FROM VENETO TO LIGURIA - AUGUST 2003
"ARENA - The Roman amphitheatre completed around 30 AD - 139 meters long and 110 meters wide - is the third largest in Italy, after Rome's Coliseum and the arena at Capua. The Aida was great, but unfortunately the temperature at night was probably around 40º Celsius inside the Arena. When we got back to the Hotel, at 1:30 a.m., the thermometer at the pharmacy in front reached 31º Celsius. Ugh..."
"PIAZZA DELLE ERBE - During Roman times, this was the place of the Forum, centre of city life. It has continued to fill the same role for centuries: home to the city's administration, market and meeting place"
"JULIET'S BALCONY - Shakespeare's «The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet» concerns two noble families of Verona: the Capulets and the Montagues. The balcony may be only fiction, but Juliet is real..."
"IL DUOMO - The Cathedral was begun in 1187, but was not finished until many centuries later. It is dedicated to S. Maria Assunta, and is the result of many reconstructions and additions. The main portal is a combination of Romanesque and Gothic and is particularly interesting. For many reasons Verona is included in the Unesco's List of World Heritage Sites"
"CATHEDRAL - Started in the 12th century, the mixed Romanesque and Gothic style of the façade is outstanding. The bas-relief above the central door is a magnificent work of the sculptor Nicholaus (1135). The upper part was built some decades later in a Gothic style"
"CASTLE - The House of Este dominated the town for many centuries. The Castle shows its power. Ferrara is also included in the Unesco's List of World Heritage Sites, as a city of Renaissance"
"DUCAL PALACE - The magnificent residence of the Gonzagas houses some fabulous treasures, including some fantastic frescoes. You have to see the video to catch a glimpse of its value"
Within five miles of rocky coast in eastern Liguria, between two promontories and with kilometres of cultivated vineyards, there are the five coastal villages in the province of La Spezia: the Cinque Terre (Five lands): Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore! They became a National Park in 1999 and was included in the UNESCO's list as «a cultural site of outstanding value, representing the harmonious interaction between people and nature to produce a landscape of exceptional scenic quality that illustrates a traditional way of life that has existed for a thousand years and continues to play an important socio-economic role in the life of the community»"
"MONTEROSSO is the westernmost of the Cinque Terre and can be reached by walking along the most difficult part of the «Sentiero Azzurro» footpath. The village, protected by hills and covered with vineyards and olive groves, has some beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters"
"VERNAZZA - The village was founded around the 1st Century, and acquired maritime traditions. Its buildings have some loggias, arcades and portals, which are evidence of a standard of living that was economically and socially superior to that of the other villages of the Cinque Terre. The beach could be an escape for the heat that hit us there, but we had no time to profit from it"
"VERNAZZA - Cooler seen from the sea"
"CORNIGLIA - Located on the ridge of a rocky promontory at the foot of a terraced vineyard, we didn't dare to see it but from the safe distance of a boat with the sea breeze. Concentrated in agriculture rather than on fishing, it looks very much alike - architecturally - as an inland village"
"MANAROLA - This very ancient village, with a little port sheltered between two promontory rocks, is beautiful! It is my favourite of the Cinque Terre! Furthermore, there is a wonderful footpath called «La Via dell'Amore», which starts in Manarola and follows along the coast to Riomaggiore. A thirty-minute walk that we didn't take: it was too hot there!"
"ROOM WITH A VIEW - The view from our room at the SPLENDIDO was fabulous"
"SPLENDIDO GARDENS - A fantastic stroll within the Hotel"
"SPLENDIDO POOL - Also superb!"