A Travellerspoint blog

Italy

A Venice itinerary.

Some days ago I did a day trip to Venice. I have been there many times!

Venice is around two hours and half by train from the village where I live.

I have found an itinerary on the web some time ago and I wished to follow it.

Here we go!

Start from piazzale Roma. This is a large square where there is the coach depot in Venice. It is quite near the train station.

Cross the Calatrava bridge. It was designed by the Spanish architect Calatrava.

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Head to campo santa Margherita. This square is surrounded by various palaces built from the XVI and the XV centuries.

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Saint Pantalon church is worth a visit for its large painting on its walls; the martyrius of saint Pantalon. It is not a fresco, but a painting on canvas. Gian Antonio Fumiani painted it between 1680 and 1704.

The church was re built between 1684 and 1704. Its origins were not certain.

This church is situated just some meters from campo santa Margherita.

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This painting is quite dark as you can see.

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Make your way to campo san Barnaba.

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Follow the signs to saint Mark' s square. It is the only square in Venice. The other squares are called "campi".

Look for the squero di san Trovaso. A squero is a place where gondolas and other boats are repaired or made. The word "squero" comes from"squara"; a tool used to build vessels.

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This squero has a Tyrolese look. It dates to the 1600. This is one of the last left. This boatyard is not open to the public.

Stroll to the fondamenta delle Zattere. This is a very long promenade is situated just off the squero di san Trovaso.

Search for the Gallerie dell' Accademia. It' s a large art museum.

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Walk to the Accademia bridge and then cross it. This picture was taken from this bridge.

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Near the Accademia bridge I spotted a gondola. The gondola is a long narrow black boat you see in some canals in this city. Today it is used for pleasure trips and for weddings.

This kind of boat requires a lot of time to be built. It is 10.85 long and its medium length is around 1.40 meters. It is built with nine kinds of wood.

The average gondola ride lasts forty minutes for a settled price. I think it should be around 80 euros (not per person; per ride). I' ve read you can bargain to get a lower price. After 7 or 8 p. m. it costs more to do a gondola trip.

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Head for campo san Stefano.

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Walk along the calle on the left side of the church of san Maurizio.

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The next stop will be at the theater la Fenice.

Head to the Frezzeria. It is a street.

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Try to find the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. It was built in the late XV century. This palace has a beautiful exterior spiral staircase. You can climb to its top and enjoy the landscape over the surrounding areas.

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It is located in Saint Marks' area. If you like to go there you have to go to Campo Manin, toward calle della Mandola. You find it near campo san Bortolo.

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This is part of a restaurant.

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Walk to the Rialto bridge.

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The Rialto bridge was originally built on disused boats in 1175. It was substituted by another one made of wood in 1265. It had a movable central section that could be raised to allow the passage of the tallest boats. This was partly burnt in a revolt in 1310 and then rebuilt.

It collapsed in 1444 under the weight of people watching a boat parade during the wedding of the marquis of Ferrara. It collapsed again in 1524.

The current structure of this bridge was built between 1588 and 1591.

This bridge is formed by two inclined ramps with shops on either sides and covered by a portico. It has three walkways.

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I spent some time at the Rialto market. It is made of the Erbaria; the fruits and vegetables market and the fish market. This market is located quite near the Rialto bridge.

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Here you can find almost every kind of vegetables and fruits. I didn' t visit the fish market when I was here.

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I had a simple lunch made of a couple of sandwiches and a spritz (it is alcoholic drink) at the bar "Al Mercà". This is a "hole in the wall" bar where they have a good choice of small sandwiches with cold cuts. They also serve various kinds of wines.

This bar is located near the Rialto market.

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Visit saint Mark' s square. It was laid out in the 9th century and enlarged in the 12th century. Irs main sight are saint Mark's basilica, its belltower and the Ducal Palace. There are even some museums, several shops and a couple of expensive cafes at this square.

Originally saint Mark' s basilica was built in 828 to house the remains of saint Mark the evangelist. These were stolen by two Venetian merchants from Alexandria in Egypt.

Much of this church was destroyed in 974 by a fire originated in the Ducal Palace. Later a second church was built.

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The church we see today is the result of the transformations made between the XIth and the end of the XIV centuries. It was the ducal chapel until 1807, when it became cathedral.

The church is decorated with mosaics made from the XII to the XIV century. There are mosaics both outside and inside of this worship place.

One of its highlights is the Pala d' Oro. This golden altarpiece is decorated with 2000 gemstones. It is 3 meters wide and 2 meters high and is made of gold and silver. It was made between the X and the XIV centuries.

Inside the basilica you can visit the treasury. It is located behind the main altar.

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In saint Mark' s square; beside the basilica there is a tower; the torre dell' orologio. It was built between 1469 and 1499.

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I got lost at the arsenal area so I decided not to follow the itineray, but to go to the station.

The arsenal was for a long time the largest shipyard in the world. Here, the ships were built, and also repaired. The first ships were built at the arsenal in the 12th century.

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On my way to the train station I spotted this beautiful red palace.

Posted by Maurizioagos 02:05 Archived in Italy Tagged veneto region. venice. Comments (4)

Urbino.

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Urbino is a beautiful town in Le Marche region. It is the birthplace of the famous painter Raphael. He was born here in 1483.

You can easily go there by coach from Pesaro, Rimini or from Fano, as I did some months ago.

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Some streets in Urbino are really steep!

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The ducal palace is one of the main sights in Urbino. It was built in phases in the second half of the XV century . In the XVI century it was enlarged. This palace was built on orders by Federico II da Montefeltro.

Duke Federico II da Montefeltro (1422 - 1482) was a military leader, ruler and patron of the arts. He was the lord of Urbino from 1444 to 1482.

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Today the palace houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche. This museum includes works by artists such as Raphael, Piero della Francesca and others

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In this picture you can see part of the ducal palace.

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Another sight in Urbino is saint Joseph' s oratory. It was built between 1503 and 1515. It was reconstructed between 1682 and 1689. Inside there is a cycle of frescoes depicting the main happenings about the life of saint Joseph.

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Next to the oratory there is a room with a beautiful nativity scene. The statues were made of plaster and are very tall. This crib was made between 1545 and 1550.

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Quite near saint Joseph' s oratory there is another one; saint John' s the Baptist oratory. It was built in the sixteenth century and rebuilt in the late seventeenth century. Inside it is decorated with frescoes which date to the 1416. They illustrate the crucifixion and stories of the life of John the Baptist,

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I had a good ice cream at il Sorbetto del Duca both times I visited Urbino. I strongly recommend this gelateria.

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This simple ice cream parlour is situated in via Raffaello at n. 1. Here they serve ice cream as also sweet crepes.

Posted by Maurizioagos 10:18 Archived in Italy Tagged urbino Comments (4)

Caorle.

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Caorle is a beautiful sea side town situated in the Veneto region.

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I usually spent around a week on holidays here when I was a kid. Some years ago I went back to Caorle after a hiatus of around thirty years.

I dicovered a town with more shops, restaurants and cafes.

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The old core of Caorle is made of a maze of narrow streets called "calli".

Strolling along several calli; all of a sudden you can find yourself in a small square, or you will discover some nice colourful houses.

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There are also two churches in the old core of Caorle; the church delle Grazie and Sain Roque church. In the old core there is a good choice of cafes, restaurants and shops.

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In old times, Caorle was crossed by several canals, but later they have been closed except canale Varragio, that now is the harbour you see in the center of this town.

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The cathedral in Caorle (duomo) was built around 1038 probably on the remains of a previous church dating from the VIII century.

One of its main sights is the so-called pala d' oro. It is a work made of gold and silver made of six pieces. The oldest of these date to the XIII century. It is a pity it isn' t possible to see it properly, because it is located too far; it is in the apse.

Next to the church there is a cylindrical bell tower; built in 1065. There is also a museum with various religious artefacts near the cathedral.

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Caorle has two long beaches. spiaggia di levante (east beach) and spiaggia di ponente (west beach).

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There is a small church overlooking the beaches in Caorle. The name of this worship place is chiesa della Madonna dell' Angelo. It was built in 1751, but it is tought it was built originally in 402.

According to a legend; long ago some sailors spotted a statue on a rock floating on the sea. They tried to take it to the beach, but their attempt failed. Then some children succeded.

Every five years; on the second sunday of september, a procession with this statue is held around Caorle.

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Since 1992; every two years; probably in june; some sculptors from Italy and from abroad come to Caorle to enter a contest called Scogliera Viva. They choose a big stone on the beach and create their masterpiece that will live forever.

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The result of this contest is practically a beautiful and quite large sculpture museum in the open air.

You can see these sculptures near the church (chiesa della Madonna) on spiaggia (beach) di Ponente.

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One day I took a 2.30 hours boat trip from the harbour in Caorle. I could enjoy the sea, part of Caorle and some beaches from afar. A short visit at the "casoni" (20 minutes) is included in this trip.

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The casoni are big huts used as temporary homes for fishermen. There are lot of them at the Caorle lagoon. The first ones were built centuries ago.

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They are made of a room with a table, chairs, stove and everything people need to live in that area. Today these huts are still used by several fishermen.

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You can visit some casoni inside only if you take a boat trip.

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La Luna nel Pozzo is a free of charge festival of "street art" which takes place every year at the beginning of september. It lasts for some days.

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Lots of artists from Italy and from various European countries (even from other continents) come to perform in various squares of Caorle. So you can enjoy some shows of acrobats, dancers, musicians, singers, clowns and other kinds of artists.

If you miss some performance you can have the opportunity to watch it later on. In fact the same shows are repeated for two or three times the same day or the next ones.

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I booked a double room for a week at hotel Firenze; half board. This was quite small, but ok for a single traveller. It had a bathroom en suite with shower. This hadn' t a base to contain the fallen water. So that the bathroom almost flooded every time I used it.

This hotel has a communal room with a large screen television and a small cafe with a terrace.

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The buffet at breakfast consisted of bread, pastries, jam, cold cuts, cheese and other food. There is a machine to get hot drinks as coffee and cappuccino. At dinner you have to choose your meal the day before, but you have a choice of several dishes. The food at this hotel was very good.

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Hotel Firenze is a medium sized hotel located some 500 meters from the center of Caorle.

It is possible to go to Caorle from Mestre (a city near Venice) by coach. Don' t forget to ask the driver if the coach goes directly to Caorle or if you have to change bus somewhere.

Just a warning; the bus station in Caorle is quite far from the town center. A taxi would be useful if you have problems to walk for a long time or whether you have a heavy luggage.

Posted by Maurizioagos 04:34 Archived in Italy Tagged caorle venice. Comments (0)

Chioggia.

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Chioggia is a nice town situated some 50 kilometers far from Venice. It is called "Little Venice" because it has some similarities to this town. In fact Chioggia has several calli (narrow streets), bridges and canals.

I spent some days in Chioggia some years ago.

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Corso del Popolo is the main street in Chioggia. It crosses the town from north to south.

