Venice is my happy place even when I am in the worst mood ever this city makes me feel better. Every time I have the opportunity I love to go to Venice. I don't need the aim to go I just like to walk around and be surprised about its beauty. When I have time I love to go where there are fewer tourists to find hidden gems and places to take different photos instead when I have less time I just walk around and then stop for some wine and Cicchetti. Read more about the Must to do in Venice here VENICE.
Hidden gems in Venice
I visited the Libreria Acqua Alta almost by chance even if I am from Venice; I was lost in Venice and I found this amazing and particular place full of books and cats. This library is really lovely, taking the first step inside, you find yourself in front of a big gondola packed with books and around even better: a bathtub full of books with cute cats on it; if the interior has amazed you, the outside will excite you with a stair made by big books. You can find many types of books from historical to yellow books but also a lot of books about Venice and this is also the right place to buy an original souvenir, maybe a book about Venice or about the old kitchen in Venice or again about the dialect in Venice.
Squero San Trovaso is a very interesting place that not everyone knows about it and it is very traditional. In general, Squero is the term to call the place where the Gondolas are built and this, in particular, is the oldest and also one of the few yet in function. The construction of the Gondola is an art, every Gondola is different from the other, they are handmade and every artist has his secret to built them. There are almost 430 gondolas in all Venice and the cost for one is around 20.000 euro this, of course, because the construction has to be done with a specific wood and has to be worked to be strong to avoid damage. My advice? In front of the Squero after the canal, there is a Bacaro really delicious and nice, I used to grab some Cicchetti, some wine and sit in front of the canal and watching the activity, really relaxing on a sunny day.
The end of the Gondola (il Ferro di Prua) has a meaning, the big part represents the cap of the Doge, on the right, there is the Giudecca and on the left the 6 part represent Rialto, San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce, Castello, Dorsoduro, and Canareggio the six neighbour of Venice and all this big part it is the Canal Grande.
I always wanted to visit the most famous theatre in Venice, Teatro La Fenice but, you know, when you grow up in a city has to be something special to bring you to visit its monument and fortunately, this happens to me; I visited the Fenice on a Saturday night under the star in Venice for an event of a seral opening.
The theatre is situated in Campo San Fantin and It has a really long story; it was originally inaugurated in 1792, during the Napoleon period and it has been modified to host the sovran in the best way indeed it was built a canopy just for his visit. The Fenice was destroyed more than one time, in 1848 and again in 1866 due to the oil illumination used in that period and the structure in wood. Every time the theatre has been rebuilt with the theme and the scenography of that historical moment; the last reconstruction was in 1996 after a fraudulent fired and it was inaugurated with a big opening in 2003. Today the Fenice host famous and traditional exhibitions, like the Aida or Il Barbiere di Siviglia, but also modern shows and of course the typical New Year’s concert.
Ok, this activity is highly recommended if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in Venice, if you are in Venice for a city break or If you are tired of walking but not tired of seeing Venice.
Have you ever thought of a circumnavigation of Venice?
Get on ferry number 4.1, sit outside and enjoy all the circumnavigation of Venice. Personally, I love ferries but I have a problem with seasickness so I only did it once, but I really liked that single time. I took the ferry to Piazzale Roma and sailed all over Venice through the Giudecca, Arsenale to Murano. Do you want to discover more about Murano? Read more here MURANO. I like this ferry because it allows you to see places that are not so touristy or places that if you don’t have much time you won’t see them. Click here to discover the maps and timetable of the ferries. Venice Publics Transportation
Around 800 for safety reasons, all the bridges of the lagoon were added the bulkheads except for two bridges that still have the original style; one of these bridges is in Torcello, and one is in Venice. Have you been to Torcello or have you read my post on Torcello? If you know what I’m talking about otherwise check here TORCELLO.
The Venice bridge called Ponte Chiodo is located outside the regular tourist route; it is a private bridge that leads inside a house and is close to the Jewish ghetto. This is the perfect place for some amazing photos!
An interesting statue to visit is the Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni. Bartolomeo Colleoni was a warlord that fights in many battles for the Serenissima. In 1479 the Republic of Venice decided to celebrate the condottiere with a statue and just one year after Andrea del Verrocchio created the sculpture. The statue, in Campo San Zanipolo, represent Colleoni on a horse, and it is particularly interesting because the horse lay with only three legs and for that year it was a revolution. It wasn't easy to find the perfect stability for both warrior and horse. It seems that it is the first statue where the horse lay on only three legs.
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on Social Media. Share your pictures on social media using #tastravelnow or tag me so I can see them!
Also, follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my email list so that you will never miss a new post!
