Innsbruck in a Few Hours

Innsbruck

 

Innsbruck is the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria located in the wide Inn Valley, between high mountains, at the intersection of two important traffic routes between Germany and Italy and between Switzerland and Vienna. It is a well-known winter sports center, which hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976 and the Winter Paralympics in 1984 and 1988. Its name means “Inn Bridge

Itinerary:
  1. The Golden Roof
  2. The City Tower
  3. The Helbling House
  4. The Cathedral of St. James
  5. The Imperial Palace
  6. The Jesuit Church
  7. Maria Theresien Strasse
  8. The Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit
  9. St. Anne’s Column
  10. The Servite Church
  11. The Triumphal Arch
  12. The Swarovski Crystal World
The Golden Roof
The Golden Roof

The best way to start our tour around Innsbruck, (if we have limited time or if we simply don’t want to miss some important sites), is from the very heart of The Old Town, and from one of its main attractions, The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl).

The roof was completed in 1500, and it was decorated with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles for Emperor Maximilian I to celebrate his wedding to Bianca Maria Sforza. They used the balcony to watch festivals, tournaments, and other events that took place in the square below.

Around Christmas, this square becomes a huge market with lots of stalls selling gifts, food and drink.

The City Tower
The City Tower

 

The best view of it is doubtlessly from The City Tower, built 50 years earlier, in 1450 on the side of the old town hall with 133 steps and the 31-metre-high viewing platform. Guards kept watch from it for almost 450 years, warning citizens of fire and other dangers. The lower floors were used as a prison. Today the tower is there for visitors to enjoy, giving them a magnificent and romantic view of Innsbruck.

The Helbling House, named after one of its previous owners, is a building that is simply impossible to miss in this square. It was built in the fifteenth century, significantly changed with new architectural styles afterwards, and completed in 1732. The Rococo stucco decorations added in the early eighteenth century, designed to capture light, made this building unique.

The Helbling House
The Helbling House

Taking Pfarrgasse Street, we will get to The Cathedral of St. James (Dom St. Jacob), Innsbruck Cathedral (Innsbruck Dom), a beautiful cathedral with imposing twin-towered west front and the high dome, built in Baroque style in 1724 and fully restored after World War II.

The Cathedral of St. James
The Cathedral of St. James

The Imperial Palace (Hofburg) is a former Habsburg palace, constructed around 1460, and, along with the Hofburg Palace and Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, considered one of the three most significant cultural buildings in the country. It was the main building of a large residential complex including the Silver Chapel, the Hofkirche, the Theological University, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, Innsbruck Cathedral, the Congress, the Hofgarten…

The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace

It was remodeled in Baroque and Rococo style in the 18th century upon instructions from Empress Maria Theresa. The Giant Hall in polished marble and decorated in white and gold, with three large ceiling frescos from 1775, and beautiful portraits of the Imperial family, is particularly impressive. Maria Theresa’s Rooms, Empress Elisabeth’s Apartment, the Ancestral Gallery, the Furniture Museum, and the Painting Gallery, are also worth seeing.

The Jesuit Church
The Jesuit Church

 

The area around the Hofburg offers several other attractions worth seeing. The Silver Chapel built in 1587 as the burial chapel named after a silver image of the Virgin, the Old University founded in 1562, The Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche), with its mighty 60-meter-tall dome built in 1640, the Tyrolean Provincial Theater (Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck), built in 1846, and the Hofgarten, with its Art and Concert Pavilion.

Burggrabben Street will take us straight to Maria Theresien Strasse, the main street of Innsbruck transformed into an elegant promenade and pedestrian zone in 2009, which is the ideal place to take a stroll, do some shopping, meet friends and sit at one of the many outdoor cafés, admiring the magnificent Baroque architecture and the city panorama.

The Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit
The Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit

At the head of this street, we will find The Roman Catholic Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit. The hospital that gave its name to the church no longer exists, and the church has changed its appearance a lot over the years, since the 12th century, when it was first mentioned.

St. Anne's Column
St. Anne’s Column

St. Anne’s Column (Annasäule), a beautiful monument commemorating the event when the last Bavarian troops were driven from the Tyrol on St. Anne’s Day (26 July) in 1703, stands in the center of the street. A bit further, there is The Servite Church (Servitenkirche) scenic, old and typical Austrian church built in the early 1600s and got its current appearance in the late-baroque period, perfect for a lovely picture to capture with the mountains in the background, if the sky is blue.

 

The Servite Church
The Servite Church

The street, and our tour, ends with The Triumphal Arch (Triumphpforte), built in 1765 on the occasion of the wedding of the second son of Empress Maria Theresa, Archduke Leopold, to the Spanish princess, Maria Luisa. Because of the sudden death of Leopold’s father, Francis Stephen of Lorraine, its south side portrays motifs of the wedding of the young couple, and its north side commemorates the death of the emperor.

The Triumphal Arch
The Triumphal Arch

If you still have some time, do pay a visit to The Swarovski Crystal World (Swarovski Kristallwelten) in Wattens, just 20 minutes outside Innsbruck, a magical place that fills senses with wonder and delight. For those who love the brand, or simply love sparkling crystals, this attraction is a real fairy tale world of shimmering crystals for both adults and children.

The Swarovski Crystal World
The Swarovski Crystal World

I hope that you will find my itinerary useful and that it will make your visit even more amusing and pleasant.

Athens in a Few Hours

The Parthenon

Athens! What a city! Its long, fascinating history, starts from the first settlement in the Neolithic age, has its culmination in the 5th Century BC in the “Golden Age of Pericles”, suffers occupation of a multitude  of conquerors over the years, and in 1834, it becomes the capital of the modern Greek state.

A large part of the town’s historic center has been converted into 3 km long pedestrian zone, which makes it the longest in Europe.

It was also one of my smartest travelling choices, since I decided to visit it for the first time on January 2. While my country was frozen and covered with snow, Athens offered me the nicest spring weather that I could only imagine.

Athens - Bitter Orange Trees
Athens – Bitter Orange Trees

Its bitter orange trees (Νεραντζάκι) left an immediate impression on me, since the whole city seemed painted in orange and green. They are mostly used for decoration, as their fruit is too bitter to be eaten raw, or for the making of marmalades and sweets, in alcoholic beverages and in aromatology.

I would highly recommend a longer stay in this beautiful city, but trying to stick to the original idea, I will give you the itinerary of the most beautiful and the most famous sites that you really should not miss.

