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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Piazza San Marco, Basilica di San Marco and Doge's Palace, Venice

The Basilica di san Marco and Doge's Palace are reputed to be the No. 1 attractions in Venice, both found at Piazza San Marco.  (Saint Mark's Square).  We arrived after fighting our way through the  crowded narrow streets to find the basilica had scaffolding around part of it, and the crowds were even worse in the square.  We didn't go inside either building.  A selection of photos though.

A very small part of Basilica di San Marco.

The impressive Doge's Palace.

Gondola's lined up on the lagoon, waiting for passengers.  The next photo is taken from the tower in the background, taken a couple of day's later and involving a ferry ride to the island.

St Mark's Square is over on the left where the mass of people are beneath the bell tower.  The domes of the basilica are behind the huge Doge's Palace on the water front.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Venice, Italy - The Canals

Venice has to be one of my absolute favourite cities!  I loved the fact of no motor vehicles, and that boats were used for transportation, and that I could walk everywhere.  It might be different living there and trying to maintain the old building with it's foundations in the water, or when it floods, but I only saw it through the eyes of a visitor.  

A side canal off the Grand Canal.

One of the many bridges linking up walking access.

No walking beside this canal!

The Grand Canal has lots of boats - water taxis, private boats, vaporettos (water buses/ferries) cargo boats, as well as gondolas.  It was especially busy at "rush hour"!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Window Shopping, Rome and Siena

One of the things I noticed on our first walk in Rome was the amazing window displays.  Colourful, bold, eye-catching, but ... I had to keep up with my group and not get separated in the hoards of other people josseling for space on the narrow pavements.  These are just a few snapshots, taken hurriedly. 

Olives anyone?

Not a real cheetah, a taxidermied one.

Sorry about the reflections, but I love the pout.

Leather, leather and more leather. One salesperson even tried to tell me they bought New Zealand hides.  

A colourful array of dried fruit; never seen dried kiwifruit  before. (Not the bananas, mandarins and avocado on the lefthand side though.)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Carrara Marble Quarries, Liguria, Italy

The following two photos were taken through a dirty window of a train on a rainy day and shows the quarries where Carrara marble comes from.  I have since found out there are tours available to go through the quarries, which would be fascinating.  We, however, were on our way to Cinque de Terre from Florence, so did not have time to stop.

Not snow but marble quarries.

Marble blocks next to the railway.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Wikipaedia tells me "The Cinque Terre  is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination."
We went here as a day trip from Florence, so only spent a few hours at one village, Vernazza.  But what a wonderful few hours in such an amazing place!

Vernazza, Cinque de Terre

The view from the train platform.

A breakwater has made a safe harbour, and the sea was really this colour green.

I only had time for a brief walk up to a viewpoint.  The walkway connects all five villages and I would love to walk the whole way.  Another time perhaps.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Florence, Italy, a selection

These a just a few random photos from my walking round.  

We crossed the Arno River and explored an old artisan quarter of town.  I guess the owner of this garage door was either a book lover, or even had a book binding business here, but was not open.

On the same street was the most amazing manufacturing jewellers.  The shop had an assortment of old musical instruments, as well as all sorts of one-off items of jewellery.  Also, chemicals in a range of bottles with bubbling coloured liquid.  Fascinating!

One of the many narrow streets, but this one decorated with fragrant star jasmine.

A shoe-maker with all his wooden moulds.

A very Spanish looking church.

I liked the juxtaposition of the washing and the religious painting.

One of the many dogs in Florence accompanying his owner to a bar/restaurant in this case.

We stayed in a nunnery in central Florence which offers accommodation.  Once the huge outside door was shut, you saw this view out into the courtyard garden.  Just beautiful.

Santa Croce Church, Florence, Italy

The Franciscan church of Santa Croce started off in 1210 as a modest chapel, and the larger church was completed in the 14th century.  The interior, with open roof beams is Gothic, while the facade is 19th century neo-Gothic.  The church is the last resting place of Michelangelo, Dante, and Galileo, amongst other notable Italians, plus many artworks.

Santa Croce Church

This was a bell-pull near where you could light a candle.  Love the intricate patterns.

The cloisters.