October 14, 2017

Giro d'Italia: My Italian Journey

In this year, we spent our “main” holidays in Northern Italy and Tuscany. More precisely, we followed a route starting in Verona to the lake Como area. Next, we headed south to the Ligurian coast near Genova. We also spent some days in Tuscany in the Sienna area. Finally, we went back to the north and visited Bologna and Venice.

Verona

Verona is such a nice town. So I am sorry that I start with some photos taken near the Casa di Giulietta, the house where Romeo's Juliet lived according to the book. By reasons I do not understand, people started to put plasters, post-it notes and sometimes even sanitary towels to the walls of a passage that leads to the place. What kind of nonsense is that!?

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Romeo und JuliaSynagoge (Verona)Torre dei LambertiGalleria d’arte moderna Palazzo FortiVeroneser Kongress

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Romeo und JuliaSynagoge (Verona)Torre dei LambertiGalleria d’arte moderna Palazzo FortiVeroneser Kongress

As I said, Verona has also quite nice spots, like the Piazza delle Erbe somewhere in the ancient city center…

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Torre dei LambertiGalleria d’arte moderna Palazzo FortiSynagoge (Verona)Romeo und JuliaPalazzo Bevilacqua

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Ponte PietraGalleria d’arte moderna Palazzo FortiTeatro Romano di VeronaTorre dei LambertiArchäologisches Museum im Römischen Theater

… and they even have an amphitheater built by the Romans.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Veroneser KongressArena von VeronaMuseo Lapidario MaffeianoPalazzo BevilacquaTeatro Filarmonico di Verona

Breschia

… is another nice town with nice places, churches, and a fortress on a hill.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Universität BresciaAbtei San Salvatore (Brescia)Bahnhof BresciaBistum BresciaBrescia

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Abtei San Salvatore (Brescia)Universität BresciaBistum BresciaBresciaBahnhof Brescia

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Universität BresciaAbtei San Salvatore (Brescia)Bahnhof BresciaBresciaBistum Brescia

Bergamo

… has an old town on a hill (Bergamo Alta) and further down. Due to time restrictions, we only visited the lower part which was kind of disappointing. People later told me that Bergamo Alta would have been beautiful.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Serie A 1950/51Serie B 1936/37Serie B 1929/30Serie B 1932/33Serie B 1935/36

Como & Lago di Como

Lago di Como was one of my personal highlights on the tour. Or at least I thought it would be a total highlight. Como itself was beautiful, no question. But the road following the coast of the lake up to Bellagio was a total disappointment. You almost have no chance to stop the car somewhere… No idea if all roads around the lake are like this.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Broletto (Como)Dom zu ComoBistum ComoBahnhof Como Nord LagoSchweizer Schulen im Ausland

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Bistum ComoDom zu ComoBroletto (Como)Bahnhof Como Nord LagoSchweizer Schulen im Ausland

At some point we reached Bellagio. From this town you can take a boat and cruise over the lake to the town of Varenna. Varenna is actually pretty nice but it was the first of many towns we visited that lost its identity to tourism. I simply cannot understand that entire towns are filled with dozens of souvenir shops which all sell the same sh*t. Really sad.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Villa MelziVilla SerbelloniBellagioCadenabbiaVilla La Collina

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Vezio (Perledo)VarennaMonte BolettoComer SeePerledo

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: VarennaVezio (Perledo)PerledoMonte BolettoComer See

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Monte BolettoComer SeeVilla SerbelloniVilla MelziBellagio

Milano

Milano is the second largest city in Italy. Hence it is not the best idea to drive into the center. Luckily they have some park and ride stations in the suburbs. So park your car there and take the metro into the center.

Milano is pretty great and luckily big enough to cope with tourist masses. In my eyes, the major sights are the cathedral, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and the surrounding area. If you want to visit da Vinci's painting “The Last Supper” (located in Santa Maria delle Grazie) be sure to book your ticket several weeks before your trip. We tried to get tickets five (qinque, 5, fünf, V, cinq) weeks before we visited Milan. All. Sold. Out.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Piazza del Duomo (Mailand)Metropolitanstadt MailandPalazzo dell’ArengarioMailänder DomSerie A 1942/43

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum MailandMailänder DomKöniglicher Palast (Mailand)Metropolitanstadt MailandPiazza del Duomo (Mailand)

This poor marble guy who was skinned alive is Saint Bartholomew created by an artist called Marco d’Agrate. Incredible work, I think.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum MailandMailänder DomKöniglicher Palast (Mailand)Metropolitanstadt MailandPiazza del Duomo (Mailand)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum MailandMailänder DomKöniglicher Palast (Mailand)Metropolitanstadt MailandPiazza del Duomo (Mailand)

Inside the Galleria. Interesting question what a drink would have cost.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele IITown House GalleriaMetropolitanstadt MailandPiazza del Duomo (Mailand)Mailänder Dom

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele IITown House GalleriaMetropolitanstadt MailandMailänder DomPiazza del Duomo (Mailand)