  1. The National Library of Greece
  2. The Academy of Athens
  3. The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  4. Syntagma Square
  5. The Greek Parliament
  6. The National Garden
  7. The Zappeion Mansion
  8. The Panathenaikon Stadium
  9. The Temple of Olympian Zeus
  10. The Arch of Hadrian
  11. The Acropolis
  12. The Acropolis Museum
  13. The ancient Theatre of Dionysos
  14. The Odeion of Herodes Atticus
  15. The Parthenon
  16. The Erechtheion
  17. The Areios Pagos
  18. The Temple of Hephaestus
  19. Plaka
  20. Monastiraki
The National Library of Greece
The National Library of Greece

The best point to start our tour in order to save time and steps is the National Library of Greece (Ethnikí Vivliothíki tis Elládos).

The building is situated near the city center and was designed as a part of the famous Trilogy of neo-classical buildings by a Dutch architect Hansen, also including the Academy of Athens and the original building of the Athens University.

The present building has been inconvenient due to limited space and technology demands and although it will continue to house some of its current functions, the bulk of the library has already been relocated to a new building.

The Academy of Athens
The Academy of Athens

The Academy of Athens is one of its major landmarks, with the figures of Athena and Apollo with lyre on the side pillars, and the seated marble figures of Plato and Socrates.

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens usually referred to simply as the University of Athens, is a public university continuously operational since its establishment in 1837 and the oldest higher education institution of the Modern Greek state, with over 100,000 students.

The Greek Parliament
The Greek Parliament

We will soon get to Syntagma Square, one of the main squares of the town, with the Greek Parliament building dominating it.  There is the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of it, guarded by the Evzones in their traditional costume. The Change of the Guards takes place every hour right in front of the building and it is quite impressive.

The National Garden
The National Garden

From this square starts the beautiful National Garden (covering around 40 acres and full of the palm trees, the acanthus plants, and noisy birds), south of which stands the impressive Zappeion Mansion.

The Zappeion Mansion
The Zappeion Mansion

It was erected for the revival of the Olympic Games in the modern world, and now is generally used as Congress and exhibition hall, for meetings and ceremonies, both official and private.

The Panathenaikon Stadium
The Panathenaikon Stadium

From there we will continue towards the Panathenaikon Stadium (Kallimarmaro), the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble, where the first Olympic Games in modern history were held (1896).

It was firstly built for the Panathenaic Games in 330 BC, then rebuilt in marble by Herodes Atticus, an Athenian Roman senator, in 144 AD with a capacity of 50,000 seats, and finally excavated and refurbished in 1869.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus

We will continue to the Temple of Olympian Zeus (Naós tou Olympíou Diós), also known as the Olympieion, which used to be the largest temple in Greece during the Roman period, with 104 colossal columns and one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. Its construction began in the 6th century BC, but it was completed only in the 2nd century AD.

The Arch of Hadrian
The Arch of Hadrian

The Arch of Hadrian (Apsida tou Adrianou), or simply Hadrian’s Gate (Pyli tou Adrianou), is a monumental gateway built to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his benefactions to the city, in 131 or 132 AD. It offers a great view of the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Walking along Dionysou Areopaghitou Street (on the south side of the Acropolis) we will first see the impressive Acropolis Museum on the left, one of the most important contemporary works of architecture in Athens. Made of steel, glass and concrete, it houses 4,000 exquisite finds from the Acropolis monuments.

The ancient Theatre of Dionysos
The ancient Theatre of Dionysos

On the right, we will first encounter the ancient Theatre of Dionysos from the fifth c. B.C, the first theater ever built and the place where most of the works by Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes were performed.

The Odeion of Herodes Atticus
The Odeion of Herodes Atticus

Continuing, we will reach the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, which was built in 161 A.D. and is nowadays the venue of the performances of the Athens Festival and a fantastic place to enjoy Operas due to its excellent acoustic.

From there we will climb up to the Acropolis, the site of some of the most important masterpieces of worldwide art and architecture. The most famous ones are certainly the Parthenon temple , the temple of the Athene Nike, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaea, that we will actually walk through as we arrive at the top to the Acropolis and again as we leave it. When it was built, the Propylaea was a magnificent entry point to the temples on the top of the Acropolis.

We owe this place to Pericles (495 – 429 BC) who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important building in the fifth century BC. Much later, they were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when a cannonball hit gunpowder stored in the Parthenon.

The Parthenon
The Parthenon

The Parthenon (Parthenónas) is an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization. It is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron of the citizens of Athens. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power and it was completed in 438 BC. Its sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art.

The Parthenon replaced an older temple of Athena that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC.

The Erechtheion
The Erechtheion

The Erechtheion is probably the most elegant part of the Acropolis.

The building had two porches. The roof of the north porch was supported on six Ionic columns. At the south porch, which was the most well-known, the roof was supported by six statues of maidens known as the Caryatids, instead of the typical columns. One of the sculptures from the western section was removed by Lord Elgin in 1801 and is today located in the British Museum.

A visit to the Museum, located close to the Parthenon is also highly recommendable, and the view of the city from the rock is absolutely impressive.

The Acropolis
The Acropolis

Coming down from the Acropolis we will arrive at the Areios Pagos, a prominent rock, located northwest of the Acropolis and the most ancient law court of the world. Philopappou Hill stands opposite it with its beautiful cobbled roads and with the Roman monument on its top, and the Pnyx, where the citizens of ancient Athens used to gather to discuss their democratic rights.

Following the pedestrian road, we will get to the Ancient Agora, the ancient Athens’ commercial, political and religious center and to the well preserved Temple of Hephaestus.

The area that developed around the Ancient Agora of Athens is called Plaka and it is considered the oldest district in Athens, as it has been continuously inhabited since antiquity. It is the heart of the historic center and one the most picturesque neighborhoods of Athens with its narrow streets, lovely neoclassical buildings, small cafes, traditional taverns, souvenir shops and ancient ruins in almost every corner.

It is very commercial and popular with tourists, because there are plenty of things to do and see there.

Monastiraki
Monastiraki

Continuing from Plaka we arrive at Monastiraki, our final destination, a characteristic area with narrow streets, and the city’s traditional bazaar full of very attractive shops, local food, restaurants and coffee shops. It is a nice place to walk around and it has an amazing view to the Acropolis.

Turning to what I said in the beginning, I would highly recommend a longer stay in Athens, because these 20 sites are only the most important ones, that you would really regret not seeing.

I sincerely hope that you will find my itinerary helpful. If so, I will be happy to read your comment below. If you have a suggestion for the next one, you can send me an email in the “contact” section.

Merano in a Few Hours

Merano in a Few Hours

Here we are again on our track of meeting new towns and places that will leave an impact on our lives and enrich our memories. We are still in Italy, but this time in its northern part, in South Tyrol.

