Memory Card Technique for Learning Foreign Languages

memory card technique for learning foreign languages

This time I will show you how to use my memory card technique for learning foreign languages. I started using it while I was still at the University. We were supposed to memorize huge sentences in Latin and ancient Italian language, and as long as they were written on paper in some kind of logical order I somehow managed to reproduce them.

However, as soon as I tried to reach them individually, without context, it became much more difficult. Then I started using these cards, and the results were so fascinating even to me personally, that I immediately classified them as one of my basic teaching techniques.

During my classes, when I finish explaining a new grammar topic, I always give my students a task to translate a few sentences from native to foreign language. These sentences always contain a new grammar topic, some new or less familiar words we mentioned during that class and an actual event, which creates an emotional connection between students and sentences, which they recognize then as close, interesting, and relevant. For me as a teacher, it would surely be much easier to use always the same sentences, already prepared, but then, I would not be able to create that precious emotional connection.

memory card technique for learning foreign languages
Memory Cards

After we check and correct them, their next task is to copy those sentences to small papers (usually 1/32 of an A4 format, meaning an A4 format folded in half 5 times), so that each sentence is written on the separate paper. In such a way we avoid the effect of the “memorized image”, I spoke about last time. The sentence in the mother tongue is always written in blue for example, and its translation is always red, with no intention to create any psychological effects, but to make it easier to pick them up and put them together if they scatter.

I insist on using small papers because it is the only way that we can have them with us all the time, on the plane, in the wallet, or simply in an empty box of chewing gums. Thus, whenever we find ourselves stuck in a queue or in traffic jam, during the day, we can take them out and use this time wisely instead of getting annoyed.

The next phase is, naturally, crucial. We read the sentences in our language (blue side) and try to translate them to the language we want to learn to speak. It is not something that we should learn by heart, because we are already familiar with the grammar and new words in them. We should learn them as an ideal basis for making hundreds of new similar combinations.

When we give the answer, we turn the paper and check its accuracy on the red side. If we make a mistake, we should try to understand why we did it, and then we put that paper on the bottom of the pile. If we are just insecure or insufficiently fast, the paper goes to the bottom again. Only if we give the answer promptly and accurately, we can put that paper aside.

learning foreign languages.

When we encounter the same paper for the second time, we should translate it easier. If this is not the case, paper will end up again at the bottom of the pile. After the second and the third round, the pile will start getting smaller, and our attention can concentrate on the most difficult ones. It is important to keep going through them, until we learn the last paper. We should repeat the whole procedure the next day, then in 3, and in 7 days. It is always amazing to see how well some of them manage to escape from our memory.

As a result, we will always have the latest 10 or 20 papers that we know badly, the next 20 that still torture us, but the pile of those ones that we know excellently will grow day in day out, and they represent our real knowledge.

What do we get with this?

  1. We learn some new grammar rules.
  2. We learn some new words.
  3. We create a basic sentence that we can easily adjust to new situations.
  4. Most importantly, we create an automatic response in a foreign language, and therefore spontaneous speech.

I will end this by sharing a personal experience of mine. After several months of studying with these cards, I went to my exam, got my questions, and naturally remembered everything without a problem, but what amazed me and my professors most, was the ease and the speed of my language. It was completely spontaneous and smooth.

Do try this simple system and tell me about your experiences.

If you want to receive updates about my new posts, please leave me your email address in the “contact” section.

Language Learning Tips – Words

Talking to my friends who would like to engage with me in some sort of online business, I often encounter their lack of knowledge or insufficient knowledge of the English language, as an obstacle. The opportunities that a global world market can offer are far greater than any local and national ones, and therefore using English for work, for me was a logical choice. Furthermore, the system I have chosen to get the necessary knowledge and experience for this job, offers training, brand-new software and support of more than 2,000 members on the same path of growth, always ready and eager to help, but in English.

Hence my need for trying to share my 25 year long experience in language teaching and all the things that could make the learning easier, or even more interesting and entertaining, in the next blogs on the site. I am a professor of Italian language and literature, my mother tongue is Serbian, I learned English and Russian at school and now I am studying Greek for fun.

