I open my eyes slowly, awakened by a warm breeze. “Jonathan has opened the window”, I think, while the last blurred images of my beautiful dream leave my mind. I take a deep breath and fill myself with the spring’s fragrance that has invaded the room: freshly cut grass, the first flowers’ blooming… nature is awakening and I feel its call strongly.
I leave the white nest bed sheets that had cuddled me until this moment and I reach my husband.
«Good morning, my love!»
Breakfast at the AbanoRitz
An abundant breakfast awaits us on the ground floor. Even before entering the room, the smell of freshly baked croissants makes me feel like a child again. It reminds me of Sunday morning breakfasts by my grandparents’ house, where I spent the summer surrounded by nature and tasting homemade cakes. Furthermore, the kindness and dedication of the AbanoRitzThermae & Wellness Hotel staff gives me that familiar atmosphere of my memories.
Jonathan and I spoil ourselves a bit, but now we really have the right energy to better enjoy this day dreamed of for months: a long excursion awaits us on the Euganean Hills!
Discovering art, culture and food in the Euganean Hills
Shortly before booking our week at the spa, I discovered something very interesting on the AbanoRitz’ blog. There is a mostly flat 64 km cycle lane that extends around the perimeter of the Euganean Hills Regional Park. The eno-gastronomic itineraries of the Euganean Hills Wine Route start from that point, including over 40 wineries, farmhouses and restaurants.
Riding the electric bikes provided by the hotel, we start our tour from the huge AbanoRitz’ garden park. We begin pedaling, kissed by the sun and caressed by the summer breeze. We leave Abano Terme and immediately find ourselves immersed in nature, surrounded by endless expanses of green meadows and vineyards. A painting comes to life in front of our eyes: Euganean Hills embellish the background with their bright green color, in contrast with the clear blue of the sky. Finally, small historic villages, ancient monasteries and medieval castles embellish the gentle slopes like white precious pearls.
We head towards Arquà Petrarca, the second most beautiful medieval village in Italy. How lucky: today the village hosts an exhibition of local handcrafts and food. We stop at one of the stands and discover the original techniques for processing the jujube, an ancient and sweet fruit.
We continue our tour to discover some ancient aristocratic palaces, that have been the homes of great artists and famous people once. Finally, we visit the house of Francesco Petrarca and the medieval church of Santa Maria Assunta. Then we have lunch in a pretty restaurant, where we eat an excellent pasta with asparagus and spring peas.
From Arquà Petrarca to Praglia
We arrive at the Praglia Abbey after having cycled for about twenty kilometers along the enchanting road in the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills. We run on paths surrounded by centuries old oaks, chestnut woods, cultivated fields and vineyards. We are just in time for the guided tour at 5.30 pm, the last one of the day.
Accompanied by a Benedictine monk, we discover the four cloisters of the monastic complex, the cathedral’s frescoes and the solemn ancient library. Our tour ends in the cellar, where we buy two bottles of Moscato Fiordarancio to give to our parents.
On the way back, I can’t stop stating to Jonathan all my enthusiastic comments on the day’s discoveries. I can’t help thinking about how much beauty we have experienced in such a short time. Choosing the strategic location of the AbanoRitz has really given us a unique and unforgettable opportunity!
Breathtaking sunset in the AbanoRitz’ garden park
We park our bikes. We are tired, but satisfied. Before getting into the room, Jonathan takes my hand and we walk together under a small temple, located in the hotel’s garden park. We crouch down in this stone casket and enjoy the wonderful spectacle that opens before us silently. A breathtaking sunset surprises us: the sun rays dye everything in warm colors, the sky has become pink and the air is a bit more biting now.
Around us, only peace and quiet.
I close my eyes and hug Jonathan a little bit stronger. I feel good, in harmony with the nature that surrounds me. The perfect end to an unforgettable day.