If you need a healthy break instead of the standard Italian visiting of museums and churches, Merano can be the right choice for you. Although surrounded by snowy peaks that reach even 10,000 feet, this well-known alpine ski resort, also called “City of Flowers“, sits in the Passeier Valley completely sheltered, which makes its climate mild in winter and cool in summer.

Merano in a Few Hours
Merano

With a few hours available to visit it, you will manage to see its most important sites, but also to enjoy its clean air, friendly local people, exquisite food and wine, beautiful streets without cars, and parks full of colorful flowers and exotic trees.

  1. Winter Promenade
  2. The Kurhaus
  3. Post Bridge
  4. The Holy Spirit Church
  5. The Bozner Tor
  6. The Church of St. Nicholas
  7. Portici St.
  8. The Prince’s Castle
  9. The Theatre Puccini
  10. The Evangelistic Church

Merano

We will start our route from one of the bridges of Merano, over the Passer river, known as Theatre bridge, and go for a short walk along “Winter Promenade“, (Passeggiata Inverno) admiring its marvelous sights and sounds. Soon, on our left side we will see a beautiful building The Kurhaus constructed at a time when Merano was a popular spa resort due to the frequent visits of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and the aristocracy. It has a large portico, with columns and statues, and often hosts many interesting events.

The Kurhaus
The Kurhaus

When we get to Post Bridge we will see The Holy Spirit Church across the river, built in the German Gothic style at the end of the 13th century, an then rebuilt in the 15th century after being destroyed by a flood.

Merano’s Coat of Arms
Merano’s Coat of Arms

 

 

 

Walking back over the bridge we can notice the town’s coat of arms from the14th century, which depicts the red Tyrolean eagle sitting on a wall with four pieces of Ghibelline battlements and three arches that symbolize the city.

 

Via Roma (Rome St.) will take us straight to the historical center of the town through The Bozner Tor (Bolzano Gate). Merano has three gates. The Vinschgauer Tor (Vinschgau Gate) in the west first mentioned in 1290 and assumed to be the oldest of all gates. The Passeier Tor (Passer Gate) from the 15th century in the north, a tall, slim stone tower with a single arch and Bozener Tor (Bolzano Gate) in the south, from the 14th century, also with a single stone arch and a very steep roof, but considered the most beautiful of all town gates.

The Bozner Tor
The Bozner Tor

We will enter the old town under these remains of the original city walls. Leonardo da Vinci St. with beautiful pastel-colored buildings on both sides will take us to The Church of St. Nicholas (La Chiesa di San Nicolò), dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of the town. Built in the 13th century and expanded over time, it got its final shape in 1465. The architectural style is mainly Gothic. It is quite large, and nicely decorated. It consists of three naves and has well-preserved stained glass windows and a tall clock tower with a sundial outside.

The Church of St. Nicholas
The Church of St. Nicholas

Via Portici, Merano’s main street, starts from here. It has no cars, many beautiful pastel-colored buildings, a few medieval drinking fountains, sidewalks sheltered from rain, snow and hot sun by old porticos, number of outdoor cafés or restaurants and shops.

Upon reaching the Merano Town Hall (Il Municipio di Merano), we will turn right to Galileo Galilei St. that will take us to The Prince’s Castle (Il Castello Principesco), a small but delightful little castle and one of the best-preserved castles in South Tyrol. Built in 1470 at the bottom of Monte Benedetto and at the heart of Merano’s city center, as a residence to Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, it was for a long time the administrative seat of the Counts of Tyrol and it welcomed a number of illustrious guests. Although refurbished, it looks very real, showing how nobility used to live in the 15 century.

The Prince’s Castle
The Prince’s Castle

Nowadays, the couples in Merano intending to get married can choose between the community hall and the romantic Prince’s Castle.

The Theatre Puccini
The Theatre Puccini

Galileo Galilei St. and further Cassa di Risparmio St. will take us to Corso Della Libertà, another important street of Merano, but less busy than the parallel Portici St.

Turning right, we will soon reach The Theatre Puccini (Il Teatro Puccini) another architectural jewel of the town, richly decorated, with a beautiful ceiling and gilded ornamentation.

Taking Carducci St, opposite the theatre, we will get to our final destination in this tour The Evangelistic Church (La Chiesa Evangelica di Cristo), overlooking the Passer river, and immersed in a beautiful English garden. Its construction began in 1883 and ended two years later. Apart from religious services, the church hosts many organ concerts, and concerts of sacred music.

The Evangelistic Church
The Evangelistic Church

Like Annecy in France or Baden-Baden in Germany, this lovely town surrounded by scenic mountains, with many nice shops and restaurants and with an amazing spa, is definitely worth visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

Belgrade in a Few Hours

The New Year is approaching and although there are hundreds of cities I have visited, waiting to be shared with you, somehow for this special occasion, Belgrade, my hometown, has imposed itself, as a special gift.

So many times destroyed and always raised even more beautiful, Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is a city of rich history, but also of fantastic nightlife and of gorgeous women.

Belgrade Confluence

Although I could write about it for hours, I will stick to the original idea of my posts. I want to offer you a list of the most important sites to see in Belgrade in case you intend to visit it briefly. They are ordered in the way that allows you to move from point A to point B, saving your time and steps. However, if you have more time, you will easily spend it enjoying your favorite ones.

  1. The Temple of Saint Sava
  2. Slavija Square
  3. The Museum of Nikola Tesla
  4. The Old Palace
  5. The House of the National Assembly of Serbia
  6. Tašmajdan Park
  7. Mark’s Church
  8. The House of Vuk’s Foundation
  9. Terazije Square
  10. The Albania Palace
  11. Knez Mihailova Street
  12. Republic Square
  13. National Museum
  14. The National Theatre
  15. The statue of Prince Michael
  16. The Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel
  17. The residence of Princess Ljubica
  18. Kalemegdan
  19. Belgrade Zoo
  20. The Victor Statue
  21. The building of Geozavod
  22. Ada Ciganlija Lake
  23. Skadarlija
The Temple of Saint Sava

I suggest we start our tour from the magnificent (Hram svetog Save), the most monumental building in the city. It is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, and it is built in the Serbian-Byzantine style. At its highest point the dome is 70 m high, while the main gilded cross is an additional 12 m high. Saint Sava was the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and a very important figure in medieval Serbia, whose remains were burned on the spot in 1595 by Sinan-Pasha, Ottoman Grand Vizier.

The Temple of Saint Sava
The Temple of Saint Sava

Do not miss a chance to see the crypt of about 2,000 square meters below the Temple, which is a cultural monument that goes far beyond the religious purpose of the building.

Taking Bulevar oslobodjenja Street we will come straight to Slavija Square. It is one of the largest and busiest squares in Belgrade, with a roundabout and probably the most chaotic traffic in the city. There is a musical fountain in its center with a diameter of 32 meters and the water jets 16 meters high.