My students achieve remarkable results because we use all the resources we have to make studying easier and more enjoyable and we use some tricks to fool our own brain so that it does not deceive us.

How do you study new words? The answers I get to this question are fascinating. Some students repeat them a few times, or read them once and simply try to memorize. Some of them make lists with the words and their translation and keep reading them.

Imagine that you have a list of 30 new words, you learn them for a while and then, only after a few hours, during a test or in a conversation, you cannot remember many of them.

Then maybe you start repeating learned words, and your brain already knows which word is the next one below and which is the last one. This is because the brain memorizes the picture of the list and reproduces it at that moment, but it has nothing to do with real knowledge and it is not of a permanent character.

If you try to use a word from the list the next day, there are great chances that you will be very angry at your bad memory. After all, what did you actually do?

Imagine that you are a great fan of t-shirts and you are fond of buying them. Every day you buy some and put them in your wardrobe, without order. There is now a chaotic pile there, but you love it. Then, it happens that you need a yellow t-shirt with the green strips and you know you have it, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot possibly find it. The same thing happens in your head with words. There is no hook in the sea of them, which will draw the desired word to the surface.

However, if you hang the t-shirts in the closet, the situation will be completely different. No matter how many T-shirts there are, the sleeve of the one you want will still be visible and easy to find.

Thus, the most important thing in learning foreign words and languages in general is creation of associations. My younger students, after just a few lessons, become little experts in making them, and the older ones, used to repetitive learning, find it a bit harder, but they also start liking it as soon as they experience the first benefits of lasting and reliable memory.

associations

  1. Make a list of thirty words of a foreign language, and write their meaning on the right
  2. Read them and try to create a good association to each one of them. For example, the Serbian word for a monkey is “majmun”. Pronounced, this irresistibly reminds me of “my Moon”, so you should try to imagine the Moon in the sky that itches like a monkey. In addition, if you can “hear” the sound of it or “see” for example, the red color of its cap, the association will be better and more reliable. The more connected ideas to the desired word you make, the better the association gets. We can take for example, the Italian word for a tree “albero”. It looks like Albert, doesn’t it? Then imagine Albert Einstein sitting under a tree, rubbing his mustaches and thinking about relativity! It takes a little time and effort when you first encounter a new word but this way is far more efficient than learning it by heart, which usually, very soon ends up with forgetting.
  3. Cover the right side of the list and make sure you know the translation of each foreign word.
  4. Cover the left side now and try to translate the words in the opposite direction, from your language.
  5. Ideally, give someone to read them to you randomly to avoid the “memorized image”, i.e. what the brain has visually scanned, which, in most cases has nothing to do with knowledge.

Next time, I will introduce you to my “technique of small papers” that you will be able to use also for word learning later. From week to week, I will try to pass on to you many things that I have created for my students during all these years, that made their learning process of foreign languages much easier and much more fun. If you want to receive updates about new posts, leave me your email address in the “contact” section, and if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Fear of Change

Fear of Change

The more time I spend on the Internet communicating with people and talking to my closest friends, the bigger is my need to write a few lines about a terrible phenomenon that is deeply rooted in our society, called indecision, indifference and lethargy.

We all face problems and ours are always both the biggest and the most terrifying. There are people who, when they encounter a problem, do their best to solve it, and those ones who will keep complaining about it, no matter how much advice they get, without even considering the possibility to apply some.

Is it possible that our fear of change is so big that we stay immobile and prefer keeping the existing, obviously poor state, to taking a risk and getting, maybe, something worse? Life is not a gamble. In most cases, it is the product of our decisions and our choices.

Why are we so averse to accepting the responsibility for our own lives?

Fear of Change
Fear of Change

I will give you just a couple of examples.

I know many women who remain in catastrophic marriages and relationships just because of mere material security, or because of their children, thus giving them immediately the perfect model to avoid in their lives. In the worst cases, they choose to stay together to have company for parties, restaurants or holidays.

