Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

 
 

Rome – we all need a holiday

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

What is there to say about Rome that hasn’t been said a hundred times? It is that most glorious of cities; where old means thriving new, where passionate people gather to play and where you’ll never, ever run out of things to see or do.

Take your time in Rome. The sights are mostly centrally located so you can easily pick a geographic area and focus on that for the day.

Perhaps start at the Coliseum end of town. take in this extraordinary place and let your imagination take you back to days of real mortal combat, wild animals, Christians, and Chariot Races. Bread and circuses certainly worked for a while.

A visit to the Vatican is a must – take in the view of St Peter’s Basilica from St Peter’s Square, wander through the most impressive church you’ll ever see and then spend the afternoon in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo’s masterpiece took some four years. Twenty-eight years later he was invited back to paint the far wall. It is, of course, utterly glorious and worth the queues and the hassle to get in. (You’re up against four million visitors every year!)

The Trevi fountain is okay – you have to do it to say you’ve been there! But the Pantheon is another ‘must see’. This glorious temple looks rather simple from afar and is exquisite up close. Climb the stairs, turn and take in the view – you’ll never be the same afterwards.

The Spanish Steps are worth the photo opportunity, but your real highlight will be Villa Borghese. set in magnificent grounds the villa itself is home to one of Italy’s, and the world’s, great art collections. Name a master and you’ll find him here.

 

Florence; one of the most famous cities in Italy

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

Florence is a ‘must-see’ city in Europe. Not only does it contain some of the most important artworks ever created – Michelangelo’s David, for example – it is the centre of glorious Italian food, Italian culture and the seat of one of the most famous and influential families of all time -the Medici.

The Medici family encouraged the Italian art renaissance, established charity as a respectable undertaking for the wealthy and, among other things, introduced the double-entry bookkeeping system – an accomplishment the world’s accountants will tell you was rather important. They’re regarded as possibly the world’s most wealthy family at their peak.

But enough on wealthy people! What is there to see in Florence “>Florence? Start, of course, with the Duomo and it’s famous octagonal cupola. A highlight of any room with a view, the Duomo houses frescoes by Vasari and Zuccari and the stained glass windows are by Donatello.

Home to the world’s largest collection of Italian Renaissance art, the Uffizi Gallery is well-worth the peak season queues. You’ll see Titians, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation, Michelangelo’s Holy Family and works by Caravaggio, Raphael and more in a collection bequeathed to the city by the Medici family.

But Florence “>Florence isn’t just about the art; a walking tour of the city will take you to such treasures as the Ponte Vecchio and the Vasari Corridor which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti. You can’t walk through some areas, but persevere and the experience will be more than worthwhile!

The must do? Take a walk to Piazzale Michelangelo. Although, at first glance, the distance in the map looks challenging, don’t give up: take your time and enjoy this nice and easy walk with beautiful views. Once you reach the piazzale do nothing else except observe, one more time, the perfection of Michelangelo’s David (albeit a full size replica).

 

Venice. See it before it’s gone!

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

Venice, as one of the world’s lowest lying cities, has some trouble coming up if climate change makes its presence felt in Northern Italy. You may want to see this justifiably famous city before it’s too late!

The original home of the Gondola (nope, The Venetian in Vegas wasn’t the first), Venice has a special place in every romantic’s heart. An easy city to fall in love with – and in – Venice is also home to some pretty special sights.

St Mark’s Square is just a hang-out-see-what’s-happening-kinda-spot while the Rialto Bridge is a fashionista’s daydream. Everywhere you look the Gothic architecture of Venice assails the senses with it’s Byzantine and Moorish influences. Best examples are the Doge’s Palace and the Ca’ d’Oro in the city. The city also has several Renaissance and Baroque buildings, including the Ca’ Pesaro and the Ca’ Rezzonico.

Naturally you simply have to board a Gondola and cruise the waterways including the Grand Canal. The price may shock you buy you will ever forget the journey… and the romantic in us all will hold the memory long after the wallet stops hurting!

Need a more tangible memory of your trip? Thyen ask your concierge for a glassware recommendation. Venetian glassware is truly among the best in the world.