Located just over an hour South of Milan is a small city called Parma (the home of Parmesan cheese). We took a short day trip there to experience some amazing food and tour a castle or two. The City is inland, which means in the month of August, it will pretty much be deserted like many other cities in Italy not on the sea.
Luckily for us, the restaurant we wanted to go to was open and it was fabulous! The place is called La Forchetta and they have all fresh made pasta and one of my favorites which is pumpkin filled ravioli in a sage butter sauce!
A few miles outside of the actual city you can take a tour of Castello di Torrechiara. There is also a hotel on the castle property with a small restaurant as well. The castle itself if nothing really special, there are no guided tours and its relatively small compared to some of the other castles I have seen in the Eurpoe, but something fun to do for 3 euros .
Just another short journey is a larger castle called Castello di Felino. This one is closed when we arrived so we could only walk around the grounds and into the main entrance. My feelings we not hurt, because as I have said before, you’ve seen one castle then you have seen them all.
DESENZANO & LAGO DEL GARDA
Located a short hour train ride from Milan, Desenzano on Lago del Garda is a great place to visit. Lake Garda is the largest in Italy and during the summer many Germans make their way there for vacation (since its on the water). From the train station you can take a large ferry (for a few Euro) across the lake to a quaint little city that has tons of windy paths, restaurants, shops and a view from a small castle that is very much worth the trip.
If you are looking for a restaurant suggestion, we recommend Hostaria. They have local wine and nonna or grandma is the cook, making al fresh pastas and dishes for you to enjoy! They also offer free little appetizers as well which is a nice touch!