Tag Archives: vacation

Italics, or my summer travelogue – part 3 of 3

It was early afternoon on Monday (September 4) when I left behind beautiful and idyllic mini world of Lake Como and it’s surroundings and directed my eyes to the south. It wasn’t a long trip to Sicily. It was a much shorter one but had brought a new perspective to my summer voyage across Italy. However even in Genoa some things remained unchanged compared to earlier steps of my trip. I had 1,5 days to spend in this city and to me it was enough to fulfill my touristic plan.

Genoa greeted me with a pleasant weather that was just fine to discover the city. Not to waste any time, I went out as soon as I accommodated in my room. It was late-ish afternoon so I decided to walk around nearby area. I wandered off to Via XX Settembre, a lovely, wide street which is also considered a shopping area with many expensive boutiques located along it. On one end of it I reached Piazza de Ferrari, a most popular square in Genoa. Surrounded by a couple of architectural pearls like Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo della Nuova Borsa & Teatro Carlo Felice, with a beautiful large fountain it really is a must-visit place. I sat down there for a while to watch people go by.

Not far away I found Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, one of the biggest religious buildings in Genoa. By the time I got there it was already getting late and the sky was getting darker, so I decided to dine in a nearby restaurant. I enjoyed my pizza with beef, rucola and parmesan cheese. Afterwards I went back to my bnb. I wouldn’t be satisfied if I didn’t go to the aquarium in Genoa – a 2nd biggest aquarium in Europe. I went there next morning and believe it or not but I spent there over 4 hours, it’s so big and fascinating. The aquarium houses huge number of fauna and flora.

After that and after seeing Chiesa dell’Annunziata I decided that I’d like to climb up to the higher part of the city so that I could see it from above. I actually went up for quite a while when I noticed that just like previously in Bergamo, Genova has its own funicolare. At some point I reached one of the stops of the funicular train connecting Zecca down in the city with Righi up on the hill. After getting a ticket I got to the top and enjoyed a panoramic view. That’s basically all for Genoa.

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From Genoa I traveled to Pisa. I stopped there for only 1 night, so upon my arrival I decided to spend rest of the afternoon on sightseeing. Through Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele II (I swear, he’s everywhere in Italy) I reached river Arno but before I passed it I noticed a tiny church – Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina. It’s built in gothic style but it’s size didn’t exceed the width of a pavement going along a river bank. Then through Via Roma I arrived at Piazza dei Miracoli, more popularly known as Piazza del Duomo. It’s a most popular touristic place in Pisa.

The reason for that is simple. Not only local duomo – Cattedrale di Pisa stands here, but also Battistero di San Giovanni and famous Torre di Pisa – leaning tower are located there. When I came the tourists were everywhere, all of them trying to take a cool photo as they try to support the tower and prevent it from falling. If you wish, you can enter all 3 buildings if you get the entry tickets. I skipped that part and moved on to a botanical garden. It has museal part (you can touch objects!) where they had old microscopes, old herbariums and more. Garden part is filled with hundrets of species of plants. It’s a nice place for a stroll. Just be warned that there are lots of mosquitos.

Later I also visited a main building of Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, a university building. Back to the river to realize that Palazzo Blu doesn’t look like a palace at all and its blue color is the only exceptional thing when it stands among other buildings. And that’s how a day passed. Pisa is not a huge city and its historical part is even smaller. I can assure you that this one afternoon was enough for me to visit all places that were in my itinerary. It was time to pack the bags again.

Next and at the same time last place of my Italian travels was Florence. You know what that means, right? In next post I’m taking you to Pitti Fragranze!

 

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Italics, or my summer travelogue – part 2 of 3

After enjoying almost 2 days in Milan I was really looking forward to the upcoming change of scenery. It was actually my mom who looked up this location for me & I’m glad she did, as I enjoyed this part of my summer vacation the most. 3 days at Lake Como were meant for me to relax and laze away. I really felt as if time slowed down there. Lake and mountains make a wonderful landscape.