If you would like to book travel insurance for your trip to Venice, I recommend checking out Travel Insurance Master!
I went several times in Rome when I was child, with the school and other association I was in but I didn't remember a lot of it, for this reason, I decided to come back for a couple of days to visit Italy's capital.
Rome is one of the best city in Italy, in my opinion. It is chaotic, big, noisy, crowded, majestic, lively, ancient and beautiful. Rome has a long and prestigious history, I studied a lot in school and still see standing many things that books told is fantastic.
Historical sources attest that Rome was founded in the 8th century B.C. by Romulus. According to the legend, along the Tiber's banks there was the city of Alba ruled by Amulius who had deposed his brother Numitore. The daughter of the latter fell in love with the god of war Martha and from him had two sons, Romulus and Remus. Amulius, fearing that his throne was stolen, ordered the twins to be killed, but the soldiers abandoned them along the banks of the Tiber. A she-wolf attracted by the crying of the two children fed them until they were adopted by a copy of shepherd who found them. When they became great, they killed their uncle Amulius and restored the throne to their grandfather Numitore and founded a new city in the Palatine Hill, in fact, Rome. Romulus eventually killed Remus and became the first of the seven kings of Rome.
Things to do in Rome
Roman Colosseum. Called also Amphitheatre Flavia in the full city centre there is the Colosseo. Work began around 72 B.C. at the behest of the Flavian dynasty. It was then called the Coliseum because nearby there was an immense statue of Nero 35 meters high that is a colossus. Il Colosseo was used for games between gladiators and animals, shows and exhibitions. When these games were prohibited, the Amphitheatre was abandoned and used as a storehouse. Today, we can see only 1/3 of the Colosseo because the marble of the façade and some internal parts were used to build other building like the St. Pietro' Basilica. I always found the Colosseo incredible because not only it is full of history and shows how in ancient Rome, they liked to have fun but also because it is enormous and still standing, amazing.
Near the Colosseo, we can also find the Fori Imperiali. In this part of the city, there was the centre of the politic activity of the city. The many ruins make thinks that there were Temples, squares, Basilica and market. The Fori where destroyed and brought to light between 1924 – 1932. This is one of the places that I remember from when I was a child because they have a particular: cats everywhere. The cats with the ruins of Rome are amazing; they are in harmony and together are perfect.
Can you see the differences?
On the left summer 2005 no Covid and many people. On the right, summer of 2020 no people and a lot of Covid.
One of the most visited attractions in Rome is the Pantheon. A legend says that has been chosen this place to build the Pantheon for a reason; seems than in this exact place Romolo was taken from an eagle and brought in the sky with other divinity when he died. It was built around 27 A.C. as a small temple dedicated to all gods of Rome. During the years its structure changed as a result of many fires and this last form we owe it to Adriano that added, also, some Greek columns. The Pantheon is particular because it doesn't have windows, but all the light comes from a hole at the top of the Dome. The myth says that from the aperture the rain doesn't go inside, but it is not true; the floor is a little bit convex to allow the water to flow away. In 608 the Pantheon became a catholic church and was decided (1878) that all the kings of Italy would be buried here.
Majestic and imposing between small street is the Fontana di Trevi. I think that this is the best-known attraction of the capital for its beauty and also for the ritual of the coin thrown inside The fountain was wanted by pope Clemente XII and it is the unique example of a Roman aqueduct still in operation. The Trevi fountain is unique and imposing with this gorgeous decoration of statues and ornament. A legend says that throwing a coin back to the fountain makes you lucky; better to try, you never know maybe it’s true.
A very famous square and the most photographed is absolutely the Piazza di Spagna In this square we can find many important palaces, a fountain and the most beautiful thing the grand staircase towards Church Trinità dei Monti. The staircase counts 135 stairs, and during some celebration, it is decorated with beautiful flowers. This square amazes me every time I see it, and my passion for photos here goes crazy.
Between the small streets, always in the city centre, with the shape of a boat, there is Piazza Navona. Navona Square is loved by everyone, tourist, Romans and street artist; at every time of the day the square is crowded, the restaurants are full and the square lively. During the antique Romans, this square was used for games for aristocrats and also for the entire population. An interesting game I’ve heard about are the naval battles, the Romans filled the square with water and reproduced the battles. There is another very particular and interesting fact about this square; in Navona square, there is a church built from Borromini, and in front of it a fountain with four statues symbolize the four-country made from Bernini. The two hated each other and, since the fountain was built before and Bernini knew that his rival would build the church, the two statues in the fountains in front of it seem to cover their eyes as if to say that sucks.