For the lucky ones that can spend some more time in Belgrade I suggest also a visit to The Nikola Tesla Museum. It is easy to reach if you take the second exit from where you entered the roundabout and at the very beginning of Mekenzijeva St, turn left to Prote Mateje St, that will take you straight there. The museum of one of the greatest scientist of all time offers an interactive content that makes his original work very interesting, both for kids and adults.

Kralja Milana Street

Kralja Milana St. connects Slavija Square and Terazije, the city center. It is a fantastic place to find many famous international and local brand stores, cafes and restaurants, with many underground passageways.

The House of Vuk’s Foundation

In addition you will find some marvelous buildings and facades built in the late 19th century, like Dom Vukove Zadužbine (The House of Vuk’s Foundation), firstly used as the seat of the Russian embassy, then as the home for War Orphans and from 1878 as the headquarters of the Ministry of Education.

The Old Palace

Just before this building, on your right you will encounter Stari dvor (The Old Palace) once the royal residence of the Obrenović dynasty. Today it houses the City Assembly of Belgrade and is located opposite Novi dvor (The New Palace). Deeper behind the park you will see the enormous Dom Narodne skupštine Republike Srbije (The House of the National Assembly of Serbia) another landmark of Belgrade. This truly magnificent monument with all its artistic treasure inside is unfortunately not open to visitors. There are two impressive sculptures by Toma Rosandić in front of it, entitled Igrali se konji vrani (Play by Black Horses).

The House of the National Assembly of Serbia

Right next to it, behind the Main Post Office Building there is a huge park Tašmajdan, with the impressive St. Mark’s Church on the edge. This Serbian Orthodox church, built in 1940 in the Serbo-Byzantine style, preserves one of the most valuable collections of Serbian icons and sarcophagus containing the relics of Serbian Emperor Dušan 1308-1355. It is time to get back to Kralja Milana Street.

Terazije Square

 

Coming to Terazije Square, you will not be able to miss the Terazije Fountain with 6.35m high pillar and four lion heads spouting water through their open mouths, erected in 1860 to mark the return of Prince Milos Obrenovic to the throne and located just in front of the Hotel Moscow, another fascinating building, belonging to this square.

 

A little bit further, you will see the Albania Palace, which dates back to the 1930s and got this name from the kafana Albanija that previously occupied the same spot. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest building on the Balkans.

Knez Mihailova Street

It is also the starting point of Knez Mihailova Street, Belgrade’s most popular promenade that both young and old, hosts and foreign guests simply adore. It is the main walking street and one of the best places to feel the pulse of the city.

Knez Mihailova Street

It offers a mixture of fast food and high-class restaurants, coffee shops that are full at any time of the day, shops, antique shops, street singers, and beautiful architecture of numerous national and international cultural institutions (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Centre Culturel Français, Instituto Cervantes and Goethe), many galleries, hotels and hostels.

Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

It is not clear whether it is more beautiful in summer bathed in the sun, or in winter, festively decorated, but it is always full of smiling faces and a lot of positive energy.

Republic Square
The statue of Prince Michael

At its beginning, behind the Albania Palace, there is Republic Square, one of the central town squares with some of the most recognizable public buildings, including the National Museum and the National Theatre. The statue of Prince Michael is located in the heart of this square. This bronze monument, erected in honor of Mihailo Obrenović III, Prince of Serbia who liberated Serbia from Turkish domination is a very popular meeting place in Belgrade.

Walking along Knez Mihailova Street just before it reaches Kalemegdan, turn left to Kralja Petra Street, that will take you to Saborna crkva (The Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel), another magnificent orthodox church. It is one of the few preserved monuments of Belgrade from the first half of the 19th Century. Some of the most powerful Serbs like Vuk Karadzic, Dositelj Obradovic, Prince Mihajlo Obrenovic and Milos Obrenovic were buried here.

The Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel

Opposite the Cathedral, a bit to the left, you will see Konak kneginje Ljubice (The residence of Princess Ljubica), built between 1829 and 1831 by order of Prince Miloš Obrenović for his wife Ljubica and their children.

The residence of Princess Ljubica

 

It is full of interesting furniture, personal belongings and artwork. Your trip through the past of Belgrade will be guided by an actress in a monodrama called “Kafa kod kneginje Ljubice.” As a part of the show, you will be served coffee with rahatlokum, and then taken around the museum, in her, very charming way.

 

 

 

It is finally time to immerse in beauty of Kalemegdan.

Kalemegdan

The Belgrade fortress, built on a hill above the Sava and Danube confluence, destroyed and rebuilt so many times for 16 centuries, still stands proudly as the symbol of Serbia’s capital.

Since the first fortification, built by The Romans in the 2nd century, destroyed many times by the Goths, the Huns, the Avars and the Slavs, Singidunum managed to survive. After the medieval and Turkish era, Belgrade was converted into a park in the middle of the19th century. It has kilometers of paths, a few playgrounds for the kids, hundreds of benches and a great wall with spectacular and romantic views of sunsets. Nowadays it hosts several museums and galleries, restaurants, sports courts, and the Belgrade Zoo. If you are too tired, you can get the mini train that runs around the park.

Belgrade Zoo
The Victor Statue

The statue Pobednik (The Victor) is the work of famous sculptor Ivan Mestrović, created in 1928 to commemorate Serbia’s triumph over both Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Initially made to be placed at Terazije Square, but since representing a nude man, it could have had a bad influence on a young girls and women of that time, so it had to be placed where it stands now, overlooking New Belgrade.

The Building of Geozavod

Going down towards the river you will find many restaurants and clubs but also a beautiful building of Beogradska zadruga, (Belgrade Cooperative) or (The building of Geozavod), one of the most beautiful and monumental buildings that adorn the Karadjordjeva Street in the Savamala district. The building was recently restored, and got back its original glow.

The Building of Geozavod

Now you can decide to keep walking along the river of Sava and recently made Sava promenade and to follow the realization of a huge project called Belgrade Waterfront. At a neglected piece of land, on the right bank of the Sava river, between the Belgrade Fair and Branko’s bridge, Belgrade will get a world-class, super-modern downtown district, unlike anywhere in the region. It will have a million square meters of luxury apartments, 750,000 square meters of office and commercial space, five-star hotels, an opera house, and the largest shopping mall on the continent.

Ada Ciganlija Lake

You might prefer using public transport to our last destination, Ada Ciganlija Lake, commonly called “Belgrade’s Sea”. This artificial lake with its incredible beach hosts over 100,000 visitors a day and up to 300,000 visitors over the weekend. Due to its central location, it is an immensely popular recreational zone. You can play football, tennis, golf, mini golf, beach volleyball, basketball, baseball, rugby or field hockey… You can choose rowing, kayak, windsurfing, water skiing, walking balls or pedal boats.

