A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

Parma.

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sunny

I have been to Parma twice in some months only (2016 or 2017...I don' t remember). The first ime I visited this city, it didn' t impressed me much. I appreciated it more the second time I visited it.

Parma is not a very beautiful city, but it is nice. It has a good choice of things to see. There are several churches and some museums to visit; a large park and a plethora of shops.

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One of Parma' s main sights is the baptistery. This octagonal tall structure was built in 1196 and finished in 1307.

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Inside it is decorated with frescoes between the XIII and the XIV centuries. There are also frescoes on its dome. These were painted in the third decade of the XIII centuries.

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Beside the baptistery I visited the cathedral of Parma (duomo).

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The cathedral highlight is the dome. It was painted by Antonio Allegri, called Correggio between 1524 and 1530.  It depicts the Virgin Mary with clouds, apostles and angels.I think one should do more than one visit to the cathedral to appreciate this worship place. 

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I also visited several other churches in Parma. One of these; the church of saint John the Evangelist is part of a monastery.  Here I visited the cloisters and  the old library.  This  was frescoed  in one year  only; between 1574  and  1575.  A priest told me a lot of things about this library and talked me about the frescoes of this beautiful room.

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Sometimes, on the way to my hotel I had a stroll at a large public park; the Parco Ducale. It was laid out in 1561 by the duke Ottavio Farnese as park for his villa. In 1700 fell under disrepair. After 1749 it was restored. It was later restored even in the 1800 and between the years 2000 and 2001.

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This park has a large lake, various kind of trees and some beautiful statues. There are some buildings inside as well; including the Palazzo del Giardino. I haven' t visited this palace, but I will do it next time I visit Parma.

Art lovers can spend lots of time  inside the Palazzo della Pilotta. It is  a huge palace built from 1583 and enlarged through the centuries. It houses more than 700 masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the 1900. Moreover there is a wooden theater inside this  palace; the Farnese theater.  There are also a couple (or more) of museums inside the palace. I only did a very fast tour inside this palace, so I cannot write much about it.

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Where to have lunch in Parma. Well, I recommend Magnosfera. This is a self service cafe and restaurant situated just a few steps from the old center of Parma. It has a large dining room and even if this restaurant is very popular, I always found a seat.

At Magnosfera you can find several warm first and second courses and various vegetables to combine and make your salad. There are also several fruits and desserts. Here You can have a pizza as well.

Well, I tried to describe some things one shouldn' t miss in Parma. There is much more to see in this town. Moreover, is it possible to do several day trips from this town.

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Posted by Maurizioagos 10:46 Archived in Italy Tagged emilia romagna. parma; Comments (0)

Bologna.

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I have visited Bologna a couple of times; as day trips from Ferrara; in 2016 and 2017. There are daily trains from Ferrara to Bologna every day. The journey takes around half an hour.

Bologna is called "la dotta", "la grassa" and "la rossa". "La dotta" (i. e. educated) beacuse of its old university. It was one of the first university settled in the occidental world. "La grassa" (i. e. fat) is a nickname due to the good food you can have in Bologna. "La rossa" (i. e. the red) is an adjective Bologna got for the reddish colour of most of its buildings.

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Bologna has a network of around 38 kilometers of covered walkways. The first porticoes date from the late Middle ages, but probably they already existed in 1041.

The porticoes were made due to the population growth; possibly because of the university students who came to the city. The upper storeys of the buildings were enlarged and consequently the porticoes downstairs were made.

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In Bologna you can even find some very old porticoes made of bricks or wood.

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Piazza Maggiore is Bologna main square. It is surrounded by several palaces.

One of them is Palazzo d' Accursio. It was built by several buildings joined together through the centuries. This is the city' s town hall. Another palace is the Palazzo del Podestà . This was built around 1200. Opposite you see the basilica of San Petronio. Next to this church stands the Palazzo dei Banchi. Here bankers and money changers worked.