I didn’t visit the Castel St. Angelo inside since there is a museum, but it is a must to see, even only, from outside in Rome. The castle was built on the outskirts of Rome by Emperor Hadrian who wanted this place to bury himself and his family. During the years it changed many times its functions from mausoleum to fortress against the invasions until 1367 when was donated to Pope Urbano V to solicit the return of the pope and catholic church to Rome from France. From this moment the castle became a residence of the pope.
Piazza del Popolo is another famous square in Rome. It is situated at the intersection of three famed shopping street, and It is well known for the fountain with lions, the twin churches and being close to Villa Borghese. The two churches were built by Carlo Fontano and wanted by Pope Alessandro VII; they seem identical, but they are not because there wasn't the same space available on the right and left. I didn't spend much time in this square because I took the scooter and I arrived in 10minutes of climb at Villa Borghese where I admired Piazza del Popolo from the top.
A few steps away from the Fori Imperiali there is the Vittoriano better known as Altare Della Patria even if the last one is just a piece of all the building. The Vittoriano was built around 1885 to commemorate Italy’s Unit and the first king of Italy instead the Altare Della Patria has been constructed in 1925 to celebrate the unknown soldier of World War I. I like this part of the city because it is something outside the other monuments; all its grandeur made of pure white, prominent statues and huge Italian flags illuminate the capital.
The ancient Romans were famous not only for the significant conquests but also to give more importance to games and body care, and the Baths of Caracalla are a perfect example. Emperor Marcus Aurelius also called Caracalla began the construction of the baths around 216 B.C. Today we can find only the ruins of the baths, but you can still admire the prominent structure and some walls that help us understand that this was the most significant and well-studied complex made in antiquity.
Moving a little further away from the centre we find near the Appia Antica district the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano and the Scala Santa. This Church is one of the Papal Church, and he is the only one that can celebrate services. San Giovanni in Laterano is a masterpiece of Borromini that built it around 312 d.C., by the will of pope Melchiade. The church from the outside seems a miniature of San Pietro even if it was built before; this makes San Giovanni the oldest Catholic church in the world.
Just a few steps from the church we can find the Scala Santa destination of many pilgrims because considered an important holy space. The stair is made of 28 steps, and it can be travelled only on knees; at the top, it is possible to look through a window inside the Private Pope Chapel (one of the most sacred spaces in the world). The story goes that the mother of Costantino dismantled the ladder that Jesus crossed to get to the Sanhedrin in Holy Land and had it transported to Rome. If you don’t want to take the stairs, just take a look at them and also the pilgrims praying.
If you have a half-day free and you would like to visit something different, I recommend the EUR. Eur is a neighbourhood around 20 minutes by car outside Rome. For the majority is a business quarter (The City of Rome) but it is particular because it has been made during the fascist era; It was a project of Mussolini to welcome the Universal Exhibition of 1942 (EUR= Esposizione Universale Roma translate as Universal Exposition Rome). With the outbreak of war, the event did not happen, but the neighbourhood has continued to grow years after years, and today is a mixture of modern skyscrapers and construction of fascist style. Everything it is beautiful but the best thing, in my opinion, is the squared Colosseo; today it is the headquarter of Fendi, and It stands out from the rest because it is a squared and imposing block with arches reminiscent of the Colosseo. Curiosity?? The square Colosseo is composed of six arches in horizontal and nine arches in vertical like the number of the letters in Benito Mussolini.
I love when a place is surrounded by mystery and legend, and Piazza Bocca Della Veritá is perfect; placed under the arches of the Santa Maria in Codmedin’s church we find the Bocca Della Veritá (Mouth of True). It is a colossal marble mask representing a face that screams and takes its name from a mediaeval legend. The mask was used as a lie detector indeed the person, accused of something, had to put the hand into the mouth and if he was saying the false the mouth closed and cut off the hand. Instead, it appears that an executioner was hiding behind the mask with a sword ready to strike.
What I love more in Rome? The panoramic points allow you to see all the city from the top surrounded by the Romans hills. One of my favourite panoramic views is Il Giardino Degli Aranci (Orange’s Garden), also called Parco Savello. It is a small but lovely garden with many orange trees with a majestic terrace that overlooks a breathtaking view of Rome. It is situated close to the Circo Massimo above a hill and, even if you don’t spend that much time because it is small, I recommend visiting it because it is relaxing.
After the garden, a little further on, before a church there is the most beautiful, hidden and surprising thing that you have to see; San Pietro seen from the lock hole. The hole is the lock of the gate of the Priory of the Knights of Malts and spying inside you can see a tunnel of trees that leads to the Dome of San Pietro.
