Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One way to cool off...

Head for the nearest fountain! Tonight I had a stop at the fountain in Piazza Castello in the town centre. During the summer you'll always find lots of tourists soaking their feet in the cool water!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Snaps from Milan: Colonne di San Lorenzo

Walking out of the city centre down towards the Navigli you'll find the Colonne. Unlike cities such as Rome or Verona, very little Roman architecture has survived in Milan. The Colonne date from the 3rd century AD, and were probably part of a bath, and were moved to their current location in front of the Basilica di San Lorenzo during the 4th century.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day Trips from Milan: Verona

Verona's the city of Romeo and Juliet, and after a hard day's touristing I came to the conclusion that in Verona it's a bit like Valentine's Day all year round. It's almost impossible to avoid all the references to the couple in the city...

I still don't know how I did it, but the first time I went to Juliet's house I walked straight passed it! It's on an ordinary-looking street in the town centre (Via Cappello), and the easiest way to spot it is the writing on the walls on the street outside the house.

The house has been turned into a museum, housing paintings depicting the couple as well as artifacts from the various films based on their story. Entrance costs 6 euro.

Arriving in Verona city centre probably the first thing that you'll see is the Arena. It's in the centre of Piazza Brà, and many opera performances and concerts are held there. It's an impressive structure built in 30 AD and has been preserved extremely well.

Head to the Torre dei Lamberti, just off Piazza delle Erbe, if you want to see a view of Verona from above. You can get to the top of the tower either by lift or by stairs. 

As well as the Arena, on the other side of the river there's the Teatro Romano and museum. The teatro is also used to hold concerts.

If you're going to be in Verona for longer than just a day and plan on doing a lot of sightseeing it's worth buying the Verona card. It costs 15 euro and is valid for 2 days, and gives you entrance to the sights I've named above, as well as churches and other museums in the city.

You can get to Verona Porta Nuova from Milano Centrale either on the Frecciabianca or the Regionale trains. A full price single ticket on the Frecciabianca costs 20.50 euro, but there are discounts available if you book in advance. The journey takes 1 hour and 22 minutes. A one way second class ticket for the Regionale costs 11.30 euro and it takes 1 hour and 55 minutes to get to Verona.

Oh, and here's a little tip: if you're arriving by train at Verona Porta Nuova (the main train station) and don't fancy the walk to the city centre, the no. 90, 92, 93, 96, 97, or 98 will get you to Piazza Brà, where the Arena is. Tickets can be bought in the tabaccheria in the train station and cost a euro each.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Song of The Week

Ah, Negrita always do brilliant summer songs. This is Un giorno di ordinaria magia which features B.B. CiCO 'Z.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Roman Weekend

I've been living in Italy for over three and a half years now, but I hadn't been to Rome since 2006, during my year abroad. It's a shocking amount of time for someone living in Milan, and even though the train fares are pretty steep now since the Frecciarossa train took over the route between the two cities (if anyone's interested, another company, Italo, have recently started high-speed journeys from Rome to Milan) I really have no excuses. I spent this past weekend in the eternal city with a friend, and we hit it in true tourist style!

I'd never seen so many tourists in one place than Piazza di Spagna. Actually, I reckon between everywhere we went I saw more tourists in those two days in Rome than I see in a year in Milan! The main sights were packed, even during the hottest hours of the day.

The Trevi Fountain along with Piazza di Spagna was one of the sights I didn't see the last time in Rome, due to me unfortunately having the lurgy the week I was there. But this time there was no way I was missing it. It took my breath away - also for the sheer amount of people around it! It took some serious effort to battle through the crowds to throw my coin in the fountain!

It was amazing to go inside the Colusseum. For that and the Roman Forum we decided to go for a tour guide, mainly to avoid queuing in the afternoon sun for a couple of hours. It was definitely worth it, even though our guide for the Colusseum was geeking out with a history a little bit too much!

I had such a great time in Rome, everything worked out so wonderfully! Next time I won't leave it so long before returning!