the first day — but the weather and the Naab river both contributed to the late autumn ambience.

Italian Road Trip: Part One, Oberpfalz to Lombardy

We had some time to kill (don’t let anyone tell you 30 days of vacation is necessarily easy to manage) and decided to give Italy one more try. We were kind of disappointed and stressed out by Verona, didn’t get enough time in Bologna (and were rather nonplussed by Tren Italia on the way back), and are running low on fancy imported olive oil.

So we rented a car, said goodbye to the work peeps for a week, and bugged out for Mantova (known in English as Mantua), the first stop on our road trip.

We stayed overnight in Mantua at the Armellino Bed & Breakfast in Mantua. It was a perfectly lovely room with very friendly and helpful hosts. We’d recommend them again anytime.

Getting to Mantua by car was pretty easy; our GPS did not lead us astray and the weather cooperated. We rolled up in front of the Armellino, and Massimo came out to advise us where to park the car. We dropped our bags and set out exploring, looking for dinner. While we were out strolling, the fog rolled in, making for an eerie evening with (seemingly) no one else out to enjoy the atmosphere.

We slept in the next morning, enjoying the Sbrisolona for breakfast and strolled around a bit more to get a glimpse of the city by daylight — or what little the clouds let through. After a nice lunch of pizza, we got back in the car and made our way further south toward Tuscany.