Sprawled across seven legendary hills, romantic and beautiful Rome was one
of the great centers of the ancient world. Although its beginning is shrouded
in legend and its development is full of intrigue and struggle, Rome has always
been and remains the Eternal City.
Rome enjoyed its greatest splendor during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art
flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman
legions swept outward, conquering all of Italy. These victorious armies then
swept across the Mediterranean and beyond to conquer most of the known world.
With Rome's establishment as capital of the western world, a new ascent to glory
Today's Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious
parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafes and elegant shops, is
one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous
monuments is the Colosseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine
the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combats between
muscled gladiators and ferocious animals.
Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once the city's political and commercial
center. In later times, Rome's squares were enhanced with such imposing structures
as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and grandiose fountains like the Fontana di
Trevi. Join the millions who stand in awe of Christendom’s most magnificent
church and admire the timeless masterpieces of Michelangelo's frescoes in the
Rome jars the senses and captures the soul. Grasp all you can during the short,
precious time you have available in the Eternal City. With so much to see and
do, a day or two will only allow you a sampling of the city's marvelous treasures.
Caution: As in many big cities and tourist destinations purse snatching
and pickpocketing is common. Valuable jewelry and excess cash are best left
in a safety deposit box in your hotel.
Shopping For most visitors shopping for beautiful Italian leather articles,
designer shoes, fashions for men and women, linens, knitwear, silk scarves and
ties is a favorite pastime. Except for tourist-oriented shops, the majority
of stores are closed on Sundays. Some of the department stores, such as Rinascente,
open in the late afternoon on Sundays.
Cuisine Rome's choice of restaurants is mindboggling as is the variety
of cuisine. Whether your meal is at a top-rated restaurant or a rustic trattoria,
you can be sure that you will enjoy your food, especially when accompanied by
wines from the hill towns surrounding Rome.
Other Sights Rome's attractions are endless, and depending on how much
time you have at your disposal a careful selection has to be made about what
to see. Be aware of horrendous traffic conditions and major construction work
all around the city in preparation of Jubilee 2000, the Holy Year. Some of the
sights not to be missed:
Piazza Venezia - This busy square is easily recognized by its imposing Vittorio
Emanuele II Monument. The white marble structure was inaugurated in 1911 as
a symbol of Italy’s unification.
The Forum - Once the civic heart of ancient Rome, today the remains include
a series of ruins, marble fragments, isolated columns and some worn arches.
Colosseum - No visit to Rome is complete without a stop at this awe-inspiring
theater, which is among the world’s most celebrated buildings. Here ancient
Rome flocked to see gladiatorial contests and numerous other spectacles.
Trevi Fountain - Take a stroll to Rome's famous fountain. A spectacular fantasy
of mythical sea creatures and cascades of splashing water, the fountain is one
of the city's foremost attractions. Legend has it that visitors must toss a
coin into the fountain to ensure their return to Rome.
St. Peter's Square - Part of Vatican City, this square created by Bernini
is considered one of the loveliest squares in the world. Twin Doric colonnades
topped with statues of various saints and martyrs flank either side of the square.
In the center stands an 84-foot obelisk, brought from Egypt in 37 A.D.
St. Peter's Basilica - At the head of the square stands Christendom's most
magnificent church, which was begun in 1452 on the site where St. Peter was
buried. Throughout the following 200 years, such Renaissance masters as Bramante,
Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini worked on its design and created an unparalleled
masterpiece. Of special note are Michelangelo's Pieta and the bronze canopy
over the high altar by Bernini. The immense dome was designed by Michelangelo.
Vatican Museum - To see this museum's immense collection would take days.
As you enter, there are special posters that plot a choice of four color-coded
itineraries. They are repeated throughout the museum and are easy to follow.
It is a good idea to pickup a leaflet at the main entrance and concentrate on
exhibits of major interest. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is a must. Most likely
you may have to wait in line to enter.
With a great historic past and incomparable art treasures, Venice is renowned as one of the world’s great cities. Its 118 islands are separated by more than 150 canals and spanned by 400 bridges. During Venice's artistic golden age many magnificent structures were erected to create world-famous masterpieces. One of the best sightseeing routes is along Grand Canal, with many palaces lining the famous waterway. St. Mark’s Square offers access to some of Venice’s most famed attractions - St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. From Piazza San Marco, a maze of narrow streets are lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. A popular pastime is sitting at an outdoor café facing the square while people-watching and letting the whole marvelous scenario unfold. Venice’s Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands comprise an area famous as home of Venice’s glass-blowing industry and known for their charm, skilled lace-making and medieval monuments. Relax on a gondola ride, see art treasures in museums, churches and palaces, and have a sumptuous meal - all in this incomparable city.
