Sunday, 10 April 2016

Wanderlust Wishes | Italy

Travel, Wanderlust Wishes, Italy

Coastlines, Canals, and Coliseums. Italy has a hell of a lot to offer.

There are not many places in the world that offer such versatility, so much to do, so much beauty and so many cities to experience.

I have never had the privilege to visit Italy but it is definitely a place I have spent a fair amount of time dreaming of going there, and so far unsuccessfully, trying to convince Luke to take me one day!

So from Venice to Rome, this is just a few reasons that Italy should be on your Wanderlust Wishlist!

Travel, Italy, Venice, Wanderlust

If you read alot, nothing is a great as you've imagined. Venice is - Venice is better. - Fran Lebowitz
This quote by Fran Lebowitz really resonates with me. I love reading but there is nothing worse than reading an amazing book, one that you can't stop thinking about when you have finished it, and then watching the film. It is never as good. Yes, there are good film adaptations, The Notebook anyone?! But it still isn't quite Nicholas Sparks is it.

I don't think Venice could ever fail to meet expectations. It would be the book that you read over and over, dream of endlessly, but when you arrive, would be as romantic and beautiful as you imagined and more. How could it not be?

Known for its canals and the gondolas that grace it, Venice is so picturesque. I mean who wouldn't want to jump in on of those with the love of your life and be stranded by this beautiful city? But there is more than just gondolas.

Immerse yourself in Venetian life by visiting the Rialto Market, spend your evening in Piazza San Marco listening to the orchestras playing, see the beauty that is St. Mark's Basilica, visit the cell that Casanova escaped from at the Doge's Palace and take a walk across the Bridge of Sighs.

Legend has it that is you jump on one of those many gondolas at sunset as the bell's of St Mark's Campanile sound, pass under the Bridge of Sighs and share a kiss you will be granted with eternal love and bliss. How's that for romance eh!

Travel, Naples, Italy, Wanderlust

Here we are at last. The Italian proverb says "See Naples and die" but I say, see Naples and live; for there seems a great deal worth living for. - Arthur John Strutt
One of the most colourful cities in the world, Naples can be found to have quite a bad reputation, pick-pocketing, litter and organised crime, but doesn't this happen in most big cities? I mean London's crime rate it huge and the smog is something else, but I travel there for work every day and, like Naples, it has so much beauty to offer.

Italy is home to many a museum but Naples has the National Archeological Museum. Here you can see some of the finest archeological collections in the world. With collections from the Herculaneum, marble sculptures, and pieces from the earliest excavations from Pompeii, the National Archeological Museum is full of history that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world.

Naples, like much of Italy, has a huge religious presence. Even those who do not believe themselves could find beauty amongst the churches, in particular, Naples Cathedral. The Cathedral dates back to the 13th Century but has altered in appearance since then due to aging and earthquakes. A visit will also allow you to see the many churches that surround it, including the Archbishop's Palace.

Of course, when in Naples a day trip to Pompeii would be an absolute must. I remember watching a drama about Pompeii years ago, I can't remember the name of it or the channel but it was some sort of 3 part series (if anyone does know please let me know as I would love to watch it again!). It sparked my interest and I did a lot of reading and watching of the history of Pompeii. The thought of what those people experienced when Mount Vesuvius erupted that day is unthinkable. I would love to visit the ruins and put all that reading and watching together with the experience.

Oh, and obviously who is going to Naples without eating Pizza?!

Travel, Florence, Italy, Wanderlust

Everything in Florence seems to be coloured with a mild violet, like diluted wine. - Henry James

Florence, the capital of Tuscany, was the birthplace of the Renaissance, the period in Europe from the 14th to the 17th century that was full of art, literature, and architecture. So much of this can still be seen and experienced here. If you speak to anyone who has been lucky to visit Florence they will tell you that there is so much to see you could visit time and time again and still experience something new each and every time.

Above when we spoke about Naples I mentioned the National Archeological Museum. That was all about archaeological collections, but if art is your thing then Florence is your city. Italy birthed some f the most renowned artists, Leonardo Di Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Raphael to name a few, and The Uffizi is home to many of their masterpieces. The Uffizi is made up of 45 rooms that contain thousands of beautiful paintings, sculptures, and tapestries that can't be seen in their original forms anywhere else in the world.

One of the most famous structures in Florence is The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known at The Duomo. You can't miss the Cathedrals dome in the Florence landscape and it's exterior is magnificent, as it should be seeing it took 140 years to complete! If just seeing the Duomo isn't enough people advise to take a guided tour, these consist of not only informative talks surrounding the history but also gets access to the rooftop terrace for an amazing view of the city.

I don't think I could pay a visit to Florence without going to the Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David. I'm pretty sure everyone, even those not even remotely interested in art or history, knows of or have at least seen pictures of David. The statue of David is said to be even more impressive in person and to see it one day would be incredible.

Travel, Rome, Italy, Waderlust

How is it possible to say an unkind or irrevential word of Rome? The city of all time, and of all the world! - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Would a Wanderlust post surrounding Italy be full without featuring it's Capital, Rome?

Rome seems to bring all of the aspects Italy has to offer into one city. Both historical and modern it holds vast culture, art, archeology, and religion. It truly has something to offer for everyone.

Housing Vatican City, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, is home to the Pope and many spectacular churches, chapels, and museums. Vatican city holds 11 museums in total, within these, you are able to see the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. In the Sistine Chapel, you can see what is considered to be the pillar of Renaissance art, Michelangelo's Ceiling. Michelangelo was predominantly a sculptor, so much so that he didn't actually want to paint this masterpiece but was convinced to do so by Pope Julius II. Yet he still created this magnificent work of art on a 2,000 square foot, curved ceiling that we can all now see and appreciate.

The Roman's did things big and spectacularly, a prime example of this is the Colosseum. Personally, when I think of Rome I think of Gladiators and instantly the image of the Colosseum pops into my head. It is said that back in 80 A.D. when it was established, the Colosseum would hold up to 50,000 people, all of whom had come out to watch the 100 days of games that marked it inauguration. Nowadays visitors can take part in a tour, learn about the Colosseum's vast history, take a stroll, grab a glimpse of what the Roman Empire was like and get that perfect picture!

Of course, a trip to Rome wouldn't be complete without a visit to one of the many fountains you so often see in films. In the center of the Piazza Navona is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or The Fountain of Four Rivers'. The statue that makes up the fountain consists of four statues which are the personification of the rivers of the continents known at the time, Africa, Europe, The Americas, and Asia. The fountain that draws the most tourist attraction though has to be the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi fountain is the largest of Rome's fountains, designed in the 17th Century by Nicola Salvi. Legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain you will be sure to return to Rome one day. Now who wouldn't do that for good measure?

Have you ever been to Italy? What are your most recommended things to see?

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