Ciao Italy

We (Myself, my beloved wife and my son visited piece of Europe in May 2017. It was a long due visit. I wanted my wife to experience Europe. Son was studying his masters in Netherlands. It was easy for him to join us from Rotterdam.


After lot of deliberation, We zeroed in on Milan, Venice and Rome.

It was not easy to pick the places in Italy. There are plenty of beautiful places to visit.


My job was to get the visa done for myself and my wife, which was relatively straight forward. 


Why Italy why not Switzerland ?


Switzerland is really nice, neat, clean & beautiful. However if you are looking for some historical places, then Switzerland is out. Switzerland is for siesta.

Stay & Travel :

To cover Milan, Rome and Venice, you need at least week. Hotel booking, local bus / train booking can be easily done online. My son did all the booking. Of course he had the access to my credit card !


I try to show a bit of each place we visited through my pictures below.

Milan:

Sempione Park. A beautiful lush green park. The 
Tall building in the middle is Castillo Sforzesco. 
 

 Another view of the park showing a Memorial. Arch de Plaza


 Closer look of the Arch de Peace. Looks like our India Gate in Delh
i


A group meditating in front of the memorial. Quite interesting to look at. 

Duomo de Milan. One of the largest cathedral in the world. A magnificent one. 

Few snaps from From the top of the Cathedral. Beautiful sculptures.   Architectural, artistic monument. Marvellous Building. The construction is said to be started in 1386 and was quite rapidly progressed upto 1402. But it was in 1965 the its last gate got finally inaugurated. 600 years !

Taking Selfi ????
 A mass in progress. Very serene ambiance and majestic view.

It is all about sculpture, painting and marvellous architecture. 
Above is a 16th century statue of St.Bartholomew, who is said to have been flayed and crucified upside down.

A beautiful glass painting adorning the window pane

View from top of Duomo de Milan cathedral 

Milan Port, Navigli :

It is not port as such. It is a canal and people enjoy the boat ride, sit along the bank & move around and relax.

Como Lake & Bellagio village :

 Statue of great Scientist Alessandro Volta. Electrical parameter voltage is named after him. He invented battery I understand. 

The lake in Como is quite large (146 sq km)and there are places along the sides. One can take a big boat ride to these places. People visit village Bellagio (one of popular places on lake side) to roam around and have lunch. 

This lake side has been place of great interest since Roman time. Many celebrities have their Villas along side the famous lake – like – George Clooney, Silvester Stalone, Madonna and many more…


The boat ride itself is very enjoyable. One type is rapid, it takes one hour to reach Bellagio the other one takes two hours. There are regular boats through out the day. 

Village Bellagio :

 Bellagio is a nice town. One can enjoy moving around and to have good food. Of course our good was limited to looking for “Jain food” since we take only vegetables and pulses. 

Finding vegetarian food outside India is a challenge. Vegan culture is slowly gaining momentum though. Many vendors here understand ” Jain food” concept. Thanks to quite considerable presence of Indian Gujarati community.

Venice :

Other than main land Venice is a whole maze. Small lanes and canal and canals only. No vehicles here. That too no two wheeler s. Instead of road they have canals. Small boats are their transport vehicles. You will find very high end branded shops along some side of the maze and street side type shops also in another side of maze. 

I wondered as to how they manage their waste and sewage. I tried to Google but could not get any satisfactory answer. It is very easy to release the house hold waste into canal, since they do not have no option. But Canals were not smelling rat. 

I could gather that the city still runs on 16th century sewage system. Many say that the waste is actually released in to water canal. I do not know how they manage. But believe me the water did not smell bad. Tourist take joy ride around the city in small boats. Local people boat through the canal only. 

It is worth learning from them as to how they manage their waste. 

Vartur lake in Bangalore crossed my mind. 

Small lanes in between the canals.


Shop in alley


 Rialto Bridge

mani road … oops mani canal.

Basilica de st mark :

St. marks Square


 In St. Marks square you will find these daring Sea Gulls. They could snatch the food items from your hand. Beware !

Shops and eating places along the shore

It is like a Mela. Lot of crowd. May is tourist season.
San Giorgio Maggiore church

Rome :

Piazza Del Popolo. It is a large urban square in Rome. the name in modern Italian means “people’s Square” 

Colosseum :

 No need to explain the Colosseum, for those who has seen the movie – The Gladiator”

The ruins take you back in time. It shows the Roman life style of that time.

Arch of Constantine
View of Colosseum
Arch of Constantine – another view

 Below is the picture of a picture. Felt like I have gone back in time and took this image. 

Pompeii & Vesuvius :

Pompeii was buzzing prosperous city since 600 BC. About 20K people were staying then.

In August 79 AD the mountain erupted and Pompeii devastated.An eye witness Pliny the younger a Roman administrator and poet has recorded the event.

