Unexpected, that's the word that fits this place. Even when you have seen pictures of the place they don't prepare you for this bizarre creation.
Vicino Orsini (1522-1580), Duke of Bomarzo when the garden was implemented in 1552, wanted something breaking any architectural and artistic rule as a memorial to his late wife.
Taken from Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" on a plan by architect Pirro Ligorio (who later worked on St. Peters) the sculptures are an extraordinary sight.
This cute little piece shows Ercole about to rip Caco apart in a scene from the Battle of the Giants.
Parco dei Mostri is definitely a "must-see" for the discerning tourist.
However, a few years after my visit a movie featured the park; one suspects since that happened there will be a considerably increased number of tourists.
My travels to Prato:
Thus far, I have only visited the Tuscan city of Prato on a day trip in 2003, as part of my Italian holiday that year.
Things to do in Prato:
Naturally, start off by trying out the famous local cantuccini biscuits! On a more serious note, the Cathedral of Santo Stefano (similar to many Tuscan cathedrals in style, including white and black stone, but much less crowded) with its fine medieval frescoes shoud be the first stop. A walk along old city walls. Also the Gothic Palazzo Pretori and the Prato Castle. Numerous fine churches, too, including first of all Santa Maria delle Carceri and St. Agostino, both dating back to the 15th centiry. Prato also has a number of older churches, including St. Fabiano (11th century), St. Domenico and St. Francesco (both 13th century).
My travels to Rimini:
Rimini - Federico Fellini's home town - was my base on a week-long trip to Italy in 2003 when I have mostly visited cities in Emilia Romagna region
Things to do in Rimini:
If you are visiting in summer - over 10 miles of beach, resort nightlife and amusement parks would top the list. All year round, visit the 13th century Cathnedral (also known as the Tempio Malatestiano) first. Then head for a round-up of the local Roman monuments, some of which date back to the 1st Century BC. These include the amphitheatre, the Tiberius Bridge and the Arch of Augustus. Also the smaller churches, among which are San Fortunato, St. John/St. Augustine, San Giovanni, and St. Giuliano. To finish, don't miss the Emilia Romagna cuisine!
My travels to Matera:
We've found Matera through pictures on TrekEarth - the travel photography website - when looking for our destination for a 3-day bank holiday break in May 2010. Unusually, there was no debate about it - we booked everything straight away so unusual the place looked
What to do in Matera:
Matera gets relatively few tourists from abroad, but those who do come get to see the unusual Sassi - the pre-historic houses built in the passages and caves dug out in the local hillside. Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso. The entire old town is, in fact, these two Sassi neighbourhoods. Among things to explore are museums of cave life, cave churches, restaurants serving the wonderful Basilicata cuisine (yes, you guessed it, they most often are in the caves, too). The beautiful floodlights illuminating the town at night make Matera a must visit place for photographers.
Hotel of choice:
For us it had to be the Sextantio Grotte della Civita' - their cave suites are among the best hotels either of us has stayed in.
I was rushing to Volterra by car and this small town on the top of the hill was on my way to there. I took few pics only, as mush as I could do it from the road, didnt stop and didnt enter into the town. The idea was to visit it on my way back, in case I will stay another night in Siena. At Volterra, however, in the late evening I made decision to drive in the direction of Pisa and stay there for a night. Too bad, Colle Val d'Elsa deserving another chance and I hope to have it soon since am travelling soon to Tuscany again, this early autumn of 2001.
Portobuffole is small town in Veneto whic hardly could be found on the map of Italy. It is unknown even to my Italian friends, except to those who stay at Vicenza. This place could be reach only by car, taking local road from Vicenza in direction of north.
It is very small but beautifull and very well preserved medieval place worth of visiting. It takes less then half an hour to explore it old core which is of exceptional beauty.
Check more on my Portobuffole page.
Pordenone is one of those off the road places which most of the tourists never visiting or coming here only by chance. It is small town in the province of Veneto situated north of A4 highway. One need to take local roads (statale) to come over here by the car.
The historic core of Pordenone is in particularly interesting, no splendid palaces can be found here and yet visitors should be enchanced by the look of the Venetian styled houses which a beautifully decorated by the frescoes. Check more about this charming place at my Pordenone page.
Ninety per cent of the tourist share an image of each visited country, that only in a small part coincides with reality. To know the real country and people, you have to step outside of the common circuits, and... get lost (I love to loose myself when travelling with time, to Fernanda's despair).
Not far from Rome, Roccantica is small town perched in a hill, with a magnificent look. And you will not being wasting your time, if you make a brief stop.
I was not lost! I went there expressly and twice.
If you want to be near Rome, far from the world and get a fantastic experience, go to Fabio's cooking lesson at Malazzo. He will pick up you from the hotel, for a wonderfull and tasty experience. Not very cheap, but you enjoy every euro you spent to
For me folks, Fiat is Italia and Italia is Fiat.
