Showing posts with label Italy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italy. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2018

Places to Visit Before They Disappear

Kiribati
Earth is a home to incredibly beautiful natural sites. Because of climatic changes and human carelessness some of them are in danger of disappearing in the next 100 yrs or even sooner, whether it’s the rising sea levels, torrential monsoons or melting glaciers, climatic change is rapidly altering the landscape of out planet. Some of the world’s most awe-inspiring sights are threatened by encroaching development and climatic changes. Man could disappear in our life time.

Here are few of the world’s most scenic places that could disappear in the next few decades.

MALDIVES: A vanishing paradise is known for its ultimate honeymoon destination. The Maldives is expected to be swallowed by the ocean in the future. 1190 tiny islands and atolls in the Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world making it particularly susceptible to a rise in the sea level. Most of the country roughly is 4 feet above sea level and many inhabitants live along the coast. Some of the coral island with their stunning white sand beaches is just 5.9 feet above sea level creating a threat from global warming. If at all the sea level continues to rise, the Republic of Maldives will be the first nation to disappear into the ocean.

European Alps: it took a long time for the earth to create the Alps. This is the best place to ski because of the high peaks and endless runs of the European Alps. The dream of skiing on the alpine snow is going to decrease slowly. Why not visit the Alps and hop on the Gondola sooner rather than later, because the Alps are at a lower altitude than many other mountain ranges. They are more prone to global warming and temperature are increasing at more than twice the global average, some prediction are that the glaciers will only last until 2050 before they disappear.

Venice Italy: the Italian city is considered as one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is also known as city of canals. With increasing severe floods each year could leave Venice uninhabitable by this century end. The 118 small islands that make up the city of Venice shave been sinking for centuries. , The rising sea levels have caused many to wonder how long the floating city will stay afloat. In the next 20 yrs from now there won’t be any gondola rides, no more cozying up in the water canal, no more romantic evenings in the water. The loss to the romantic world will be irreplaceable.

Fiji Island: the surging tides have already forced some villagers to move away from their homes in Fiji. It is a collection of 800 or so volcanic and coral islands. There is one village called Vunidogoloa, where it had to be moved a mile up onto a hill after it started sinking into the Pacific. Villages such as Nukui and Vunisavi are also under the threat of disappearing.

Republic of Kiribati: Kiribati is a nature lover’s paradise. Villagers in the small town of Tebunginako are ready to relocate after rising sea swallowed their home. Kiribati which is between Hawaii and Australia has already seen most of its population move to the island of Tarawa due to the land disappearing into the sea.

The Seychelles: it is a popular destination especially for honeymooners or paradise seekers. Areas that are covered with trees are now beaches, the trees toppled by the ever advancing waves. Local are noticing their beaches shrinking, tourist cramming in to smaller and smaller areas as the land continues to disappear the approaching water. The islands of the Seychelles are slowly vanishing because of the erosion of the beach. They’re in danger if they are completely found disappearing in the next 50 to 100 years. It is just matter of time before the beautiful Seychelles Islands are gone.

The Great Wall of China: it is the largest man made structure in the world. The Great Wall of China has survived for over 2000 years. Over farming and air pollution are the main reasons for turning the heritage site into just dilapidated ruins. Nearly two third of the wall has been damaged. The wall could be reduced to ruins by erosion in a little as 20 years.
Do visit these amazing places before they vanish.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lucca, Tuscany

Lucca

Lucca – Living Testimony of Past Times


Lucca is situated in a green valley, North West of Florence and is a living testimony to past times, dominions and kingdoms. The impeccably preserved jewel of medieval architecture as well as the buildings stems charm, portraying layers of history from all areas of its narrow winding streets. The Lucca monuments, palaces, churches and roads with its very shape have a story to convey, right from the Roman times down through the Middle Ages, to the Napoleonic age and eventually to the Risorgimento. Every layer merger with preceding ages tends to mark the growth as well as the changes of the city.

The high broad walls that tend to illustrate the city seem to be a feature of the past with a pleasant element of its present. The ancient city is totally surrounded with walls which we see today that dates back to the 17th century. It is now no longer utilised for defense and are crowned by 4 km of green parkland with a beautiful place to walk, cycle or to stop for a picnic outing . The rich families who tend to enhance the city are closely linked with the various enchanting legends and tales of Lucca. At the heart of the city, the central square, maintains the shape of the Romanamphitheatre, showing the outline of an ancient arena.

Its Attractions Portrays Ancient History


Lucca is one of those cities which is most loved by all Tuscany, a stop which cannot be missed in an itinerary in exploring the region. Located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps it is less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. Lucca can be reached by car as well as by train from Pisa and Florence, which makes it perfect for visitors to get around especially on public transportation.

Several of its attractions portray its ancient history from the touch of the Roman amphitheatre which can be seen in the shape of the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro to the archaeological remains of the 12th century church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, to the different towers as well as villas from the 12th and the 16th centuries.

Surrounding Wall Lost it Military Importance


As the city progressed and got modernized, the walls that surrounded the old town were preserved which was not the case of several other cities in Tuscany, inclusive of Florence. Since the walls seemed to lose its military importance, the top of the wall turned out to be pedestrian promenade which is presently the main attraction of Lucca.

The area surrounding the wall is well cared for with green grass as well as trees seen all along the walls which have become a park that surrounds the city, blocking out the modern life. One can undertake a bike ride around the complete perimeter or stroll while enjoying a gelato or just rest from sightseeing on one of the several shaded benches which tend to line the main walkway.