Mount Vesuvius spewed forth a deadly cloud of ash and gasses to a height of about 33km ejecting lava. Several Roman settlements were obliterated and buried underneath massive ash as high as 20 ft.

The total inhabitants of the cities were 16K to 20K, the remains of about 1500 people have been found at Pompeii and Herculaneum, but the over all death toll is still unknown.

Pompeii was forgotten up till 15th or 16th century. Thereafter some one accidentally found out and subsequent studies and careful excavation revealed the entire city of Pompeii.

It is too huge a site complete in a day. If you want to cover whole, you need several days. We covered a portion of it.

 Entrance and Mount Vesuvius in back drop. 


Amphitheater almost intact and of course little bit of it are rebuilt I suppose.

The interior of an house, almost intact

Must have been the house of some rich Roman.

Five images above show a massive Villa. Mosaic and marble floor, painted walls, proper roof, rooms, balcony, It is said then Rich Roman used stay in big Villas, middle class used stay in apartments and poor used stay in huts or common places. Things have not changed even after two thousand years. Yeah!

 Proper paved roads, main and cross road with marks of cart still can be seen. 


 This city was a great tourist and trade spot. What you see above was a kind of a hotel and in front of it was a brothel (see below). There are rooms inside with colorful graffiti and the cost of service mentioned.  

Roman kings exercised a soft power to rule – feed & entertain – historians say it. The remains of this city is a standing testimony of the statement. They were rich, they had lavish life style. 

Paved Road

Locker room in the bath rooms. Romans used to take three types of bath. Hot, cold, normal. These rooms show the construction of the rooms – double floor, double walls, double roof even !

Roman city had water fountains on roads – drinking water. They had even underground pipes (lead and concrete). In one place a there is remnant of an underground pipe is visible. 

Archaeologists have recovered many earthen pots, skeletons of human and animals like goat and dogs. The body of a person shown in the picture. Poor guy died in same posture. The skeletons have been plasti cast. 

Mount Vesuvius :

Most dreaded, live volcano. Authorities monitor it 24 x 7, and they have some evacuation plan for the city, in place, I was told.

One can reach the base by bus or car. Then you need to hike a km or two up hill to reach the crater edge. From top you can see panoramic view of Naples. We were on guided / package tour that made it easier.

View of Naples.
The huge crater, still simmering.

Vatican City, Museum,Sistine Chapel :

You need to stand in queue before entering the Vatican, museum. Depends on the crowd. At least an hour or more. Many hawkers approach you to get you “skip the Line” and take you directly in, which is not true. So do not get along with them. If you have taken a prepaid tour agency then it may be true. 

Museum was beyond my imagination. It is so vast & huge. You need several days to real take a deep look into. 

Huge collection of sculptures and paintings of Michelangelo(Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) are preserved in the museum. Amazingly huge and magnificent sculptures and paintings collections. Just can’t be explained here.

I show some pictures here. 

Photography is not allowed only in Sistine chapel. It has most famous paintings of Michelangelo on the ceiling.   

Above is one of the many famous paintings of Michelangelo on the ceiling of Sistine chapel. 

NOTE : This picture is not mine. PC – Internet.   

A beautiful glass painting

Famous Staircase in Vatican Museum. It is known as Bramante Staircase. It is actually double helix type, two stair cases interlaced. One for going up and another one is to climbing down. Now only one (climbing down) is being used. 

Vatican Square :

 Pantheon 

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the time of Augustus

Huge dome inside Pantheon

Trevi Fountain 

Trevi Fountain. Beautifully sculptured building. 

Spanish Steps

Last words :

Italy is all about sculptures, paintings and full of historical spots. It may not be as aesthetically beautiful as Switzerland but it becomes insignificant when you relish its rich heritage and history and the way they have preserved and made major tourist spots.

Italy is all about sculptures, paintings and full of historical spots. It may not be as aesthetically beautiful as Switzerland but it becomes insignificant when you relish its rich heritage and history and the way they have preserved and made major tourist spots.

April May is the best time to visit Europe, that too for those from tropical regions of Asia. But if you want to ski then be there in January.

Those who are on budget, like us, the best way to enjoy the tour is to book the specific visits like Pompii, or Vatical through a guided package. Book the travel tickets between the cities on your own, online. Book the hotels on your own, online. This works out better than booking the whole tour on a package.

Many times through out the trip I kept on saying about cleanness, neatness and discipline of Europe – Italy- Switzerland and again compared to my beloved India. 

My son said one thing which perplexed me and put me on thinking. Through out the trip, we did not get to see a single stray animal on the road. My son said – who gave us the right to use the earth to use only for us, we human beings. Is that wrong if you have some stray animals on the road ?

I do not know. I did not answer. 

Published by wander through lens

An avid trekker, traveller, who finally freed himself from a corporate cobweb. Loves lush green, snowy mountains, blue sky and crystal water.

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