The last time I went to Rome I was lucky enough to be driven around, and this allowed me to visit particular places and outside the capital so one Sunday afternoon I went to Villa d 'Este in Tivoli. Tivoli is a pretty town with narrow streets surrounded by ancient buildings, very characteristic but the best part is the Villa that from the outside does not look anything special but when you go inside there is a hidden world. Villa d'Este was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este around 1550 and includes the residential building and a fantastic garden decorated with tree-lined avenues, hedges, statues and numerous fountains and water games, real works of art. Inside beautiful frescoes and outside hidden places, huge fountains, secular trees and the most beautiful garden of Europe become part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The must that makes Rome famous in all the world is absolutely San Pietro. I love the idea that for visiting the most majestic church and square I have to go literally to another country even if they speak the same language and there is no border. I recommend the visit of the St Pietro Church, the square, the Dome and the Vatican museum to see the beautiful and amazing Cappella Sistina painted by the most famous artist Michelangelo.
As soon as you enter the door of the Basilica di San Pietro, you find yourself inside this large and imposing church with beautiful decorations and statues that make you want to stare at them for a long time. I particularly remember a statue; he was holding a kind of cloak, and it was as if he was waving it because the folds on the mantle were so well made that it seemed real.
Just to make you understand the size of the Basilica I give you some sizes: 218 meters long, 134 meters high contains 46 altars and 233 windows and could accommodate the beauty of 60 thousand people. It is still classified as the largest Catholic church in the world.
Inside this colossal church, we find some of the most fantastic pieces of art painted or sculpted by famous artists of the time. I think that the most important is La Pietà Di Michelangelo; it is situated on the prompt on the right under a glass case this stupefacient statue depicting the Madonna with Christ died in his arms. After a man attack that destroyed the face of Our Lady in 1972, the Pietá has been restored and put under the glass case.
I spent a lot of time observing the Basilica all the altars are different from each other and the decorations are always essential and carefully designed to give a masterpiece, the painting are colourful and fantastic made. When I visited all the Church, I moved under it at “Le Grotte” (The Caves). They are not right caves, but they are the gap between the old Basilica and the present Basilica di San Pietro, and you can also see the line of the old floor and the new one and even pieces of columns of the precedent Basilica. The Caves are important because many previous popes are buried here. The first time I visited the caves was in 2005, four months after the death of Pope John Paul II. I remember that it was impossible to walk near his tomb because it was crowded with people praying all around and I could see the massive devotion of these people to this great pope; I think that this is a thing that I will never forget.
Last but not least La Cupola (Dome). After visiting the Caves, you can decide to go up to the Dome and, in my opinion, it is a must to do because the view from the top it is breathtaking. There are two levels, in the first, you can decide to do around 560 stairs or take the elevator to arrive while for the last there are about 300 steps to do; I did both and the lift is much much better! After a few steps, directed to the top, ad after a door you arrive on the terrace that from inside the Basilica, where you can see not only the interior from above but also admire the fantastic frescos that surround it. Continuing, after 300 breathless steps and with a head that turns (for several spiral stairs) you get to the top where you can have a 360º view of St. Peter’s Square opening up to all of Rome.
Food in Rome
Last time I was in Rome for the first night in town I went to Frascati for dinner. Frascati is a city around 20 km from Rome and part of the Roman Castles. Frascati is famous for the beautiful aristocratic villas, for the productions of wine and of course for the delicious food.
I enjoyed dining here because not only the food is great, but also for the locations. I ate in one of the many "Fraschette" ( Fraschetta is the term to call taverns typical of the area) in the middle of a road with a table in precarious balance because of the slope of the road, but everything, crowned by a friendly and helpful waiter, was absolutely incredible, so special and folkloric that the table never bothered me.
Another dinner was held in Trastevere. Trastevere is a district of Rome and is famous for its typical restaurants and narrow and characteristics streets. This part of the city is always lively and full of young people ready for an aperitif, dinner or even just to be outdoors together. I went to early summer 2020 so, because of Covid there were not many people and I found almost immediately a restaurant otherwise be patient because it is always crowded.
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on Social Media. Share your pictures on social media using #tastravelnow or tag me so I can see them! You can also follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my email list so that you will never miss a new post!
If you would like to book travel insurance for your trip to Rome, I recommend checking out Travel Insurance Master!
Looking for activities and tours in Rome? I suggest you check out Get Your Guide. To find out more follow the link below and be inspired :)
Since I was a child, I used to travel a lot, especially with my parents and when I decided to move to Dublin seemed nice to have a kind of the last trip together. Here started our tradition, every Easter we spend our holiday somewhere together. This time we decided to stay in our nation, and we chose Torino (Turin). We reached Torino by train from Venice, it takes around 3h and 30 minutes, I booked a hotel in the city centre but also close to the train station, and we started to visit this fantastic city.