If they dare to leave their bad relationships or marriages, they usually do it only hoping to find better partners who will provide them with more satisfying lives. Do we really estimate our abilities so poorly? How about trying to build the life of our dreams on our own, that will consequently, bring the right people to us.

Let me give you an easier example. Many of my friends are struggling to lose weight. I often hear them saying that I am a lucky girl, the same for years, that I cannot gain weight. Oh yes, I certainly can.

The only difference is that I prefer being slim to a donut or to a glass of wine or beer. Such an explanation immediately brings negative comments that I am a slave to life, instead of enjoying it. On the contrary, I always take the maximum of it. I enjoy eating out. I adore chocolates and sweets, but from time to time and moderately. To be able to enjoy my favorite sweets whenever I want, I exclude buying those, always available ones, in the supermarkets. It also saves a lot of money! I will have dinner at a beautiful restaurant once or twice a week, but all the other meals during that week will be light and controlled.

Take Control

I often hear many of my young students complaining about their look. They say that they prefer sitting in front of a computer or TV in the evenings or at weekends to going out with friends and exposing themselves to possible unpleasant comments about their overweight. They feel embarrassed, but they take another bite of a pizza anyway. I try to explain, that the age they have, with all its privileges comes once in a lifetime and that they have to take full advantage of it. Sacrificing now something that will be at their disposal all their lives, will enable them to enjoy something else that belongs just to that specific period of life. It is now that they should receive so many compliments every day, they will remember for the rest of their lives, and meet more new people than ever again later.

Then I tell them to ask themselves if that tasty burger or chocolate are worth losing a compliment or a smile of a handsome young man or a beautiful girl or staying at home. If their answer is yes, it is perfectly fine, because it is then their choice. We all have our own priorities. If instead, we do something and feel the need to justify our behavior, then we talk about our weaknesses. We should enjoy our passions but should also be aware of our weaknesses and try to defeat them.

The same goes for the job. I know so many people that simply hate Mondays! They do their 9 to 5 jobs waiting for the weekend, or even worse, for their retirement. That is when they will compensate everything they missed in their youth. I seriously doubt it. Aging still carries its limitations.

I also know some unemployed people, and whenever I start talking to them about numerous possibilities of working online nowadays, they immediately find at least three times as many excuses not to do such a thing. Then I am ready to hear again – “It is easy for you. You do not have a preaching boss who gets on your nerves. You go on holiday whenever you want, you travel wherever you want.” They are actually right. Now they are. But I know very well that it took a lot of courage for me as a young girl, to take on the responsibility for my decisions and to start my own business, choosing it among  seemingly more favorable opportunities offered to me at the time, and to keep growing it later, even as a single parent.

Fear of Change

Can you then imagine the reaction to this new initiative of mine? At the moment when my work finally allows me to live not too luxurious, but rather comfortable and carefree life, I decide to embark on a completely unfamiliar field of digital marketing and online business. It takes a lot of self-control to spend evenings and weekends when everybody else relax or have fun, working on self-development and learning something completely different and new. At the same time I am fully aware that we will not be able to resist to this trend much longer and that we need to jump in as soon as possible.

That is my choice. The freedom that this knowledge gives is invaluable. Instead of living peacefully, I consciously embark on a new challenge that brings no risk, but requires devotion and consistency. The training is both interesting and useful. Every day I am a witness of my personal improvement and it gives me great satisfaction.

If I could give every one of you just a little bit of my passion and desire to move you forward to a better life and to your dreams coming true, I would do it. Still, I am afraid you will have to find it by yourselves. Always bear in mind that “fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

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!

Your Life Is Your Choice

The New Year is approaching and we all tend to analyze the previous year and to promise ourselves different wonders and impeccable behavior. Unfortunately, this mood usually lasts just for the first few days and then we all return to our usual habits and weaknesses. Then why are we so excited? Why do we blindly repeat this every year? Simply because the feeling, while visualizing them, is so good. Still, all it takes to accomplish them is to keep fantasizing and to stay positive.

