Italy Once - Italy Again!
So, Italy is such country, the “cradle” of European culture, art and architecture.
You are influenced with tradition, art and cultural unity, the visit of all of these cultural treasuries belongs to good education in best sense of the word. So, Italy has the similar importance for every Czech, similarly, as this could have France. Maybe, the reason for this could be a fact that even Emperor Charles IV. experienced in Italy his youth heroic and advantageous times. On the other hand, the sources of local Renaissance became a model for our literary as well as graphical art. The works of Dante, Petrarca and Bocaccio are read and studied by many generations, the same interest could be found also in modern Italian literacy, with works of Moravia or Malaparte. And, last but not least - to visit Italy, it means to touch antique Roman past in one day, and the second day, to enjoy a bath in the sea. This is a connection, which could not be offered in another place.
Anyway, we pressume that you have visited Italy in past, and have visited two most allured places of interest, such as: Rome (complete sightseeing, starting from Colosseum up to State of Vatican and St.Peter´s Cathedral) and Venice (this Mecca of lovers and young couples). We have noticed in detail these monuments in our articles, but it does not matter, you can have a view from another part, as it is always worth to remind this fact again
Sun and relics
So, let´s assume that you arrive to this country, full of sunshine and sightseeings, not with travel agency, but individually, following our traces. At present, you do not need no passport or similar travelling approval, you need enough EUR-money in your pockets. And also, this we wish to recommend to you: would you buy a card for payment of highway tolls - this would be much more cheaper, and you are not forced to look for small change at any toll-gate. Frankly speaking, these expenses are not too cheap, you have to calculate with it in your budget. Anyway, would you, by means of this card, to reserve suitable accommodation. We recommend you to look for a place in small hotels-alberghi: they are cheaper, and local atmosphere is much more friendly and direct. On the other hand: big hotels have no spirit of personality and you have a feeling to be as travelling passengers. Moreover, you can find your route, including suitable addresses and photos, with more detailed information, on internet. In case of lounge at sea shore: would you choose such lounge which have its own beach available.
So, would you plan the first day of your route, via Germany and Austria, up to Verona. Suitable accommodation could be found at the environs of the town. In Verona, you can visit great square, and take a dinner here. Provided you are smokers, you have to stay outside in a garden in front of the restaurant. There is valid one severe rule in Italy at present: you are not allowed to smoke in closed spaces, so the same is valid if you wish to drink a cup of coffee. So, in Verona you start to be accustomed to old buidings and palaces from Renaissance time period, and you meet such houses everywhere. It is true that your first meeting with country colouring could be quite intensive. The next day, you will be anxious to see that famous balcony where Romeo confessed a love to Julia, and it does not matter that all this could be a legend only. On the other hand, you will be surprised that Romeo lived from Julia literally round the corner. Anyway, this virtual reality of Shakespeare´s play becomes in Verona a real fact, and nobody admits that it could be acted in another way.
From Verona, you travel in western direction to the town of Milan. Your target is one, but quite important: you have to see “Last Dinner”, fresco made by Leonardo da Vinci. The tickets would be ordered in advance by means of internet from your home again. Otherwise, it could happen that you would stay in a queue in front of the entrance to Santa Maria delle Grazie Monastery for couple of hours. So, in moderately gloomy refectory you will probably be seized with a special feeling: despite the fact that you, as experienced traveller, are used to run through galleries quite quickly, (and Louvre Gallery in Paris you run in two hours), so here, you have no need to be in a hurry. Nevertheless, the guide reserves for you enough time, but even this is not endless, and you leave the room with a feeling that you will stay longer, even if not influence with Brown roman “Mister Leonardo Cipher”.
In Milan, there are to be found 150 churches. You probably vist Gothic Cathedral (Dome), where all Lombard Kings were crowned. If you are interested in arts, you will be satisfied, seeing and admiring picture galleries in Breda, in Villa Reale, or in Sforza Castle. Anyway, you have to reserve for these sightseeings more than one day.
From Milan, you can choose your route to the south, in direction to the town of Cremona and Parma. This town reminds to all lovers of classical literature Stendal´s roman “Citadel in Parma”, and continue towards Modena and Bologna. Provided you are not in a hurry, you can do small diversion to the town of Ferrara. We can recommend you it fully: the historical part of Ferrara is full of Renaissance spirit, as so famous men, such as Michelangelo and Tasso lived here. St: Francesco Church of 14th century, with Garofal frescos, delights you fully. In Modena, you will admire Roman Church of 12th century. And again: if you admire collections of art, you cannot miss Palazzo dei Musei. Modern town of Bologna is mostly industrial and business town, so you have to stipulate perfectly the direction, in order to reach St.Petronius Church and find, without delay, two local slanting towers Asidelli and Gasrisenda. When you have a look at a map, you see that you moved inside not big space of east Italy.
Steets of Italy
You will be probably influenced with some phenomenon, such as. it is perfect self-evidence of combination of today´s way of life with past time, with old palaces and houses, narrow streets and corners. You fully understand, in historical parts of towns, mentioned above, why Fiat has in its production programme such small car types, such as Punto, Panda or Cinquecento. If you meet here Mercedes-car or Audi 8 - this is very difficult task to pass through. So, all these towns are more difficult for transit as Rome, and you have to pay attention at each step.
From your past journeys towards Mediterranean, you probably knew an appearance which would not be surprising even here, if the sea is distant. All coffees placed along pavements and squares are always full. Pay attention, please: if you order espresso coffee, you receive a cup, where you find a small draught of coffee, but this drought is marvellous, strong and very aromatic coffee, named as ristretto. However, for you it could not be sufficient, would you order espresso lungo, where the intensity of small coffee is crush with bigger quantity of water.
Anyway, the first portion of history, churches, sightseeings and museums could be sufficient for you, and you start to suffer from disease of all tourists – i.e. overfedding from events´entrance. You need immediately to have a rest, so, this will be offered to you in our next article. In the meantime, you get accostumed to miniature cups of espresso coffee, which will accompany you in next chapter of our journey in Italy.
Text: Jan Chaloupka
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