When I arrived for the first time in the city I was astonished, the huge tree-lined streets, the large historic and imposing buildings, the long arcades with elegant shops, fantastic restaurants and nice coffees house. Everything was excellent in my eyes; I thought that it was a wonderful city full of character and history. I enjoyed the mini-holiday not only because the town is beautiful or because I was in good company but also because the food and wine were sublime and delicious.
Things to do in Turin
Piazza San Carlo is one of the most important squares in Torino. The square during the history changed many names based on its utility of, was inaugurated as Piazza Reale on 1638; after 12 years became the Piazza d’Armi for the numerous assemble military and became the actual Piazza San Carlo in 1764 like the nearest church. The vast square is very nice and elegant with at the end two twin church, in the middle the Equestrian monument wanted for Emanuele Filiberto, leader of the Savoy dynasty, and all-around beautiful arcades with a historical and chic cafe. Curiosity?? On the floor under the portico, there is a gold bull, and the legend says that tread on the bull’s testicles brings fortune.
If you want to spend half a day outside the city centre, visit the Basilica of Superga is the right thing to do. At the top of a hill is situated the Basilica and you can reach it by car, by walk or with a historic tram; I recommend climbing the hill even only for the fantastic breathtaking view of all the city and the alps. In 1706 while the French army invaded the town of Torino Duke Vittorio Amedeo decided to climb the hill to see better what was happening. At the top, he found a small church and decided to make a vow: If Torino had survived the invasion, he would have built a bigger church in the same spot; In 1717 the construction began. Unfortunately, the Basilica di Superga is also famous for its dark history, in 1949 an airplane with the all Torino football club, called the Grande Torino, crashed into the hill and no one was found alive.
I am not a big fan of museums, but the Egyptian Museum was incredible; it is the house of the biggest collections of Egyptian antiquities. The museum was founded in 1894 by king Carlo Felice di Savoia and grew more and more during the years thanks to archaeological expeditions. In the museum, we can find statues, amulets, mummies, sarcophagi, papyrus and jewels. I went on a rainy day and, if you do the same, prepare for a long queue of people, it is trendy.
One of the day I was in Torino we decided to took a bus from the city centre, and in almost 40 minutes we arrived at the Venaria Reale a lovely old village famous for the Reggia di Venaria. The Reggia born by the will of Duke Carlo Emanuele II as the residence for the Royal House of Savona; the project was great, a massive garden with fountains, a palace for hunting with the annexe forest to practise and beautiful, elegant rooms. During the 700 the Palace was enlarged and became even more beautiful, graceful with gorgeous rooms and garden, and it became a real symbol of the Baroque. With the decline of the savoy and the arrival of Napoleon the Reggia was turned into a military barracks, first, and then abandoned to itself until 1999 when became UNESCO heritage and began the restoration works.
The restoration ended in 2007 and the Venaria re-opened the door to the public with enormous success because it is spectacular and full of history. We spent an entire day here, after a couple of pictures from outside we decided to visit the Palace at its inside between paint gallery of Savoia’s members, luxury Royal apartments with impressively decorated ceilings and the highlight, the Galleria Grande. My favourite place has been the garden. They are built on two levels, and it is lovely to walk among alleys, trees, colourful flowers and of course fountains and lakes, we spent a lot of time here because it was also Spring, so all the panorama was incredible.
Our last stop in this short but very productive trip has been at the Juventus Stadium, both my dad and I are Juventus supporter, so it was a must-visit where our team play, even if my mum (Inter support) wasn’t pleased about this. We took the bus from the train station, and in around 40-50 minutes we arrived in Corso Gaetano Scirea. If you are a fan of football, I recommend visiting it because it is not only a place to play football but there is also an interesting museum with all the history of the team during all the years. It was inaugurated only in 2011, so it is very interactive and well done. Our tour consisted of the museum, field and changing room and at the end the rooftop/spacious terrace with all the star of famous players. Attention: it is always very crowded, and I recommend going in the morning so you can go inside.
If you would like to book travel insurance for your trip to Turin, I recommend checking out Travel Insurance Master!
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on Social Media and please leave a comment and let me know what do you think about it.
Do not forget to share your pictures on social media using #tastravelnow or tag me so I can see them! You can also follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my email list so that you will never miss a new post!
Looking for activities and tours in Turin? I suggest you check out Get Your Guide. To find out more follow the link below and be inspired :)