We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The real destination of our trip was the Dolomites. We just threw in Lake Garda and Verona for fun.
Hiking (plus rock-climbing and mountain-climbing) in the Dolomites is the local summer sport. People don't walk - they hike and cover a lot of ground. Most people use hiking poles or hiking staffs, for good reason. You are always going up or going down. There is some mountain biking too. In winter, it's all skiing.
We drove from Lake Garda up on the scenic route and watched the agriculture change from olives, palms, and lemons to vast apple orchards and vinegards, and finally to Alpine hay fields. ...caught the autostrade in Trent (Trentino) and drove up it to Bolzano (where the Ice Man resides) to exit before the Brenner Pass to drive up windy roads to our classic Alpine Hotel in the tiny hamlet of Bulla on a hillside up above Ortesei.
Here's one of the high Alpine meadows above Ortesei - the highest Alpine meadow that exists. Alpe di Siusi.
As I have said, there is no one Italy - it is many places. Observations, suggestions, and lotsa scenic pics below the fold.
Our daily hiking routine there was a hearty breakfast at 8 - brioche, cold cuts, cheese, soft-boiled eggs - then a quick drive down to Ortesei to pick up one of the funiculars or gondolas that take you up to the high hiking networks of trails. Like skiing. There are pretty good trail maps.
The natural tendency is to plot out hikes to a refugio for lunch, where you can get food, beer, coffee - and fresh buttermilk from their cows.
Looks like you had very good weather. The last picture is truly stunning. Two questions: (1) did you typically hike a circuit or did you backtrack along the same trail to return to your starting point? and (2) what did you typically take with you in your kit while hiking? I assume you normally went out on day hikes, or did you perhaps stay overnight along the trail before returning to your stating point?