Hiking @ Monte Antola

After many towns and cathedrals, a day out in the Ligurian mountains is quite nice…

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: PropataMonte AntolaRondaninaFascia (Ligurien)Lago del Brugneto

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Monte AntolaPropataMonte PrelàLago del BrugnetoRondanina

… and a tad creepy as well.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Monte AntolaPropataFascia (Ligurien)Carrega LigureMonte Carmo

Genova

… was a total surprise. I did not expect such a stunning city.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum GenuaKathedrale von GenuaBanco di San GiorgioPalazzo San Giorgio (Genua)Palazzo Ducale (Genua)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Palazzo Ducale (Genua)Chiesa del Gesù (Genua)GenuaKathedrale von GenuaErzbistum Genua

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Piazza De FerrariPalazzo Ducale (Genua)Chiesa del Gesù (Genua)GenuaTeatro Carlo Felice

Cinque Terre

A “must see” in Liguria are Cinque Terre, five tiny and scenic towns located at the steep coast. One very good advice: do not even think about going there by car. Park your car, for instance, in La Specia and take the regional train to Monterosso, which is the most eastern town of the five.

If you are lucky, the hiking trail that follows the coast is open and you can hike from town to town. We actually planned to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza (which is the most famous city of the five) and maybe to Corniglia. But the trail was closed, so we had to take the boat.

And yes, Cinque Terre is tourist infested.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Monterosso al MareVernazzaLevantoListe der Schutzgebiete in der Region LigurienCinque Terre

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: VernazzaListe der Schutzgebiete in der Region LigurienCinque TerreMonterosso al MareCorniglia

I am pretty sure you have seen this view somewhere else before…

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: VernazzaListe der Schutzgebiete in der Region LigurienCinque TerreMonterosso al MareCorniglia

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: VernazzaListe der Schutzgebiete in der Region LigurienCinque TerreMonterosso al MareCorniglia

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: VernazzaListe der Schutzgebiete in der Region LigurienCinque TerreMonterosso al MareCorniglia

Lucca

Lucca is a heavily fortified ancient town with numerous nice alleys, places and churches. As it is not as well known as Sienna, Pisa or Firence, the town is also nicely calm.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: San FredianoSan Salvatore (Lucca)San Michele in ForoSan Francesco (Lucca)Lucca

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: San FredianoSan Salvatore (Lucca)San Michele in ForoSan Francesco (Lucca)Lucca

Pisa

I visited Pisa for the second time now and both times I though that the town is not very interesting except the Piazza dei Miracoli with the world famous “Torre pendente” and the cathedral.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Schiefer Turm von PisaErzbistum PisaDom zu PisaBotanischer Garten von PisaPiazza dei Miracoli

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum PisaDom zu PisaPiazza dei MiracoliSchiefer Turm von PisaBaptisterium (Pisa)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Piazza dei MiracoliBaptisterium (Pisa)Erzbistum PisaDom zu PisaCamposanto Monumentale

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Provinz PisaPisaSanto Sepolcro (Pisa)Universität PisaPiazza dei Cavalieri

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Scuola Superiore Sant’AnnaScuola Normale SuperiorePiazza dei CavalieriPisaProvinz Pisa

Siena

… is maybe the most beautiful town you find in Tuscany. Major sights are the well known Piazza del Campo …

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-MontalcinoPiazza del CampoPalazzo Pubblico (Siena)Palio di SienaAccademia degli Intronati

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Piazza del CampoPalazzo Pubblico (Siena)Palio di SienaErzbistum Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-MontalcinoUniversität Siena

… and the absolutley stunning cathedral.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Dom von SienaSanta Maria della Scala (Siena)Accademia Musicale ChigianaAccademia degli IntronatiPorta Fontebranda

Stunning.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Dom von SienaSanta Maria della Scala (Siena)Accademia Musicale ChigianaAccademia degli IntronatiErzbistum Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino

Stunning.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Dom von SienaSanta Maria della Scala (Siena)Accademia Musicale ChigianaAccademia degli IntronatiErzbistum Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino

Stunning.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Dom von SienaSanta Maria della Scala (Siena)Accademia degli IntronatiAccademia Musicale ChigianaErzbistum Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino

San Gimignano

… is also quite nice. It is best known for its towers in the ancient city center. However, as many other places, I thought the place is too touristic. The entire town is filled with shops that sell cheap looking, stupid stuff to even more stupid tourists.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: San GimignanoSanGimignano1300ToskanaColle di Val d’ElsaPoggibonsi

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: SanGimignano1300San GimignanoToskanaColle di Val d’ElsaPoggibonsi

Towers…

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: SanGimignano1300San GimignanoToskanaColle di Val d’ElsaPoggibonsi

Somewhere in Tuscany…

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Staggia SeneseCastello della MagioneMilitia TempliCastellina in ChiantiPoggibonsi

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Staggia SeneseCastello della MagioneMilitia TempliCastellina in ChiantiPoggibonsi