Other attractions comprise of the Piazza of San Michele with its beautiful Church of San Michele in Foro, the Basilica of San Frediano and the Clock Tower and Guinigi Tower to mention a few.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gradara, Italy

Gradara

Gradara – Medieval Village of Italy


Gradara one of the medieval villages of Italy is situated along the border of Le Marche and Emilia Romagna. It is a famous destination for day trippers and provides some of most amazing historical attractions, comprising of the imposing fortress which is considered to be one of the best preserved monuments.

One can catch incredible glimpses of this village which has a castle placed on the hill overlooking the waters of the Adriatic Sea. Towards the opposite end one can see olive groves as well as farms with fields and vineyards which are eye catching. The entire village arouses a feeling of serenity and tranquillity with rows of cypress trees and farm cottages that are gracefully lined all along the hillside.

 In 1150 during the Middle Ages, the nobles Pietro and Ridolfo De Grifo had begun building the main part of the caste and over the years the ownership of this land had been transferred to the Malatesta family. This medieval village has a natural beauty in the midst of pristine surroundings.

Castello Malatestiano should not be missed and the best attractions are the glimpses of the history with plenty of fascinating facts. Besides this one can visit the historical museum and the Olive Trees Garden, the Church of Saint Giovanni which has the lovely wooden crucifix.

Fortress of Gradara – Best Preserved Medieval Structures


People who intend on recalling some of the stories of the past could visit the amazing destination where the internal rooms of the castle reminds you of the powerful families who had ruled there in the past. The beautiful castle was constructed around the 11th century by Pietro and Ridolfo De Grifo.

One can view the brilliance of the architecture design of the castle and its intricate details comprising of the three polygonal tower blankets. Besides this, one can also see the double wall as well as the drawbridges which tend to define the majestic fortress.

The fortress of Gradara together with its town signifies the best preserved medieval structures in Italy with the two surrounding walls protecting the fortress and makes it one of the most fascinating destinations. Around 1150, it is said that the donjon had been constructed by the De Griffo family. However, it was the Malatesta family who had built the fortress together with the two surrounding walls between the 13th and the 14th centuries which gave Gradaraits current appearance.

One of the Prime Art Centres


Gradara is also said to be one of the prime art centres that had a theatre in 1289 which recounts one of the heart wrenching stories of the ill-fated love between Paola Malatesta and Francesca Polenta. Besides this, one can also go on a tour of the Granada castle which will take you on a historic journey from the heart of the village to some of the historical attractions of the amazing location.

One can also get the opportunity of seeing some of the best paintings and attractive architecture of the interior design and furnishing that were used there in those times. The town has been distinguished for its outstanding reliability and density of the ancient living centre.

 The management of the road system in the historic centre provides enjoyment and visiting by foot with a great experience while exploring the attractive sites of this amazing destination.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Aeolian Islands, Italy

Aeolian_Islands

Aeolian Islands – Seven Small Occupied Italian Islands


The Aeolian Islands are the seven small occupied Italian islands off the northern shore of Sicily towards the tip of Italy’s toe. The Aeolian Islands offers an outstanding record of volcanic island building together with destruction with on-going volcanic wonders. Researched since the 18th century, these islands have provided the science of volcanology with instances of two type of eruptions namely Vulcanian and Strombolian.

They have thus featured highly in the education of geologist for over 200 years. The site still continues to enhance the field of volcanology. The seven islands and various uninhabited islets of the Aeolian archipelago surprisingly had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Its volcanic origins had left a histrionic legacy of black-sand beaches with smouldering craters and splintered rocky coastlines.

 From the Spartan conical Alcudi, with donkeys as the only means of land transport, to the international jet set playground of Panarea, individuals can identify their own charms. Towards the north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the archipelago had been named after Aeolus, god of the winds, by the Greek immigrants. One will find two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano with volcanic activity of some kind like steaming fumaroles or thermal waters on most of the other islands. During winter storms, the island seems to be cut off for days.

Lipari – Largest of the Aeolian Islands


The island like several coastal communities having a total population of 10,000 tends to have various characters based on the season. The count increases to 200,000 during summer, with ports filled with yachts, bars and beaches with very beautiful as well as very wealthy visitors. The rich and famous tend to sail in to Panarea in August, on their multi-million euro yachts to live in villas or €500 a night hotel rooms.

 Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands and is also the only one having a sizeable town with a considerable year round population. Pumice quarries have taken big bits from the mountains but mining has been banned recently with plans in creating a geo-park with eco-museum as well as thermal baths. Though the town has its own appeal, the fortified acropolis, a few flower hung valley together with the pretty harbour of Marina Corta, the place does not seem to be too sophisticated.

Coast Rocky/Wild/Undeveloped


The coast around is rocky, wild and undeveloped with splintered rocks offshore and has an amazing view. It is not possible to access by car but can be reached on foot at Valle Muria where there is a beach or at Punta delle Fontanelle. The highlight of the coastal is the footpath along the coast between the Terme di San Calogero and the kaolin quarry which is at Bagnosecco.

Here the surface of the creamy white kaolin is indigo, violet, orange, mustard, blue and verdigris due to the emissions from steaming sulphurous fumaroles. The islands are very famous as a holiday destination providing sunshine, beaches together with natural beauty. Besides sunbathers, they also tend to draw thrill seekers. The archipelago had been formed by volcanic activity with two of the island still active volcanoes.

 Though this could put off some of the travellers, there are several others who find the dramatic scenery very appealing, the hot mud bath together with the opportunity to hike to the craters of Vulcano and Stromboli. Though the Aeolian Islands are not mostly well known to English speaking tourist, they tend to be the most amazing places for a relaxed holiday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Villa d’Este, Italy

Villa_d’Este

Villa d’Este – Deep Influence on Garden Design in Europe

The Villa d’Este has a deep influence on the development of garden design all over Europe. With its palace and garden, it is one of the most amazing as well as broad illustrations of Renaissance most refined culture. The state-of-the-art design together with the architectural components in the garden namely the fountains, ornamental basins, etc. make this a unique specimen of Italian 16th century garden.