Piazza Maggiore is connected to another square; piazza del Nettuno.

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Palazzo d' Accursio, or Palazzo Comunale is a 15,000 square meters complex made of three palaces. The oldest dates to the 12th century. This was originally he house of the jurist Accursio. Later it became the seat of the Anziani (elders); the higher magistrates of the city.

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Inside this palace you can visit several rooms. On the first floor you can see Sala d' Ercole. This is the oldest part of the building. It houses a huge statue of Hercules. Sala del Consiglio Comunale which was frescoed in 1676. It is used for the town hall meetings. Sala Rossa (red room) is so called for the color of the tapestries on its walls. It was the main room for the senate meetings. On the second floor you can visit the chapel and Sala Farnese. The chapel was built in 1400 and enlarged between 1561 and 1565. It was restored in 1600. There are several frescoes dated to the 1562 inside. On the second floor you can also visit a museum; the Collezioni Comunali d' Arte; here you can see works of art from the 1200 to the 1900.

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Palazzo dell' Archiginnasio; the old university, was built between 1562 e il 1565 to bring together under one place the several university faculties that had been scattered around the city. It was the seat of the university of Bologna until 1803. Here you see frescoes and coats of arms of students on lots of walls.

It is a two storeys palace; built around a courtyard. On its first floor there are the ancient rooms of the legisti (they were law students) and rooms of the artisti (they studied other things). On the same floor there are two aule magne; one of these is the so - called Stabat Mater. It is covered with coats of arms of Italian and foreigner students who attended the university. This is one of the rooms open to visitors. It isn' t possible to visit the students' rooms. The other room you can visit houses an anatomical theatre. It is where anatomy lessons where held. Here the students watched the dissection of human corpses. It was build in 1637 and restored after the second world war. It has its wooden walls decorated with statues of famous physicians and famous anatomists.

This palace also houses the public library.

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The Museo Civico Archeologico (the archaeological museum) is housed inside the ancient Ospedale della Vita e della Morte (hospital of life and death). This palace dates to the XV century. Here there are several collections which come from the university, from the collection of the painter Pelagio Palagi and from finds from digs in Bologna and in some Emilia Romagna areas.

On the basement of this museum there is a large Egyptian collection with sarcophagi, and lots of funeral items. There is a lapidarium and a plaster cast gallery. Once you visited these you can to go to the first floor where you can visit the prehistory, the Etruscan, the Celt and the Roman sections. There is even a Greek collection to visit here.

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There are some Roman mosaics inside this museum.

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The Quadrilatero market is practically a maze of narrow streets lined with food shops, restaurants and cafes.

It is located to the east of piazza Maggiore. It is bordered by via Rizzoli, via d' Azeglio, via Farini and via Castiglione.

In the evening this area becomes a place where you can have a drink or a dinner at one of the many restaurants and cafes there.

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Here you can find lots of shops; even very small ones where you can buy fruit, vegetables, meat, fishes; bread, pastries and other local food.

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Tamburini is a good restaurant to have lunch. It is a self service restaurant and a food shop as well.

Here you can buy various kinds of cold cuts, cheeses, cakes and also take away food for lunch or dinner.

At the restaurant you can help yourself of four first courses at least, some second courses, various vegetable dishes and some desserts.

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This restaurant is some meters far from the Quadrilatero market.

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In the Middle Ages there were around 100 towers in Bologna. Today there are around 20 of them. The most famous of these are the two towers; the tower degli Asinelli and la Garisenda. The tower degli Asinelli was built between 1109 and 1119. It is around 100 meters tall. Perhaps it was built by the Asinelli Family. There are 498 stairs to get to its top. Surely you can enjoy a very beautiful landscape over the city from there. This tower was used as jail sometimes. The Garisenda tower is 48 meters tall. It was shortened due to a fall of the soil and for the excessive leaning.

