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Rome, Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display.
Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany and around the beginning of the 14th century is was politically,
Verona is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet."
Traditionally founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, Rome began its great development beginning from the 10 century BC till it became first a Republic and then the centre of a great empire, the Roman Empire. After its fall, in 476 AC, the city underwent a slow decline and was invaded by barbarians. In 754, by the defeat of the Franks, began the temporal power of the Popes over the Sate of the Church. On Christmas D 800, Charlemagne was crowned as Augustus and Emperor. With him began the period of the Holy Roman Empire, during which the city reduced to a little, corrupted town with a purely symbolic role. The fortune of the city during the centuries was distinguished by ups and downs. To an increasing power of the Church corresponded a decline of the city self, field of fights among the noble roman families. As in other large Italian town during the 12th century the Commune of Rome strengthened its administrative position, soon to be annihilated again by the power of the popes and their domination over central Italy, known as Papal States. Artistically, Rome underwent a period of great rebirth during the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, but politically it freed itself from the domination of the temporal power only in 1871, when it became capital of Italy. The event that marked the rebellion against the popes is known as breach of Porta Pia, and was leaded by the national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Rome - Italy
The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is the most famous and arguably the most beautiful fountain in all of Rome. This impressive monument dominates the small Trevi Square located in the Quirinale district.Water flows over artificial rocks into a large semicircular basin that represents the sea. Every day some eighty million liters of water flow through the fountain. The water is reused to supply several other Roman fountains, including the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Tortoise Fountain and the Fountain of the Old Boat in front of the Spanish Steps.Tradition has it that you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the fountain's water basin. You should toss it with your right hand over your left shoulder (or left hand over your right shoulder) with your back to the fountain. You're not allowed to look behind you while you're tossing the coin but the fountain is so large it's basically impossible to miss.
Rome - Italy
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top dominated by Trinita dei Monti Church.The steps are at the eastern end of the old city centre. From the base there is a maze of very narrow lanes crammed full with designer shops waiting to be explored.Although a major draw for visitors there is no particular wow factor as such, a place to congregate and hang out for a while.The stairway itself is of 138 steps, if you cannot manage this there is a lift, part of the Metro complex - but like the Metro station itself it is quite seedy.In May each year the steps are decorated with pink azaleas.
Rome - Italy
The striking square and its imposing colonnade lead to the greatest basilica of the Christian world: St Peter's Basilica (Basilica San Pietro). It also represents the core of the Vatican City, the smallest state in the world. In the origins, the square used to be the place where Nerone Circus and Gardens where located, and where many Christians, including Saint Peter, suffered from martyrdom.In the centre of the square stands out an Egyptian obelisk (without hieroglyphics and built during the Ramsete II dynasty) brought to Rome by Emperor Caligola in 37 b.C.If you look at the colonnade from a precise point of the St Peter's square (close to the obelisk, indicated by a stone) you get the impression seeing just one row of columns instead of four, this is a very particular optical Illusion.
Rome - Italy
The Pantheon is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the Roman state religion, but which has been a Christian church since the 7th century. It is the best-preserved of all Roman buildings and the oldest important building in the world with its original roof intact. It has been in continuous use throughout its history.The Pantheon was dedicated to pan theos, "all the gods." When it became a church, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs.The Pantheon is the burial place of several important Italians (including the artist Raphael), and it remains an active church. It is a major tourist destination and a popular place for weddings.
Rome - Italy
The Colosseum or Coliseum is today the most recognisable of Rome's Classical buildings. Even 2,000 years after it was built, and despite centuries when the abandoned building was pillaged for building materials, it is instantly recognisable ... a Classical template for the stadia of today. It was the first permanent amphitheatre to be raised in Rome, and the most impressive arena the Classical world had yet seen. And with accommodation for 60,000 seated and 10,000 standing, all of whom could enter and leave in a matter of minutes, courtesy of 80 entrances, this is a structure that the designers of modern sports stadia could learn from.Large parts of the Colosseum are accessible to wheelchair users and there is a lift to some of the upper levels - please mention that you'll be wanting to use the lift/elevator at the moment you pick up your tickets - you will likely be given a sort of pass for the lift.
