This post is sponsored by BMW.
At first it was all about seeing our relatives. Since we moved to London, during the year they barely see Viola and summertime is the best chance to get together. Then our traveller side took over. ‘What if we make a road trip out of it?’ we thought. In the end, we were crossing Italy from one side to the other, visiting three if not four regions every year. From our homebase in Rome, Lazio to the coast of Abruzzo, then stopping in Tuscany a few days and on to Liguria and its beautiful Cinque Terre landscapes.
This year we had a special partner for our Italian road trip: BMW. For our wanderings from coast to coast we had the pleasure to drive the beautiful new 2 Series Gran Tourer in atlantic grey metallic. Although it’s very roomy it doesn’t have the boring ‘family-car’ design. It really looks dynamic and sporty. It’s a versatile car with a rock’n roll twist, offering the highest safety and comfort while making our driving experience exciting and enjoyable.
We got comfy in the fabulous leather seats, loving the car interiors: a fabulous leather in a bright oyster color. We also loved the panorama glass roof: so bright and beautiful, ideal to watch the Italian summer blue sky.
As a family, we usually try to pack as light as possible. Or maybe I should say that we always convince ourselves we packed light until we arrive at the trunk test. Then we usally panic. Luckily, this time we didn’t have to!
Bags, beach stuff and Viola’s BMW kids bike – this time we really had a lot. Imagine how happy we were once figuring out we just had to drop the rear seats to more than double up the car capacity without sacrifying any of Viola’s space. Due to the fact, that nearly every seat is foldable, the versatility of the 2 Series Gran Tourer is huge.
I’m also proudly telling you that with this super stylish bike she learnt to drive without the little wheels. I want one for myself. Seriously, it was too cool.
So, we were well prepared to start our trip in Abruzzo, where we reach a part of my family for the first bit of our trip. The town is quiet and the opposite of fancy. I find traces of my childhood holidays all around, everytime I go there it looks like time has stopped.
The best bit of the stay is spend some time with my brother’s family. Viola is absolutely thrilled about seing her little cousins.
The coast of Abruzzo between Roseto and Pescara is not among the most popular Italian destination, yet it’s perfect for families. A long sandy beach with shallow water, little towns offering basic comforts without the crazy prices of other destinations, the relaxed atmosphere. It’s not uncommon to go for dinner on the nearby hills at some local ‘agriturismo’ which in the end is nothing but a farmer putting a handful of tables in his frontyard.
Now: picture the classic loud and big Italian family. Here we are. When we move all together by car to go out for dinner, it looks like the circus is coming to town. Luckily on the 2 Series Gran Tourer you can fit up to 7 persons, including 3 kid seats in a row. I can’t honestly think of something easier than fit two whole families in a car!
After some days in Abruzzo we set off for our second destination: Tuscany.
Viola gets easily bored during car trips, but once again the 2 Series Gran Tourer proved to be excellent. With a built-in desk where she could play and colour, an iPad holder for her to watch short movies and the amazing BMW car seat everything went perfectly well.
Let me spend a few words more about the car seat as it solved an everlasting problem: the kids head hanging down if they fall asleep. I spent countless trips dislocating my sholuder trying to hold her head up. Well, probably because of its ergonomic shape, it didn’t happen this time. To me, the closest thing to a miracle I’ve seen so far.
Capalbio is its little gem: a medieval little town with the highest concentration of restaurants I’ve ever seen. You can’t buy a bottle of milk in the whole historic centre, but you can taste some ‘pappardelle al cinghiale’ (wild boar handmade pasta) in five or six different restaurant. It is enchanting. Narrow streets and pretty squares, the small central church facing the tower, the walls surrounding the city: everything is beautiful and amazingly preserved.
Our favourite spots are an aperitif on the outer walls at Bar Le Mura and a dinner at La Porta. The owners know Viola since she’s a baby and it’s sweet how they recognize and greet her every year.
We hit the beach a few kilometres away. The sand is dark and sticky, the water is clear and refreshing: exactly what’s needed for the super hot weather of these days in Italy. Of course we went for swimming. While Viola unloaded her swimming stuff, she discovered another “magical” feature: The 2 Series Gran Tourer offers a wide-opening tailgate (long things up to 2.50 meters are no problem), which could be opened by a quick movement under the bumper – a handy feature if both hands are blocked. My ‘what are you dooooooing?’ ended with a ‘oooh, good job Viola!’.
The best bit of being in Tuscany is, again, hitting the road and visiting different places. I suggest Orbetello, with its natural lagoon and pretty high street and Pitigliano, an enchanting medieval city entirely built on rocks. Don’t miss Saturnia and its thermal springs. You can stay or just buy a day ticket to bathe in the luxury hotel and SPA or just reach the natural springs like I did last year.
Thanks to the Navigation Plus we reached the towns safely and quickly. Navigation Plus includes several useful components: like nav system, radio and a Head-Up Display, that projects important information onto a panel direct in my field of vision.
I love the clear graphics and the way you can input your destination: with the iDrive Touch Controller you just write the letters with your finger. So useful when you’re driving alone and can’t bother typing. But if you want to, you can use voice command – this feature is optionally.
Conclusion of the first part of our trip with the BMW 2 Series: In terms of roominess and comfort, the Gran Tourer proved itself as the perfect travel companion. But our road trip has just started. Next time I’ll tell you all about our next stop: Liguria.