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Saint Stephen basilica. According the tradition it was Saint Petronio who create this basilica. He was Bologna' s bishop from 431 to around 450. The aim of this construction was to imitate the Holy sepulcre in Jerusalem. This worship place was first built around 400 A. D. over a Roman temple of goddess Isis. Originally it was made of seven churches, but after the renovations works made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the number was reduced to four.

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The first church you will enter is the church of the Crocifisso. It dates to the VIII century. This church was called this way , because a 1300 crucifix is on display inside. Another church you will visit is the church of the Santo Sepolcro. This is the oldest construction of the whole complex. It is a church built in dodecagonal shape. Another church here is the basilica dei Santi Vitale ed Agricola. It was built in the V century, but it was restored and finished in the XII century. The last church you can visit here is the cappella della Benda (the chapel of the bandage). Part of this church is used as a museum.

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The complex includes a small museum of religious crafts. It is housed into the chapel of the bandage.

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Corte Isolani is a public passageway which links strada (street) Maggiore and via Santo Stefano. Inside this area you see various courtyards with several upmarket shops and some eateries. At both ends of Corte Isolani there are two palaces. Palazzo Isolani which dates from the XV century and Corte Isolani. This was built in the XIII century. It has a third storey carried by a porch made of two brick pillars and oak timbers of nine meters of heights.

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A restaurant inside Corte Isolani.

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I suppose there are some offices at Corte Isolani.

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Nice spot at Corte Isolani.

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The church of Saint Dominic was built between 1221 and 1233 to house the relics of Saint Dominic. It was enlarged between 1228 and 1240 and restored between 1728 and 1732.

One of its main sights is the Chapel of S. Dominic in the right aisle. It houses the Ark of S. Dominic. This masterpiece was created through several centuries. It is made of a sarcophagus carved by Nicola Pisano in 1267. Its upper part was added from 1469 to 1473 by Niccolò da Bari. Michelangelo made an angel (you see it on the right) in 1494 and two statues of Sain Petronius and saint Proculus.

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Another sights inside the church is situated behind the main altar. These are old wooden choir stalls with Old and New Testament scenes made by friar Damiano from Bergamo and his brother Stefano. They carved them between 1530 and 1549. It is said they used 30 different kinds of wood to made them.

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Gelateria Gianni is a ice cream place recommended by two VT friends on their VT pages about Bologna (see ex ...virtualtourist.com); Ingrid Trekki and Toonsarah.

I founded it by chance. I don' t remember which flavours I chose the first time I visited Gianni' s. My ice cream was really good. The second time I went there I think I had a scoop of coffee flavour ice cream and another one of yoghurt. I am not sure about it. I liked it very much. The scoops were big.

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There are three branches of this gelateria in Bologna. I went to that one besides the two towers. There aren' t any chairs to enjoy your ice cream inside this ice cream parlour, but you can sit outside on a low stone wall.

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Bologna has a long network of underground canals. These were created from the XII to the XVI centuries as a transportations way and to give power to the watermills and to the city's farms. From the 50' s they were covered.

One you can see in the city center is the canale delle Moline. You can see through a small window in via Piella. It is really a picturesque sight as you can see from my picture.

You can find some other canals in Bologna. Just ask the tourist office for a leaflet about these. The tourist office is located in piazza Maggiore.

Don' t skip a visit to Bologna if you are in the area. Even if you can spend only some hours there.

Posted by Maurizioagos 03:42 Archived in Italy Tagged bologna romagna emilia Comments (2)

Ferrara.

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sunny 22 °C

Ferrara is a city situated 44 kilometers northeast of Bologna. It has a beautiful Medieval old core, Some old mansions open to visitors, a castle and lots of churches.

The last time I visited Ferrara it was in 2017; if my memory serves me well.

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One of the main sight of Ferrara is the Estense castle. Originally this castle was a tower; built in the XIII century. In 1385 by Niccolò II d' Este ordered the construction of a big fortress in order to defend himself and his family against the citizens' uprisings. Ferrara' s citizens protested against heavy taxation at that time. After a few centuries the danger of uprisings ceased and from 1450 the castle became a wonderful court residence. The d' Este family lived in the castle until 1589 when the city was put under the rule of the papacy. This family ruled Ferrara since 1332.