Rome - Italy
Florence - Italy
The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is a medieval bridge spanning the river Arno in Florence. It is one of the few remaining bridges with houses built upon. The Vasari corridor that runs over the houses connects the Uffizi with the Pitti Palace on the other side of the river.The pedestrian bridge is often teeming with tourists and the many musicians, portraitists and other entertainers create a constantly vibrant atmosphere. The bridge is at its most beautiful at dusk, especially when seen from the Ponte Santa Trinità. The houses on the bridge were initially used as workshops and a diverse array of shopkeepers such as butchers and tanners did business here. In 1593 duke Ferdinand I decided to replace them with goldsmiths, reportedly because the shops produced too much garbage and caused a foul stench.Today the houses are used as shops selling a wide assortment of jewelry, ranging from affordable modern jewels to pricey antiques.Some of the houses on the bridge have an extension hanging over the river. The extensions are supported with long wooden shores, known as sporti.
Florence - Italy
Florence's cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, with the baptistery right across. The cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata, the remains of which can be seen in the crypt.Entrance into Florence's cathedral remains free and for this reason you'll at times find a long line to get in. Don't worry, the line moves pretty quickly! But in an effort to reduce the line, the cathedral administration is trying to increase the number of visitors allowed at any one time into the church as long as noise level remains low.
Pisa - Italy
The learning tower of Pisa, known as Torre Pendente di Pisa in Italian, is different than most medieval architecture. This particular section won't cover the highly advanced construction techniques that were used, it is important to mention how this tower's design is significant. The Leaning Tower is the third oldest building on Pisa's Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square), the Cathedral and Baptistry were first.In 1990, the Leaning Tower was closed. The bells were removed and the tower was anchored. Reopened in 2001 for tourists, the leaning tower of Pisa is finally sturdy and safe. Naturally, climbing to the top of the tower has become the most popular tourist activity within reason, and for good reason: with a history as deep and as wrought with unfortunate circumstance as this one, it's hard not to get excited about.
Cinque Terre - Italy
The Cinque Terre (five towns) is a string of five fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera (region Liguria) which until recently were linked only by mule tracks and accessible only by rail or water.An ancient system of footpaths is still the best way to visit the five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The Cinque Terre is noted for its beauty. Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces to cultivate grapes and olives on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea.The breathtaking views of harbors far below the wild but hospitable coastline along with the medieval fortresses and plentiful vines and vibrant colors make this a memorable holiday.
Venice - Italy
A gondola ride is the one Venetian tourist trap everyone falls into willingly Long, sleek, black, slightly crooked, looking like a cross between a canoe and a coffin, the single oar worked by a professional gondoliere.That's the Venetian gondola, the primary form of transportation in Venice from the 12th century until speedboats roared into the canals in the late 20th.And touristy or not, your visit to Venice isn't complete until you take one of these time-honored water taxis for a spin. Technically the gondola is a mode of transportation, and technically you might find a gondolier willing to ferry you from point A to point B, but in practice these most famous of Venetian boats operate as supremely overpriced tourist mini-cruises, not as a viable means of public transportation.The average gondola ride lasts 40 minutes.
Venice - Italy
Connecting the districts of San Polo and San Marco across the Grand Canal in the heart of the city, the Rialto Bridge has always been a busy crossing in Venice. But instead of being crowded with merchants like during Venice's heyday, the bridge is now swamped by tourists.The Rialto Bridge is formed by two inclined ramps covered by a portico with shops on either side. (This area has long been a market place for Venetians.) There are three walkways that cross the bridge - two along the outer balustrades and a wider one in the center. As a top tourist attraction, the Rialto Bridge is generally included on most tours of the city and is easily photographed while riding a vaporetto (water bus) along the Grand Canal.
Venice - Italy
Remember those science-fiction comic books from the 1950s that showed skyscrapers connected by enclosed bridges far above the ground? Venice's Ponte dei Sospiri, or "Bridge of Sighs," may have been the inspiration for such architectural fantasies.Antonio Contino's bridge over the Rio di Palazzo was erected in the year 1600 to connect the Doge's prisons, or Prigioni, with the inquisitor's rooms in the main palace. The name "Bridge of Sighs" was invented in the 19th Century, when Lord Byron helped to popularize the belief that the bridge's name was inspired by the sighs of condemned prisoners as they were led through it to the executioner. This 90-minute tour is conducted in Italian; it also includes the prisons, torture chambers, and other rooms that normally aren't open to visitors. From June through September, tours are scheduled daily except Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and noon.
Venice - Italy
Venice's Canal Grande (Grand Canal) - also known by Venetians as Canalazzo - is the major water-traffic corridor sweeping through this amazing city.The glorious past of Venice returns once a year to the Grand Canal during the Regata Storica (historical regatta) on the first sunday of September. The first of these regattas - boat races - were held here in the fourteenth century. The races are proceeded by a spectacular boat parade, led by the Serenissima, a sumptuously decorated boat. The regatta is one of Venice's yearly highlights, attracting throngs of Gondola on the Canal Grande,tourists who admire the many historic boats with crews in traditional clothing.The best way to view the magnificent buildings along the Grand Canal, of course, is to travel by vaporetto (water bus) from one end to the other. (The #1 or #2 both travel from end to end.) Many tourists also take advantage of a romantic gondola ride along the waterway, which is an especially memorable way to experience the Canal Grande. Another option is to take one of the many water taxis.
