There is nothing more imperious than a small blonde moppet yelling, ‘Grandpa’ across a crowded restaurant. And even better, the Grandpa in question leapt to in response! This wee girlie will go far: she’s got a touch of Queen Victoria for sure. Young Indy is, in fact, the youngest member of our group – all three glorious generations holidaying together.
We are at the Bella Italia Holiday Resort on the shores of Lake Garda, near Peschiera, staying with Canvas Holidays. Essentially this is a large, well-laid out, very well managed holiday village, with a hotel, apartments, chalets, tents, mobile homes and RV parking alongside hook-up spots. All options of accommodation are available, you just take your pick! The RV and camping areas certainly have the best lakeside views. We are staying in a Comfort Plus 2 bedroom mobile home with daughter and her family just across the path in a Moda 3 bedroom mobile home. Both are spotless, with good linen packs, that sensibly include beach towels. Warm blankets are in situ for cooler evenings. Barbeques come as standard, as do decks in front of each mobile home and surprisingly efficient air conditioning/heating.
There was a time when children saw their grandparents frequently: after school, at the weekends and in the holidays. Sadly, this is no longer so much the case and a holiday like this, gives everyone the chance to spend time together, happily, without being too welded at the hip. A little time and space just for grown-ups, especially when you’re used to it, can go a long way. We enjoy seeing the children every day, sharing adventures and new experiences with them and having mealtimes together. There is plenty for them to do, indeed I think this is the key to a holiday of this sort. Happy children mean a happy family team. The two grandchildren, aged 3 and 9, delight in Marco and Luca each evening: the ever energetic entertainment duo keep up two hours of non-stop audience participation, in a variety of languages, that has everyone singing, dancing and laughing under the open-sided Big Top. I stand back in awe and wonder as the kids join in wholeheartedly.
Come 11pm, the campsite quietens dramatically, it’s in the rules, as is a siesta time 1-3pm. No bad thing actually.
Staying on a large camp site like this has numerous benefits, the main one being that you need never leave the campus. There is absolutely everything provided – daytime activities, kids’ clubs, evening entertainment, restaurants, bars, a supermarket, cashpoint, bike hire, bouncy castles and the most fabulous waterpark set to gladden any youngster’s heart. It is safe, with good security at all entry/exit points and those staying onsite wear wristbands too. Indy insists that Grandpa has a pink one to match hers.
This location is wonderful, there’s the lake itself for swimming and boat trips, which we love. A very gentle two hour round trip takes us to pretty waterside towns like Bardolino and Lazise, where we see the biggest fish ever. Honestly, a whopper. The captain takes the children into the wheelhouse and lets them steer for a moment, a real highlight of the day. Another day we hire bikes, including a child’s ‘carriage’ for Indy who travels in style, and we cycle to Borghetto, just 15 kilometres away, along the river Mincio, on a purpose built path. This is a gorgeous village, on an island in the river, with lovely restaurants and fine ice cream. Cody, who’s 9, was in his element, racing ahead in safety as most of the path is free of cars. Brilliant.
Grandpa and I love Verona, so a day is spent there too, with the obligatory visits to Juliet’s balcony and the Arena, where we are told a guidebook’s worth of information by grandson about gladiators and gory deaths. I manage a quick sneak into Armani too. Just to look, you understand! This is a city that benefits from exploring and getting a bit lost too, we find piazzas that I’ve never seen before – all historic and fascinating. I’d recommend a guided tour the first time you go there.
Peschiera is easy to walk to from the campsite, there are good restaurants, and pretty lakeside walks. We find a superb eatery, called Bella Italia again, within a kilometre of the main gate and a lakeside place for family dining minutes from the campsite.
There is no doubt that a Canvas Holidays at Bella Italia offers a great opportunity for families to spend time together enjoyably, with plenty to do on site and in the nearby region for all ages. I can honestly say that it was relaxing, interesting and the accommodation worked for us very well.