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Once you bought your entrance ticket you can visit the castle on yourself or on a guided tour (this will costs you some euros more). You can go inside the dungeons; these have low entrances. Then you could visit the chapel of Renee of France; wife of Ercole II. It is decorated with marbles and frescoes. Other rooms to visit are; the Room of Dawn, the Small Room of the Games and the Room of the Games. A proper visit to the castle should take at least two hours.

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Giardino degli aranci (the oranges garden). A small garden (balcony) inside the castle.

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Piazza (i. e. square) Municipale. This picture was taken during a historical re enactment.

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Newly wed on the staircase in piazza Municipale.

The palace which is now used as town hall was the ducal palace. It was built in 1245 and later enlarged. The ducal palce was where the Estense family lived until the XVI century.

The main entrance of the palace is through the so called Volto del Cavallo (the horse' s face); a big arcade. This is flanked by two sculptures. To the right is a statue of Niccolò III on horseback. To the left you see his son Borso; seated on a throne. These are not original statues, but copies.

If you pass through the Volto del Cavallo you get to piazza Municipale. This was once the ducal courtyard. Here you see a yellow staircase built in 1481. Next to it there is a chapel, now used as a theatre.

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Inside the town hall (go up the staircase) you can visit the Duchesses' Room and the Sala dell'Arengo. This is decorated with frescoes painted between 1934 and 1938. The Duchesses' Room is a very small room decorated between 1555 and 1560. It was probably created for Eleanor and Lucrezia d' Este; Ercole II' s daughters. In this picture you see part of this tiny room.

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Here' s another picture taken into the Duchesses' Room.

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The cathedral was built in the XII century. It was restored and modified between 1712 and 1880. Its facade is divided into three sections. The lower part was built in Romanesque style. The upper part was built some decades later in Gothic style.

The cathedral bell tower was built between 1451 and 1493. It is unfinished even if the last works were done at the end of the XVI century.

One of the things I liked a lot inside the cathedral was a large crib created in the '700 by four artists living in the Naples area. It is made by 58 statues. Here' s some pics of this masterpiece.

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The cathedral' s facade.

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Along the right side of the cathedral there is a long portico with shops. This is the Loggia dei Merciai. It dates to the 15th century.

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Via (i. e. street) San Romano.

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Zazie is a hole in the wall under the arcades of via San Romano. Here you can have a smoochie, a salad, the soup of the day, yoghurts and something else.

There are some chairs and small tables inside this place and some tables and chairs outside.

All the drinks and food are served in disposable glasses.

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I tried some smoochies at Zazie' s. I liked them much.

The first time I went there I had a salad with cous cous. It was good.

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Via delle Volte. This long street takes its name from the arches that join the buildings along it.

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Via delle Volte was a Medieval street where merchants had their warehouses and probably their houses. Long ago it was also a place where prostitutes used to work.

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You can explore Ferrara for hours and discover lots of nice spots...

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palaces, houses, churches...

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Casa Romei is one of the mansions open to visitors. It was built by a merchant; Giovanni Romei in the XV century. It was enlarged for his second marriage.

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There are several rooms to visit inside Casa Romei. On the ground floor you can visit the hall of the sybille and the hall of the prophets. These have beautiful and quite well preserved frescoes.

On the first floor there is the cardinal Ippolito d' Este' s apartment. Here you will visit some rooms. There is even a small chapel.

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Casa Romei is also a museum with sculptures, paintings and frescoes.

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Another mansion I visited in Ferrara is the Palazzina of Marfisa d' Este is a one storey palace built from 1559 on order by Francesco d' Este; son of Alfonso I and Lucrezia Borgia. From 1578 it was inherited by his daughter Marfisa who lived there until her death.

