Most (all?) old churches I saw in northern Italy had single or usually 2 towers which were bell towers (sometimes seperate tower) or by its large, impressive size had to underline the power of church and God.
It works different in St. Peter's parish church in Valeggio. The tower is relatively thin and oddly short. There are loudspeakers instead of bells on its top which reminds me muslim mosques although they are used as fire alarm in Valeggio. Additionally there is chimney-like brick structure added on the roof with a high mast (antenna?) above. Isn't it odd?
Look at the side door of St. Peter's parish church on my picture. It seems that the ground level was approx. half of meter (yard) higher in 18th century were the church was built.
Usually it works opposite way: the ground level rises through centuries and hides the lowest parts of edificies, at least in Poland. Does it work different way in Valeggio because of earthquakes which had to happen there in the past? And maybe the foundations of the church were laid long before 18th century?
On Sunday midday there were more visitors to famous and huge Sigurta Gardens than citizens of of Valeggio sul Mincio, I am sure. Many of them, especially locals, like these women with kids, on my picture, were doing nothing.
Surely, doing nothing is favourite activity of quite many folks, not only in Sigurta Gardens in Valeggio sul Mincio. Well, this interesting activity is much better seen in lazy towns of southern Italy than in busy northern cities.
This multicoloured rainbow flag, on my picture, was hang somewhere in Valeggio sul Mincio. I noticed a few identical flags in other towns of northern Italy, too. The flag with proud writing PACE which means peace publicize that someone supports peace, right? As I know the flag is a symbol of fight for rights for homosexual minorities, as well, right?
Well, I can't understand why some people feel obliged to publicize that they support peace or, say, rights for homosexual minorities, at least in this odd way. Maybe they feel better and simply think wrongly that they make any peace just by hanging the flag.
Not so old history teaches that those who cried for peace loudest and had peace on their banners were, in real, strongly against any peace. Hmm... let me remind Stalin and other, later communist authorities, including those in my country, Poland. They told me everyday about peace and human rights on TV, by radio, newspapers, hang many "peace banners" etc. etc. In real life they broke my human rights everyday and felt supported by "peaceful movements" in Western Europe which had to help them to survive so long time after WWII, the war which in real finished succesfully exclusively for 1/3 of Europe called Western Europe.
Excuse me, I think, that I can make peace by choosing and supporting strong politicians who would never be afraid of any tyrany, or, say, terrorism... can fight for peace using both wise diplomacy and, if no other way (terrorism), force and can convince others that freedom is not given forever and thus must cost, sometimes a lot. Enough.
In Italy, and generally in Europe, as I noticed, people are usually a bit less open at first (and only at first!) than in the USA. Maybe, busy Americans which move (like crazies haha) from one state to another and change jobs all life, are forced to make friends, or just good neighbours/co-workers, faster. But Europeans stand closer one to each other in a line than in the USA where average distance between the two in a line (go to any post office to check it) is half a yard or so :-).
Excuse, is accidentally touching a stranger a sexual abuse and a crime in the USA? No, it isn't (yet!) but for sure it's socially unaccepted. In Europe, too (exceptions: Turkey, incl. European Stambul and maybe still Russia). In Italy common word, heard in such case, is pardon.
Excuse, I will transfer this tip to my Italy or Europe page.
This sign was put by Cacciatore hotel. In contrast to most European countries, there is no hotel in Italy, there is ALBERGO. Well, in case of touristy areas and in case of fancy (more expensive) hotel they use well known all over Europe and America (Asia, too?) French-English or better to say international word HOTEL. Well, in France Hotels are called "Hôtel", which makes sense as the English borrowed the name from French ! It comes from old French "Hostel". In French a circumflex accent is for a previous "s" that has later disappeared. In Polish language hotel is hotel. In your?
When I look for a budget accommodation on the way in Italy I usually hit my car towards albergo first as I expect more local and less expensive place to hit a sack. It works... sometimes.
Excuse, it's more Italy than Valeggio local custom tip. I will have to transfer it to my Italy page when I put it up.
The following is a list of all the members who attended the 1st Annual European VT Meet.
ANNAD + Federica
Azhut + Lorenzo
effeti + Laura and family's friend
giampiero6 + parents
IU2 + wife
JLBG + Françoise
kaptainkameleon aka Baby Kettle (Steve)
Kulprit + Ken
mapakettle (Maria and Dave)
sachara + hubby
sandysmith + hubby
Sjalen + hubby + sweet Alice
Stephanie + Gerry
Can you believe this beautiful girl used a black rat for her ID picture? Ok , Ok, she claims the Rat, is a Cat...
This is Yana, VT member sarakohen, never owned a passport until a few days ago. Such a beautiful smile.
Italians, as I noticed, order and drink mainly coffee, juices and wine. Many, especially young folks (+ foreigners) order beer as well, at least in hot days. In contrast to my country, Poland, there are very few fans of tea in Italy.
Well, hot tea with a lemon (te caldo con limone) is considered a drink for cold winter monters. Tea is usually available in most restaurants and bars, but sometimes waiters or waitresses seemed to be surprised when I ordered tea at hot summer midday. Well, since many years I drink light coffee instead of tea. Just in case, you like a tea, there is sometimes only limited choice of fruit tea available.