It is one of the first giardini delle meraviglie, an early model for the creation of European gardens. Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este had arrived in Tivoli on 9 September 1550, on obtaining the post of governor of the town and the official residence was assigned to him in Tivoli, part of the monastery of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which did not suit him.

He then decided to build an impressive villa with gardens and the designs were traditionally built, attributing to Pirro Ligorio. The serene ensemble of the palace and gardens forms an irregular quadrangular, covering a space of around 4.5 ha. The plan of the villa seems to be irregular since the architect was obliged to make use of certain parts of the earlier monastic building. Towards the garden area, the architecture of the palace seemed to be very simple.

Loggia of Palace Symbols the Longitudinal/Central Axis of Garden

A long main body of three storeys has been marked by bands rows of windows, together with side pavilions, scarcely jutting out. This unchanging portico is disturbed by an elegant loggia towards the middle with two levels and stair ramps that have been built by Raffaello da Firenze and Biasioto.

 Its lower level has been decorated with the Fountain of Leda while the main rooms of the villa have been arranged in rows on two floors which open on to the garden. The private apartment of the cardinal comprising of four rooms is located on the same level as the courtyard while the receptions rooms connected together towards the back by a long corridor known as the Manica Lunga, are on the lower level.

The garden tends to stretch over two steep slopes plunging downward from the palace to a flat terrace in the style of an amphitheater. The loggia of the palace symbols the longitudinal and central axis of the garden.

Fontana del Bicchierone – Design by Bernini

Five vital transversal axes tend to become the central axis from the fixed point of view developed by the villa as each of them terminate in one of the main garden fountains. The most amazing effect is by the big cascade flowing from a krater balanced in the center of the exedra where jets of water are activated when unsuspected people tend to walk under the arcades.

Behind the exedra is an artificial mountain having three alcoves holding statues of the Sibylla of Tibur along with her son Melicerte with the river divinities Erculaneo and Anio. Towards the west is its counterpart the Fountain of Rome which was built between 1567 -70. The Fountain of the Great Glass – Fontana del Bicchierone, was built as per a design by Bernini and added to the decoration of the central longitudinal axis during the 17th century wherein the fountain is in the shape of a notched chalice, from which great jet of water tends to fall into a conch shell.

During that period, the huge pergola towards the original entrance of the villas had also been replaced by the Rotunda of the Cypresses, which is a circular space adorned with four small fountains and circled by ancient cypress trees.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza_Navona

Piazza Navona - Famous/Beautiful Squares of Rome

Piazza Navona is one of the most famous and beautiful of Rome’s several squares. It was built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian during the 1st century AD which follows the form of an open space of the stadium, built by Emperor Domitian. The stadium that has a larger arena than the Colosseum was used mainly for sporting events and festivals. The huge and lively square features not less than three amazing fountains.

Piazza Navona has two other fountains. Towards the southern area is the Fontana del Moro with a basin and four Tritons which are sculpted by Giacomo della Porta in 1575 to which Bernini added a statue of a Moor or African wrestling with a dolphin in 1673. At the northern part is the Fountain of Neptune – 1574 which was also created by Giacomo della Porta and in 1878, the statue of Neptune surrounded by sea nymphs,sculpted by Antonia Della Bitta had been added in order to create a balance with La Fontana del Moro.Another interesting feature is the Baroque church of Sant’Agnese in Agone.

The front portico of the Baroque church had been designed by Borromini, the rival of Bernini. Construction began two years after the completion of Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers in front of the building and was completed in 1670.

Circus Agonalis/Competition Arena

Piazza Navona is located in the historic centre of Rome towards the west of Panteheon and is one of Rome’s active squares having several outdoor cafes, night clubs and restaurants in the neighbourhood.Ancient Romans visiting this place to watch the agones or games due to which it was known as `Circus Agonalis or a competition arena.

It is said that over a period of time, the name was changed from avone to navone and ultimately to navona. Towards the southwest area of the piazza one will find an ancient `speaking’ statue of Pasquino which was constructed in 1501 where the Romans could leave derogatory social commentary close to the statue. Throughout history, the piazza had held theatrical events as well as other ephemeral activities.

When the festival was curbed, from 1652 till 1866, it got flooded on each Saturday and Sunday in August in elegant celebrations of the Pamphili family. The pavement level had been raised in the 19th century and the market was moved to the nearby Camp de Fiori in 1869. A Christmas market was also held in the piazza.

Attraction of Piazza Navona – Three Fountains

The attraction of Piazza Navona is the three fountains which beautify the square. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – Fountain of the Four Rivers, is the central and the largest Fountain which was built on the request of Pope Innocent X, between 1647 and 1651.

 The design of the fountain had been commissioned to Borromini though it was eventually offered to his rival Bernini. The fountain is said to feature four figures where each tend to represent a river from a different continent namely, the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata and the statues are placed at the base of a rock that supports an obelisk, which was initially located at the Circus of Maxentius towards the Appian Way.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Milan, Italy


Milan
Milan – Italy’s Largest Urban & Metropolitan Area

Milan is the 2nd most populuous city in Italy and the capital of Lombardy. It is also financially an important city in Italy and situated at the centre of Italy’s largest urban and metropolitan area. Though it is not considered beautiful as some of the other Italian cities, being partly destroyed by Second World War bomb raids, the city has been rebuilt into a cosmopolitan business capital.