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Inside this building you can see several rooms with beautiful frescoed roofs; partly restored in the XX century. The furniture you see there date from the XVI to the XVII centuries.

This building has a garden with a loggia that was used as a theatre.

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Palazzo Schifanoia is a palace situated quite far from the center of Ferrara.

The name given to this large palace could be translated as "to spur boredom". Its was used as a building for enjoyment and to receive guests. It was built from 1385 and enlarged around 1470 on Borso d' Este' s orders. It was enlarged again in 1493.

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On the first floor (piano nobile) there is a room with frescoes painted from 1469 and 1470. This is the "ciclo dei mesi"; (the cycle of the months). There is another room to visit on the same floor; the Sala delle Virtù; also called Sala degli Stucchi.

Part of this palace is closed to visitors due to the damages caused by the 2012 earthquake.

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In this picture you can see part of Sala degli Stucchi.

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Palazzo dei Diamanti is another main sight of the city. The name of this long and huge palace comes from over 8000 pink and white marble stones cut in the form of pyramids that cover its facade. I have read that the diamond was one of the emblem of the d' Este family. The works on this palace begun in 1493 by Biagio Rossetti. It was modified and completed in the next century. This palace was built for Sigismondo d' Este; duke Ercole I' s brother.

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Most of the ground floor of this building is used for temporary exibitions. On the first floor the pinacoteca nazionale is housed. It is a large collection of paintings from XIII to the XIX century.

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There is a botanical garden in Ferrara. It is not large, but it is a nice place to spend a couple of hours.

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This garden is located not far from Palazzo dei Diamanti.

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Sant Antonio in Polesine. This monastery was founded in the Middle Ages by the Agustinians monks. In 1257 Azzo d' Este bought the buildings and the area where this monastery was located from them. The following year his daughter Beatrice and her companions (nuns) went to live there.

There are two churches here. The inner one is used by the nuns. It has three chapels with lots of very old frescoes. The chapel on the left has frescoes with stories of Jesus as a child and the life of the Madonna.These were painted between 1315 and 1320. The chapel on the right has frescoes with stories of the Christ' s passion. These date from the end of the '200 to the half of the '300.

Other things to see at this monastery are a cloister and the sarcophagus of Beatrice II d' Este inside the monastery.

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It is forbidden to take pictures into the monastery, but I was able to take this one.

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The fourth saturday and sunday of every month; except in august; an interesting craft market is held in Ferrara. It is held opposite the castle entrance and at piazza Savonarola; which is just outside the castle.

This market is made of various stalls where you can find something nice to take home or buy for yourself. At the craft market you can find home decorations, garments, jewellery and many other things.

When I visited this market there were not many stalls, but there were lots of beautiful things.

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This is the local bread. Its name is "la coppia". It is called "ciupeta" in the local dialect. The first written informations about this bread comes from 1536 when Cristoforo da Messibugo; the court cook at the Estense court reported about a kind of twisted bread at a carnival banquet offered by the duke. Perhaps a similar kind of bread still existed in the XIII century.

This bread is made of wheat flour of 0 kind, water, lard, extra virgin oil, yeast, salt and malt. It has a x shape with its end made of a kind of twisted bread sticks.

A typical Ferrarese dish you should try is the cappellacci di zucca. These are practically large ravioli (filled noodles) filled with a mixture of pumpkin, Reggian Parmesan or Parma Grana cheese; eggs, grated bread, eggs, salt, and nutmeg. Ginger and pepper were added to the mixture centuries ago. They are served with butter and sage or with ragu. The first written recipe of this dish dates to the 1584. Probably the name cappellacci comes from the resemblance of the huts worn by country men at that times.