Tips for American visitors
1. Ice tea is often unavailable in cheap, non-touristy bars, especially in off the beaten path towns. Keep in mind that refreshing cold tea (te freddo), served in summer months, tastes quite different than American ice tea.
2. Glass for juice and cup for coffee, tea is usually European size (= small or very small),
3. There is no custom to pour more coffee to your cup free of extra charge (you simply must order and pay for the next coffee),
4. Ice cubes are not that common as in the USA (especially in colder months and in non-touristy places).f*
Excuse, this tip will be trasferred to my Italy page.
Look at the direction sign to "TABACCHERIA" put in Valeggio sul Mincio. Well, let me explain Italian words related to smoking:
TABACCO means tobacco, both a plant and a product.
TABACCHI means a newstand which sells both newspapers, magazines and cigarettes; add a lot of other small items :-) incl. postage stamps (francobolli; warning: usually they sell them for local mail and don't know how much is mail to foreign countries)
TABACCHERIA means tobacco shop, a place where both tobacco and cigarettes are sold.
LA SIGARETTA means a cigarette
IL PACCHETTO DI SIGARETTA means a pocket of cigarettes
PER (NON) FUMATORI means for (non) smoking.
Italy (in 2005) is half a way between against-smoking policies in, say, most of the USA, and in what you can still experience in so called Eastern Europe (Poland). And more to the South, smaller and less touristy location, cheaper and more local place ---> less against-smoking rules. But the tendency is simple: to put more and more rules to protect non-smoking... majority (right?).
In most (all?) restaurants and some (most?) bars in northern Italy, smoking is not allowed or, in more fancy ones, there is a seperate room for smoking; in some there are smoking areas outside: a table with benches and an ashtray. In all public buildings, museums, buses smoking is forbidden.
Cigarette vending machines, I found in northern Italy, were out of use. There are less and less typical tabacchieria. Cigarettes are available in tabacchi and are expensive, cost somewhat € 3.00 per pocket of 20.
Communie di Valeggio sul Mincio has its own flag whith three towers of Scalirego castle. I didn't find it in Valeggio but in the web here. Instead I found this coat of arms, on my picture, put on the wall of Alla Borsa restaurant.
Well, it is coat of arms of Associazione Ristoratori Valeggio sul Mincio (ARV; Association of Restaurateurs of Valeggio sul Mincio). Restaurants which belong to this association should offer better quality and food. Indeed, the four, I visited were very good or excellent.
This cup, with a few kinds of Italian snacks (cheese straws and salty sticks), on my picture, was offered before a meal in Alla Borsa restaurant in Valeggio sul Mincio. Some of them tasted very good.
Usually, in cheap restaurants, there are no snacks to eat between meals, offered. But, in all Italian restaurants, even the cheapest bars or trattoria there are a few appetizers (antipasti), to eat before a meal (primi piatti and secondi piatti), offered. Hmm... sometimes they are large enough to become the main meal for not very hungry customer.
Excuse, this tip will be transferred to my Italy page.
I was surprised when someone told me that that a woman from Poland was working in Scaligero bar, paninoteca (sandwich bar) located just next door to my Cacciatore hotel. Indeed, once I noticed this car registered in Poland... Haha, I didn't meet that woman, I only left her a small greeting note behind the car wiper.
Well, I don't know official statistics but I am sure that since early 1990' (communism fall and beginning of market economy in Poland) there are not many Polish workers (both legal and illegal) in Italy. Since Poland became European Union member, Poles are allowed to work in Italy without any permission. Poland has ca 19% unemployed and salaries in Italy are usually at least twice higher than in Poland but many prices are higher as well. And Italian language is not that popular in Poland.
There is no risk of massive immigration of Poles to Italy. But there is a risk (for Poland) that quite many, young, well educated and underpaid, in Poland, professionalists may learn Italian, get the job there and finally immigrate to Italy. It started to happen with Polish nurses for example. No wonder, they earn only ca € 200 - 300 per month in a hospital in Poland. The same may consern to doctors although Italy has the largest number of doctors per 100,000 citizens in EU.
I was tree times in a local bar and paninoteca (sandwich bar) called Scaligero as it was located next door to my Cacciatore hotel. Both in a midday and in late afternoon there were many local guys, mostly at age 50' or 60', sitting by the tables outside and busy playing cards. It seems that playing cards is favourite activity for retired or unemployed guys.
Well, at some other Italians towns I saw them playing cheese. In the USA, many folks drive a car to a casino and spend there a lot of time and... money. What about your country?
As I noticed, most houses of Valeggio, both old and new ones, are painted in light yellow, pink or orange colour. This one on my picture is bright yellow.
Well, generally, white colour is common in, for example, southern Spain, Greece and in north African countries like Tunisia or Morocco. Darker colours, like brown, are more commonly used in less sunny and colder countries, right?
Why? Because the darker walls absorb more sunny heat which helps to keep them warm while the white surfaces reflect the sun's rays. That's why its easy to get tanned (and hmm... burn) while you are on the white snow on sunny day.