Picturesquely situated in a narrow cove on Italy's northern coast lies enchanting Portofino. This Pearl of the Mediterranean has been a favored gathering place for the elite who appreciate the charm and intimacy of the cliff-lined harbor. Overlooking rocky coastline, quaint Portofino surprises with incredible views of Gulf of Rapallo and surrounding hillsides. The church of San Giorgio offers a beautiful view of the resort and harbor. More extensive views are available from Fortezza de San Giorgio. In 1935, the city government of Genoa declared Portofino a national monument. Visitors enjoy the unique ambiance, chic boutiques and quaint cafes that overlook the small yacht harbor and line narrow, cobbled streets. Others explore the surrounding coastline, where tiny villages are tucked away in hidden coves. Don't miss out on a favorite pastime - people-watching while relaxing in an outdoor cafe. The boutiques and designer shops tempt with chic resortwear and Italian designer clothing. Two miles from Portofino is Paraggi, with a sparkling cove good for a swim.
Siena is . . . the city of the blessed Virgins and the "Balzana"; black and white; decisive, just as its heraldic symbol; passionate and contemplative; always climbing and descending; clear and at the same time obscure; steep and narrow streets; the red of the Piazza del Campo appearing blinding and suddenly. In the alleys, in the museums and oratories of the Contrada, the spiritual songs of the Palio evoke very ancient rituals and modern allegories, while during the evening the shuffling of soles on the deserted pavement is in contrast with the peacefulness of the green valleys providentially enclosed within the wall, which ancient administrators had erected hundreds of years before it became common practice.
Siena is also the Cathedral and the extraordinary panorama from the Facciatone; the Sala del Pellegrinaio in Santa Maria della Scala, the Libreria Piccolomini and the prestigious Accademia Chigiana; the enormous Medicean fortress that on the inside, at the Enoteca Italiana, harbors the most precious wines of Siena, Tuscany and the peninsula; sweet-smelling Trattorias, sweet spices, the sounds of the artisans and spouting fountains; Fontebrande and the mystery of the Diana, a famous river underneath Siena; the alchemy geometry of the Piazza, suggestively neo-Gothic and cathartic. And these are the reasons why "Siena opens up its heart more than any other place," as the famous inscription reads on the Porta di Camollia.
Like the other northern Italian lakes, Lake Maggiore's credentials as a tourist destination go back a long way. The early twentieth century saw a spate of illustrious visitors enjoying themselves in luxurious lakeside villas and verdant gardens.
The most popular Lake Maggiore resorts are on the western shores of the lake. Stresa is a lovely town with beautiful villas and gardens (some open to the public), a good climate and lake views. From the town a cablecar takes you up Monte Mottarone, where from a height of over 4,000 ft you can enjoy views of the Alps and the other lakes.
If you spend time at Lake Maggiore, you will soon become familiar with the name of the Borromeo family, who still own the islands named after them. Their most celebrated scion, St Charles Borromeo, was born in the castle in Arona, at the southern end of the west shore. A gigantic statue in the town celebrates San Carlo; if you climb up inside the hollow structure, you can admire the view through the Saint's eyes.
The Borromean Islands are unmissable Lake Maggiore tourist attractions. There are three open to the public, containing beautiful gardens, small settlements and restaurants.
Monteriggioni is a medieval walled town, located on a natural hillock, in the Siena Province of Tuscany. In addition to being a strategic defense fort during the Middle Age conflicts between Siena and Florence, the Tuscan poet Dante Alighieri used the turrets of Monterrigioni to evoke the sight of the ring of giants encircling the Infernal abyss.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is a town and municipality in the province of Belluno, Veneto, northern Italy. Located in the Dolomites, it is a popular winter sport resort. .Probably among the three most exclusive mountain locations in Europe, Cortina is known for its first-class hotels and shops.
Santa Margherita is located on the Italian Riviera in the province of Genoa. It has plenty of hotels and waterfront restaurants that make this the perfect getaway destination without having to deal with much of the tourist crowd. There is plenty to do in Santa Margherita; this includes visiting a famous castle, taking a stroll down the historical Abbazia della Cervaraand and enjoying a day at the beach.