I become aware of how positive thoughts are important to our lives a long time ago, in my early twenties. Today, you can find such studies everywhere, but at that time, I even risked looking weird, especially if I started talking about it enthusiastically. I also learned some techniques of relaxation, of passing from alpha to beta and delta states of consciousness, of treating with my own hands. I can assure you that each of these techniques worked perfectly for the first few months. If you come to a bus stop and want a bus, it comes right away. If you want to park your car, a free parking space is immediately in front of you. If you want to get your favorite questions at the exam? No problem.

Then you see John, a friend from the group who managed to lose 20 kilos using these techniques, or Mary who found a new job after a long time. However, as time passes, you slowly start forgetting the techniques and you spend less time visualizing your goals, for a simple reason that you actually do not know what you really want.

Finally, you start doubting that they had ever had an effect.

I remember that the only important thing for me then was to be slim, and I achieved it almost immediately, but I explained to myself that it would have happened anyway, with or without visualization. It might have. From this point of view, I find particularly interesting how my mind used to play with the visualization of my ideal partner. In fact, I always got exactly what I had asked for. However, as a rule, I would also discover an infinitely negative characteristic in them that I could not foresee. Much later, I learned to add this positive affirmation, while visualizing my ideal partner: “He always surprises me only in a positive way!”

It is interesting that, along with all my skepticism, and the absence of practicing, these techniques functioned perfectly in some critical moments.

I remember a situation when I went to clean the snow off the car in front my building, when my mother suddenly started shouting out of the window and calling me to go back immediately. She was in the house with my six-year old son and my father. Instead of imagining all possible versions of the catastrophe in my head, I forced myself to repeat one single sentence: “Everything is fine”, blocking in that way all the negative thoughts. Indeed, when I arrived, everything was fine. More precisely, my son had fainted while waiting in a warm jacket for me to call him to get downstairs, but when I arrived, he was completely fine.

I also remember when I had lost the car keys on a 300 meter long sandy beach in the morning, and found them six hours later, as soon as I applied the technique. Would I have found them without it? Maybe. Would everything have been fine at home even without those focused thoughts? Maybe. Still, I doubt.

Such examples are numerous. It was not difficult to draw a conclusion about what made some of them successful. It is not enough only to visualize your goals, no matter how well you do it, making them stronger by adding sounds, colors or scents. It also requires implementing deep, sincere emotions and unconditional faith.

Why am I telling you all this?

I have been working as a professor of languages for whole my life. I have hundreds of students whose way of learning in general changed drastically after my classes. I am loved and respected and the lists of new students, still waiting for me to teach them, are very long. However, at one point, I realized that working 9 hours a day is too much. Although I travel with my son 3 or 4 times a year, and dance very often, those are the only things I do for myself. Someone would say it is more than enough. However, I think our life is too short and we have to use every second of it wisely, loading it with new memories, feelings and knowledge.

I started thinking of filming my lectures and uploading them on YouTube, but also of other opportunities that online businesses offer, of digital marketing and of using my Instagram and Facebook accounts for it. I liked the idea of freedom to travel and work at the same time wherever and whenever I wanted.

Just then, accidentally or not, among so many offers to develop a successful online business, an offer came to me, and thanks to it, you are reading this today. The ideal one. They expected no particular computer skills from me. It is a comprehensive, detailed program, which guides you from point A to point B gradually towards the success and the goals you set for yourself. They asked for as much dedication as we could give, depending on how fast we wanted to reach our goals and the only thing they really required was a new mindset, positive and focused on success. The one that I have been familiar with all my life.

Everything matched.

Now only the sky is the limit. I wish this New Year brought you such awareness. Our brain is a magnet. If you think positively, positive things will come to you. If you think about problems all the time, they will always be at your disposal.

Write to me about your experiences. Have you managed to get rid of negativity and criticism so far?

Always remain positive and optimistic! Dream big, smile often, be grateful for everything you already have and enjoy every step of your journey!

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.

If you are also passionate about travelling, do something to make it always available to you. Ask me how!

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! 🙂

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I Portoni della Brà