On this long street you can see several old palaces. There is a good choice of cafes and shops here as well.

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Every thursday the weekly market takes place along this street.

On the third sunday of june; every year the Palio della Marcillana is held on corso del Popolo. It is a series of events including a costume parade that celebrates the liberation of Chioggia from the Genoese in june 1380.

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Ponte di Vigo is one of the eight bridges that cross canal Vena. It is located near the harbour.

It was built in masonry in 1685. It was embellished with Istrian marbles in 1762. This bridge substituted a previous one made of wood.

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Canal Vena is one of the canals in Chioggia. It runs parallel to corso del Popolo. Along this canal there is a promenade with porticoes and lots of very old palaces. There are several shops and cafes along this canal.

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I had lunch at Al Vecio Foghero some times. At this restaurant they have a good choice of first and second courses with meat, fish or sea food. They also have a good selection of pizzas. Once I asked for one of these. They brought me a large and tasty pizza.

I sat at a outdoor table all the times I went to that restaurant. It was too hot to eat inside. The outdoor tables of restaurant al Vecio Foghero are right on a narrow street (calle).

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There aren' t any beaches in Chioggia, but there are many in Sottomarina. Practically there is a strip of 10 km of fine sandy beach there.

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Sottomarina is part of Chioggia and it is situated on another island. It has everything the tourist likes or needs; hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes.

You can go to Sottomarina from Chioggia by bus; otherwise you can go there by foot. I suppose you have to walk around 1 km to get there. Start from San Giacomo bridge in Chioggia; near the church with the same name and go straight on.

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It is possible to do a day trip to Venice from Chioggia; by boat. I didi it.

You have to take a boat to Pellestrina. Once there, take a bus near the boat pier. This will takes you to another spot in Pellestrina (an island not far from Chioggia) to take a boat to the island of Lido (this belongs to Venice).

The bus goes on the boat. After a short journey you get to Alberoni (part of the island of Lido). Get in the bus (if you went out) and wait until you are at the right stop. This is where you' ll be able to take a boat to Saint Mark' s square.

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I arrived in Saint Mark' s square in order to visit the basilica. There was a long queue, so I decided to skip it. Then I choose to visit some churches. I bought a card named Chorus Pass, that enabled me to visit 16 churches within a year. I visited four churches in a day.

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I headed to several campo (small squares), crossed a lot of bridges, had a "fast food" meal and took some pics.

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Pellestrina is a 11 km long and narrow island. It is less than 2 km square meters long.

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There are three villages on this island; Pellestrina, San Pietro in Volta and Portosecco.

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Here you see lots of colorful houses and several others painted in pastel colors. Pellestrina isn' t a touristy place, but there is a good choice of restaurants, cafes and shops.

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It is a nice island to spend some hours in the morning or in the afternoon.

Daily boats to Pellestrina depart from the harbour in Chioggia. The journey to the island takes around 20 minutes.

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Pasticceria Flora is one of the many cafes on corso del Popolo. I went there several times to have dinner. Well, I visited that cafe for the so-called "happy hour". I usally asked for a non alcoholic fruit drink which came with a plate full of mini sandwiches, small slices of pizza and chips.

Once I finished these nibbles I could go to the counter and help myself with other food as much as I liked.

There were mostly slices of pizza and chips on the counter when I visited this cafe. The slices of pizza were good and also the non alcoholic fruit drink.

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I could easily find a room in Chioggia even if it was high season. I booked a room at hotel Caldin' s. This is a bunch of rooms in a modern building; not a hotel. I had a three bed room, which wouldn' t have been large enough for three people but it was fine for me. My bed was comfortable.

The bathroom was quite small. It had the shower inside without a real base and a curtain that was useless. I had to be very careful not to flood the entire the bathroom floor when I took a shower.

In every room there is a boiling device to prepare coffee or tea. Some bags of tea, one or two packets of instant coffee and some packed cookies.

Posted by Maurizioagos 05:19 Archived in Italy Tagged venice chioggia pellestrina. Comments (2)

Rimini and some day trips.

Rimini is situated in central Italy; in the Emilia Romagna region.

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Being a sea side resort, most of the people go to Rimini in order to spend some hours (or most of their time) on the beaches.

In Rimini there is practically a long strip of beach. It is 15 kilometers long or maybe more.

Many beaches are of private property, but there are free of charge ones. There are dogs friendly beaches as well.

As in most of the Italian seaside resort these beaches are very crowded during the month of august. Thus I' d suggest to spend your days in Rimini in june or at the beginning of september.

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The Malatestian temple is one of the main sights in Rimini.

There was a church since the IX century on its site.Then it was built the church of Saint Francis in the XIII century. It was redesigned in 1450 by order of Sigismondo Malatesta as his and her mistress' burial site.

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Inside it is richly ornated with sculptures. Its main sights are a crucifix by Giotto; created in 1312 and a fresco by Piero della Francesca of 1451 depicting Sigismondo kneeling in front of Saint Sigismond.

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This church was restored after it suffered serious damages in the WWII war.

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Piazza tre Martiri is one of the two main squares in Rimini. It occupies partly the forum or Ariminum; the Roman colony founded in 268 B. C.

Its previous names were; Piazza Grande, Piazza Sant Antonio, Piazza Giulio Cesare and Piazza delle Erbe. It was named "tre Martiri" to commemorate the death of three partisans hanged there in 1944. Martiri means "marthyrs".

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Here you see a nice clock tower, built in 1547 and rebuilt in 1753 and the small chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony. This dates between 1575 and 1578.

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Saint Anthony' s chapel.

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Corso 101 Vulpitta dolciumi is one of my favourite shops in Rimini. Here they sell sweets, wines, alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee and lots of other items. You can find it around the corner of piazza Tre Martiri; in corso d' Augusto.

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This is a small shop but full of things. I could stay into this shop for a lot of time; really.

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La Casa del Chirurgo. The Surgeon' s house.

There are some Roman remains in Rimini. One of these is a large floor mostly decorated with mosaics. This is what is left of the house of a surgeon. It was built during the second half of the second century A. D.

It was a two storey building with several rooms and a garden. There was even a workplace for visits and operations.

Various surgical tools were found here. Now these are in the city museum.

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If you are quite attentive you can spot a couple of skeletons among the mosaics.

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Piazza Cavour is another square in this town.

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There are three palace joined together in Piazza Cavour. On your right; near the street you see Palazzo Garampi; built at the end of the XVII century. It is used as town hall today.

Palazzo dell' Arengo that housed a tribunal, is located in the middle of this group of palaces. It was built in 1204. The third palace is Palazzo del Podestà . This was were the lord of the town lived. It dates between 1330 e il 1334. Today it is the seat of various expositions .

Next to the palaces there is the theater Amintore Galli built between 1843 and 1856.

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In piazza Cavour there is a large fountain; fontana della Pigna (i. e. pine cone). There is also a big statue of Pope Paul V. I am sorry, but I didn' t take a pic of this statue.

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Opposite the three palaces you see an old fish market; built in 1743. Today there is a flowers market inside this building. I suppose it is in operation every morning.

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Here you can see the teather Amintore Galli.

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Città del Sole is another favourite shops of mine in Rimini. Here you can find mostly toys, but also something for adults, as table games and books. This shop is part of a chain which has shops located in various towns in Italy.

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Città del Sole is located at via Tempio Malatestiano. At n. 45.

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Get lost in Rimini! You will discover several nice areas.

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The Tiberius bridge is a beautiful Roman bridge. This five arched Istrian stone bridge was started during the reign of Augustus in 14 A. D. and completed under Tiberius' reign in 21 A. D.

Originally it was built to cross the Marecchia river, but this was later diverted to avoid floods. This bridge has survived floods, war attacks and earthquakes.

It connects corso d' Augusto; the old town' s main street with Saint Giuliano quarter (Borgo San Giuliano). This bridge is open to pedestrians and cars except for heavy vehicles.

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Borgo San Giuliano is one of the oldest areas in Rimini. It was originally inhabited by seafarers and fishermen.

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Today this area is a kind of village, with lots of colorful houses, the main square with a church; several cafes, restaurants and shops.

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I stayed some times at a nice three stars hotel in Rimini. Hotel Clitunno. It is situated in Viserbella; an area part of Rimini.

Last time I booked a room there, I was given a double room with bathroom en suite there. It had also a small balcony.

Breakfast at this hotel is buffet style with various pastries, bread, cold cuts, jam and other food. Hot drinks, as coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate are served at your table. Lunch and dinner are partly buffet style. Food at hotel Clitunno was really good.

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Hotel Clitunno has a communal room, a cafe and a terrace. This hotel is located near the sea. See; www.hotelclitunno.net

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Cesenatico is a beautiful sea side resort located between Rimini and Ravenna.

I did a day trip from Rimini to this town last time I visited Rimini. The journey from Rimini to Cesenatico lasted around half an hour by train.

I didn' t visit any beaches in Cesenatico the day I was there, I only stayed in the old center and I walked a lot.

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I think the highlight of this town is its canal port. It is said it was designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502. It is situated in the center of Cesenatico.

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This canal port is bordered by lots of buildings painted in various colours. Many of these house shops, cafes and restaurants. There are some colourful old boats moored at this port which are part of the museo della marineria (a naval museum).

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Santarcangelo di Romagna is a beautiful village some 10 kilometers far from Rimini. I went there by bus from Rimini.

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It has a fortress (Rocca), built in 1386 (there was a previous one); enlarged and modified after a century.

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Near and below the fortress you can explore the Medieval area of the village with a network of narrow cobbled streets and nice houses. The "modern" area has lots of shops and cafes to rest a bit.

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Santarcangelo has also a couple of museums. A museum of buttons; where you can see a large display of buttons from various ages and an archaeological museum.

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In this picture you see the upper area of Santarcangelo from a park.

Beside Cesenatico and Santarcangelo di Romagna you can visit San Marino as a day trip from Rimini.

San Marino is a country located within Italy. It is the third smallest country in Europe and one of the oldest in the world.

You can go from Rimini to San Marino by coach. You can take one just outside the train station.

According a legend San Marino was founded by Marinus, a Dalmatian stomemason, in 301 A. D. He left his country to avoid the christian persecutions of Diocleatianus.

There are nine municipalities in this country. These are called "castelli".

I will tell you something about its capitol town; San Marino. Yes, it bears the same name of the state.

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Piazza della Libertà is San Marino main square. Here you can see the Palazzo Pubblico. This palace is the seat of the parliament and where important official happenings take place. It was built in 1894.

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This country has several shops that offer tax free goods for foreigners. San Marino even if it is a small town has a good choice of shops of various kinds.

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There are three towers in San Marino. Well; two of them are fortresses, The other is a proper tower.

The first tower is called Torre Rocca or Guaita. It dates around to the XI century.

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This is the witches' path (its Italian name is il Sentiero delle Streghe). It is the path which links the fist the first and the second towers.

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This arch lies under the witches' path.