Ada Ciganlija Lake

You can try bungee jumping, artificial wall climbing or paintball, or you can simply sunbathe and swim in this well maintained beach and enjoy its numerous cafes and restaurants, which when night falls, transform into nightclubs for partying all night long.

As I have already said, Belgrade is an ideal city for nightlife. From Ada Lake, you can pass to New Belgrade’s and Zemun’s side, where you will find a huge number of floating restaurants called “splavovi” all along the banks of Sava and Danube.

Finally, you should not miss Skadarlija!

Skadarlija

What Plaka is for Athens, Montmartre for Paris, Trastevere for Rome, Skadarlia is for Belgrade. This, first class bohemian quarter combines the spirit of old times with live music and great authentic cuisine. Many “kafanas” gathered in a rather small street, with their unique atmosphere, is something that no one would expect to find in the very center of the capital city.

Enjoy!

Trento in a Few Hours

Trento in a few hours? No problem! 🙂

If you are lucky enough to have a chance to spend a few hours in this quiet town full of hidden treasures, you will be able to see them all, but also to enjoy and admire its unique peace and beauty.

The city center is small, so you can finish your walking tour quite quickly, and then spend time enjoying its cafes, shops and parks nearby.

ITINERARY:

  1. La Piazza del Duomo
  2. La Fontana del Nettuno
  3. La Cattedrale di San Vigilio
  4. Il Palazzo Pretorio
  5. Il Museo Diocesano
  6. Le Case Cazuffi Rella
  7. Il Palazzo Municipale or Il Palazzo Thun
  8. La Casa Geremia
  9. La Chiesa di san Francesco Saverio
  10. Il Castello del Buonconsiglio
  11. La Torre Verde
  12. La Torre Vanga
  13. La Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore
  14. La Statua di Dante Alighieri
  15. Il Mausoleo di Cesare Battisti
La Piazza del Duomo

We will start our route from La Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), in the heart of Trento, which is one of the main squares, and the city’s political, religious, and social center.

La Fontana del Nettuno

 

 

 

In the center of the square, there is the magnificent Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune), stunning and fairly massive, sculpted by Francesco Antonio Giongo in 1768.

 

 

 

La Cattedrale di San Vigilio

La Cattedrale di San Vigilio or Il Duomo di Trento (The Cathedral of Saint Vigilius) is the main religious structure in the town constructed in the 11th century and then renovated several times over the years with many 14th century frescoes.

This is Romanesque-Baroque church, built over a pre-existing church from the 6th century devoted to Saint Vigilius, patron saint of the city. It was the seat of the Bishop of Trento until 1802. It has two staircases built into the walls and a large rose window with the Wheel of Fortune on the façade.

Il Palazzo Pretorio

Around the square there are other amazing buildings to visit, like Il Palazzo Pretorio (The Praetorian Palace), which houses Il Museo Diocesano Tridentino (the Diocesan Museum), a fantastic museum dedicated to the religious history of Trento with a wonderful collection of paintings, wooden sculptures, tapestries and manuscripts from the 9th century to modern times.

The Prince-Bishop Federico Vanga erected it in 1220 and it used to be the seat of the Bishops of Trento, but also of the Municipality and the Courts. Its huge clock tower, La Torre Civica, was used in the past as a city jail.

Le Case Cazuffi Rella

Right next to it, there are Le Case Cazuffi Rella, two beautiful adjacent houses of the sixteenth century decorated with frescoes and with arches underneath. The façade on the left shows characters and scenes from classical mythology, and on the right illustrates the subjects of Virtue, Time and the Triumphs of Love.

Il Palazzo Thun

Next to them, you will find Via Rodolfo Belenzani, where you will be able to keep admiring some of the best of Trento’s facades painted with historical, classical, and mythological motifs.

Near its north end, on the right, there is Il Palazzo Municipale or Il Palazzo Thun (The Town Hall) which was the property of the Thun family for four centuries since 1454 and their coat of arms stands on the façade and on the arch of the portal. On the opposite side of it, there is La Casa Geremia from the end of the 15th-century, a fabulous example of Renaissance architecture in the city, known particularly for the restored frescoes with historical-moral motifs on the façade.

La Casa Geremia

 

La Chiesa di san Francesco Saverio

 

 

In the very end of the street, hidden among these beautiful buildings, there is La Chiesa di San Francesco Saverio, pretty, little church erected between 1708 and 1711, and considered the greatest expression of Baroque religious architecture in the region of Trentino.

 

 

 

Turn right and Via Roma (further Via S.Marco) will take you straight to the Castelvecchio. Il Castello del Buonconsiglio (Buonconsiglio Castle) is the largest castle complex in this region, composed of a series of buildings of different eras. There is a huge round tower La Torre Aquila (The Eagle Tower), with the magnificent frescoes of the Cycle of the Months representing the landscape, the activities, the habits and the fashion of Medieval Trentino. There are also Il Magno Palazzo, an Italian Renaissance-style palace, and the Baroque Giunta Albertiana.

Il Castello del Buonconsiglio

The castle was the residence of the prince-bishops of Trento from the 13th to the 18th century and nowadays it houses Il Museo Provinciale d’Arte (the Provincial Gallery of Art)

La Torre Verde

Going back towards the Adige River, follow Via Torre Verde, and you will soon find La Torre Verde (The Green Tower) in the middle of the road, surrounded by other buildings and easy to miss. It is very beautiful and particular tower with a green cusp and one of the symbols of the city. It was a strategic point of the city walls on the edge of the Adige, before the river was diverted in 1858.

 

La Torre Vanga

 

 

In the end of the street, you will find another tower, La Torre Vanga, built in 1210 by Prince-Bishop Federico Vanga, on the banks of the Adige to guard a bridge over it. After the river was deviated at the foot of Monte Bondone it was used as a prison.

 

 

 

Before going right to Giardini publici to sit on the bench and enjoy the greenery, do not miss a beautiful church on the left, just a few hundred meters away. It is La Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore, beautiful and imposing Renaissance church with the marvelous portal and the triumphal bell tower.

La Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore

Giardini publici is a well-kept garden with benches, a pond with ducks and the square in the middle, with the impressive and dominant sculpture of Dante Alighieri, 18 meters high, and certainly one of the most beautiful and impressive among the Italian monuments dedicated to the Supreme Poet.