I also have a typical Ferrarese cake to recommend. The pampepato. This cake is made with bitter chocolate mixed into the dough and covered with bitter chocolate. Other ingredients of this cake are; hazels, almonds, cinnamon and pepper. Its name could come from pampapato which was intended as "pan del papa"; the Pope's bread. Pampepato was possibly invented by the nuns of the monastery of the Sacred Heart in 1600. They got inspiration for this creation from an ancient recipe by a cook. The nuns used to send this cake to priests at Christmas time. This is a typical Christmas cake, but you can find it all year round at several bakeries in Ferrara.

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Buy a My Fe; the city card. It allows you to visit several palaces, museums and the castle for a single visit for around 10 euros (2015 price). You will have discounts at some shops with this card. This card is very useful if you like to visit most of the attractions in this city. It makes you save lots of money. You can buy it at the castle or at some historical houses or museums.

I bought a two days tourist card and it was enough for me to visit all the main attractions in Ferrara. There are cards for more days on sale as well.

Posted by Maurizioagos 11:22 Archived in Italy Tagged ferrara. Comments (6)

Modena.

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Modena is a pleasant town some 40 kilometers far from Bologna.

I have visited it twice; as a day trip from Ferrara. I went to Modena by train.

The center of Modena is not far from the train station.

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The Giardino Ducale is probably the first sights you can visit coming from the train station.

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This beautiful garden was created in the late '500 and modified in the ' 800. In 1739 it was opened to the public. Here you can see a lake, various plants and a playground area. Joined to this garden there is a botanical garden. It was created in 1758 by the duke Francesco III to grow rare plants and also medicinal ones.

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Inside this garden there is a nice building: the Palazzina del giardino Estense. It was built around 1632 and 1634 for the duke Francesco d' Este. Today it is used for art exibitions.

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Piazza Grande is Modena' s main square. It was created in the second half of the XII century. It is bordered by the cathedral, by the the town hall and by the bishop' s palace. It is paved with rounded cobblestones. On this square you won' t miss a big red stone. This is the Pedra Ringadora. It probably was part of an ancient Roman building. In the Middle Ages it was used as a stage for the speakers, but even as a stone of shame. Another use for this stone was to display dead bodies for the identification.

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La Bonissima is a nice small statue of a woman which dates to the 1268. There are various stories about it. They say it could represent a generous noble woman who gave food to poor people in a famine period. Another story is that La Bonissima should represent honesty at commerce. Bonissima comes from " bona esma" i. e. fair mesure. In ancient times this statue held a scale and was located on pedestal where various units of measure were written. You can see La Bonissima on the municipal palace (the town hall) between via Castellano and piazza Grande.

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The cathedral of Modena (duomo) was built from 1099 and completed between 1100 and 1300. This church stands on the site where two previous churches had been built since the fifth century.

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It was built by the architect Lanfranco on the site of the grave of Saint Geminiano. From the end of 1100 to 1300 the works of this church were carried on by the so - called Maestri Campionesi. They were architects who came from Campione; in Lombardy.

The bell tower joined to the cathedral is named Ghirlandina. It is 86 meters tall. I think you can climb it to its top.

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Inside the cathedral there is a crypt. Here you can see the sarcophagus of Saint Geminiano and lots of nice carved columns.

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The town hall is made from various palaces joined together and restored between the 16th and the 17th centuries. These palaces were originally built from the XII century.

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Inside the town hall there are some rooms open to visitors. Here is a short summary; the Camerino dei Confirmati. This room was painted in 1770. Another room is The Sala del Fuoco. It is decorated with frescoes dated to 1546. The Sala del Consiglio Vecchio has a ceiling painted at the beginning of the 1600. Another interesting room is the Sala degli Arazzi. Its walls are decorated with 18th century paintings on tapestry like canvases. Another room you can visit is the Sala dei Matrimoni; the wedding hall.

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The Mercato Albinelli is a quite large covered market. It was built in the 20' s of the 1900 in Liberty style.

Here you can find a large selection of fruits and vegetables stalls; there are also several meat and fish stalls and some bakeries as well. Here you can find several typical Modenese pastries. This market is a good place to buy lots of typical products of the Emilia Romanga region; as cheeses, cold cuts and ravioli (filled dumplings). There is even a kind of pharmacy into the market.