Milan when compared to other places is interesting due to the fact that the city is more about lifestyle, of enjoying worldly pleasures, a paradise for shopping, football, opera and nightlife.Milan is also famous for its wealth of historical as well as modern sights like the Duomo which is one of the largest and the grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world.

 The gilt bronze statue of the Virgin Mary which is placed on the highest pinnacle of the Duomo in 1774 has become one of the most enduring symbols of Milan. La Scala is one of the best established opera house, the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele is an ancient and a glamorous arcaded shopping gallery, the Brera art gallery has some of the finest artistic works in Europe.

 The Pirelli tower is a majestic example of the 1960s modern Italian architecture, the San Siro, a huge and famed stadium or the Castello Sforzesco, a grand medieval castle. The UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Santa Maria alle Grazie Basilica contains one of the worlds’ famous paintings namely the Leonardo da Vince’s – The Last Supper.

Grand Palaces & Churches

At first glance, Milan seems to be a bustling and quite stylish metropolis with a good variety of grand palaces as well as fine churches at its centre though it seems slightly prosaic, business orientated and a soulless place. On a rainy, grey or foggy weather, some of the buildings, some ancient while others modern; tend to display a severe appearance.

Milan is a diverse city filled with history at every corner with a plethora of hidden gem together with an established history in theatre, literature, music, sport, art and fashion etc. Milan is the main industrial, financial and the commercial centre of Italy as well as a leading global city and its business district hosts the Borsa Italiana and the headquarters of the biggest national banks and companies. Besides this, the city is also a major world fashion and design capital and its museums, landmarks and theatres which include the Milan Cathedral is the fifth largest cathedral in the world.

Known for Various International Events & Fairs

The UNESCO World Heritage Site draws over 6 million visitors every year. Milan hosts various cultural institutions and universities with the enrolment of over 185,000 students in 2011 which is 11% of the national total. Milan is also well known for various international events and fairs which include the Milan Fashion Week as well as the Milan Furniture Fair which was the largest of its kind in the world.

It will also host the 2015 Universal Exposition as well as the Design world Expo in the year 2016. Besides all this, Milan is also a home to two of the world’s major football teams namely A, C, Milan and F. C, Internazionale Milano.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Monte d’Accoddi


Sassari
Monte d’Accoddi – An Archaeological Site in Northern Sardinia 

Monte d’Accoddi is an archaeological site situated in northern Sardinia, Italy in the territory of Sassari near Porto Torres. It is a site of megalithic structure and the oldest part dates to around 4000-3659 BC; which was discovered in 1954 in a field that was owned by a Segni family.

 The structure seems to have a base of 27mx27m, probably reaching a height of 5.5 m and culminating in a platform of around 12.5 x 7.2m which is accessible through a ramp. It has been described as an altar, temple or a step pyramid and was partially reconstructed during 1980s.

The site is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway which is near the hamlet of Ottava. The Prenuragic shrine of Monte d’Accoddi could probably be the most comprehensive representation of prehistory in Sardinia being continuously frequented from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age and because it contained the most significant elements of traditions as well as innovation during the Neolithic to the Eneolithic period. There has been a lot of speculation regarding its hypothetical genetic relationship, significance and reconstructive hypothesis.

Complex History 

Excavations carried out at Monte d’Accoddi have portrayed a very long as well as a complex history with regards to this monument. While the original site seems to be destroyed by fire, it had been replaced during a second phase around 3500 BC during the Ozieri era which consisted of a megalithic sanitary of 4.7 metres high menhir being the focal point.

At the time of the third stage towards the end of the Ozieri era or at the beginning of the Filigosa-Abealzu era between 3000 to 2800 BC, the sanctuary as well as the menhire had been pulled down where a Red Temple was constructed with its floor and walls painted in red.

The fourth stage was the construction of stepped temple that had a ramp for access and resembled a ziggurat. This was probably built during the Chalcolithic era somewhere in 2800 BC which is the excavated and restored site presently.

Currently the menhir stand by the side of the ramp and towards the opposite side are two large boulders having cup marks together with a flat stone slab that rest on small support boulders. The stone slab has curious handles carved in it. At first this slab with its supports seems like a dolmen though it is considered as an altar.

Hut Foundations Around the Site 

Besides this there are hut foundations around the site. One can reach this site from the older dual carriage road from Port Torres to Sassari that runs through Ottava and not the autostrada which is confusingly called, in October 2010, the SS131. Sign post of this site is placed to the right – south west of this road, where a lane leads to a large car park.

It is a few hundred metres walk from the car park along a good path towards the entrance and the ticket office is in the compound with amazing displays in the office on the site with its stage wise development. It is an interesting site to explore and learn more about the people during that era.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Noce River, Italy


Noce River
Image Credit: Greenline s.r.l
Noce River – Hot Spot for Rafters

The Noce River in Italy is the hot spot for rafters as the river provides plenty of excitement for all kayakers. Noce River with gigantic waves makes the ride all the more exciting and exhilarating. Situated in Val di sole, it is the leading river in North Italy which beginsits journey from the Corno dei Tre Signori Mountain of the Ortles-Cevedale Range and the complete path of the river is stirring since the river has many levels while the navigational pathways is very long.

When one tends to surf through the waves or floats through the current, surpassing diverse levels of rapids, the amazing landscapes surrounding the path is very intriguing. As the river cascades further down to Cogolo, the water body joins the Noce Bianco and thus one slides through the white waters of the Noce River.

The proximity of the huge waves is fascinating and captivating and as the waves crash on the boat, it pushes you towards a boulder and enables the rafter to past the waters. The whole experience can be an electrifying expedition on the waters of Noce River.