At the lake side I stayed in a small town named Lecco. Not that very touristy, it was possible to spend a quiet time there and feel like a local person. I had a late afternoon check-in but the weather was so nice I got to enjoy a walk around neighborhood and a dinner at a small restaurant. Unfortunately some bad weather front passed to Italy above the Alps overnight, so the next day had an awful weather. I was fighting my thoughts what to do. The plan was to go on a cruise on the lake, but in this weather it was a no. In the end I decided that Bergamo was less important to me. I decided to visit it despite the rain. Equipped with umbrella I took a 40 minutes train trip there.

The weather didn’t change any bit during the day so I just decided to accept the fact that it’s raining & see what I could see anyway. Thanks to my short research earlier I knew that visiting Citta Alta (Upper Town) will be the best as it’s the old part of Bergamo and features most of the things worth seeing while there. From the train station I took a bus from which I dropped off at the first fonicolare station. Fonicolare, a funicular or cable railway is sort of carriage that climbs up the steep hill. The first one I took in Bergamo connects Citta Bassa (Lower Town) with Citta Alta.

After a short ride uphill I started to explore the historic part of the city. Piazza Vecchia is considered a main square within Upper Town and it concentrates several objects for sightseeing, such as Duomo di Bergamo (main cathedral), Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Battistero (baptistery) & Biblioteca Civica Angelo Mai (library). After visiting all of them I continued my walk to Porta Sant’ Alessandro, where there is another fonicolare. Fonicolare S. Vigilio takes you all the way up to the highest place in Bergamo – Castello San Vigilio. I was expecting a full-fledged castle to visit but it was more like ruins. Despite that a wonderful panoramic view is provided.

If you have a sweet tooth, take a quick break to try Bergamo specialty, a sweet polenta or polentina as they are sometimes called. It’s a sponge cake with hazelnut cream filling, covered with yellow marzipan on top, often decorated with a chocolate bird figurine on top. It’s sweet to the extreme, that’s why I only had a tiny one. To burn of some of those callories you might consider a tour along Viale delle Mura – it’s quite a long street that makes almost a full circle around Citta Alta, it’s a bit lower than Upper Town, allowing you to take great pictures of both parts of the city.

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The next day the weather turned 180° for my benefit, it was a perfect day for a cruise on the lake. I took Bellagio as a destination of my water trip as I’ve heard that it’s one of the most beautiful places by the Como lake. The ferry was travelling for 1,5 hours, having a few stops on its way. Kind of like a water bus. The cruise was very enjoyable and there were lots of beautiful sights on the way. Upon getting closer to Bellagio my eyes must have been full of sparkles, the view was simply breathtaking.

After stepping on a solid ground again I knew I’d have a nice day there. Bellagio is a very specific place where it feels as if time stood still. It’s not a summer resort as there is no real beach there. There are also no special sightseeing spots. In my opinion it’s a town you visit in order to forget about whole world & spend lazy hours wandering around charming, narrow streets and climbing the stairs (Bellagio is another town built on the hill). You can feel carefree and get lost a bit there.

In fact I got lost at one of the staircases that had multiple turns and ‘exits’. But thanks to that I accidentally found a way across the peninsula and reached the shore on the other side of Bellagio. It was even more picturesque. I reached the water nearby a small bay, with couple of white sailboats and something that looked almost like a beach made of small pebbles instead of sand. It looked very calm, peaceful – so I sat there and enjoyed the view for a while.

After seeing Chiesa San Giacomo I went to La Punta – a farthest point to the North in Bellagio that lets you see the magnificence of Lake Como. It’s also a place that lets you see how the lake forks out into its 3 arms (the lake is shaped like an upside down ‘Y’). Next I jumped on another ferry to swim across to the town of Varenna. Just as beautiful, if not even more beautiful than Bellagio, the town felt idyllic with its colorful buildings, all with red roofs, located at different height levels. I especially liked walking on a bridge-pavement that continued all along the coast.

After filling up my stomach with a dinner that consisted of delicious pasta and a drink made of orange juice and Campari I wandered around very narrow staircases until climbing up to the base of Castello di Vezio (I didn’t get on top though). It was quite high above the level of the water in the lake so the view of the surrounding area was lovely. And that’s how a whole day passed. When evening arrived I returned to Lecco by train. The next day I would go to a new place.

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