Category: Italy

Venice – What To Do

1. Saint Mark’s Basilica – Venice

A unique monument with splendid art work, Saint Mark’s Basilica is a cathedral church that attracts millions of visitors each year. The historical role of the Basilica that it played during the centuries has been displayed through religious, iconographic and artistic contents. The accurate division of historical implications by subjects have made it all more fascinating.

Saint Mark’s Basilica – Venice What To Do

2. The Grand Canal – Venice

As one of the major attractions, The Grand Canal is a water traffic corridor in the city. Water buses are used as public transport; however, private taxis are also available. During my visit last year I also saw visitors exploring canal by gondola. The one end of canal meets with Saint Mark Basin and other with the lagoon near Santa Lucia station. It is said that the average depth of canal is 16 feet.

The Grand Canal –  Venice What To Do

 

3. The Doges’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) – Venice

The Doges’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) built in Venetian Gothic style is one of the milestones of Venice City. This grand palace has historically played three important roles the Doge residence, the seat of government and the palace of justice. The most fundamental decisions for Venice were taken here. Originally this palace was not having this shape but looked like a castle. The building caught fire and then it was rebuilt.

The Doges’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) – Venice What To Do

4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection – Venice

A modern museum, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, on the Grand Canal is a wonderful place to visit. The tragic death of her father on Titanic brought numerous changes in the life of heiress Peggy Guggenheim. She started collecting art work from Europe and America at her palace, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, and she continued such practice between 1938 and 1946. The public display of her collections also continued after her death at the same place which was given the status of museum later on.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection – Venice What To Do

 5. Gallerie dell’Accademia – Venice

Initially created as an art school, Gallerie dell’Accademia is a fabulous museum gallery located on the south bank of Grand Canal. The most remarkable attraction is the world famous sculptures of Michelangelo’s David. Besides this museum also house priceless collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings.

Galleria dellAccademia – Venice What To Do

6. Museo della Musica – Venice

Having a rare collection of instruments ranging from 17th to 19th centuries, Museo della Musica is a small museum set up in the ex-church of San Maurizio. If you get fascinated by music then don’t miss free entries to this building that have been decorated by the neoclassical interior.

Museo della Musica – Venice What To DO

7. The Venetian Arsenal – Venice

Being a hub for Venice’s naval power, the Venetian Arsenal was known as one of the large scale industrial enterprises. It was spread on an area of 110 acres before industrial revolution and a largest industrial complex in Europe. Therefore it has been a source of economic power and wealth for Venice until Napoleon conquered this area in 1797. Architecture and Art Biennale exhibitions are held in the manufacturing sheds of the Arsenale. I have visited this place during all my trips to Venice Gondola Ride.

The Venetian Arsenal – Venice What To Do

8. Scuola Grande di San Rocco – Venice

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is another landmark of the Venetian Renaissance and it is located next to the San Rocco Church in Campo San Rocco. It was initiated in the honour of San Rocco and sponsored by affluent Venetians who were keen to ensure San Rocco’s protection. A statue of San Rocco on the back wall is a major attraction but it is dazzled by splendid interior decoration and art work created under the supervision of Jacopo Tintoretto.

Scuola Grande di San Rocco – Venice What To DO

9. Murano Glass – Venice

Murano is a little island famous for handcrafts. Visiting here you will get impressed by the stunning Murano glass products being manufactured first hand. Reach Murano Island via boat trip, get straight to the glassblower’s workshop and see amazing glass making in action. The silica sand is turned into glass giving it bright colours and your holidays in Venice becomes really colourful seeing such interesting work.

Murano Glas – Venice What To Do

10. Burano Lace – Venice

Burano is another island famous for its lace work. Walking through narrow streets, you can watch colourful houses of fishermen which are as attractive as their history. There is also a beautiful Lace Museum that is modern in looking but it house old aging craft of lace making. Travel to Venice becomes more charming after you have a visit to such an amazing place.

Burano Lace – Venice What To Do

Rome: Finding the Perfect Souvenir

You may not have to cogitate more to decide about souvenir in Rome, if you are a Catholic. There are many speciality shops near the Vatican that sell certified papal-blessed items. However, you can do it yourself and going through such experience is not only spiritual but also makes your tour to Italy memorable. Buy some item of religious devotion like Bible or Cross that is easily available from variety of shops here. Bring your gift here and hold it up when the pontiff blesses the crowd; on each Sunday and Wednesday, there is papal appearance at the Vatican. Almost all major hotels in Rome provide such information if you enquire. People bring various items here; however, from religious point of view, you are blessed only for those items that are related to your faith. A Rome tourist must not miss this experience.

If you are not Catholic, you probably must have a Catholic friend or colleague and you can bring him back such souvenir. Just imagine how much pleasure you will bring him with this simple but significant gift.

Souvenir


Among other things, jewellery is my top recommendation because of its unique designing and historic attachment with Ancient Romans. Here both gold and artificial jewellery is available and gold jewellery is best choice if your wallet allows it. The designs are very elegant and unique. However, handmade costume jewellery is also not a bad choice if you have a low budget for shopping.

Gorgeous leather bags are available in as many varieties as dishes on restaurants in Rome; however, beware of shop keepers who can sell you Gucci’ bags for just €15. If you have stamina as well as expertise in haggling then the same bag you can buy in very reasonable price.

What to do in Rome

Rome is capital of Italy, it provide the archaeological evidence of human occupation about 14,000 years ago. Once you walk around the Rome you will be hooked. You can find glorious ancient buildings, fountains and museums.