It is recommended to pay heed to the advice of the expert on undertaking the trip. Ensure to make the necessary preparation for the expedition, taking the essentials requirements to have an awesome experience while rafting.

Several Trips Available from Different Adventure Agencies

Several trips are available from different adventure agencies enabling participants to engage in a gradual and safe approach in these activities. After some few kilometres of surfing through lively water and the beautiful scenery, the main attraction begins and the duration of each trip may vary based on the water level, the crew, and the weather condition along with other factors.

Tourists are recommended to bring a swimming costume, a long or short sleeved shirt which can be worn under the wet suit and a towel with shoes that can get wet at the end of the trip. The most appropriate time to visit this destination is from May to September which is when the river is at its highest level. Rafter lovers would find outfitters operating from the Italian province of Trentino who are trained in guiding rafts filled with accomplished rafters to novices through challenging waters of Noce Rivers.

Sheer Cliffs/Vertical Walls/Deep Valleys/Glaciers and Pinnacles

The scenery along the course is awesome with sheer cliffs, vertical walls, deep valleys, glaciers and pinnacles at every turn in the river and the area is a famous tourist destination in Europe where visitors could find excellent accommodation together with alternative adventures in the surrounding locations.

The Noce River in Italy is truly a rafter’s paradise since it offers the maximum entertainment to rafters which sports gigantic waves making one’s ride all the more exciting, captivating with an awesome experience.

Lonely Planet has declared Noce River as one of the top rafting rivers in the world and this ranking confirms that it is the best river for white-water rafting in Europe. Moreover the Noce River has also received a lot of recognition these past several years making it an ideal spot to enjoy river sports while the National Geographic has ranked it as the top 10 rivers for White-water rafting in the world which is the only European river in this ranking and has also been ranked ninth at an international level.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Capri – Isle of the Sirens


Capri
Capri, an island is situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the southern side of the Gulf of Naples in Campania region of Italy. Capri, the main town has been a resort since the Roman Republic till present times.

Capri is known in the Greek mythology as the isle of the sirens and was a favoured resort of the Roman emperors. The interesting features of this island are the Marina Piccola which is the small harbour, the Belvedere of Tragara, a high panoramic promenade which is lined with villas, the limestone crags known as sea stacks which projects above the sea, the Faraglioni, the town of Anacapri, the Grotta Azzura – Blue Grotto and the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas.

It is a part of the Campania, Province of Naples, region and is the island’s main population centre with two harbours namely Marina Piccola and Marina Grande, the main port of the island. Anacapri, the separate commune is placed high on the hills towards the west.

Interesting Sites to Explore

Faraglioni, rock formations are one of the natural wonders of the island. The Faraglioni beach is one of the most beautiful beaches with many unusual rock formations in the sea surrounding the island which includes a natural arch.

Anacapri which is the highest town on the island has amazing view of the harbour which is at a lower level. There is a chair lift to Mount Solaro near the central square and a street with many shops some of which offer limoncello tasting - limoncello is lemon liquor.

 Items made with lemon are also found in several shops with handmade sandals, ceramics as well as perfumes which are specialities of the island. Capri’s fashionable shopping street, Via Camerelle is the place where one will find exclusive luxury boutiques and fashion.

Grotta Azzura, The Blue Grotto is the most amazing site of the islands’ several caves where the refraction of sunlight in the cave gives it an iridescent blue light in the water. Entry to the cave is done with the guidance of small rowboatswhich are available around the cave entrance and once inside one gets the opportunity of seeing the most spectacular sight of the blue water.

Capri – Picturesque – Island of Limestone Rock

Capri is a very picturesque and an interesting island made of limestone rock. Tourist reach by boat at Marina Grande being the main harbour of the island, with beaches scattered all around the island, with only two towns, namely Capri which is above Marina Grande and Anacapri, the highest town. One will find lemon trees, birds and flowers in plenty here.

The island can also be reached through frequent ferries and hydrofoils from the city of Naples as well as from Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. One will find a range of hotels in Anacapri and Capri and though Anacapri is more peaceful at night, Capri has more nightlife being the main centre of the island.

The Grand Hotel Quisisana, an exclusive hotel with a spa and baths since 1845 is one of Capri’s most excellent hotels while the luxurious Capri Palace Hotel and Spa in Anacapri is a member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuscany


Siena
The splendid region of Tuscany is without a doubt one of the most enchanting and idyllic destinations to be found in the whole of the Italian peninsula. Thousands of visitors flock to Tuscany each year in order to enjoy and admire the region’s magnificent architecture, towering cypresses, breathtaking panoramas and delightful authentic cuisine. With this in mind, here is a quick guide to some of Tuscany’s most beautiful towns and cities just waiting to be explored.

1. Lucca

The quaint city of Lucca attracts more and more visitors each year as a result of the locality’s exquisite ancient architecture dating back to both Renaissance and medieval times. Lucca’s phenomenal Church of San Michele in Foro, Piazza Anfiteatro and the Duomo di San Martino are not to be missed. This is also the location in which the renowned Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born making Lucca a must-see for anyone passionate about opera.

2. Siena

The awe-inspiring medieval city of Siena is one of Tuscany’s most popular destinations due to the spectacular architecture, mesmerising artwork, colourful past and of course, the twice-annual Palio horse race. A trip to Siena would not be complete without a visit to the city’s Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pubblico, where intricate and ornate architecture and artwork can be enjoyed. If you are currently planning your trip to this charming city, you will be able to find a number of great accommodation options in Siena through this page.