La Statua di Dante Alighieri

From that point, you can clearly see the Mausoleo di Cesare Battisti (Cesare Battisti Mausoleum) on the opposite side of The Adige River. The most famous Trentino irredentist, journalist, geographer and patriot, Cesare Battisti, captured in the First World War by the Austrians and executed in front of the Castello del Buonconsiglio, rests in this imposing mausoleum overlooking the city of Trento, surrounded by a beautiful park and easily reached on foot. Rather than artistic, it has symbolic and commemorative value.

Il Mausoleo di Cesare Battisti

Trento is enchanting. Small and quiet, colorful and appealing, it offers the perfect combination of beauty, serenity and pleasure. I discovered it chasing one of my biggest passions, to travel and to see new places and new people all the time. If you also share this passion, but find many obstacles in accomplishing it, you may also consider starting your own online business that will enable you to live a fulfilling life. Find out how!

 

Trieste in a Few Hours

I understood that I had visited so many cities and places, when my Facebook started going crazy, trying to count my check-ins. 🙂

Being very passionate about travelling, I always prepare all my trips well in advance and spend a lot of time doing it. Hundreds of those itineraries will be available for you, here, on my website. You can have them with you during your trip, and follow the points as listed, relaxed and confident that you will see all of the most important sights, without making any unnecessary steps.

La Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia

This week’s topic is Trieste, the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

When you visit famous towns, you always have certain expectations and the Italian ones usually exceed mine. Honestly, I was not expecting much from this one, but it totally splashed me with its beauty. The image of its main square and the golden shine of one of its buildings under the afternoon sunrays will always remain in my mind.

Il Palazzo del Governo

 

ITINERARY:

  1. La Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square)
  2. La Fontana dei Quattro Continenti (The Fountain of the Four Continents)
  3. Il Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino (Lloyd Triestino Palace)
  4. ll Palazzo del Municipio (Trieste’s City Hall)
  5. Il Palazzo del Governo (The Government House)
  6. Il Molo Audace
  7. Le Ragazze di Trieste (The girls of Trieste)
  8. Il Bersagliere
  9. Il Palazzo Carciotti (The Carciotti Palace)
  10. La Chiesa Greco Ortodossa di San Nicolò (Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas)
  11. Il Canale Grande (the Grand Canal)
  12. La Chiesa Serbo Ortodossa di San Spiridione (the Serbian Orthodox Church of San Spiridone)
  13. La statua di James Joyce (James Joyce Statue)
  14. La Chiesa Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo, (The Church of Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo)
  15. La Casa Terni Smolars
  16. La Statua di Umberto Saba (Umberto Saba Statue)
  17. Il Teatro Romano (The Roman Theatre)
  18. Il Santuario di Santa Maria Maggiore (The Sanctuary of Santa Maria Maggiore)
  19. La Cattedrale di San Giusto Martire (The St. Justus Cathedral)
  20. Il Monumento ai caduti di Trieste (Trieste War Memorial Monument)
  21. La Scala dei Giganti (Giants’ Stairway)
  22. La Borsa Vecchia (The Old Stock Exchange)
  23. La Fontana di Nettuno (The fountain of Neptune)
  24. Il Castello di Miramare (Miramare Castle)
  25. Il Faro della Vittoria (The Victory Lighthouse)

 

La Fontana dei Quattro Continenti

We will start our tour from the main square in Trieste, La Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square), considered the largest Europe’s square facing the Adriatic Sea and built during the period when Trieste was the most important seaport of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.

At the center of the Square there is La Fontana dei Quattro Continenti (The Fountain of the Four Continents), built in the middle of the eighteenth century and named after the four sculptures representing the characteristics of the four continents known at that time: Europe, America, Africa and Asia. On the top of it, there is a woman with open arms, symbol of the city.

There are several, breathtaking buildings here and It is very difficult to say which one of them is the most beautiful.

Il Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino
La Statua di Venere

 

 

Il Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino (Lloyd Triestino Palace) built in 1883, imposing and elegant, with La Statua di Venere (the beautiful statue of Venus) on the façade, once was the seat of Lloyd Triestino, today the is host of the Regional Council.

ll Palazzo del Municipio

ll Palazzo del Municipio (Trieste’s City Hall) is a monumental building  designed by architect Giuseppe Bruni, an excellent facade designer, and a brilliant urban planner. Its clock tower rises from the central section with two bronze Moors striking the hours. It is interesting that at the time of its completion (1875), the building was considered extremely unpleasant and ridiculous.

Il Palazzo del Governo

Il Palazzo del Governo (The Government House), designed by the Viennese architect Emil Artmann in 1905, my favourite building with golden shine is another pearl of the Unità D’Italia Square. Today it houses the Offices of the Regional Commisariat and those of the Prefecture of Trieste.

Le Ragazze di Trieste

Right in front of the square, there is The Molo Audace, a great place to stroll and enjoy the sea and a fantastic view of the city at any time of day and in any season. Do not miss two beautiful statues: Le Ragazze di Trieste (The girls of Trieste) sewing the three striped flag, and Il Bersagliere (statue of a soldier with a flag) representing the unification of Italy.

Il Canale Grande

There are two other beautiful buildings to see there: Il Palazzo Carciotti (The Carciotti Palace), (1805) built in the neoclassical style, commissioned by the wealthy Greek textile merchant Demetrio Carciotti, and  La Chiesa Greco Ortodossa di San Nicolò  (Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas).

Leaving The Molo Audace we will follow Il Canale Grande (the Grand Canal) built in the middle of the 18th century to enable ships to arrive in the heart of Trieste. Today, it is a beautiful place full of small boats.

 

La Chiesa Serbo Ortodossa di San Spiridione

You can admire La Chiesa Serbo Ortodossa di San Spiridione (the Serbian Orthodox Church of San Spiridone), built in 1869, the jewel of the Piazza Sant’Antonio Nuovo, near the Canal Grande. It is a stunning church from the outside with lovely mosaics that just foretaste the wonderful religious art inside.

At the bridge Ponte Rosso over the Canal Grande, you will find the statue of famous writer intimate to Trieste, James Joyce

La Chiesa Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo

There is also La Chiesa Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo, a neo-Classical church. It is a beautiful building at the end of the canal and the largest church in Trieste, built in neoclassical style in 1849, with six impressive columns at the front and six statues of the protectors of the city on the rooftop.

 

La Casa Terni Smolars

Turning right, after the Serbian Orthodox Church, to Via Dante Alighieri (street), you will find another elegant and beautiful building La Casa Terni Smolars built in pure Art Nouveau style, and marvelously decorated with columns and statues. Just a little bit further, you will encounter La Statua di Umberto Saba (Umberto Saba Statue). What a lovely idea to have another famous writer walking among us!