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The second tower; Torre Cesta or Fratta was built around the 1400. It is situated on the highest point of the Mount Titano. Here you see a view from this tower.

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This tower houses a weaponry museum inside.

The third tower is called Montale and housed a prison. It is not opened to visitors. I didn' t take any picture of this tower.

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The garden you see in this picture is next to the Cava dei Balestrieri (the crossbowmen' s cave). This cave is the site of many events.

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There are some nice statues inside this garden.

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After a long stroll you can rest a bit at this garden; the Giardino dei Liburni.

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This garden is quite simple, but nice.

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I had a good ice cream at cafe Titanium. At this small place they sell a large choice of ice creams flavours.

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This is a close up of the main gate' s door of the town.

Posted by Maurizioagos 04:02 Archived in Italy Tagged sant di angelo rimini sea. romagna.san marino. Comments (1)

Zoagli, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.

sunny

Several years ago I spent some days in Bergamo in order to attend the annual Euro VT meeting (see ex Virtual Tourist web site). I had some more days to spend somewhere after the meeting' s days,

I asked on Yahoo answers (www.answers.yahoo.com) about a nice place not too far from Bergamo. A member of that web site suggested a place named Zoagli. I had never heard about it. I checked on the web about Zoagli and soon I decided it was the right place for me to spend some days.

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Zoagli is a nice sea side town located around 38 kilometers from Genova. It has a couple of beaches if my memory serves me well.

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It' easy to travel to Zoagli by train. There is a small train station there.

I took a direct train from Genova Porta Principe train station; which is one of the train stations in this city. I was in Zoagli in one hour more or less.

I think there were several trains going from Genova to Zoagli every day. Zoagli is not an isolated place.

I booked a room at a simple hotel near the train station; Hotel Zoagli. Here they only serve breakfast.

I had a single room with bathroom with tube en suite. Fortunately it was on the back of the building so the trains running at night didn' t disturb much my sleeps.

Buffet breakfast consisted in cold cuts, cheese, eggs. Packed pastries. Bread, jam, honey, fruits. Yoghourts and cereals. There was a machine to get coffee (americano) and hot water to make tea. Milk, hot or cold was in a thermos.

This hotel has a communal room with television, a terrace and a cafe for customers.

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Other than spending some time at the beaches in Zoagli you can have a stroll along its "passeggiate". These are promenades. Zoagli has two of these. They are made of stones.

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The oldest is the Passeggiata Canevaro. It was built in the 1930' s; mostly with the money from the inhabitants of Zoagli. At night it is lit. The other; the Passeggiata dei Naviganti was built in 2003.

Be careful of the sea waves when you are walking on these promenades. Sometimes these can be really strong!

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When I was in Zoagli I used to go at gelateria Simonetti' s to have two ice cream scoops around 5 or 6 p. m. This cafe was quite old and not nice, but the home made ice cream here was really good.

They had a good choice of ice creams flavours. The only one I didn' t like much was the coffee flavour. I liked much the banana one.

Once you bought your ice cream you can enjoy it at the main square. It is right under cafe Simonetti.

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I think the restaurants in Zoagli were quite expensive. The only budget place to have lunch or dinner here was Acqua e Farina. It is not far from the main square.

This is a small take away place where you can have slices of pizza and some other savoury snacks. Unfortunately there is only a table with some chairs if you like to eat something inside this place.

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There is a odd mansion situated some 700 meters from the center of Zoagli. It is Sem Benelli' s castle; well, it is a villa more than a castle.

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This villa was built in 1914. Sem Benelli its owner was a Tuscan writer. He was born in 1877 and died in 1949.

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Sem Benelli had to sell his mansion due to financial problems. I think this building houses several flats. I am not sure if part of it is opened to visitors.

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I did two day trips from Zoagli. I visited Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.

Santa Margherita Ligure is a large sea side town. You can go there by train from Zoagli. It only takes around ten minuts.

Santa Margherita Ligure has some peeble beaches, a large church; the basilica of Santa Margherita di Antiochia and a villa open to visitors. Villa Durazzo - Centurione.

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Villa Durazzo - Centurione was built in 1678 as a summer mansion. It is a complex which includes the main villa and two dependances.

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I spent lot of time exploring the park outside this buildings.

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There are some residents at this park.

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If you are in Santa Margherita with kids, don' t miss this park; il Parco del Flauto Magico.

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The creations inside the park are based on the Mozart' s opera the magic flute.

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My favourite restaurant in Santa Margherita Ligure was pasticceria Oneto. It is a coffehouse where you can have salads, sandwiches, piatti freddi (cold cuts or cheeses) and aperitives (drinks usually taken before a meal) with lots of nibbles, as chips, olives and small pieces of pizza.

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Portofino is a little village by the sea. It is visited by lots of famous and rich people. The main sights of this village is a castle; Castello Brown; a couple of churches and the so-called la Piazzetta; a square surrounded by colorful and tall buildings.

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You can go to Portofino from Santa Margherita Ligure by direct bus. You can take it outside the train station, or at piazza Vittorio Veneto which is in the town center. I think the journey to Portofino took around 15 minutes.

As I read on the web you should take bus number 82 runs that runs every 15 minutes. It stops at piazza Martiri della Libertà  in Portofino. From this square you have to walk for some minutes and you are in the town center. Portofino is a small town.

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The main square; la Piazzetta is a pedestrianized small square with various colourful buildings overlooking the harbour. There are some tromp l' oeil decorated houses surrounding this square.

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La Piazzetta is one of the few places included in the "locali storici d' Ialia" list (i. e. historical business places of Italy). This list includes many old shops, restaurants and cafes in Italy.

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Castle Brown is more a mansion than a castle. It was built on Roman foundations. Around 1000 it was donated to the Benedictine monks of Saint Fruttuoso and was subsequently handed over to the consuls of Rapallo and in the 15th century to the Genovese. It was owned by the Visconti of Milan between 1425 and 1435. It was restored at the beginning of the 1500 and enlarged between 1622 and 1624.

Montague Yeats Brown; an English consul in Genoa bought the property in 1867. His descendants held the property until 1949, then sold it to an English couple.

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Castle Brown has lots of rooms to visit. Inside this mansion can see many black and white pictures of actors, politicians and several famous people who visited Portofino in the 1950-60' s.

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The church overlooking Portofino is dedicated to Saint George. It was originally built in 1154. It was rebuilt in 1691. It was restored and enlarged in 1760.

During the WWII it was destroyed completely. It was rebuilt in 1950. This church contains the reputed to be the relics of Saint George.

It is a simple church inside. The only thing that attracted me of that church was its portal. I suppose it is very old.

Outside the church there is a lookout point from where you can enjoy a very good landscape over Portofino

Posted by Maurizioagos 08:34 Archived in Italy Tagged santa portofino margherita ligure zoagli liguria. Comments (4)

Ischia.

sunny

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Ischia is the biggest island in the Gulf of Naples. It is of vulcanic origins. This island is famous for its thermal parks and springs.

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There are two nice beaches you shouldn' t miss on this island, if you like to lie in the sun. San Montano Bay and the Maronti Beach.

San Montano Bay is situated in Lacco Ameno. One side of this beach has free of charge entrance and the other is owned by The Negombo Thermal Gardens. There is an outdoor cafe on this beach.

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The Maronti Beach is the largest one of the island. It is around 3 km long. It is situated east of Sant' Angelo. There are various restaurants and cafes on this beach. You can go there by direct bus from Ischia Porto. Otherwise you can take a water taxi from Sant' Angelo.

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Forio is a large town situated along the western coast of the island.

The main sights in Forio are il Torrione which is an ancient tower and the church of Soccorso.

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Forio has a long main street lined with shops, some cafes and restaurants.

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Torcanera is a shop located on a side street in Forio and precisely at via Erasmo di Lustro at n. 5.

Here you can find various kinds of typical items produced locally. For instance you can buy limoncello (a alcoolic drink made of lemons), wines and other alchoolic drinks. At Torcanera they also sell cookies made with limoncello, herbal teas and beauty products as soaps, creams et al.

I think this shops is the right place to find some typical souvenirs from this island or something for yourself.

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The church of Soccorso is located on a rock on the sea. It was built in the XVI century and enlarged until the XVIII century.

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If you are in Forio, don' t miss La Mortella Gardens and the Poseidon Gardens. This is a spa complex with around 20 pools with thermal waters at various temperatures.

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La Mortella Gardens is a very large green area with more than 3000 species of exotic and rare plants. It was built By William Walton (an English composer) and his wife Susana on the site of a hillside quarry.

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This park is divided in two areas; a lower garden (the valley) and un upper garden (the hill). The lower area was designed starting from 1956 by Russel Page; an architect. The upper one by Susana Walton from 1983. There is a lift to go to the upper garden.

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There are some nice spots here; as some oriental creations; a Thailandese pagoda and a oriental path; a lake with two fake alligators; a big aviary with lots of little birds and some conservatories.

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Don' t skip the small theatre on the upper garden. Here you can watch a video about the history of the gardens and see several memorabilia owned by William Walton.

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Among the facilities into these gardens there is a cafe where you can have a light meal, a shop and the toilets.

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Ischia is the main town on the island. It is divided in two areas; Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte.

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Ischia Porto is the area where you find lots of shops, restaurants and the harbour (hence the name; porto. It means harbour). Ischia Ponte is the old core of this town.

You should go to Ischia Ponte in order to visit the Aragonese Castle. This is one of the highlights of this island.

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The Aragonese Castle is a fortress which stands on a small rocky island connected to the island by a bridge.

It was originally an old fort dated back to the 44 B. C. Over the centuries this fortress was was occupied by the Parthenopeans (the ancient Neapolitans), by the Romans, by the Visigoths and by other people. The building you see today dates back to the 1500.

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The castle reached its golden age at the end of the XVI century when it hosted 1892 families; a nunnery, the bishop, various religious orders; the prince and his garrison. There were 13 churches at that time into the fortress.

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Today inside the fortress there is the ruined cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption with a crypt with the remains of an older chapel, dating back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries; decorated with frescoes, some other churches and various buildings.

There is a cafe-restaurant, a restaurant and even a hotel inside the castle.

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Sant' Angelo is a nice village located on the southern coast of Ischia.

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San' t Angelo was built partly on a hill; so if you like to explore it properly you should climb several steps.

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This village has some beaches, various shops and a good choice of restaurants and cafes.

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There is a good pasticceria (confectionery) in Sant Angelo. Its name is Dolce E' La Vita. I only had some ice creams there. I liked them very much.

You can go to Sant Angelo by bus. Once there you have to walk for some minutes in order to go to the center of this village.

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There are several water springs on this island. One of these is the Olmitello spring. It is located some meters far from the Maronti beach.

The healing qualities of this water are known since the ancient times.

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The more important studies about them were made by the professor Giulio Gasolino in 1588. He wrote about the healing properties of this water which is said it should be good for the stomach, eyes, arthritis and for other diseases.