Firenze

Boy, how did I look forward visiting Firenze for the second time. However, this time I was kind of disappointed but I cannot tell exactly why.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Johannes XXIII. (Gegenpapst)Baptisterium San GiovanniSanta Reparata (Florenz)Kathedrale von FlorenzCaffè Paszkowski

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Santa Reparata (Florenz)Kathedrale von FlorenzJohannes XXIII. (Gegenpapst)Baptisterium San GiovanniCaffè Paszkowski

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Santa Reparata (Florenz)Kathedrale von FlorenzJohannes XXIII. (Gegenpapst)Baptisterium San GiovanniCaffè Paszkowski

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Santa Reparata (Florenz)Kathedrale von FlorenzJohannes XXIII. (Gegenpapst)Baptisterium San GiovanniColonna dell’Abbondanza

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: UffizienMuseo GalileoMedici-LöwenLoggia dei LanziPerseus (Benvenuto Cellini)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: VasarikorridorMuseo GalileoUffizienPonte VecchioMedici-Löwen

Bologna

…, the red town, was quite lovely. I had the impression that the town successfully kept an identify and did not become a tourist-overrun travel destination filled with stupid souvenir shops. And they have nice restaurants…

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Basilika San PetronioPiazza Maggiore (Bologna)Palazzo dei BanchiUniversität BolognaMetropolitanstadt Bologna

… and not one, but two towers which are tilted in different directions. Somehow the Italians have a knack for towers =)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Türme von BolognaJüdisches Museum BolognaPalazzo dei BanchiPiazza Santo StefanoPalazzo Re Enzo

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Erzbistum BolognaKathedrale von BolognaPalazzo Re EnzoNeptunbrunnen (Bologna)Palazzo del Podestà (Bologna)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Piazza Maggiore (Bologna)Metropolitanstadt BolognaUniversität BolognaPalazzo del Podestà (Bologna)Palazzo dei Banchi

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Synagoge (Bologna)Palazzo d’AccursioNeptunbrunnen (Bologna)Erzbistum BolognaKathedrale von Bologna

Ferrara

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Kathedrale von FerraraTeatro Claudio AbbadoCastello EstenseHerzogtum FerraraFerrara

Venezia

I loved and hated Venezia at the same time. The town is so incredibly beautiful but it is also so incredibly overrun by tourists. The next time I will bring a bolt cutter to clip off selfie sticks blocking my way. Asians be warned. Furthermore I had the impression that it is absolutely impossible to find a restaurant with decent food.

What I liked pretty much is their public transportation concept. You can use boats as you would use buses on less watery towns. For 20 EUR you get a 24h ticket that you can use as often as you like. As we like traveling by boat, we used it a lot.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: San Michele (Insel)San Michele in IsolaSanta Maria Assunta (Venedig, Cannaregio)Palazzo Contarini dal ZaffoScuola Grande di San Marco

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: San Michele (Insel)San Michele in IsolaSanta Maria Assunta (Venedig, Cannaregio)Palazzo da MulaScuola Grande di San Marco

These things are part of the problem. The huge cruise ships spit thousands of tourists into the city.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Museo storico navaleLöwe von PiräusSan Giovanni in BragoraArsenal (Venedig)Castello

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: San MarzilianPalazzo Contarini dal ZaffoSanta Maria Assunta (Venedig, Cannaregio)Ca’ d’OroSanta Maria Maddalena in Cannaregio

When you visit in Venezia, you should have a hotel in town. Yes, it is expensive, but this will give you the opportunity to spend the nights here when the cruise ship and one-day tourists are gone.

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Santa Maria Assunta (Venedig, Cannaregio)Scuola Grande di San MarcoPonte del CavalloSanti Giovanni e Paolo (Kirche in Venedig)Santa Maria dei Miracoli (Venedig)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Scuola Grande di San MarcoPonte del CavalloSanti Giovanni e Paolo (Kirche in Venedig)Santa Maria dei Miracoli (Venedig)Ponte Minich

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Zecca (Venedig)DogenpalastBiblioteca Nazionale MarcianaPorta della CartaLoggetta

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Canal GrandePalazzo GrimaniPalazzo FortunyPonte ManinPalazzo Contarini del Bovolo

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Fondazione Giorgio CiniSan Giorgio MaggiorePonte della PagliaRiva degli SchiavoniZecca (Venedig)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Fondazione Giorgio CiniSan Giorgio MaggiorePonte della PagliaRiva degli SchiavoniZecca (Venedig)

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Palazzo Michiel dalle ColonneCa’ d’OroCa’ da MostoPiazza di RialtoSan Giovanni Elemosinario

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: Ca’ d’OroSan MarzilianSanta Maria Maddalena in CannaregioCa’ Corner della ReginaPalazzo Michiel dalle Colonne

🌍 Picture location – Wiki-Links: DogenpalastZecca (Venedig)Biblioteca Nazionale MarcianaPorta della CartaLoggetta

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