3. Volterra

Often overlooked by tourists visiting Tuscany, Volterra is a hidden gem more recently made famous by the popular Twilight films. This town is in fact one of the best places to see ancient Etruscan ruins in the whole of Italy. Volterra is also home to winding medieval passageways, fabulous hill-top vistas and the ruins of the town’s former amphitheatre and bathhouse. Visitors can also enjoy the town’s splendid museum dedicated to life as an Etruscan.

4. San Gimignano

San Gimignano is one of the most visually striking towns in the Tuscan region due to its fourteen spectacular medieval towers, all contained within the locality’s original walls. Visitors have the chance to stroll through San Gimignano’s vehicle-free streets, sampling the town’s local culinary delicacies before climbing to the top of the Torre Grossa and admiring the picturesque views of the settlement below.

Tuscany boasts a remarkable number of delightful localities nestled amongst the region’s many sun-drenched rolling hills. As there is so much to see and do in this stunning region, I recommend that you do a little research online before departure in order to be able to plan your visit and really make the most of your stay in one of the world’s most breathtaking travel destinations.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast
Credit: hotmediterraneancruises.com
Amalfi Coast – Magnificent Mediterranean Landscape

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a stretch of about 50 km of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. It is a very popular tourist destination for the people of that region as well as Italy, attracting many tourists every year.

Amalfi Coast has a magnificent Mediterranean landscape which is a blend of both natural and cultural wonders with its breath-taking terrain which includes dramatic coastline topography with terraced vineyard, pasture and orchards together with the amazing views of the water below.

The Amalfi Coast is one of Europe’s most breath taking site with cliffs that are terraced with scented lemon groves together with sparking seas, whitewashed villas giving way to slopes adding an awesome sight with the sea and the sky merging in one vast blue horizon.In 1997, the Amalfi Coast was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a cultural landscape.

For many centuries, its abundant resources, pleasant climate and its natural beauty has drawn many people to this coast with many leaving their mark like the Greeks, Norman, Arab-Sicilians, Romans and Saracens.

Picturesque Tourist Centre

Amalfi itself is a picturesque tourist centre though in the 11th and 12th centuries the city was centred on the Amalfi Maritime Republic and became the naval power throughout the Mediterranean. Its ports were a source of extensive trade with North Africa with the city retaining cloister of Arab-Sicilian architecture throughout, along with the Arsenale, which was a partially preserved medieval shipyard from a glorious period.

For many years after the Amalfi’s glorious days as a maritime superpower, the area became poor and its isolated villages became the target of regular foreign incursions, earthquakes and landslides but it was this isolated environment that drew many visitors in the early 1900 that gave way to the entry of tourism in the latter half of the century.

Presently Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most sought after destination which is a favourite to some well to do jet setters and couples seeking some privacy from the hustle and bustle of life.

Positano – Most Expensive and Photogenic Town 

Amalfi is a popular day option together with Positano which is the most expensive and photogenic town along with the town of Ravellowhich is perched high on a hill looking down over it. Salerno which is useful as a transport hub is a lovely old town with several winding medieval streets in its vicinity. The best time to visit Amalfi, is in spring or early autumn.

In summer, the coast’s single road tends to get busy and prices on commodities are inflated while in winter much of the coast seems to be shut down. The Amalfi Coast is famous for its production of limoncello liqueur since the area is popular for cultivation of lemons which are known as sfusato amalfitano in Italian.

These are grown in terraced gardens all along the either coast during the month of February and October. Moreover, Amalfi is also known for its handmade thick paper known as bambagina with other renowned local products which are a kind of anchovies, local Italian – alici from Cetara together with the colourful handmadeceramics which come from Vietri.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Florence – Centre of Medieval European Trade & Finance

Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most famous city of Tuscany which has a population of around 370,000 inhabitants, expanding over to 1.5 million in the metropolitan location.

Florence is a city which is situated on the plain of the Arno and wedged between the hills which made it very popular. It is surrounded by towns, villages and beautiful landscapes, suspended between medieval atmospheres together with the splendours of the Renaissance and is popular of its history and a centre of medieval European trade and finance.

It is also one of the wealthiest cities known at that time. Besides this, it is also considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance which has been called `the Athens of the Middle Age’.

Its political turbulent history consists of periods of rule by the powerful Medici family with numerous religious as well as republican revolutions. Towards, 1865–71, the city had been the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.

Attraction – The Historic Centre

The Historic Centre of Florence draws many tourist every year to this amazing destination and Euromonitor International has ranked the city as the world’s 72nd most visited country in 2009 with around 1.7m visitors.

Moreover it was also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1982 and due to its artistic and architectural heritage it had also been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The city is also known for its amazing culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. There are various museums and art galleries in this city like the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Pitti, among many others, which exerts a strong influence in the field of culture, art and politics.

With regards to Italian fashion, Florence is considered as an important city and has been ranked among the top 50 fashion capitals of the world. It is also a major national economic centre as a tourist and industrial hub and in 2008 the city had been ranked 17th as the highest average income in Italy.

Museums/Palaces/Churches – Great Artistic Treasures

Florence’s museum, palaces and the churches contain some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. Besides the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti, the most popular and important interesting sites include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Bargello and the Accademia.

The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are amazing art galleries while the library of San Lorenzo is an excellent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural works. To explore more of Florence, one can wander through the oldest street in the city which leads to the Arno River and across the Ponte Vecchio one gets to experience the new area of Florence, the Oltrarno.

The Boboli Gardens is another interesting site to be visited and in order to experience an enchanting view of Florence; you can climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte. The language spoken during the 14th century in the city was and continues as well as accepted as the Italian language.

