Body by Italy

25 Jun

Get on that traghetto and engage that core!

Italy is a beautiful country. There are so many amazing historical sights and natural wonders. It would be a shame to miss something. So I’m keeping Italy in mind when I head off to the gym. It’s a far better way to stay motivated than by just telling myself I need to spend time on an elliptical. Here’s what I’m training for:

Some say that the Renaissance was born in Florence and that one of the main catalysts is its cathedral. Santa Maria del Fiore was such a unique feat of architecture for the time and its beauty continues to inspire visitors hundreds of years after its completion. This was also a special place for Mom. She loved visiting the Duomo (“cathedral” in Italian). So you add her enthusiasm and the fact that I loved Ross King’s book about the Duomo and this became a necessary stop.

Activity: Climbing the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore
The dome was constructed with an inner and outer shell. When climbing, the visitor is able to see some of the perspectives the original masons would have seen. You are also rewarded with an amazing view of Florence from the cupola. Not to be missed.

Workout potential: climb 463 steps, equivalent to over 46 flights on the Stairmaster but with better views and better artwork

Though Pisa is home to the Field of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli), the star of the show is the bell tower or as we know it, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As I mentioned before, this was closed during our visit in ’92. It is now stable and safe to climb. You can also reward yourself with a picnic in the Field of Miracles afterwards on the prettiest lawn in Italy.

Activity: Climbing the Leaning Tower and Walking to the Piazza dei Miracoli
You are only allowed 30 minutes to walk up the stairs, see the view from the top and then climb back down and retrieve your belongings from the lockers reserved for this purpose.

Workout potential: climb 294 steps, equivalent to over 29 flights on the Stairmaster. Walk 20-30 minutes from Pisa Centrale train station to the Piazza dei Miracoli while stopping for picnic ingredients on the way.

These five separate towns are perched on the edge of mountains. Each has its own character, dialect, traditions and hiking trails. There are ocean views, olive trees and white wine along the way.  We can’t wait to relax here and enjoy the local cuisine.

Activity: Hiking in the Cinque Terre
There are paths of differing difficulties available. All five towns are connected by hiking trails and train. Boats also make connections though they are dependent on sea conditions. One of the hikes is called Via dell’Amore or Walk of Love. It’s the quickest, averaging 30 minutes, and the shortest, only half a mile. It also has the ugliest cement walkways but they make for easy trekking.

Workout potential: 9.5 miles of hiking trails available, some with climbs, taking as long as five hours to complete

The whole city is an island so you can walk without fear of getting lost because, hey!, you’re still on an island. You can dance at St Mark’s Square and you can climb the stairs at the Doge’s Palace. I’ve picked a much easier workout for us at the end of our Italian adventure.

Activity: Riding a traghetto across the Grand Canal
A traghetto (pronounced “trah-jet-toe”) is a gondola powered by a gondolier. The difference is that these gondola are available at key points along the Grand Canal so that commuters can cross easily. The rides are cheap and last only a few minutes.

Workout potential: Standing up on a traghetto as the locals do and engaging abdominal muscles throughout, then heading off to find some pasta to exercise your… flavor muscles


One Response to “Body by Italy”

  1. Steely Danielle 2011/06/25 at 15:32 #

    Karli, I absolutely got hammered by that Duomo climb when I went. It’s no joke. That being said, if someone got anywhere near the Cinque Terre and didn’t do the entire walk in one day, I would tell them they would be missing out on one of the single greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Great memories, both. Thanks for reminding me of them.

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