I’ve been to Italy many times but no entry into the country has been quite as dramatic as my arrival from Austria. I first pass through the ski slopes of Tarvisio. There’s no snow at the moment but the rocky peaks gleam white in the sunlight. The motorway through this region incurs a toll so I choose to follow the old road instead. Like the motorway, it weaves its way around the rock faces and through tunnels, plaiting a route with the River Fella and the former railway line, now a cycle path.
I stop at a layby near to Chiusaforte to take it all in, entranced by the icy blue of the river and equally mesmerized by a vending machine for water. Following the example of a local who is filling a crate of bottles, I grab some empty plastic bottles from the motorhome and get 2 litres of cold, fresh water for the princely sum of 5 cents.