 Most of the writers and poets of the golden age Italian literature, are connected in some way with Florence which has led them to the use of the Florentine dialect over the local dialects as a literary choice of language.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beautiful Beaches Of Sardinia


Sardinia's most beautiful beaches are truly unique. Some of them are hidden in romantic bays, while others are long and wide and invite sunbathers to take a leisurely sunbathing. The 1,800 kilometer long coastline offers still rather unknown and hidden beaches and lying regions that have already achieved a great reputation. The Costa Esmeralda is characterized by the typical granite stones, which are located in small coves. In the southern Mediterranean island's beaches, however, Sardinia's most beautiful beaches are longer and wider.

In the western and eastern regions of Sardinia's beaches are more natural. In addition, there are many cliffs. In the north of the island itself is fine silica sand, which remains stuck to the body unnecessarily. However, what is the same at all the beaches of Sardinia, is the turquoise crystal clear water.

To explore the island and its beaches, it is advisable to take a car to complete. The autonomous region of Italy has to offer that is still rather hot. So you should not miss a visit to Cagliari. There you will find many attractions including the Cathedral and the San Remy Bastion.

From June to October in Sardinia one of the most sun-starved people, so there may already be one or another onslaught on the beach. However, the long coastline offers many opportunities without much hubbub accompanying the sun on the belly to. In a pinch you can still retire to the hotel beach.

There's nothing like a relaxing day at the beach where you can just let your mind wander. For a holiday on the island can enjoy a day at the beach is best in peace and quiet with a small towel, a private beach umbrella and a picnic lunch.

Among the most beautiful beaches of the island includes Porto Istana, Cala Goloritze and Costa Rei, The most beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean island. The beach of Porto Istana charmed by high limestone cliffs, which are located in front of a gently sloping into the sea, white sand. That taught in various shades of blue shimmering sea of pure Caribbean feel. During the high season the beach is very busy, so he is more for pre-or post-season should be visited.

Cala Goloritze is without doubt one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia, to offer a fantastic addition to the water pure nature. Who is from Cala Gonone Arbatax or by boat to reach the beach not suitable for children, however, because the water depth increases rapidly. Instead of luxury, sun loungers and beach bars where you can find crystal clear water and magnificent rock formations.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ancona, Pisa, Florence, Venice - A Tour of Italy



Ancona is probably not the first port of call for travelers to Italy, but definitely worth a visit. The port city presents a bit different from the major tourist magnets and is wonderful as a starting point for further travel through the north of Italy.

Armed with a variety of guidebooks, sturdy shoes and even better friends, I went some years ago on a similar tour. Ancona forms for such an unusual exercise, but just so interesting start. Here the locals still have not completely set on tourism. While in Rome is conveniently situated right in different languages, you come here often, even with English not well. The sparse existing signs and street signs are like attached to hard-to-points, and so gets even the search for the accommodation to the adventure, especially when one has to be a backpacker place in a large hotel accommodated in a small inn or a secluded hostel.

Ancona, Pisa, Florence, Venice - Italy begin the round trip can

The port city of Ancona on Italy's Adriatic coast has to offer very good stuff. The ride on a public bus to some remote sandy beach becomes a nerve-racking adventure, if the already narrow road to the left of a steep slope and limited the right of the mountain massif and the driver is not even in the tightest corners of the pace will slow down. And if you tried to reach from the port to on foot the higher cathedral, while outside the car tunnel, the path next to the busy express lanes straight times half a meter wide, can not detect a different approach, one developed at the sight of finally reached a church building probably rarely felt relief. Note: the next visit to Ancona better place by car and a comprehensive dictionary instead.

However, we had decided on a train. And just such a vehicle, it went after three days in Ancona in the morning to Pisa. The small city with its world famous leaning tower offers first then a wonderful opportunity to rest. With a delicious Italian ice cream in the waffle, it can be in the Piazza relax first class. Next to the tower and the cathedral and the baptistry located here are real little highlights of architecture lovers. Apart from a dreamy streets which are perfect for strolling, Pisa holds at least for the more adventurous visitors but not too much more ready. So after a day trip has been on the evening drive to Florence.

In Florence, the art-interested people will be entirely at his expense. In particular, the Uffizi Gallery and other art galleries are worth their collection of works from painting and sculpture, a detailed visit. The world-famous statue of David by Michelangelo is kept here. Wen discourage the long lines at the museums, however, can at least look at a very close copy of the established popular sculpture. Santa Maria del Fiore, the magnificent central dome, then you should visit but themselves. Who has sufficient condition should be a climb to the lookout tower and the view of the city can not escape.

The end of our trip was Venice. A visit to the famous Piazza San Marco can not be absent, of course. Midst of the infamous pigeon flock here you can marvel at the St. Mark's Church and the other surrounding buildings and then go on a discovery tour through the city. The world-famous carnival masks can be found here in every small shop and the street vendors, who were posted everywhere in the city. A gondola ride, and countless by strolling through the city crossing bridges later turns slowly a recurring sense of deja vu, and so tends to be also the Venice visit to a close. Approved it for dinner one last authentic Italian pizza, you can finally satisfied and share rich, and to many impressions in the night train back home.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Calabria



Where to meet green hills and white sand and turquoise waters (Calabria), turns out to picturesque villages and stunning natural beauty - there is the tourist's heart beat just higher. Visit the sunshine coast of Calabria and get to know the deep south of Italy at the toe of his best.

Between palaces and white churches

While capital of Calabria Catanzaro is on the Ionian coast, lovely enchanted places like Tropea each year on the Tyrrhenian side of their visitors. More than 50 noble buildings and 17 churches, you can discover by strolling through the old town and admire. On the upstream Isola Bella is the most famous church - the Benedictine Sanctuary of Santa Maria. Necessarily have to see also the unofficial capital of Reggio di Calabria to the palm-lined promenade and the city Tropeaeleganten strolling and shopping street Corso Garibaldi. From here you have a magnificent view even to Sicily up to the fire-spitting volcano Mount Etna.