La Statua di Umberto Saba

At the end of Via Dante, you should turn right to Corso Italia, and then take the first street on the left (Via del Teatro Romano) to get to The Roman Theatre. Il Teatro Romano lies at the feet of Colle san Giusto, supposedly built between I and II century A.C. by the Emperor Traiano. Today it can seat about 6,000 spectators, and it hosts various musical and artistic events during the summer months.

Il Teatro Romano

You can either go for a long walk up the hill, from the Roman amphitheater to The St. Justus Cathedral, or you can take an elevator in the San Giusto parking garage in the center, that will take you all the way to the top. The first option is much longer, but you can see Il Santuario di Santa Maria Maggiore (The Sanctuary of Santa Maria Maggiore), the unique example in Baroque style among the religious buildings of Trieste.

Il Santuario di Santa Maria Maggiore

The view of the city from there is impressive. La Cattedrale di San Giusto Martire (The St. Justus Cathedral) is truly amazing and it is the main symbol of the Christian religiosity of Trieste. It was constructed in the fourteenth century in the same spot where once stood a pagan temple of Ancient Rome by merging two, pre-existing churches. The area is also surrounded by gardens and the outstanding collection of Roman mosaics and sculptures. There is the impressive Monumento ai caduti di Trieste (Trieste War Memorial Monument), a monument devoted to the victims of the First and the Second World Wars.

La Scala dei Giganti

Go back down the hill using La Scala dei Giganti (Giants’ Stairway) to where you entered the garage. It is a large and steep double stairway built in 1970 in a neoclassical style, full of niches, statues and fountains, which connects the heart of Trieste with its shops and bars, and San Giusto Hill with its archeological site.

La Borsa Vecchia

Via del Monte will take you straight to Corso Italia and our final destination, a bit further towards the sea, to La Borsa Vecchia (The Old Stock Exchange), very impressive outside, with the beautiful Fontana di Nettuno (The fountain of Neptune) with the trident in front of it.

La Fontana di Nettuno

Everything in Trieste is worth seeing, but following this list, you will cover all the most important spots. If you still have time, you should definitely go to see Il Castello di Miramare (Miramare Castle), the historical museum with a beautiful garden and an awesome view, and Il Faro della Vittoria (The Victory Lighthouse), both outside of the city center.

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Venice in a Few Hours

La Basilica di San Marco

 

Although it is unlikely that you will just show up in Venice, without planning your trip beforehand, very often you will still have only a few hours available to visit it. Based on 10 to 20 top sights suggested by different internet pages, and on their position on the map, I have created an itinerary that could save you some time and deprive you of foot injuries. Follow it and enjoy your stay, without being afraid that you will miss some of the most important things to see there.

Venice in a Few Hours

ITINERARY:

  1. IL Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)
  2. La Piazza di San Marco (St.Mark’s Square)
  3. Lе Colonne di San Marco e San Teodoro (Saint Mark and Saint Theodore Column)
  4. La Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica)
  5. Il Campanile di San Marco (St. Mark’s Campanile)
  6. La Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (The National Library of St Mark’s)
  7. La Torre dell’Orologio (St Mark’s Clocktower)
  8. La Chiesa di San Salvador (The Church of St.Salvador)
  9. La Chiesa di San Bartolomeo (The Church of San Bartolomeo di Rialto)
  10. Il Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge)
  11. La Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto (St. James Church)
  12. Il Canal Grande (The Grand Canal)
  13. La Chiesa di Santo Stefano (The Church of Santo Stefano)
  14. Il Ponte dell’Accademia (The Accademia Bridge)
  15. La Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (The Basilica of Saint Mary of Health)
  16. La Punta della Dogana (The Sea Customs House)
  17. L’Arsenale di Venezia (The Venetian Arsenal)

 

 

Il Ponte dei Sospiri 

I suggest you begin your visit with the famous Bridge of Sighs (Il Ponte dei Sospiri), since it can be easily missed, coming to St. Mark’s Square. It is actually a part of Dodge’s Palace, but on the opposite side of the square.

The bridge connects the courtroom in the Doge’s Palace to the Prison and its name refers to the prisoners’ sighs at their final view of beautiful Venice on their way to be executed. After struggling for some time to take a photo of it, you can immerse yourself into the immense beauty of St. Mark’s Square (La Piazza di San Marco).

La Piazza di San Marco

The square is always full of people and pigeons, and whether it is sunbathing or completely flooded, it will provide you with an unforgettable atmosphere. All you have to do is to turn around and make beautiful photos of all those marvelous structures around you: The Columns of Saint Mark and Saint Theodore (Le Colonne di San Marco and San Teodoro), The Doge’s Palace (Il Palazzo Ducale). During the prosperous centuries of the Venetian Republic, the Palace was not only the residence of the doges, rulers of the city, but also the city’s center of power and administration.

Il Campanile di San Marco

 

St. Mark’s Basilica (La Basilica di San Marco) from the 9th century, with its unique mixture of Byzantine and Gothic architecture and Il Campanile, 98.6m (323 feet) high bell tower, are Venice’s most recognizable landmarks. The original tower collapsed in 1902, and the current one is an early twentieth century reconstruction.

 

La Torre dell’Orologio

There are two other amazing Renaissance buildings here: The National Library of St Mark’s (La Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana) and St Mark’s Clock Tower (La Torre dell’Orologio), from the last decade of the 15th century, on the north side of the Piazza San Marco, at the entrance to the Merceria, showing off the wealth and glory of Venice. Its two lower floors make a monumental archway into the main street of the city, the Merceria, which connects the political and religious center (the Piazza) with the commercial and financial center (Rialto Bridge).

La Chiesa di San Salvador

 

Although you can easily start ignoring the Venetian churches, simply because there are so many of them, La Chiesa di San Salvador, on your way to the Rialto is definitely worth visiting, as well as The Church of San Bartolomeo di Rialto (La Chiesa di San Bartolomeo).

 

 

Il Ponte di Rialto

 

Il Ponte di Rialto is a must see in Venice. Walk over it and enjoy the shops, stalls, restaurants, and a wonderful view of the Grand Canal.

 

 

Il Canal Grande

 

La Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto

On the other side of the Canal, next to Rialto market there is St. James Church (La Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto), the oldest church in Venice, supposedly consecrated in the year 421. It has an enormous clock with one hand, divided into 24 hours.

 

Cross the bridge again and follow the Grand Canal. You will find more than 170 buildings on its banks, mostly from the 13th to the 18th century, demonstrating the wealth of the noble Venetian families. Among them, the most beautiful are: Palazzi Barbaro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca’ Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo and Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, housing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Going towards Il Ponte dell’Accademia, you will find The Church of Santo Stefano, the third largest monastery church in Venice located on the square of the same name.

view of the Grand Canal

The Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia), a large, wooden bridge, quite strange for a city full of stone architecture, crosses the Grand Canal at its lower, southern end, offering another amazing view  of the Grand Canal and of the dome of The Basilica of Saint Mary of Health (La Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute).