Venice - Italy
Basilica San Marco, the grand, multi-domed church on Saint Mark's Square is one of one of Venice's top attractions and one of Italy's most spectacular cathedrals. Exhibiting influences from Byzantine, Western European, and Islamic architecture all due to Venice's powerful seafaring past, Saint Mark's Basilica is truly an embodiment of the Venetian aesthetic. Visitors flock to Basilica San Marco to admire its gleaming, golden Byzantine mosaics, which adorn the church's main portal as well as the inside of each of the basilica's five domes. Most of the astounding ornamentation of Saint Mark's Basilica dates from the 11th to the 13th centuries. In addition to gorgeous mosaics, Basilica San Marco also houses the relics of its namesake, the apostle Saint Mark, and the sumptuous Pala d'Oro, a golden altarpiece decorated with priceless jewels.A visit to Saint Mark's Basilica is a must for a first-time tourist to Venice, and indeed the church holds so many precious artworks and relics that subsequent visits are recommended.
Milan - Italy
The majestic building in white marble extends over 157 m length. With its five ships the cathedral is overwhelming. The light falls through beautifully decorated stained glass windows in the interior. The Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, is the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy.A particular pleasure is to walk on the roof of the cathedral. On the north side a staircase and an elevator run to the roof terrace on the roof.Then you are surrounded by over 4000 marble figures Guglie, the peakes of figures and ornaments, of which each is a unique piece.In the cathedral is to preserve silence and cell phones are off.Entry is only allowed in appropriate clothing. Tourists in shorts and strapless shirts will be denied Admission.
Milan - Italy
The Palazzo Reale in Milan, a former royal palace with its large halls, refined furnishings and sweeping staircase, is today an important exhibition venue and cultural centre. With a space of 7,000 square metres, it regularly displays modern and contemporary art works including many famous collections from around the world in collaboration with renowned museums and cultural institutions.The Royal Palace of Milan (Palazzo Reale di Milano in Italian) is a culture centre and a home to many exhibitions and expositions. It has been the seat of the government of Milan for many centuries. The palace is located to the right of the facade of the cathedral the Duomo of Milano.The interiors was commissioned to famous artists, such as the Maggiolini family. The great Neoclassical renovation performed by Giuseppe Piermarini took place towards the end of the 18th century. From then on, it was a palace for the rulers of the city, including Maria Theresa, Napoleon, Ferdinand I, and the Savoy family, Italy’s royal family. Many illustrious artists enriched the halls with magnificent works of art, paintings and furnishings, to celebrate the glory of kings and emperors.
Milan - Italy
The Galleria, a place of transit for busy managers or a stop for enchanted and curious tourists, expresses the various faces of the city through its many facets.As soon as it was finished, the Galleria became immediately famous for its large size, extraordinary for the time and sign of a new era.The 20th century is synonymous with modernity and progress. It’s an intricate and complex historical period that saw technical accelerations, engineering-industrial products, and, in general, the rise of the work of the human genius.The great spaces of the Galleria foresaw a reality that has its distinguishing mark in the sense of movement. We can’t forget here, in the artistic field, a masterpiece such as “Riot in the Gallery” (Rissa in Galleria) by Boccioni, that represents reality in an innovative way, projected into a dynamic future. Cars, trams, work in factories: everything was changing the rhythm of the city and the people’s idea on everyday life.
Milan - Italy
Milan is either Italy's second or first city, depending on who you ask. While Rome may be the administrative capital, Milan is the country's financial powerhouse, the home of Italy's stock exchange, at the heartland of the wealthy and productive north.In some ways, Milan has more in common with Paris or London than with other Italian cities. It's a business-like city with a work-hard, play-hard ethos. Rome may be the capital and the seat of government, but Milan is the business heart of Italy, the place where deals are made.The city has always been important, occupied by successive powers, and like most important cities it has been rebuilt many times. Consequently it lacks the medieval informal charm of other Italian towns, and is sometimes overlooked as a holiday destination.But in fact Milan has a lot to offer the visitor. The city is vibrant and has many sights of interest, as well as being a good jumping-off place for other North Italy destinations, such as Lake Como and the Alps. It's a good spot to spend a city break or a long weekend, or as the starting point for a two-centre holiday.
ARRIVAL AT ROME