I still remember the smell of the new Fiat600 car, many years ago, as we all know.
Those were the days, my friends..
I was surprised and a bit excited to meet this mythological car in Milano, Salerno, Umbria and more.. kicking and moving proudly on the streets.
Just watch a big male getting into it or out of it!
Misplaced on my way to the east coast and having just eaten in Piedeluco I was unprepared for this lovely surprise and would have spent more time were I on my own but all I could do was get just a few shots of this lovely place.
The ancient Vitelleschi feud has reached modern times as it was in the Middle Ages, as if time hasn't even withered it, offering the visitor a truly particular atmosphere.
Some decades ago, an architect from Belgium bought a house in the town, and then bought many others in ruins. He then began to invite his friends to the town...to sell them the various ruins under the condition that he could take care of the restoration.
The result is truly attractive.
There are not only particularly important monuments in Labro; that which interests the visitor is the atmosphere the town manages to create.
The city dominates a tall hill; no modern building disturbs this medieval panorama; the belltower rises above the town.
Having entered the main entry, you begin to wander along the narrow alleyways and small stairways; the entire town is made of stone and even the pavement is constructed from large cobblestones. Many walls are covered by climbing plants that bloom in springtime. Every once in a while panoramic views open toward the Reatina Plain and Piediluco Lake.
The castle is still inhabited by the family that built it in the Middle Ages, the Noble Vitelleschi family, that allows for guided visits every day, morning and afternoon.
not just the door beautiful...
Peggy Guggenheim was the great-granddaughter of Swiss immigrant Simon Guggenheim who made a fortune in metals: lead, silver, copper. Though Peggy whose father Benjamin went down on the Titanic, was not one of the major heirs, she inherited enough to support her art habit.
Peggy began her career in the arts in 1938 as the owner of a gallery in London. When WWII came she fled Europe and opened Art of This Century Gallery in New York showing Surrealists and Abstract artists. In 1947, Peggy returned to Europe, bought Palazzo Venier dei Leoni and showed her collection at the Venice Biennale. Near the end of her life, Peggy, who had originally dreamed of opening a museum way back in 1939, decided to leave her house and her art to the public to serve as a museum.
Photographs show Peggy Guggenheim in some of the rooms, identifying their function when she lived there. The library, now hung with de Chirico, Tanguy, and others, is a peaceful room facing the Grand Canal.
As continuing through the museum, you begin to appreciate how closely connected Peggy?s life and her taste in art were. Her loves were Cubism, Abstraction, and Surrealism (later she also collected the early Abstract Impressionists). She hated Pop Art, and none of it is to be found in the museum.
By the early '60, Peggy Guggenheim had stopped collecting art and instead concentrated on presenting what she already owned. She lent her collection to museums in Europe and America.
Though the Peggy Guggenheim Collection includes most of the great names of early and mid-20th-century European and American art, it?s small in size.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
10:00 - 18:00
Closed on Tuesdays and on 25 December
Open on national holidays (incl.Tuesdays)
Adults: 10 EUR
Seniors: 8 EUR (over 65 years)
Students: 5 EUR (under 18 years or valid student card)
Bologna does not get the hordes of tourists that cities like Rome, Venice and Florence receive. This is probably because when it comes to big ticket attractions Bologna really does not rank up there with these other cities. Still it is a shame to pass up this lovely city with its stunning ochre coloured buildings it is fun to wander around the streets of Bologna. Like all Italian cities there are several interesting old churches, piazzas with great cafes and fine art museums. Bologna is about halfway along the railway line between Florence and Venice. Perhaps this is why it has become so overlooked. People with limited times on their hands have been so rushed to get from one of these two cities to the other haven't taken the time to hop of the train and tour Bologna on the way. It is definately worth a days visit.
Also of note is that Bologna makes for an excellent base if you want to explore this region of Italy. Ravenna, Fererra and Parma can all be visited as daytrips from Bologna.
Nove is famous in Italy for beautiful ceramics, and some of the shops here even produce for Tiffany & Co. and Lenox. The costs are about 1/4 of what you'd pay in a retail store. A beautiful set of 8 will cost less than $300 euro. For instance, a Lenox Plate is normally $26 in the store, but in Nove it's only $5
This display is in my wife's favorite store in Nove, VBC
Via Molini 45
I - 36055 Nove (VI)
Mon-Fri 10:00-12:00, 13:30-18:00 and Sat 8:00-13:00
This castle belonged to the dukes Sanvitale from 1386 to 1948.
The building of Rocca Sanvitale begun in 1124 and was completed in the XVI century.
Several interesting rooms are open to visitors. There is a dining room with two big still life paintings. Another room has several portraits of Sanvitale family members. The castle has also a billiard room.
In the lower part of the castle there is a room decorated with frescoes painted by Parmigianino; he was a famous painter who lived in the XVI century.
One of the towers hosts a camera obscura.
Fontanellato is only 20 km. far from Parma.
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