I went to this island by hydrofoil. This boat was operated by Alilauro company. I took it at molo ( = harbour) Beverello in Naples. The journey to Ischia took around 45 minutes. The hydrofoil arrived at Ischia Porto. Then I took a bus from there to Panza; where I had booked a room.

Panza is a village which is part of Forio.

Molo Beverello is easily reachable from the train station in Naples by bus or by taxi (ask the driver the price to get there beforehand!)

Hydrofoils can carry only passengers. You can go to this island also by ferries. These carry also cars.

On the island there are three harbours; Ischia (also called Ischia Porto), Casamicciola Terme and Forio. It is very important to know exactly what village you are going to on Ischia. Not every boats stops at the same harbour.

Posted by Maurizioagos 08:34 Archived in Italy Tagged sant ischia castello aragonese forio. angelo. Comments (6)

Rome.

Rome is the capital of Italy and the largest city in this country.

There are lots of sights to enjoy in this city. Here you can see ancient ruins, churches (there should be around 900 of them!), palaces, museums et al.

I have visited Rome many times, but I still haven' t seen some things.

I will show you some things to see in Rome in this post.

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One of the landmark in Rome is the Colosseum. It was originally known as Flavian Amphiteatre. The Colosseum was built on the site of an artificial lake belonged to Nero Domus Area' s gardens.

Its building was begun under emperor Vespasian in 72 A. D. It was inaugurated by Titus in 80 A. D. and completed by his brother Domitian in 82 A. D.

From second half of the VI century the Colosseum was used for other purposes than a stadium. For example it was occupied by the Frangipans; a family who built their fortress here in the XIII century. In 1750 pope Benedict XIV transformed it into a place where to commemorate the Christian martyrs. Moreover it was plundered to build other constructions in Rome.

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This stadium is 188 per 150 meters large and has 80 arches used as entrances. So that people could enter or exit in a few minutes. It could hold up to 80.000 spectators.

Various games were held inside the Colosseum. For instance; fights between gladiators and fights between men and exotic animals. Most of the gladiators were slaves or prisoners of war. Even dramas and executions were held inside this stadium.

Sometimes the Colosseum was flooded for mock sea battles.

Entry to the Colosseum was free for all Roman citizens, but they were seated according to rank.

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The Roman forum was the political, economical and religious center of Rome during the republic. Originally this site was a marsh. It was also used as cemetery. The Romans drained the area and built several temples and other buildings there.

The forum was later abandoned and filled in by a thick layer of earth, becoming a pasture known as Campus Vaccinus. Some temples were turned into churches.

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There are several ruins you can find in the forum.

The regia. This was the residence of the kings. The curia; the meeting place of the senate. The rostra that was used as a tribune for orators. There are some temples, as the temple of Antonio and Faustina It was built in 141 A. D. by Antonius Pius in honor to his late wife Faustina. It was turned into the church of Saint Lorenzo in Miranda in the middle age.

There are two triumphal arches at the forum; the arch of Titus and the arch of Septimus Severus.

Once you visited the Forum you can walk up to the Palatine. This is a hill overlooking the Roman forum.

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The Palatine was where Rome began as a village; supposedly founded by Romulus in the 8th century B. C. It was a residential district for the wealthy and aristocratic people in Roman time; as well as a number of emperors.

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On this hill you can spend some time at the Orti Farnesiani. These gardens were built over the ruins of Tiberio' s palace in the XVI century by the cardinal Alessandro Farnese; pope Paolo III' s nephew. Their construction was finished in the XVII century.

On the Palatine you can visit some buildings; as Livia' s house (there are frescoes inside), but you must book a guided tour.

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I recommend to take a good book with you or rent an audioguide to visit these sites; in order to know what you will see.

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The Capitoline hill. In ancient Roman times there were various temples on this hill. There was the tabularium (the public Roman archive) and the mint of the Republican age as well.

Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitol square) is situated on the top of this hill. Michelangelo was commissioned to create this square in 1536, but much of the work on this square was done in the 17th century.

Michelangelo designed the new facades for the two buildings; Palazzo Senatorio and palazzo dei Conservatori. He designed a new palace; Palazzo Nuovo. In the center of the square is a statue of emperor Marcus Aurelius. It is a replica. Palazzo Senatorio houses the office of the mayor of Rome. Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo are used as museums. There are mostly ancient statues there.

You have to climb a long stairway to go up to piazza del Campidoglio; the Cordonata. This was designed by Michelangelo as well. At its top there are two big statues of Castor and Pollux.

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The Pantheon is a well preserved Roman temple turned into a church. Originally it was built by Augustus' son in law Marcus Vespasianus Agrippa in 27 B. C. Between 118 and 125 A. D. it was completely rebuilt by Hadrian. It was dedicated to all the gods.

After other restorations it fell in a state of neglect until 608, when it was given by emperor Phocas to pope Boniface VIII who transformed it into the church of Saint Mary and Marthyrs.

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The Pantheon is 43 meters both in diameter and in height. The only source of light inside this building is a hole on its dome.

It is the resting place of several important Italians.

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Piazza di Spagna. This square takes its name from the Spanish embassy of the Holy See (of the Vatican) that was located here.

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Piazza di Spagna is known for the Scalinata della Trinità  dei Monti (Spanish Steps). This long staircase was built between 1721 and 1725. It links the square with the square where the church of Trinità  dei Monti is situated. At the bottom of the stairs there is a fountain called "la Barcaccia". It was designed by Pietro Bernini and his son, Gian Lorenzo.

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Piazza Navona was built on the site of the Domitian stadium. Here athletic games named "agones", chariot races and other sports were held. Since the 17th century until mid 19th century it was partially flooded for mock naval battles (naumachias). This square also served as a marketplace from 1477 to 1869.

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There are three beautiful fountains here. One of these is the fountain of the Four Rivers. It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was built by some of his pupils in 1651.

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The huge statues part of this fountain represent the four rivers known at that time. The Gange, the Danube, the Nile and the Rio de la Plata. The other fountains are; the Fountain of the Moor and the Fountain of the Neptune.

In piazza Navona there are two churches; the church of Saint Agnese in Agone and the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. This square is surrounded by several restaurants, cafes and shops. A Christmas market is held every year here.

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There are several viewpoints in Rome. You have to know this city was built on seven hills. One of the viewpoints is situated on the Pincian Hill. This hill overlooks piazza del Popolo. To get there you have to climb the flight of stairs you see and you will arrive up to this hill; at piazzale Napoleone. From this large square you will enjoy a very beautiful view of the city.

The Pincian hill is not one of the seven hills. It is part of Villa Borghese (a park). This site was a favourite site by the ancient Romans who built villas and gardens here. The name Pincius comes from one of the families that settled here; the Pincii.

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This hill was laid out between 1809 and 1814 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier.

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The Trevi fountain. This large fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi from an earlier plan by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, but it was completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762. The central figure of this monument is Neptune; god of the sea. He rides a shell shaped chariot drawn by two sea horses. One of them is calm and the other one wild. They simbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea. To the sides are statues of abundance and salubrity.

This fountain is situated at the end of an aqueduct built in 19 B. C. and it lies where three roads intersect. Hence the name; Trevi (tre vie means "three roads" in Italian)

A legend says that if you throw a coin into this fountain, over your left shoulder you' ll come back to Rome.

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Saint Ignatius church. This church was built between 1626 and 1685. It is dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola; the founder of the Jesuite order.

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This was the second church on this spot. Its main highlight is the troemp l' oeil frescoes painted in 1685 by Andrea Pozzo. One of these is on the ceiling of the nave. It depicts the entry of Ignatius into paradise. The other is a fake dome on canvases which was meant to be a temporary work. This was painted due to the lack of funds. To appreciate the troemp l' oeil effect of these works there are two yellow spots on the floor where you have to stand on.

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Campo de Fiori is a nice square with some cafes, restaurants and shops. Every morning, until 1. 30 p.m. a food market is held here. There are also clothes on sale here.

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According to a legend, the name of this square derives from Flora; a woman loved by Pompeo, or maybe because there was a field of flowers in XV century in this area. Campo de' Fiori (in Romanesque dialect) means literally field of flowers.

The big statue you see in the center of the square represents Giordano Bruno. He was a philosopher burnt at stake for heresy in the 1600.

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There are some nice spots in Rome!

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..and also lots fountains!

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There are many statues too.

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Trastevere is a district in Rome on the west bank of the Tiber. Its name derives from the Latin word "trans Tiberim" that means beyond the Tiber.

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Here there are some churches to visit. Be sure not to miss Santa Maria in Trastevere church and its ancient mosaics. You could also visit Santa Cecilia and San Crisogono churches.

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Another thing to do in Trastevere is to get lost and enjoy this beautiful neighborhood.

There are lots of restaurants, cafes and various shops in Trastevere.

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Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the curches you can visit in this area.

It is said it was Saint Callistus who founded a church where this church is located; in 22 A. D. The church was rebuilt in the IV century. It was enlarged in the IX century. Then it was rebuilt in the XII century and modified between 1550

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Inside you can see various beautiful mosaics. The ones on the apse were made in the XII century. Below them are mosaics scenes depicting the life of the Virgin. These date back to 1291.

The facade of the church is decorated with 12th - 13th century mosaics.

There is an old pharmacy in the Trastevere area; the Farmacia della Scala. It was opened to the public (for the popes; their families and for wealthy people) in 1700.

This pharmacy is not far from Santa Maria in Trastevere church. It is housed into the same building of the Farmacia della Scala (the new pharmacy).

It is quite difficult to visit this old pharmacy. First you have to convince the priest who lives there to let you in ... If you' ll succeed, you will be offered a guided tour of the place.

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I discovered L' Insalata Ricca restaurant by change. I was looking for my favourite restaurant; Tosca. Unfortunately they closed it down. It was located next door to L' Insalata Ricca.

This restaurant has three dining rooms where around 150 people can be seated. It has several outside chairs and tables to use if the weather is fine.

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Here several kind of salads are served; in large bowls. If you don' t fancy a salad for lunch or dinner you can have pasta, other kinds of first courses and several meat dishes.

L' Insalata Ricca is a chain of restaurants. These are located in several areas of Rome. I went to the one in largo dei Chiavari.

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Habana Cafe is a restaurant, but also a place where you can listen to live music at night.

I discovered this restaurant after having checked the prices of the restaurants near the Pantheon. I thought the prices in that area were quite high.

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At Habana Cafe there are three kinds of menu at fixed price. For instance; you can have an appetizer ( salad, or cold cuts for instance), a first course and a drink for 10 euros only. If you order "a la carte" you won' t spend much.

There is a dining room inside this restaurant and a outdoor area where to stay if the weather is fine.

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There is a castle in Rome; Castel Sant' Angelo.

It was built around 123 d. C. as a tomb for emperor Adrian and his successors. It was completed by Antoninus Pius in 139.

