La rossa Bologna

The last city that we choose to visit in our city break was Bologna, also known as la rossa because of the color of the buildings. What I loved here was the marbled pavements that made Bologna easily to explore by foot. Due the large student population Bologna is an animated place. This is a thriving university city and the enormous University of Bologna is Europe’s oldest, founded over 900 years ago. This city is known also because of the pasta bolognese ( red as the city 🙂 ) and here taste like nowhere else in Italy.

In the heart of Bologna are the city’s two main squares, Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore.

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Piazza del Nettuno
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Fountain of Neptune

Piazza Maggiore marks the oldest part of the city and this huge pedestrian square is surrounded by some impressive medieval and Renaissance buildings.

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Also in this square is the city’s largest church San Petronio, the fifth largest in the whole world. Basilica di San Petronio has a terrace with a panoramic view of the city.

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Inside- Basilica di San Petronio

Other main attractions of Bologna are the two leaning towers : Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda, also symbols of the city, which almost seem to defy gravity. The most curious feature is they are both leaning, but in opposite directions. Unfortunately we were not able to climb to the top as they were in a process of restoration.

Don’t miss Basilica di Santo Stefano and Basilica Santa Maria della Vita. There are also many interesting Italian museums here, such as the Museo Civico Archeologico (Archaeological Museum), the university museums and also the Pinacoteca Nazionale ( here you can see a large collection of paintings by Raffaello, Guido Reni, Carracci, Guercino).

After visiting busier Italian cities, such as Verona and Venice, in Bologna you can recharge your batteries, you can enjoy quiet walks, a glass of wine, amazing food at one of many nice restaurants to try the famous pasta bolognese. We had some trouble finding a table cause it was Valentine’s day, but finally after 2 hours of searching we did find a traditional, cozy ristorantino called Il Tinello (http://www.ristorantetinello.it/ ). Here we had a great time due the nice personal, tasty food and good wine. Personally I recommend Balanzoni del Tinello ( pasta with spinach, cheese, artichokes and white wine sauce ) and Tagliatelle al ragù (  their own recipe of bolognese), also the deserts are delicious, I tried the chocolate tart…yamyyyy!!!

Balanzoni del Tinello
Balanzoni del Tinello
Chocolate Tart
Chocolate Tart

After such a nice dinner we explored a little more Bologna by night, so check-up the pictures.

Valentine's Day mood
Valentine’s Day mood
Valentine's spirit
Valentine’s spirit

I’ll finish by saying give me enough coffee and I could rule the world  and visit more and more, cause more is never enough! 🙂

Love,

A.

Photo credit: Barcan Cristian

Reclame

All roads lead to Rome

It’s been a year since I visited the beautiful Rome, after some processes of consciousness because I didn’t write an article about this place so important to history, I’ve decided that it’s time to do something about that.

As you know early Rome was governed by kings, but after only seven of them had ruled, the Romans took power over their own city and ruled themselves. Rome’s most famous citizen was no doubt Julius Caesar. He was a Roman politician and general who conquered the vast territory of the Gauls to the north of his province in France. Enough about the history, let’s start with my impressions of Rome.

Rome, a city where you feel cool just strolling through the streets, catching the sunlight on your face outside a coffee, or eating a long lunch. It’s a place that almost encourages you to take things easy.

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To do:

First stop – the Colosseum a monument of epic proportions, where in the past were fights between gladiators, slaves and prisoners. Today, the only gladiators that you’ll see are the ones outside the Colosseum, so we, the tourists can take pictures with them.

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Very close to the Colosseum is Roman Forum, the symbolic heart of the Roman Empire. At the top rise the arch of Titus, built in AD 81 to celebrate the sack of Jerusalem by the Emperor Vespasian and his son Titus. Also on the right are the great columns of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina.

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We ended the first day with una passeggiata in the Transtevere area, where we saw a gorgeous sunset over the river Tiber.

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Colosseum by night
Colosseum by night

The next day, early in the morning we went to Vatican. The world’s smallest sovereign state ( 0.44 sq km), Vatican is just a few hundred metres west of the River Tiber and it is the capital of the Catholic world. St Peter’s Basilica is an experience that you should not miss. Here you can see Michelangelo’s Pietà, his unfinished sculpture of the Madonna cradling her lost son with such intense grief that the Carrara marble block seems to glisten with her tears.

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In the Vatican Museums, you’ll walk through 1.2 miles of classical art treasures from ancient Greece to the Renaissance before you even reach the Sistine Chapel, one of the world’s greatest masterpieces of Michelangelo. The ceiling fresco shows Adam brought to life with the touch of the Almighty’s forefinger.

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When you are in Vatican, there are many must-see’s and must-do’s. Going to the top of the Cupola is one of them. From here you have a view that you won’t forget soon.

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Vatican is a memorable experience with a strong emotional charge. From here we went to the castle Sant’Angelo – a fortress that in middle ages was in a particularly strategic position that defended the northern entrance of the city. ( Now I realise that I don’t have pictures with the castle, I have only with the view from here 🙂 ).Imagine

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Next stop was Trevi Fountain, most beautiful fountain in all Rome. The central figure of the fountain, in front of a large niche, is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses. Each sea horse is guided by a Triton. One of the horses is calm and obedient, the other one restive. They symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea.