You can have a lunch inside this market. There are some eateries inside.

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This market is open usually every morning except on sundays. It is not far from the main square.

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The Palazzo dei Musei is a very large palace which its original destination would be to become a hostel for the poors. Ercole II decided to turn it into a place for arts in 1788. This was meant as a school where young people would be educated to learn various crafts.

This palace houses several museums, as a museum of Medieval and modern art, an archaeological and ethnological one. Some of them are closed in the afternoon. One of these that is open until late in the evening is the Galleria Estense. This is an art collection belonged to the Este family. It is made of lots of paintings, some statues and other beautiful masterpieces. I liked very much this museum.

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The Palazzo Ducale was built from 1634 on the site of an earlier castle. It was used as the court of the Este family until 1861. Today it is occupied by the military accademy.

You can visit it inside on guided visits some saturdays and sundays. You have to book your visit at the IAT office in piazza Grande, 14. Tel.059 2032660.

Inside you will visit the Salone d' Onore with 1696 frescoes and the 18th century Salottino d' Oro.

I haven' t visited this palace yet, but I am going to do it next time I visit Modena.

Posted by Maurizioagos 23:44 Archived in Italy Tagged italy modena emilia romagna. Comments (0)

Valeggio sul Mincio.

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Valeggio sul Mincio is a large village situated some 30 kilometers from Verona; in the Veneto region.

This is an ordinary village, but it has two beautiful sights. A large park; the Sigurtà Gardens and Borghetto sul Mincio; a beautiful hamlet. Well; Valeggio has also a castle, or what remains of a castle. It was built between the X and the XIV centuries. I visited it long ago. There is nothing to see inside it. Perhaps you can climb to the top of its tower. The castle is located on a hill.

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The Sigurtà Gardens.

Originally this park was a walled orchard and part of the estate of Villa Maffei; a 1617 mansion. Carlo Sigurtà ; a pharmaceutical tycoon bought this orchard in 1941 and began to create this park. He had the right to get water from the river Mincio. Later on the works on this park were carried on by his nephew Enzo Sigurtà .

The park extends over 125 acres. There are lots trees, flowers, several small lakes, a hedge maze and some buildings here.

The facilities at Parco Sigurtà  include five kiosk where you can buy food and beverages, the lavatories and a souvenirs shop.

Inside this park you can rent a bicycle, a golf cart or take the tourist train which rides along a seven kilometers route.

Sigurtà  Park is open every day including weekends and public holidays; from march to the fist days of november.

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There are even a few farm animals housed in a area called "fattoria didattica".

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There is a chapel into the park.

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Borghetto sul Mincio is a hamlet and is part of Valeggio Sul Mincio. It is divided in two areas by the Mincio river. It was built in 1400 by corn and rice workers.

In Borghetto there is a church; some old watermills and a good choice of cafes and restaurants. I have read there are around ten houses there.

Borghetto sul Mincio is the birthplace of Ivana Spagna; a popular Italian pop singer.

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This hamlet is about 3 kilometers far from the center of Valeggio Sul Mincio.

Don' t miss this beautiful small place if you visit Valeggio sul Mincio!

Posted by Maurizioagos 04:44 Archived in Italy Tagged flowers sul italy. plants. valeggio mincio borghetto Comments (3)

My second holiday in Santorini.

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Santorini or Thera is an island in the southern Aegean sea. It is part of the Cycladic Islands.

A couple of years ago, circa I went back to Santorini after many years.

The first time I visited Santorini I booked my room in Fira. This village is the capital of the island. It is a very touristy place. There are some museums and a couple of churches worth a visit there.

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On my first holiday on the island one of the things I liked to do (usually in the evenings) was a long stroll from Fira to Imerovigli. I did the same stroll also on this holiday.