The name Castel Sant Angelo comes from the legend of Saint Gregorio Magno who had a vision of an angel appearing on the fortress, and announcing the end of the plague.

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In the fifth century the castle was converted into a fortress and incorporated into the city defensive walls. During the middle ages it was occupied by many noble families. In 1377 it came under full papal control. In the XIVth century, pope Nicholas III linked the castle with a covered passageway to the Vatican; the so called passetto di Borgo. So the popes could seek refuge in the castle if the Vatican was besieged. From the late 1400 the papal apartments were built inside the castle. Castel Sant Angelo was also used as a prison and execution place.

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The castle is made of five levels. On the forth you can visit some papal rooms. There are some nice covered passages around the castle where you can enjoy some beautiful views over the city and rest a bit.

There are some facilities inside the castle; as a cafe restaurants, the toilets and a lift for disabled people.

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Saint Peter' s basilica is located on the site where Saint Peter was buried between 64 and 68 A. D. The current church was built from 1506 to 1626 due to the bad state of the previous one. Several artists worked on this church between these centuries; as Bramante, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is a huge church; (218 per 133.30 meters) and full of beautiful works of art. The basilica has 45 altars and 11 chapels.

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One of its highlights is Michelangelo' s Pietà . It is located in the first chapel on the right. He sculpted it when he was 25. Another main sight is Bernini' s canopy. It is situated over the papal altar.

Once you visited the church you can climb to the top of the dome (cupola). It was designed by Michelangelo in 1547 but it was finished by his pupil; Giacomo della Porta, after Michelangelo' s death. From the top of the dome you can see a great landscape of Rome.

Before entering the basilica you see a very large square. It was designed by Bernini and built between 1656 and 1667. It is a elliptical esplanade bordered by four rows of columns topped with 96 statues of saints.

This church is located in Città  del Vaticano. It is a small country inside Rome.

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At the crossroad between via XX Settembre and via delle Quattro Fontane you can see four large fountains. These were commissioned by pope Sisto V between 1588 and 1593.

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Two of these are carved with two bearded men and should represent the rivers Arno and the Tiber. The other two fountains perhaps represent faith and force. Here you see two statues of the goddesses Diana and Juno.

These fountains were restored several times. I think the last time of their restoration was in 2015.

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Don' t miss the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane.

They say this little church would stay inside a pillar you see in Saint Peter' s Square. It is also called San Carlino; due to its small size (ino in Italian is used as a diminutive for nouns). This church takes its name from the four fountains that stand nearby.

This church was Francesco Borromini' s last work. His nephew completed it in 1667, due to Borromini' s death. It was incorporated in the convent of the Spanish Trinitarians who commissioned the work.

Unfortunately I visited this church late in the evening, so it was quite dark inside and I couldn' t take some decent pics.

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Another church you should visit is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

According to a legend; in august 352 A. D. a rich man and pope Liberius had a similar dream about the Virgin who told them to build a church where they would have found snow in Rome. The next day Pope Liberius spotted snow on the top of the Esquiline hill. Soon he made a church built there.

A re enactment of the snow fall is held every year on august 5 inside the Paolina chapel with a fall of flowers petals.

This church was rebuilt between 432 and 440. It was modified and enlarged in the XIII century.

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Inside you can see a series of mosaics lining the nave and covering the triumphal arch before the altar that date back to the 5th century. There are mosaics in the apse that date to the XIII century as well. The ceiling dates from the 16th century. It is said to be gilded in gold that was bought from America by Columbus. Inside the church there is Bernini' s tomb.

Another thing not to miss in this church is the cappella Sistina. This stunning chapel was commissioned by pope Sisto V in 1587 as his burial place.

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Hotel Domus Praetoria is a hotel i like much. It occupies part of an old palace. I think it is made of 16 rooms.

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Last time I booked a room at Domus Praetoria I had a twin room with bathroom en suite. It had a tiny balcony. My bed was comfortable and the furniture simple.

My room was on the backside of the hotel; so it was quiet. A daily market just ouside of the entrance of the hotel is scheduled except on sunday. It starts very early in the morning.

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Breakfast consisted in fresh pastries and bread. Jam, yoghourt, cereals and orange juice. Hot beverages as coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate were served by a girl at our table.

The reception at Domus Praetoria is open 24 hours on 24. The personnel at this hotel was very kind and helpful. Wi fi was complimentary.

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Termini station is the main train station in Rome. It was built on two levels. The station has lots of facilities, as luggage storage, a police station, a tourist office, a post office, ATMs and a disability office.

At Termini train station you can take a train to lots of destinations in Italy and abroad as well.

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There are various restaurants (one of my favourites as well; Gusto), cafes and shops inside this station.

Just outside the Termini train station there is the major bus terminus.

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Gusto is a self service restaurant inside Termini train station. Here you can find a good choice of first courses; as pasta, rice and soups; some second courses and vegetables. Appetizers as cold cuts are available as well. There is a good selection of desserts too.

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At Gusto there is a menu of the day offer. You can have a first and a second course with some vegetables for 10.90 euros (2014 price).

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You can do several day trips from Rome. For instance you can go to Orvieto (in the Umbria region) and to Tivoli.

In Tivoli you can visit Villa d' Este.

This villa was commissioned by Ippolito d' Este; son of Lucrezia Borgia in the late 1500. It is listed as UNESCO world heritage site.

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Its interiors are decorated with beautiful frescoes, but this mansion is mostly known for the gardens. These have five hundred fountains, built in various shapes. Some of these are activated during the day. Check the time at the entrance. There are several notice boards with some historical information about the fountains.

Inside Villa d' Este there is a room where you can watch a video about the villa and the gardens before your visit. Other facilities here are the toilets, a self service cafe and a museum shop.

You can go to Tivoli by direct bus from the bus station Ponte Mammolo. Take the metro and get off at Ponte Mammolo metro station.

Posted by Maurizioagos 10:31 Archived in Italy Tagged villa rome tivoli este. d' Comments (10)

Riva del Garda.

sunny

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Riva del Garda is a nice town situated at the northern tip of the lake Garda. It is around one hour by car from my village.

In the spring and summer it is a very touristic town.

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There are lots of colorful houses in this town.

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Via Piave is one of the nicest streets in this town.

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Contrada Marocco. This neighbourhood has nothing to do with Morocco. It is an area in Riva del Garda that takes its name from landslides; practically these are big stones where several houses where built here. Marocche is the meaning of big stones in the local dialect.

Here you can see various old houses, a square with a washing trough and an ancient palace; Palazzo del Vescovo (the bishop' s palace).

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I suppose this is one of the oldest areas in Riva del Garda.

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Palazzo del Vescovo; the bishop' s palace.

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Piazza III novembre is the main square in Riva del Garda.

Here you can see the town hall built in the XV century joined to the Palazzo Pretorio (XIV century). Opposite this palace there is a very ancient tower; the Apponale tower. It was built towards 1200 and raised in 1552. At its base there were warehouses for salt and wheat and other stores. It was also used as a prison. During the WWI it was an observation post. You can enjoy a beautiful landscape over the main square of the town and other areas from its top.

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Piazza III Novembre is partly surrounded by XIV century porticoes. There are some shops and a good restaurant - pizzeria (see restaurant hotel Centrale) under these.

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Here you see the small square joined to piazza III Novembre.

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Sometimes when I visit Riva del Garda I have lunch at the restaurant of hotel Centrale. This is a large three star hotel located at the main square of Riva del Garda.

I don' know how many dinner rooms there are at this hotel. One of these is under the old arcades. It is closed by glass, so that people could eat there even in the winter.

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There are various dishes on the menu at this restaurants. There are even several fish dishes and a good choice of pizzas. Pizzas at restaurant Centrale are very large.

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You can do several boat trips to various villages or towns from Riva del Garda. There are ferries, hydrofoils and motorised catamarans that opearate all year.

For instance you can go to Limone and Malcesine.

Limone lies on the north-western shore of the lake. Its name comes from the latin word "limen", which means border. It is a small town with cobbled streets, some churches, various shops, cafes and restaurants.

Malcesine is located almost opposite Limone. Its main sight is the castle which was probably built in the first millenium a. C. by the Longobards. It was destroyed in 590 by the Franks and then rebuilt by them in 806. From 1277 to 1387 it belonged to the Della Scala family. Up to the 1403 it was in the hands of the Visconti family . From the 1405 to 1797 it was part of the Serenissima (see Venice) with the exception of 10 years starting from 1506. The French owned it during Napoleon' s times and The Austrians from 1798 to 1866. The castle houses a couple of museums.

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There is a fortress in Riva del Garda. La Rocca. It was built in 1124 and altered through the centuries. Today it houses a museums with paintings,pictures and archaeological finds.

Posted by Maurizioagos 09:30 Archived in Italy Tagged lake del garda riva trentino alto garda. adige. Comments (2)

Rimini and some day trips.

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Being a sea side resort, most of the people go to Rimini in order to spend some hours (or most of their time) on the beaches.

In Rimini there is practically a long strip of beach. It is 15 kilometers long or maybe more.

Many beaches are of private property, but there are free of charge ones. There are dogs friendly beaches as well.

As in most of the Italian seaside resort these beaches are very crowded during the month of august. Thus I' d suggest to spend your days in Rimini in june or at the beginning of september.

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The Malatestian temple is one of the main sights in Rimini.

There was a church since the IX century on its site.Then it was built the church of Saint Francis in the XIII century. It was redesigned in 1450 by order of Sigismondo Malatesta as his and her mistress' burial site.

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Inside it is richly ornated with sculptures. Its main sights are a crucifix by Giotto; created in 1312 and a fresco by Piero della Francesca of 1451 depicting Sigismondo kneeling in front of Saint Sigismond.

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This church was restored after it suffered serious damages in the WWII war.

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Piazza tre Martiri is one of the two main squares in Rimini. It occupies partly the forum or Ariminum; the Roman colony founded in 268 B. C.

Its previous names were; Piazza Grande, Piazza Sant Antonio, Piazza Giulio Cesare and Piazza delle Erbe. It was named "tre Martiri" to commemorate the death of three partisans hanged there in 1944. Martiri means "marthyrs".

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Here you see a nice clock tower, built in 1547 and rebuilt in 1753 and the small chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony. This dates between 1575 and 1578.

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Saint Anthony' s chapel.

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Vulpitta is one of my favourite shops in Rimini. Here they sell sweets, wines, alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee and lots of other items. You can find it around the corner of piazza Tre Martiri; in corso d' Augusto.

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Vulpitta is a small shop but full of things. I could stay into this shop for a lot of time, really.

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La Casa del Chirurgo. The Surgeon' s house.

There are some Roman remains in Rimini. One of these is a large floor mostly decorated with mosaics. This is what is left of the house of a surgeon. It was built during the second half of the second century A. D.

It was a two storey building with several rooms and a garden. There was even a workplace for visits and operations.

Various surgical tools were found here. Now these are in the city museum.

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If you are quite attentive you can spot a couple of skeletons among the mosaics.