This amazing white stone church with its massive dome was built in honor of the Virgin Mary for saving the city from a plague that killed one third of its population and contains some impressive paintings of Titian.

La Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

At the very end of the island, there is The Sea Customs House (La Punta della Dogana). For centuries, the prosperous Republic of Venice was the meeting place of East and West. You can clearly imagine the ships carrying goods from the Far East and stopping here to declare their cargo and to pay the taxes. On the top of the current building’s tower, there is a sculpture of two Atlases holding up a bronze globe with Fortuna on it.

Arsenale di Venezia

 

If you still have some time left, take the vaporetto and go to see a bit hidden but magical spot The Venetian Arsenal (Arsenale di Venezia) with its beautiful façade, appropriate for the imposing naval station.

 

Canali di Venezia

 

I adore travelling. It is one of my biggest passions in life. In order to make it possible for me to travel whenever I want, to work wherever I have a good internet connection and as much time as I want to or have, I started my own online business that enabled me all of it. If you are like me, I am more than willing to share know how with you.

Verona in a Few Hours!

Ah, Verona!

City of romance and love! It is wonderful to spend a few days there, strolling around and inhaling the spirit of Shakespeare’s endless love.

But what if you have just a few hours to do that? It happens so often that we come to a place we really want to get to know better, but we have either very limited time or simply do not know where to start… In order to avoid future regrets, I will offer you my itinerary that you may find useful. I based it on top 10 or 20 sights to visit, suggested by a few internet sites. I found those places on the map and made my own route that saved me a lot of time and footsteps.

ITINERARY

  1. L’Arena di Verona
  2. La Piazza Brà
  3. Il Palazzo Gran Guardia
  4. Il Palazzo Barbieri
  5. I Portoni della Brà
  6. La Casa di Giulietta
  7. La Piazza delle Erbe
  8. La Fontana di Madonna
  9. La Torre del Gardello / La Torre delle Ore
  10. Il Palazzo Maffei
  11. La Colonna di San Marco
  12. La Torre dei Lamberti
  13. L’Arco della Costa
  14. Il Cortile del Mercato Vecchio
  15. Il Palazzo della Ragione
  16. La Piazza dei Signori
  17. La Loggia del Consiglio
  18. Le Arche Scaligere
  19. La Chiesa di Sant’Anastasia
  20. La Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare / Il Duomo
  21. Il Ponte Garibaldi
  22. Il Ponte di Castelvecchio /Il Ponte Scaligero
  23. Il Museo di Castelvecchio
Arena di Verona

Assuming that everyone can show you where the Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is, I chose it as our starting point. It is a Roman amphitheater in Piazza Brà, where you will also find two other famous Verona’s palaces: the Gran Guardia, and the City Hall (Palazzo Barbieri), numerous shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Next to the Gran Guardia, you will see I Portoni della Brà, an impressive gateway with a clock.

Taking street (Via) Mazzini, from Piazza Brà, you will get to Piazza delle Erbe, Verona’s ‘other famous square. Just before entering it turn right and 50m away, you will find the famous Juliet’s House (La Casa di Giulietta). The house and even more famous balcony inspired Shakespeare to write his play Romeo and Juliet. There is a bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard and hundreds of people trying to touch it, to visit the balcony, or to leave their love notes on the wall at the entrance.

La Casa di Giulietta
La Casa di Giulietta
La Piazza delle Erbe
La Piazza delle Erbe

After this little adventure you really deserve to take some time to enjoy Piazza delle Erbe. Every corner here is a small masterpiece. Madonna Verona Fountain, built in 1368, is in the middle of the square. On the left side you can see The Gardello Tower (La Torre del Gardello), called also “The Tower of the hours” (La Torre delle Ore).

The beautiful baroque palace with a facade full of ornaments and sculptures “Palazzo Maffei“, built in 1668 by Rolando Maffei, is right next to it. There is also The Statue of Leone Marciano, (Colonna di San Marco), a winged lion of St. Mark’s, a saint patron of Venice in front of it, to remind that Verona was a part of Venice’s interest sphere.

Il Palazzo Maffei e La Colonna di San Marco
Il Palazzo Maffei e La Colonna di San Marco
La Torre dei Lamberti
La Torre dei Lamberti

Finally, the most impressive piece to admire here is The Lamberti Tower (Torre dei Lamberti), the tallest (84m) medieval tower in the town built in 1172. Its 230 steps, or more easily the elevator will offer you a superb view from the top.

When you are done, take a walk through the Arco della Costa and enter the Old Market Square (Cortile del Mercato Vecchio) in the interior of the Palazzo della Ragione, with its stunning gothic stair-case.

Il Palazzo della Ragione
Il Palazzo della Ragione

Right in front of it, there is “La Piazza dei Signori”, also known as La Piazza Dante because of its statue of Dante Alighieri. La Loggia del Consiglio behind it, built in 1476, is a masterpiece of the Venetian Renaissance and its most magnificent building.

Le Arche Scaligere
Le Arche Scaligere

Next, you will come across The Scaliger Tombs (Le Arche Scaligere), five funerary monuments in honor of the Scaligeri family, rulers of Verona during the 13th and 14th centuries.

Turn left to Vicolo Cavalletto and then right, at the first corner to Corso Sant’Anastasia. It will take you straight to The Basilica of Saint Anastasia (Chiesa di Sant’Anastasia).

 

La Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare / Il Duomo
La Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare / Il Duomo

Turn left to Via Massalongo, further  Via Duomo, and you will get to The Cathedral of Verona (La Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare, Il Duomo di Verona) the Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Follow the street Arcidiacono Pacifico, which will take you to Garibaldi Bridge (Ponte Garibaldi). Then simply follow the Adige River to the left. You will first reach Ponte della Vittoria and then finally Castelvecchio Bridge (Ponte di Castelvecchio or Ponte Scaligero), built in the first century AD, destroyed in WWII and then rebuilt with the original red-colored bricks.

Il Ponte di Castelvecchio /Il Ponte Scaligero
Il Ponte di Castelvecchio /Il Ponte Scaligero
Il Museo di Castelvecchio
Il Museo di Castelvecchio

It is connected to the Museum of Castelvecchio, an impressive 14th century fortress.

Street (Via) Roma, beginning right in front of the museum takes you back to Piazza Brà, our starting point, and that is where our circle ends! 🙂

If you would also like to live a fulfilling life travelling and visiting new destinations and people whenever you want, but you are stuck with your daily commitments or simply limited by your budget, you might consider my way of working online.

I Portoni della Brà