1. Colosseum Rome

The Colosseum is the most astonishing monument among all the top attractions of Rome. It reflects the glorious history of Rome; it is a place where gladiators met in mortal combat and throw prisoners away to hungry lions. It is usually jam packed with visitors and you will have to endure a lengthy queue at ticket office but wait for your turn and get through.

Colosseum Rome

2. The Trevi Fountain

Rome’s largest and most famous fountain, Trevi Fountain, is located at the centre of capital. Here is a tradition to throw coins into the fountain and it is believed that first coin will get you in love with an Italian and second will get you marry with him or her. Although I am not sure that how many wishes come true here but I am sure that each day $3,500 are thrown away in this fountain.

The Trevi Fountain

3. St Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City is renowned for its astonishing churches and all these churches are dazzled by St Peter’s Basilica. The most spectacular in design and huge in size, it is a greatest monument where the artistic genius of centuries has culminated. You need to be dressed up properly in order to view it; shorts or miniskirts are not allowed here. Here audio-guide is available for €5 at a desk on entrance.

St Peter’s Basilica

4. The Pantheon

Standing for last 2000 years, Pantheon is no doubt a symbol of excellent construction and glorious Roman history. Enter this Roman temple thorough its great doors and it will feel like an entry to back in ancient times. Historians told that this temple was built by the emperor Hadrian around AD 120.

The Pantheon

5. Vatican Museums

Spread on 5.5 hectare and comprising of two grand palaces, Vatican Museum is another top attraction located in Vatican. Waiting in a queue first for ticket and then for security check is a real test of your patience. However, such endurance gets rewarded when you visit this world’s greatest museum. This huge museum cannot be explored in a one go; therefore, it is advisable to be selective.
There are priceless treasures placed in each gallery, but visiting all galleries in one go is not possible. My recommendation is to go for the Pinacoteca, Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, the Sistine Chapel, and Stanze di Raffaello.

Vatican Museums

6. Castel Sant’Angelo

Having a spectacular cylindrical shape, Castel Sant’Angelo is a prominent building in Rome. It was originally built as a mausoleum for Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family. However, in the 6th century popes started using this magnificent building as a fortress and thus secured themselves from impending danger of enemy. It is a wonderful experience to view Rome standing on terrace at 6th floor of this superb building.

Castel Sant’Angelo

7. Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Established by Constantine in AD 324, the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano has always been a great church in Christendom and still today it has a status as a Cathedral Church. It is also official seat of Bishop of Rome who is the Pope. In addition, Roman Catholics have given this grand church a title of ecumenical mother church.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

8. Piazza Navona

A magnificent example of Baroque Roman architecture and art, Piazza Navona is a significant city square in Central Rome. With its ornamental fountains, it just looks like a decoration piece placed in the centre. It was built during 1st century at the site of Stadium of Domitian that was comprised of 30,000 seats. This stadium was used for games that were enjoyed very much by ancient Romans.

Piazza Navona

9. Galleria Borghese

It is popular saying that city of Rome itself is the best museum; however, such saying loses its worth when you visit Galleria Borghese, a wonderful art gallery. The building is 17th century villa that houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities placed in 20 different rooms. Moreover, Bernini sculptures housed in Galleria in the northeast corner of the sprawling Villa Borghese Park is also worth seeing but you will have to reserve for its visit in advance.

Galleria Borghese

10. San Luigi dei Francesi

After having a taste of art work by Caravaggio, a late Renaissance master, at Galleria Borghese I got anxious to visit San Luigi dei Francesi, a church, where his art work is at its culmination. Two of his artefacts, St. Matthew and the Angel and the Martyrdom of St. Matthew makes one strongly believe that 400-year-old art was boldly modern. Similar to other basilicas, this church also offers free entry.

San Luigi dei Francesi

11. Ponte Sisto Stroll

Nothing can fascinate you more in Rome than a two hour stroll starting from the busy Piazza Navona and then towards Campo dei Fiori in the south where tasty food shops and cafes gives you a chance to have a snack with your favourite coffee and move further to Piazza Farnese to view romantic pair of fountains and grand Renaissance palace. Do not stop here but continue strolling further to Ponte Sisto, a historic bridge, along the Gianicolo hill mounting toward the west and St. Peter’s Basilica toward the north. Crossing the Tiber, you will reach magnificent Trastevere Neighborhood where colourful flowers from window boxes amuse you with their smiles. The fascinating charm will keep on growing throughout this stroll.

Ponte Sisto Stroll

12. Pizza al Taglio

If you get hungry but do not want to waste your time waiting for your meal sitting in a restaurant then stand-up pizza is a solution. The best thing that quite easily available in Rome is pizzerie al taglio (sliced) and interesting thing is that pizza can be ordered in 2-3 smaller portions in various varieties, margherita (tomato sauce and mozzarella), zucchini pizza, and kosher pizza (meat, but no cheese). It makes a deal more tempting.

Pizza al Taglio


13. The Pope

You might have met many VIPs in your life and got impressed with their stature; however, meeting with the Pope is a unique inspiration. He lives usually in Rome apart from few of his foreign trips; so get it confirm with your hotel. The Pope can be listened at noon on Sunday during Angelus prayer when he speaks from his window over St. Peter’s Square. He has devoted Wednesday morning especially for general audience so reach in the square to hear his address free or buy a ticket for Pope Paul VI auditorium to listen him.

The Pope