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Piazza Cavour is another square in this town.

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There are three palace joined together in Piazza Cavour. On your right; near the street you see Palazzo Garampi; built at the end of the XVII century. It is used as town hall today. Palazzo dell' Arengo that housed a tribunal, is located in the middle of this group of palaces. It was built in 1204. The third palace is Palazzo del Podestà . This was were the lord of the town lived. It dates between 1330 e il 1334. Today it is the seat of various expositions .

Next to the palaces there is the theater Amintore Galli built between 1843 and 1856.

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In piazza Cavour there is a large fountain; fontana della Pigna (i. e. pine cone). There is also a big statue of Pope Paul V. I am sorry, but I didn' t take a pic of this statue.

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Opposite the three palaces you see an old fish market; built in 1743. Today there is a flowers market inside this building. I suppose it is in operation every morning.

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Città del Sole is one of my favourite shops in Rimini. Here you can find mostly toys, but also something for adults, as table games and books. This shop is part of a chain which has shops located in various towns in Italy.

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Città del Sole is located at via Tempio Malatestiano. At n. 45.

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Get lost in Rimini! You will discover several nice areas.

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The Tiberius bridge is a beautiful Roman bridge. This five arched Istrian stone bridge was started during the reign of Augustus in 14 A. D. and completed under Tiberius' reign in 21 A. D.

Originally it was built to cross the Marecchia river, but this was later diverted to avoid floods. Tiberius bridge has survived floods, war attacks and earthquakes.

It connects corso d' Augusto; the old town' s main street with Saint Giuliano quarter (Borgo San Giuliano). This bridge is open to pedestrians and cars except for heavy vehicles.

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Borgo San Giuliano is one of the oldest areas in Rimini. It was originally inhabited by seafarers and fishermen.

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Today this area is a kind of village, with lots of colorful houses, the main square with a church; several cafes, restaurants and shops.

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I stayed some times at a nice three stars hotel in Rimini. Hotel Clitunno. It is situated in Viserbella; an area part of Rimini.

Last time I booked a room there, I was given a double room with bathroom en suite there. It had also a small balcony.

Breakfast at this hotel is buffet style with various pastries, bread, cold cuts, jam and other food. Hot drinks, as coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate are served at your table. Lunch and dinner are partly buffet style. Food at hotel Clitunno was really good.

Hotel Clitunno has a communal room, a cafe and a terrace. This hotel is located near the sea. See; www.hotelclitunno.net

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Cesenatico is a beautiful sea side resort located between Rimini and Ravenna.

I did a day trip from Rimini to this town last time I visited Rimini. The journey from Rimini to Cesenatico lasted around half an hour by train.

I didn' t visit any beaches in Cesenatico the day I was there, I only stayed in the old center and I walked a lot.

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I think the highlight of this town is its canal port. It is said it was designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502. It is situated in the center of Cesenatico. This canal port is bordered by lots of buildings painted in various colours. Many of these house shops, cafes and restaurants. There are some colourful old boats moored at this port which are part of the museo della marineria (a naval museum).

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Santarcangelo di Romagna is a beautiful village some 10 kilometers far from Rimini. I went there by bus from Rimini.

It has a fortress (Rocca), built in 1386 (there was a previous one); enlarged and modified after a century. Near and below the fortress you can stroll though the Medieval area of the village with a network of narrow cobbled streets and nice houses. The "modern" area has lots of shops and cafes to rest a bit.

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Santarcangelo has also a couple of museums. A museum of buttons; where you can see a large display of buttons from various ages and an archaeological museum.

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Beside Cesenatico and Santarcangelo di Romagna you can visit San Marino as a day trip from Rimini.

San Marino is a country located within Italy. It is the third smallest country in Europe and one of the oldest in the world.

According a legend San Marino was founded by Marinus, a Dalmatian stomemason, in 301 A. D. He left his country to avoid the christian persecutions of Diocleatianus.

There are nine municipalities in this country. These are called "castelli".

I will tell you something about its capitol town; San Marino. Yes, it bears the same name of the state.

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Piazza della Libertà is San Marino main square. Here you can see the Palazzo Pubblico. This palace is the seat of the parliament and where important official happenings take place. It was built in 1894.

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This country has several shops that offer tax free goods for foreigners. San Marino even if it is a small town has a good choice of shops of various kinds.

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There are three towers in San Marino. Well; two of them are fortresses, The other is a proper tower.

The first tower is called Torre Rocca or Guaita. It dates around to the XI century.

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Here you see another picture taken inside the first tower.

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The second tower; Torre Cesta or Fratta was built around the 1400. It is situated on the highest point of the Mount Titano.

It houses a weaponry museum inside.

This picture was taken from the second tower.

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Another picture taken from the second tower.

The third tower is called Montale and housed a prison. It is not opened to visitors. I didn' t take any picture of this tower.

The three towers are linked by a stone path called "sentiero delle streghe" (i. e. witches path).

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The area you see in this picture is the Cava dei Balestrieri (the crossbowmen' s cave). It is the site of many events.

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There are some nice statues inside this cave.

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After a long stroll you can rest a bit at this garden; the Giardino dei Liburni.

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This garden is quite simple, but nice.

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There are several daily buses from Rimini to San Marino. You can take one just outside the train station.

Posted by Maurizioagos 11:29 Archived in Italy Tagged sant di angelo rimini sea. romagna.san marino. Comments (0)

Lucca.

Lucca is a beautiful town located 85 km. west of Florence. It was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini; the famous music composer.

Its old core is surrounded by defence walls. These are 12 meters tall.

Lucca has lots of churches and a couple of palaces to visit. You can visit it as a day trip from Florence. There are daily buses and trains from there.

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The walls of Lucca were built in four stages.

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At the beginning they were constructed in Roman times. Later the walls were rebuilt between XI and XII centuries. The third phase of the building began in the XVI century and finished in 1544. The present construction dates from 1544 to 1650.

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The top of the walls is paved and lined with trees. You can walk or cycle on them.

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Piazza San Michele.

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San Michele in Foro is a church built between the 11th and the 14th century. It is located where the Roman forum was.

Its richly sculpted facade is bigger than the rest of the chuch, because money ran out before it was completed.

At the top of the church you can see a statue of archangel Michael. It has movable wings. So that if the wind is strong they can be retracted. A legend say that if you catch a green glimmer from this statue, in a peculiar condition of light you will have good luck.

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Via Fillungo is Lucca main street. It is a long street lined with lots of shops.

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Piazza Anfiteatro; Lucca main square can' t really be defined a square, because it is elliptical. In fact it was built on the foundations of a Roman amphitheater built in the second half of the first century A. D. Later it was used as a quarry to supply the town with materials for churches and palaces. Several buildings were constructed inside this oval area in the Middle Ages. In the 19th century all these buildings were removed and the square was created.

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In this square there are various shops, some restaurants and cafes. It is also a venue for various events.

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In the Middle Ages there were 130 towers in Lucca. Today only two of these are left. You can climb to their tops of these towers and enjoy the landscape over the town.

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One of these is named torre Guinigi. It was built around 1390 and is 45 meters tall. There are some oak trees on its top. The other is a bell tower called torre delle Ore. It was built around the XIII century. In this picture you can see the Guinigi tower.

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Wiev from the top of the Guinigi tower.

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Antoher picture taken from the top of the Guinigi tower.

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Another church you could visit is the Basilica di San Frediano. It was built between 560 and 588. It was rebuilt in the first half of the XII century. In the XIII century it was heightened and a golden mosaic was added on its facade. This mosaic represents the Christ redeemer. The church you see today was built between 1112 and 1147. This church houses the mummified body of Saint Zita. One of the saints who lived in Lucca.

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One of the main sights you can admire inside the curch is a baptismal font built in the XII century. It is sculpted with stories of Moses, the apostles and the months.

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Close up of the baptismal font.

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Caffè del Mercato; also called Il Barino is my favourite restaurant in Lucca. It is a cafe restaurant just beside San Michele in Foro church. At Il Barino food is good and also cheap.

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Palazzo Pfanner is a palace built in the second half of the XVII century for the Moriconi family. They were noble silk merchants. In 1680 the property was taken over by the Contarini; another family of noble merchants. In the second half of the ninethenth century the palace was bought by an Austrian brewer; Felix Pfanner who was asked to come to Lucca in 1846 by duke Carlo Lodovico di Borbone who wished a skilled brewer to make beer in town.

Inside this palace you can see the old kitchen, some nice rooms and a collection of surgical instruments belonged to Pietro Pfanner; son of Felix.

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Palazzo Pfanner has a beautiful garden with statues representing the four seasons and some divinities. You can spot this garden from the town walls.

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Piazza Napoleone is a square quite near piazza San Michele. It is also called piazza Grande. It was named after Napoleon, whose sister Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte ruled Lucca from 1805 until 1815.

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Many buildings, the salt storeroom and a church were demolished to build this square in 1806.

Palazzo Ducale (the ducal palace), several shops and cafes and some restaurants surround this large square. Palazzo Ducale is used as offices. There is a museum inside.

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The duomo of San Martino (the cathedral) was founded in the VI century. It was rebuilt around 1060 and renewed between the XII and the XIII centuries. The interior was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries.

One of the highlights of this church is Civitali' s tempietto; built in 1482. It houses the Volto Santo (Holy Face). A large wooden crucifix said to have been carved by Nicodemus; the biblical figure who helped Joseph of Arimathea remove Christ' s body from the cross. I have read somewhere that this sculpture couldn' t be the original one, but could have been carved between XI and XIII centuries.

Another thing not to miss inside this church is the sarcophagus of Ilaria del Carretto. It was made between 1407 and 1408. Ilaria was one of Paolo Guinigi' s wifes. The lord of Lucca. She died very young. I think she was 26.

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Lucca has a small and beautiful botanical garden. It was created in the 1820 as a research and education center.

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Near its entrance there is the so-called montagnola with flowers and plants from the mountains near Lucca and Pisa. There are some greenhouses; a collection of medicinal species of plants; a library and a museums with old herbariums.

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There is a lake full of water lilies at the garden.

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Mercato del Carmine is a covered market which was a church years ago. Here you can find only some stalls where you can buy fruit and vegetables. When I visited this market there was a good choice of produce to buy at these stalls.

Around the market there is a cafe, a sweet shop and some shops that sells meat of various kind. These shops have an entrance inside and outside the market. The cafe has some chairs and tables inside the market.

There are the toilets into the market.

A note about transportation. It is better to go to Lucca by bus. The train station is quite far from the town center.

Some years ago I went to Lucca by train. Once I arrived at the train station I had to go through the walls; climb up and down some stairs (with my heavy luggage), walk inside a tunnel (under the ramparts) and then carry on walking for some miles to my accomodation that was in the town center.

If you are going to Lucca by train, you should ask somebody where you can find the nearest gate to avoid climbing the ramparts. Then look for a navetta (electric minibus) to the city center. Otherwise you could take a taxi to your accomodation.

