Read more about the article Florence – Italy
Florence - Italy

Florence – Italy

Share it with the world

The Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance

Returning for a 3rd time in my life to one of the most wonderful cities in the world: Florence. It was year 2001 with my school for a cultural trip through Italy where we would spend 3 days in Florence, then in 2009 as a quick day trip from London where I would return to both Pisa and Florence, and back at night to London; and now, a well deserved return with some more time to revisit this beautiful city. Flying to Pisa does always work well, and this occasion was no exception. It is the perfect base to visit numerous other cities and places around as are Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignano, and of course, Florence, barely an hour away by train. For sure it won’t be the last in any case, but for now, it will be good enough for creating a well deserve guide for it.

After Rome, this is the next most visited city in Italy and by far, one of the most emblematic, acclaimed and visited cities in the world; while once upon a time, the most important city in Europe for the course of over 250 years. It Ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it’s inscribed as you could imagine, in the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its artistic, architectural and cultural heritage.

Florence is the birthplace of Opera, the Renaissance and neoclassical architecture. The cathedral’s Brunelleschi’s dome is the largest built in brick and mortar in the world, and third largest Christian church in the world. With so much rich history and the hundreds of sights it is guaranteed you will have a great time in the city. Plan at least two full days to enjoy the most, never a day trip unless you’ve already been here before. It is the fact that even a 2 full days will still be too short time if you consider on visiting the many museums and galleries, which some of them you cannot simply give a miss to be honest. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingFlorence – Italy
Read more about the article Mantua and Sabbioneta – Italy
Mantua - Italy

Mantua and Sabbioneta – Italy

Share it with the world

Most important Renaissance city in Italy

Continuing with another great day in this very busy weekend visiting so many places in such a short time, we move towards both Mantua and Sabbioneta. One complimenting the other, and near each other, both inscribed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites for being exceptional testimonies to the urban, architectural and artistic realizations of the Renaissance, linked through the visions and actions of the ruling Gonzaga family. While Mantua is the extension and redesign of the pre-existing city, Sabbioneta highlights the creation of a new city following the most perfect lines of the Renaissance. In both, the large amount of historic churches, palaces and buildings lead to be the main artistic, cultural, and especially musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole.

Some further notes in history about famous people or facts, we can start with Mantua being the birthplace of Roman poet Virgil, where a square and statue honor his name, Piazza Virgiliana. Not only that composer Monteverdi premiered his opera L’Orfeo in mantua, it is overall, one of the most important centres in the history of opera. As last, for the Shakespeare’s lovers, Mantua is the city where Romeo banished in the play Romeo and Juliet.

Northern Italy, in the same way as is the south, offer countless cities and sights one after another, literally. Just a mere dozen of kilometres apart and you are in a different world. So as we landed in Verona as our perfect base, and enjoyed Vicenza and Padua the day before, one world famous for being pretty much the “birthplace” of neoclassical architecture, and the other containing the world’s first botanical garden dating from the 16th century; today we get to enjoy what arguably has been described as the birthplace of the Renaissance architecture and urbanism. And all of this not even an hour away from Verona’s downtown. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingMantua and Sabbioneta – Italy
Read more about the article Nuremberg – Germany
Nuremberg - Germany

Nuremberg – Germany

Share it with the world

The Centre of the German Renaissance

Just 2 weeks since the last time we’ve been to Germany, in Stuttgart, we return to another of the cities we’ve never been before taking advantage of these really cheap low season flights right before the Christmas peak when the costs increase dramatically. Unfortunately we knew we would not be able to enjoy the world famous Christmas market in this occasion, as it was due for opening in 3 weeks after our visit, but at least we finally managed to come to this beautiful city avoiding a hefty cost.

I must say after this weekend I might have found some of my all-time favourite big cities in Germany, especially for adding the nearby “cake-dream” masterpiece city of Bamberg, an UNESCO World Heritage listed. Nuremberg is one of the most historic and traditional, where bearing the lost of 90% of its buildings during the WWII bombing raids, it was rebuilt afterwards to its pre-war medieval look. Not in full since half of its original historic centre was lost forever, but greatly enough comparing to all other cites of similar size that suffered the same fate. While there are hundreds of smaller cities so beautiful, with their typical timber-frame colourful houses towards the east and south of the country, and the brick Gothic Hanseatic cities of the north; Nuremberg is in the other hand a good combination of both, containing a wide variety of architectural styles from every epoch. In a sense like Bremen is, but larger and even more imposing.

A weekend is perfect and good enough to visit every bit of Nuremberg and nearby Bamberg without any rush but giving you plenty of time to also enjoy some nice food, cake and coffee or some beer at any of the nice Bavarian breweries yet beware of the sizes! In this part of Germany a litre glass is the usual; not that I would mind but it gets you drank without realising. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingNuremberg – Germany
Read more about the article Ferrara – Italy
Ferrara - Italy

Ferrara – Italy

Share it with the world

City of the Renaissance

Continuing our tour for today after visiting the city of Ravenna and at only 70 kilometres to the north we arrived in Ferrara. Another jewel city in Italy, and UNESCO World Heritage Site listed as: “City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta”. While Ravenna, although of the same size as Ferrara in population number it seemed smaller, and with the fact of having less to see bearing its 8 UNESCO buildings, here in Ferrara you will need to plan a bit more time to be able to visit all the sights since the city is more grand and with many more elegant streets and buildings all around.

Ferrara is also an important tourist centre, where majority of visitors are day-trippers from “nearby” touristy-on-mass Venice or Bologna with Modena and Parma. It is a very worthy city to visit and with the more and more trips we are continuously doing where we are “running out” of destinations it is great to see how many hundreds of secondary cities are all over across Europe still to visit; so this will still keep us going for some years.

The good side of smaller cities like Ferrara, yet packed with history and sights, is that you won’t need long time for visiting it as opposed to larger cities where you will need minimum the entire weekend. This was for us already the second city we visit today after Ravenna, and I can ensure you there was good time for both cities without rush; but what made the difference in saving us a lot of time commuting between the cities was having a rental car. It is anyway possible to do the same by train or bus Bologna to Ravenna, Ravenna to Ferrara, and back from Ferrara to Bologna in the night if your base is there as was our case and all in one day. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingFerrara – Italy
Translate »