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Every single night here is a lot of people. Make sure you throw a coin in the fountain, to assure your return to Rome. 🙂

You have to see also Piazza Navona – a large and lively square features with no less than three magnificent fountains. Here you can stop at one of the many terraces for a glass of wine and a snack. Imagine

In our walks through beautiful streets of Rome, we met with some friends and we decided that next day we should go to Lido di Ostia, to enjoy the sea, beach and the spring-summer sun.

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Enough sunshine and laziness, there are many places to visit in Rome, such as :

The Pantheon – one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. At the top of the dome is a large opening, the oculus, which was the only source of light.

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The oculus
The oculus

Villa Borghese – Rome has 500 hectares of parkland divided up in various beautiful public villas like Villa Borghese, which is certainly the most famous. ( I have no pictures 😦 , probably I was captivated by the beauty and tranquility of this place, but I’ve got one from internet ).

Very close to Villa Borghese is Piazza del Popolo.

Spanish square & the spanish steps – A popular meeting place in Rome, that is connected to a French church (Trinità dei Monti) on top of the spanish steps.

Rome is an eclectic city, being the world center of Catholic Church here you can find a lot of churches, like  : Santa Maria del Popolo, San Clemente, Santa Maria Maggiore.

Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Maggiore

MAXXI National Museum of XXI century – first national museum of architecture in Italy
and its roots in the cultural and geographical Italian defines its identity.

Undoubtedly Rome is a city that always inspires and amazes its visitors. I realized that Rome was build to rule and dominate the world. Everything here is on a massive scale, solid and “eternal”.

Because I did not said to you, my readers „ Happy Women’s Day !” and when I was in Rome was the same period, I now wish all of you two times to be loved and healthy  🙂 !

Love,

A.

Venetian scent

Finally I’ve finished my article about this dream destination. Whether you’re romantic or not, Venice promises to take your breath away, with stunning architecture, mysterious passageways and of course, the canals. Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world, the type of place where you’ll welcome to get lost. No matter where you go, you’ll find history, beauty and romance.

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Venetian mask
Venetian mask
Venetian costume store
Venetian costume store
Grande canal
Grande canal
Grande canal
Grande canal

From the first moments I was captivated by this place and I let myself led by the instinct in my attempt to discover Venice.

As we stayed near Rialto Bridge, this was the first spot discovered. Considered the true heart of Venice, this landmark bridge, characterized by its 24-foot arch, is built on approximately 12,000 wooden pilings that still support the bridge more than 400 years after it was built. Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal.

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge

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From here we went to St. Mark’s Square – a breathtakingly beautiful place.

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We visited Basilica di San Marco. Often seen as the living testimony of Venice’s links with Byzantium, St Mark’s basilica is also an expression of the city’s independence.

The first view of the basilica from the western end of piazza San Marco is an unforgettable experience. It is particularly impressive in the evening, when the mosaics on the façade glow in the light of the setting sun.

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Some pictures from the terrace of St Mark’s basilica:

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Torre dell'Orologio
Torre dell’Orologio

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Next door of St Mark’s basilica is the Palazzo Ducale. The palace is the great Gothic building of the city, but is also curiously eastern in style, achieving a marvellous combination of lightness and strength.

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The interrogation rooms of the Doge’s Palace are connected with Rio di Palazzo by the Bridge of Sighs. A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge. 🙂Imagine

For a breathtaking view you must go on the top of the clock tower, known as Torre dell’Orologio. Designed by Maurizio Codussi and built between 1496 and 1506.

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In such maze of small streets, to see the true beauty of Venice you have to get carried by the instinct.

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In the afternoon we took the vaporetto to visit the Murano island. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the waters surrounding Venice, it was a little bit cold, but it was worth it.

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Love is in the air...with my handsome photographer
Love is in the air…with my handsome photographer

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ImagineWhen we arrived on the island was quite dark and deserted and unfortunately we couldn’t visit the glass factory, hopefully next time will have more luck.

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We got back on Venice, found a nice restaurant and had a delightful dinner. After that we  walked the streets so full of charm and took some photos.

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There’s an amazing feeling of antiquity here that manages to exude a tranquillity that permeates the human soul, so I highly recommend this destination!!!

Love,

A.

Photo credit: Barcan Cristian

Arena di Verona

A few things about the Arena from Verona :

The Arena from Verona is the biggest open-air lyrical theatre in the world, a supremacy that it still holds today. Was built by the Romans in the 1st century AD, in the Augustan period.

The amphitheatre was originally built outside Verona’s city walls. The Arena, as it stands today, is the result of the constant removal of materials, but also of the terrible earthquake that struck the city in the 12th century leaving indelible traces on the monument.

Every year over 500,000 people see productions of the popular operas like : NABUCCO, LA TRAVIATA, AIDA, ROMEO and JULIETTE, in this arena that is capable of housing 15,000 people per performance.

The opera productions in the Verona Arena had not used any microphones or loudspeakers until an electronic sound reinforcement system was installed in 2011.

In recent times, the arena has also hosted several concerts of international rock and pop bands like: Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, Rod Stewart, Sting, Muse.

Unfortunately when I visited Verona it wasn’t any shows, but I want to get back to Verona to see a performance that for sure will stand in my memories forever.

Love,

A.

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Photo credit: Barcan Cristian