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If you will spend some days in Lucca you can do a day trip to Viareggio. This is a beautiful seaside resort some 25 km from Lucca. It has around 10 kilometers of sandy beach and is famous for its carnival.

This town has many Art Nouveau buildings. The tourist office in Viareggio has a useful map with the locations of these.

When I visted Viareggio I did a long stroll on the seafront promenade. It is more than 3 km long! This long street is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants.

The origin of the Carnival in Viareggio dates from 1873 when a group of young borgeouses who used to go to the Caffe del Casinò thought about a parade of carriages and masked people.

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A restaurant in Viareggio.

Posted by Maurizioagos 10:52 Archived in Italy Tagged lucca tuscany viareggio. Comments (6)

Bergamo; some sights, typical food and a trip to a castle.

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Bergamo is a city situated around 40 kilometers northeast of Milan. It is divided into two parts; the upper town (Città Alta) and the lower town (Città Bassa).

The upper town is the old core of Bergamo; the lower town is the modern part of this city.

On this post I will tell you something about the upper town.

You can easily go to Bergamo from various countries by air. In fact there is an airport nearby. It is located near a village named Orio al Serio.

This airport has only a terminal. It is used mostly by various low cost air companies as Ryanair, Wind Jet and Wizz Air. Inside there are several shops, a pharmacy, two banks and a tourist office.

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It is possible to go the the upper town from the lower town in Bergamo by bus or by funicular. The funicular has two cars. Each has a capacity of 50 people (seated and standing). Its first run was in 1887. This funicular was restored in 1921, in 1963-64 and in 1988. It runs from 7 a. m. to 12 p. m. every day. It departs from the station in viale Vittorio Emanuele. It takes around half an hour to go to the funicular station from the train station by foot, but you can go there by bus as well.

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The upper town is surrounded by around six kilometers of walls. These already existed at Roman times. They were rebuilt during the Middle Ages. From 1561 to 1588 these were reconstructed by the Venetians. They demolished 250 buildings to build them; including some churches and convents. The walls were built in order to face enemies attacks, but never underwent any siege.

Take a walk around these old walls to enjoy great views over the countryside and the lower city.

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Piazza Vecchia is the main square in the upper town. It is surrounded by various old buildings. One of these is Palazzo della Ragione that was built during the second half of the XII century and rebuilt in the 1500' s. It is connected by a bridge and a staircase to the Palazzo del Podestà . This was the seat of the chief magistrate, or governor who ruled Bergamo from the 16th until the end of the 18th century. It was built between XII and XIII centuries. On the north east side of the square stands the Palazzo Nuovo, or Biblioteca Angelo Mai; the civic library. Its construction began at the beginning XVII century and was finished in 1958.

There are some restaurants and cafes in this square.

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Torre Civica (the civic tower) is also called the "Campanone" because it has a very large bell inside. Large bell could be translated as "campanone". This sounds 180 times at 10 p. m. every evening to signal the old curfew when the gates of Bergamo were about to close. This tower was probably built between the XI and the XII centuries.

I don' t think it is worth to climb around 250 stairs to get to the top of this tower to enjoy the landscape. There are other places in Bergamo from where you can see a nice one.

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Piazza Duomo is a small square at the back of piazza Vecchia. It is surrounded by some religious buildings as the cathedral (duomo), dedicated to saint Alessandro. It was built on a pre existing church probably constructed in the VI century. It was rebuilt in 1449; at the end of 1600 and in the 1800.

Near the cathedral there is the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. It was built in 1137 as a vow to the Virgin after the plague in 1135 on the site of a church dating around VIII century. The interior was modified between the 16th and the 17th centuries in Baroque style. It contains the tomb of the composer Gaetano Donizetti, a Baroque confession chair built at the beginning of 1700 and several Florentine and Flemish tapestries made in the 1500-1600.

Joined to the Basilica is the Cappella Colleoni. Bartolomeo Colleoni was a soldier and leader who fought for Venice to maintain the Venetian stronghold on the city. This mausoleum was ordered to be built for himself and his daughter Medea between 1472 and 1476. The sacristy of the basilica of santa Maria Maggiore was demolished to build this chapel.

Opposite the cathedral you can see the baptistery. It is an octagonal building dating from 1340. Originally it was located inside the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

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The basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. The main entrance.

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Part of a tapestry inside the basilica.

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The Baroque confession chair.

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The bishop hall (Aula della Curia) is a 12th century judgement hall.

Not many people know about this place. I was on a guided tour of the Città Alta and our guide took us there. It is located to the left of the Colleoni chapel. You have to climb a flight of stairs to get there.

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This large hall has five rows of 13th century frescoes depicting biblical scenes and other works. There are scenes as the last supper, Jesus washing the feet of an apostle. Kiss of Judas and so on.

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The Tempietto di Santa Croce. This small church dates to the first half of the XI century. I have read it is decorated with frescoes inside.

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You can spot some beautiful door knockers in the Città Alta.

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If you have some time to spend you could visit the Museo Donizettiano. This nice museum is dedicated to Gaetano Donizetti. He was a very famous music composer. Gaetano was born on november 29th 1797 and died in 1848. He composed about seventy operas in thirty years.

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This museum occupies two rooms in a fourteenth - sixteenth century palace; the Palazzo della Misericordia Maggiore. Here you can see many things belonged to this composer; his piano, several portraits and various documents There are also the bed he died in and a chair he used to sit in when he was severely ill.

I am not a opera lover or an expert on this matter, but I enjoyed this museum.

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La Rocca. This fortress was built between 1331 and 1336. It is located on a hill, which was believed to have been the Roman capitol. Its original building was constructed by the Celts from the IV century A. D. The medieval building was begun in 1331 by John of Louxembourg and completed by Azzone Visconti (lord of Milan from 1329 to 1339) in 1336. Through the centuries this building has undergone various enlargements. Inside the fortress there is the nineteenth-century section of the historical museum of the city.

A memorial park dedicated to the first world war fallen surrounds the fortress. There you can see lots of monuments , a small tank and some cannons.

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La Rocca is a good place to enjoy the views over the upper, the lower city and other areas.

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One of the churches I liked much in Bergamo was the curch of San Michele al pozzo bianco. It was originally built in the VIII century; rebuilt around the XII and the XIII centuries and restored in the 1400' s. It is named al pozzo bianco probably because there was a well made from white marble nearby. Pozzo bianco means "white well" in Italian.

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Inside you can see several frescoes painted in the 1400 and 1500. There is also a cycle of frescoes made by Lorenzo Lotto; in the chapel of the Madonna. This church has a crypt with frescoes as well.

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There are some typical sweets and food in Bergamo which are worth a try.

Polenta e osei is a typical cake of Bergamo. It is the sweet version of polenta (mashed corn) with small birds. This cake is sold in various confectionery shopes and bakeries in Bergamo.

This good dessert is made with sponge cake, chocolate and hazelnuts creams, butter and some rum. It is covered with a layer of yellow marzipan and sprinkled with yellow cristallized sugar. The small birds that you see on top of this cake are made with marzipan covered with chocolate.

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Casoncelli alla bergamasca are a kind of ravioli (stuffed pasta) filled with with a mixture of bread crumbs, egg, cheese, ground beef, salami or sausage, spinach, raisins, amaretto biscuits, pear and garlic. These are served with melted butter flavoured with sage leaves and sprinkled with grated Grana Padano cheese and chopped cooked bacon. This first course is believed to have originated in the countryside outside Bergamo where they were created as a way of using up left overs.

You can find casoncelli, also called "casunsei" in many restaurants in Bergamo.

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The Donizetti cake is a ring shaped cake created by Alessandro Balzer (see Balzer confectionery in upper Bergamo) in 1948 to commemorate hundred years from the death of the musical composer Donizetti. It is a simple cake sprinkled with castor sugar. You can buy it at various bakeries and confectioneries in Bergamo.

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It is difficult for me not to go inside the Tresoldi bakery when I visit Bergamo. This small bakery is a good place to buy good pastries and also pizza by the slice. My favourite treats there are small pastries with fruit.

Tresoldi bakery is located in via Colleoni; the upper town main street.

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Sweet Irene is one of my favourite cafe restaurant in Bergamo. It is located in the lower area of Bergamo. It is made of two rooms. One of these is downstairs. It is a kind of cellar.

Here you can have food as quiches and sandwiches, but you can choose your meal from the menu of the day as well.

At this cafe they have a good selection of pastries and cakes.

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Vox is a good place to visit at the so-called happy hour. This is a period of time, usually from 5.30 p. m. to 9 p. m. when you can have a drink (alcoholic or non alcoholic) accompanied with various nibbles (chips, olives and more). At happy hour time you can help yourself with the food you see on the plates on the counter. Vox is also a restaurant. It is located in the Lower Town.

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Here you see a beautiful statue dedicated to Donizetti. You can find it in the lower area of Bergamo.

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I had a pleasant visit to the castle in Grumello del Monte with a group of VT members (I was a member of Virtual Tourist...www.virtualtourist.com).

Grumello del Monte is some 18 km east of Bergamo. I went there by train.

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Probably this castle was originally built around the X century. It also was owned by Bartolomeo Colleoni in 1400. It was turned into a mansion in the XVIII century.

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There is not much to see inside the castle. Only some rooms, a chapel, the ex stable and part of a tower are opened to visitors. So who likes to visit a castle with lots of beautifully decorated rooms could be disappointed. You have to book if you like to visit the castle.

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A presentation of several kinds of wines was included in the tour. We could sample various kinds of wines accompanied with cold cuts and cheeses. I think this was the best part of the visit. The owners of the castle run a winery. There is a shop at the castle. Here you can buy wines and some souvenirs.

If you will stay more than three or four days in Bergamo you can do several day trips for here. For instance you could go to the Como and Iseo lakes, to Milan and to several other places.

Posted by Maurizioagos 11:47 Archived in Italy Tagged italy del bergamo grumello lombardy. monte. Comments (6)

Marostica.

sunny

Marostica is a town located some kilometers from Bassano del Grappa. It is situated in the Veneto region.

Its old core is quite small, but there is an interesting sight to visit; a castle. Well, there are two castles in reality in Marostica.

This town is well known for a (human) chess game.

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Piazza Castello is the main square in Marostica, It was created in the 14th century. This square is where a chess game is played with human pieces. This is due in the second week end of september; in the even years.

On piazza Castello you see the marble chessboard realized in 1954 for the first human chess game and the Doglione palace. It was originally a medieval fortress which hosted the armoury and the chancellery and the Monte di Pietà during the Venetian rule. It was restored in the 19th century. Today it is the seat of a local bank. Opposite this palace there is the lower castle.

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The Doglione.

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There is a small chessboard on the ground floor of the Doglione.

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Piazza Castello is flanked by two rows of porticoes. You can find various shops, some cafes and restaurants under these.

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There are two castles in Marostica. These were built in 1312.