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I took these three picture during one of these strolls on my last holiday in Santorini.

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The Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Fira was built in 1823. It was restored and rebuilt in 1970 after the earthquake of 1956. It is really a beautiful church.

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Here you see another picture taken into the catholic cathedral.

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Another church worth da visit, or maybe more is the Ortodox Metropolitan Cathedral. It was built in 1827. It was damaged during the 1956 eartquake. It was then renovated.

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Another picture taken inside this church.

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There are some museums in Fira. One of these is the Museum of Prehistoric Thira. I had visited it on my first viit to Santorini and I re visited it on this holiday.

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This museum houses a large collection of ancient finds as vases, weapons, jewels and fossil plants. These were discovered in Akrotiri, Potamos and other places on the island.

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The highlight of the museum are the fragments of wall frescoes found in Akrotiri. They decpict various subjects as women, azure monkeys and naked fishermen.

As you can see these frescoes are well preserved despite of their old age.

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There is a beautiful mansion to visit on the island. The Argyros Mansion. It is located in Messaria. This villa belonged to Emmanuel Argyros; a trader of local wine. It was built in 1888. In 1956 it was partly destroyed by the earthquake. After more than 30 years it was restored and turned into a museum.

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Inside this mansion you can see furniture and items from the 19th century.

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During the guided tour (you are not allowed to visit the villa on you own) you will be showed the living room; a small music room. The dining room; the owner' s office and three bedrooms.

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Oia, also called Ia, is one of the most popular destinations in Santorini.This is the most famous place to enjoy the sunset (a "must do thing" on the island).

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Oia is situated on the northernmost area of the island. It is 11 kilometers far form Fira.

There are practically two streets in this village. One of these is long and marble paved,

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There are lots of rock hewn houses and also captain' s buildings in Oia. These are now used as cafes, restaurants and shops.

Oia has several churches and a naval museum.

Part of Oia was rebuilt in a few years after the 1956 earthquake.

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There is a popular bookshop in Oia. Its name is Atlantis Books, It was first opened in 2004. It was moved from 2005 in the building where it stands today.

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This bookshop is quite small, but full of various kinds of book. Here you can find a good choice of English language books about Greek culture and history. At Atlantis Books they also sell rare first editions books and books in foreign languages, as German, French and Italian.

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Pyrgos is another village worth a visit in Santorini. It is situated around 7. 5 kilometers south east of Fira. It was built amphitheatrically on a hill, at the foot of Profitis Elias mountain.

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One of the main sights in Pyrgos is the Kasteli. It is a fortress built arouns 1580 by the Venetians to defend the inhabitants from the invaders. There is a cafe restaurants inside the fortress.

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There are lots of typical cave houses in Pyrgos as well.

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Megalochori is a nice village where you will not find many tourists. There are not lots of shops and eateries there, but there are some hotels in case you' like to look for you accomodation in a quiet village.

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Here you see part of the main square in Megalochori.

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There is a lot of typical cave houses, a maze of streets and stairs in Megalochori, as in other villages on the island.

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A nice spot in Megalochori.

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Most of the beaches in Santorini are made of black sand and peebles. I have been to two of these on this holiday. I went at the beaches in Kamari and Perissa. I booked a room in Perissa.

On this picture you see part of the beach in Kamari.

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Here is another picture taken at the beach in Kamari. This village is 10 kilometers from Fira; at the southe east coast. Here you' ll find a black sand and shingle beach. It is five kilometers long. There is a good choice of shops, cafes and restaurants nearby.

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Perissa is a village about 13 kilometers from Fira; on the south east coast. It has a 7 kilometers long black beach. Being a tourist resort; as Kamari, there are lots of shops, cafes and eateries here as well.

This picture was taken at the beach in Perissa in the evening.

There are other villages to visit and things to do in Santorini. I hope to go there again quite soon.

Posted by Maurizioagos 09:34 Archived in Greece Tagged greece island santorini europe. Comments (6)

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