The mysterious mountain village Pentedattilo

Above the beach town Melito di Porto Salvo to pull the houses of the village spirits Pentedattilo up the steep slope and look as if they had grown out of the rocks. Arisen about this mountain resort at the southern tip of Calabria is creepy stories to trade any of a beautiful aristocrat who is said to have overthrown 400 years ago, her entire family into trouble.

Unspoiled nature in the middle of two coasts

Between the nearly 800 kilometers of coast are forested mountains, meadows and crystal clear lakes. While sports fans to explore the diverse nature of hiking, climbing and mountain biking seems to have stopped in the romantic mountain villages of the time. The National Park of Aspromonte in the south of the Apennines lures with a 1955 meter high Monte Cocuzza - to the north, you can marvel at the massive Pollino massif with the 2267-meter-high Serra Dolcedorme. All Adventurers should not miss the 13-kilometer-long kayak trip on the Raganello River.

Culinary delights

The Calabrian it like hearty Mediterranean and love fresh seafood. In the small town of Scilla it always ends up in a typical restaurant of at least four courses on the table. Swordfish is one of the specialties here, and is prepared in a hundred different ways.

Panorama Liguria Lerici If you want to lick the other hand, a real Italian ice cream is, in the picturesque town Pizzo correctly. Here is the origin of the famous Tartufo ice cream - chocolate and hazelnut are his secret.

Magic moments at Cape Vaticano

Those who want to experience a very special moment, immediately before the sun goes wild rugged Capo Vaticano, the landscape is now immersed in a magical light. In the distance rises the Aeolian island of Stromboli. The crater of this volcano-isle constantly finds out smoke and ash clouds that bizarre images drawn in the evening sky.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Italy - The most popular tourist sites



Rome is the capital of Italy. It is well visited by tourists because of its historical monuments and historic sites important as the Colosseum, Vatican City, di Trevi Fontana and many more. Rome was the center of the Roman Empire which had tremendous influence in Europe and South Africa and have had a significant impact on the evolution of modern life.

Vatican City

Venice is a famous tourist attraction. Venice is a city with a large number of channels and more streets are covered with water. The only possible way to travel is popular boats or gondolas. The most famous sites of Venice are St Mark's Square, Rialto Bridge, Ponte della Paglia, Campo S. Stefano and much more.

Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Tuscany is a region of Italy and provides home to the cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca. Besides the beauty of nature in the cities of Tuscany, we can find a wide variety of museums and art galleries. In Florence is the Uffizi Gallery, which displays paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Giotto, Michelangelo, Tintoretto, Rubens, Rembrandt and many others.

The city of Pisa became world famous for its tower. The Tower of Pisa is a bell tower began to lean to one side. This enthusiasm is the result of the soft ground. After years of repairing the tower is again open to the public and it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Italy.

Italy is a popular tourist destination and many tourists visit Italy throughout the year. There are many things to see and do in Italy and many first time visitors tend to visit this country next year. A religious center and the center of the Roman Catholic Church and home of the Pope.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sorrento - Italy



Sorrento is located in the southern Gulf of Naples. It is a delightful little town, bathed in sunlight, which grow in abundance jasmine and bougainvillea. That's where we take the boat to Capri. It is a magical and enchanting.

Probably of Greek origin, the Romans invested in 89 BC. Bishopric in 420, it came under the control of the Byzantines in 552. In the ninth century, the duchy itself, it was fighting against the neighboring towns of Amalfi and Salerno. In 1137 the Duchy of Sorrento was built in the United Normand.

The historical center still shows the geometric layout of the streets of Roman origin, the hills are surrounded by the wall of the sixteenth. The Duomo, rebuilt in the fifteenth century, has a neo-Gothic facade, and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi has a great cloister of the fourteenth. Near Pointe du Chef (Punta del Capo), we can see the remains of the Roman villa of Pollio Felice (ist century AD).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pitti Palace - Florence - Italy



The Pitti Palace is a huge Renaissance palace. It was erected in Oltrarno (west bank of the Arno River), near the Ponte Vecchio.

The construction of this building, serious and severe, was commissioned in 1458 by Luca Pitti, a Florentine banker, adherent and associate of Cosimo de Medici. The early history of the Palazzo Pitti is a mixture of facts and myths. It is said that Pitt and had instructed that the windows are wider than the door through which one entered the Palazzo Medici. The art historian Giorgio Vasari in the sixteenth century assumed that Brunelleschi, assisted by his pupil Luca Fancelli, was the architect of the palace, but today it is considered that Fancelli was the real architect.


While it is extraordinary, the original palace cannot compete with the Florentine Medici residences, neither height or in content. Whatever may have been the architect of the Palazzo Pitti, it goes against current trends. The rustic stone work gives the palace an austere and powerful impression reinforced by the three sets of seven arched openings, reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct. The Florentines of the time, fans of a new style all'antica are delighted by this architecture inspired by ancient Rome. This original design has withstood the test of time, repetition of the facades are included with each new addition adjoining the palace and found their influence in several times or imitations of sixteenth-nineteenth century.


The 140 rooms open to the public are part of an interior, designed mostly later than the original part of the building, and created in two stages, the first and second in the seventeenth to the early eighteenth century. In 2005, the discovery by chance, bathrooms of eighteenth century reveal remarkable examples of plumbing whose style is quite similar to those in the bathrooms of the twenty-first century. The Pitti Palace is the residence of the Holy Roman Empire and later
Napoleon used the palace during his control of Italy.