Castello Inferiore; the lower castle is located in the main square. The upper castle; Castello Superiore, is situated on the top of a hill. It was built on a Roman construction. Inside there is a restaurant. This castle overlooks the town.

The lower castle houses a museum with several costumes used for the chess game re enactment. It is on the first floor. On this floor there are also some rooms to visit; as Sala del Consiglio; built between 1662 and 1663 and Sala del Camino ("camino" means fireplace). Outside the first floor there are two loggias with frescoes painted between XV and XVIII centuries. Inside the castle there is also a prison.

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You can end your visit of the castle walking along the ramparts to enjoy a beautiful landscape over the main square of Marostica and the surrounding hills.

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There are several churches in the old center of Marostica. I suppose these are more than four. In this picture you can spot one of them.

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This is one of the entrances of the town.

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Caffè Centrale is a cafe restaurant where I usually have lunch when I visit Marostica. It is one of the cafes -restaurants under the porticoes at the main square.

The first time I visited Marostica the menu at this cafe caught my attention due to some peculiar dishes there. That time I had gnocchi (dumplings) with gorgonzola cheese and nuts. I like them very much. The second time I went at Caffe Centrale I had rice with asparagus. It was good.

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Marostica is a nice place to spend some hours, or even a couple of days if there is a festival or a concert in the main square.

Posted by Maurizioagos 11:48 Archived in Italy Tagged del grappa bassano marostica chess. Comments (5)

Two castles and an island not far from Trieste.

sunny

If you are going to spend more than a couple of days in Trieste, you could visit two beautiful castles and an island. There is no need to rent a car, because the castles and the island are easily reachable by public trasportation from Trieste.

I visited the castles and the island some years ago.

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Miramare castle was built between 1856 and 1860 by orders of Maximilian of the House of Habsburg (1832-1867). Maximilian was Franz Joseph' s (emperor of Austria) youngest brother. This castle is located in Grignano.

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Inside you can visit more than 20 rooms. All these have original furniture. You can see the private apartments where Maximilian and his wife Charlotte lived for a short period; the guests rooms and the throne room.

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The castle is surrounded by a huge park with ponds, statues and some buildings as the stables and the so called Castelletto. Here Maximilian and Charlotte lived while the castle was being constructed.

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Duino is a town not far from Trieste. Here you can visit a castle. Well, in reality there are two castles in Duino. The old and the new one. This one is open to visitors.

The new castle was built around 1400. What we see today are some buildings constructed in different years.

This castle belonged to various people and was also used as a prison. At the end of the 19th century it became property of the prince Alexander of Thurn und Taxis.

Over the years this castle hosted many famous artists as Strauss, Liszt, Twain and Rainer Maria Rilke.

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I took this picture from the castle tower.

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Another picture from the castle tower.

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The "old" castle was built in the XI century. It is now in ruins. You can see it from a balcony and from the tower of the new castle.

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Grado is an island situated 52 km from Trieste. It is linked to the mainland by two bridges.

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One of the highlights in Grado is the basilica of saint Euphemia. It has a beautiful mosaic pavement which covers almost the entire floor surface.

This church dates from the end of the VI century. It was built on the site of a previous basilica built between the IV and V centuries.

Beside this church there is a baptistery which dates to the fifth century. In this picture you see part of the basilica of saint Euphemia.

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Some meters from the church you can visit the basilica of saint Maria delle Grazie. It was built at the end of the VI century. This church was built over another one of the V century. It is smaller than the basilica of S. Euphemia and houses a beautiful colourful Madonna.

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Once you visited the churches and the baptistery you could have a stroll in the town center.

The old core of Grado is made mostly of stone houses. It has narrow streets (calli), small squares (campielli) as in Venice. You can wander in the center of Grado for at least a couple of hours or maybe more.

There are even some Roman ruins in this town.

I went to Grado from Trieste by coach from the bus station. I took a coach to Monfalcone. Once in Monfalcone I crossed the road and I took a bus to Grado. The bus station in Grado is in piazza Carpaccio; which is just a couple of streets from the harbour.

Posted by Maurizioagos 09:20 Archived in Italy Tagged trieste gargnano duino. Comments (2)

Memories of Trieste.

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Trieste is a city in northeastern Italy. It is situated between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. It is also located near Croatia.

This city is worth a stop of a couple of days or more if you are going to Slovenia or to Croatia. You could even choose it as a base to do explore some towns or villages in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

It is possible and easy to go to various destinations in eastern Europe from Trieste, by coach. There are coaches to several places in Croatia, Slovenia, Romania and to other countries departing from the bus station in Trieste.

The bus station is situated at piazza della Libertà . It is just some meters from the railway station. This station is not a nice place, but there is a convenient cafe and some shops inside.

I visited Trieste lots of time and also some weeks ago.

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Piazza dell' Unità d' Italia is the main square in Trieste. It is surrounded by several palaces built mostly in the 19th century.

Among these you can see the town hall; built in 1875. The government palace (1904-1905); with mosaics and a loggia and Palazzo Stratti that houses a historical cafe named Caffe degli Specchi.

This square is very large and opens to the sea.

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Opposite the town hall there is a huge fountain; the fountain of the four continents. It was built between 1751 and 1754. Here are represented four continents, because the fifth; Australia wasn' t discovered at that time yet.

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When I visit Trieste I like to explore the old town. I mean the area around piazza Cavana which is very near piazza dell' Unità  d' Italia. This is an area with a maze of streets and very old buildings. You can also find some Roman remains there.

There are also various shops and cafes in this neighborhood.

Piazza Cavana; the square you see in this picture, was previously named piazza del Sale (i. e. salt square) until 1829, because of a salt storeroom which was situated at the end of this square.

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There is even a Roman arch in the old town; the Arco di Riccardo. It was built in the I century B. C.

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Here you see another Roman find.

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There are several palaces built in Liberty style in this city.

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Here you see part of another palace built in Liberty style.

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Borgo Teresiano is a neighbourhood characterized by grid like streets. It was built on the place where the salt pans were situated. This area was built on order by the Austrian emperor Charles VI and completed by her daughter Maria Teresa in the 1800' s.

Here you can see the Canal Grande; built between 1750 and 1756. It is bordered by several palaces; by the church of saint Antonio Nuovo, several cafes, restaurants and shops.

In this picture you see a statue of the Irish writer James Joyce. He lived for some time in Trieste.

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I spotted this stone face on the bridge you see in the previous picture.

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This is Palazzo Gopcevich. It houses the Civico Museo Teatrale Carlo Shmidl. It is a museum related to the theatre.

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The Serbian ortodox church was built on the site of a previous church that was used both by the Greek and the Serbian communities in the '700. It was opened in 1868.

It is surmounted by five light blue domes; one large and four smaller.

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Inside the church you can see the iconostasis; that is a group of icons partly covered in gold and silver. This was built in Russia at the beginning of the ' 800.

A silver chandelier that was a present by Paolo Petrovich; (future tsar Paul I) when he visited Trieste in 1772 is another highlight of this church. Many other beautiful work of art will surely catch your attention inside this church.

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Here you see another cupola inside the church.

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Bar pasticceria Urbanis is a budget restaurant where I usually have lunch when I am in Trieste. It is also a meeting place where people go to have an aperitivo (a drink taken before meals).

Urbanis is an historic cafe, but it is modern furnished.

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At Urbanis ' they have a menu. but they also serve a menu of the day. Here food is really cheap. Drinks served at the table are expensive.

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Another church worth a visit in Trieste is the Greek ortodox church of saint Nicholas. It was built between 1784 and 1787 and completed in 1821.

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This church has a single nave and its light comes from some small windows and chandeliers. For this reason it is not easy to take picutes inside.

Into this church you can see the iconostasis with several icons and several paintings.

The nave is overlooked by two balconies. The lower one was once set for women; the upper one was reserved for the choir.

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There is a good number of museums in Trieste. I' d recommend to visit Museo Revoltella. This is a modern art museum.

The original palace which houses this museum was built between 1854 and 1858. It was owned by the baron Pasquale Revoltella (1795 - 1869) who was an entrepeneur and a financier.

In the 60' s of the last century two other palaces where added to this one to form a modern art museum with around 350 paintings and sculptures. Here many masterpieces by Italian and foreigner artists are on display.

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On the ground floor of this palace there is the library. The first floor houses the baron Revoltella' s private aparments. The second floor was used for parties and banquets. Here you can see the dining room, the ball room and some other rooms.

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Sircelli is a cafe confectionery I usually visit around 5 p. m. when I visit Trieste. It was opened in 1933 as a bakery. Some years ago it was enlarged and completely refurbished. Unfortunately this cafe is quite small, so sometimes it is not easy to find a seat here.

Here you can find a large selection of pastries, cakes, some savoury food as pizza by the slice and various kinds of bread filled with cold cuts.

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A piece of prestniz at Sircelli' s. It is a typical Triestine cake.

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I like their apple pie and the pastry with pear and chocolate.

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There is a nice long promenade not far from Sircelli' s. Viale XX Settembre. This tree lined street links via Carducci with Il Giulia Shopping Center. It is bordered by lots of cafes, eateries and shops. There are even some cinemas here. Amost all this street is car free.

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Here' s another picture taken on viale XX Settembre.

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One of the main sights in Trieste is saint Justus cathedral. It is located on a hill overlooking Trieste.

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Towards the middle of the V century there was a basilica on the site of this cathedral. It replaced a Roman temple.

This church was probably destroyed in the IX century. Between the IX and the X century two churches were built on its site. In the XIV century these were joined to form the cathedral you see today.

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There are three mosaics and some frescoes inside this church.

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The mosaic on the apse on the left; date to the beginning of the XII century. These depict the Madonna, the angels Gabriel, Michael and apostles.

The mosaic on the apse on the right date around the XIII century. Here you see Christ with saints Justus and saint Servolo. On the central apse there is a mosaic made in 1932.

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I like this chapel a lot!

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Next to the cathedral you can see the castle. What we see today is a large construction built between 1468 and1636.

It is thought there was an early bronze age hillfort around 2000 BC at the place of this castle.

In the Middle Age the Venetian built another fortress. It was destroyed in the XIV century.

From 1468 to 1471 Fredrick III of Absburg built another constuction on that site. Other works were made by the Venetians between 1508 and 1509. The castle was completed in 1630.

The museum inside the castle is made up of a furnished room and the Casa del Capitano. This is the oldest building in the castle. It houses a collection of weaponry, some furniture and other things.

Temporary exibitions are held at the castle. Inside the castle courtyard various concerts and shows are held.

Once you visited the museum you can stroll on the ramparts on the castle to enjoy a beautiful landscape over the city.

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There is also a chapel inside the castle.

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Mikeze and Jakeze. These are the original mechanical staues which striked the hours on the top of the town hall in piazza dell' Unità d' Italia. They are stored into the castle.

Posted by Maurizioagos 03:50 Archived in Italy Tagged trieste italy. Comments (2)

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