A Travellerspoint blog

Garda - Beautiful Italian Lake.

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

This was our second trip to Lake Garda. We went years ago while we were on holiday in Myerhofen in Austria. During that trip we went on an organized day tour to Venice and stopped on route in Riva del Garda. It was really, really hot and instead of looking at the town, we went swimming in the lake. We then travelled rather wet on the bus all the way to Venice. There was no danger of us going swimming on this trip. It was way too cold. We visited two places on Lake Garda this trip: Peschiera del Garda and Desenza.

Before our visit we had an argument because we had only intended to go to one place on Garda. I really wanted to go to Desenzano and Peter really wanted to go to Peschiera del Garda. We worked out that by the time we would get there we would only have about two and a half hours of light. We decided to go to Peschiera del Garda for an hour then take the train to Desenzano, but we both really liked Peschiera del Garda so we stayed longer and we only got to Desenzano for about half an hour of light. This was the right choice for us though as we found Peschiera del Garda to be a lovely yet real sort of place and Desenzano much more touristy and twee.

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It is narrowest at its northern end which is surrounded by mountains, Riva del Garda, is here and broadest and flattest at its southern end around Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano.

Gardaland.

Peschiera del Garda is the gateway to Gardaland. Don't get me wrong I did not go to Gardaland. I just noticed lots of adverts for Gardaland when I got off the train at Peschiera del Garda and then noticed the free shuttle buses which leave from just outside the station. If you have children or you just like theme parks, you may pass through Peschiera del Garda on your way to the theme park. Gardaland opened in 1975 and includes a Sea life, roller coasters and a hotel among other attractions. If you are not travelling by car then coming from Milan, Verona or Brescia by train and then taking the free bus is probably your best route to the theme park.

Gardaland Advertisement at the station. - Lago di Garda

Gardaland Advertisement at the station. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda Fortress.

We spent most of our time in Peschiera del Garda wandering around the remains of its fortifications. Peschiera del Garda once had a fortress. It was situated on an island in the River Mincio, not far from Lake Garda. This fortress played an important role during the Napoleonic wars. In 1848 during the First Italian War of Independence, this fortress was captured from the Austrians by the Piedmontese. Nowadays only walls, gateways, moats and the occasional cannon remains. We wandered around these remains, enjoying the views over the river, lake and town from the walls.

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

The Mincio River - Lago di Garda

The Mincio River - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress.

The fortress remains actually cover quite a large area. The remains were strengthened and added to at various points in history. In the middle of the sixteenth century, the Venetians gained control of the town and strengthened its defences. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Austrians expanded the fort and made it one of the corners of the Quadruple Alliance along with Mantua, Verona, and Legnano.

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

Ruins of the fortress. - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The remains of the fortress - Lago di Garda

The Streets of Peschiera del Garda.

The streets of Peschiera del Garda are located among the fortifications. Many are on the banks of the river. There are narrow streets, some old buildings, lots of restaurants. The town has a pleasant atmosphere.

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake.

Peschiera del Garda has a small jetty sticking out into the lake from which I think you can catch some boats. I don't think it has a scenic lakeside walkway. It is more of a working town than a tourism town.

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda down by the lake. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda Santa comes to town.

Peschiera del Garda had some interesting Christmas decorations. One was a rather large Santa Claus. There was also a small Christmas market, but I did not photograph it.

Peschiera del Garda Santa comes to town. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda Santa comes to town. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda Santa comes to town. - Lago di Garda

Peschiera del Garda Santa comes to town. - Lago di Garda

Desenzano.

Desenzano. - Lago di Garda

Desenzano. - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle.

We really only had a very rushed look around Desenzano. On our walk from the train station to the lake I suddenly spotted the castle, so we took a slight detour to visit. I have read you can go in, but it was closed when we got there. There were lovely views over Desenzano from the castle. Desenzano Castle dates back to the year 1000. It was enlarged at the end of the fifteenthth century. It was most recently renovated in 2007.

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle - Lago di Garda

Views from Desenzano Castle.

From Desenzano Castle there were beautiful views out over the town and the lake. We got there just as the light was beginning to fade as we looked at the views we could hear music from a nearby cafe.

The Streets of Desenzano.

Some of Desenzano's streets were quite picturesque narrow, winding streets with colourful houses. One of the main streets was lit up by a Christmas light show after darkness fell.

The Streets of Desenzano - Lago di Garda

The Streets of Desenzano - Lago di Garda

The Streets of Desenzano - Lago di Garda

The Streets of Desenzano - Lago di Garda

The Streets of Desenzano - Lago di Garda

The Streets of Desenzano - Lago di Garda

The streets of Desenzano. - Lago di Garda

The streets of Desenzano. - Lago di Garda

The streets of Desenzano. - Lago di Garda

The streets of Desenzano. - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Harbour.

Desenzano has a picturesque harbour. Apparently the tourist office is located here. It had a nativity scene on display in the harbour and I love nativity scenes, but I found this one rather over the top with life size figures standing on boats and located in some windows around the harbour. Too much! The houses around the harbour are colourful and there were several little boats bobbing up and down on the waves.

Desenzano Harbour - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Harbour - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Harbour - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Harbour - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Harbour - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Harbour - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Lakefront.

Although there is a busy road to one side of you, there is also a walkway along the lakeside at Desenzano. There are many large ships around. I believe you can take a boat from here to Sirmione and other places around the lake.

Desenzano Lakefront - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Lakefront - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Lakefront - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Lakefront - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Lakefront - Lago di Garda

Desenzano Lakefront - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda.

Many years ago we went on an organized day trip from Mayerhofen in Austria to Venice and stopped in Garda. I think it was Riva del Garda. This was in the middle of summer and we went swimming in the lake. The northern end of the lake is narrower and more mountainous than the southern end. I found and scanned my old photos of the trip to include them on my blog.

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Northern Garda - Lago di Garda

Posted by irenevt 23:37 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Cremona - Land of the Violin.

snow

Snow capped lion outside the baptistry. - Cremona

Snow capped lion outside the baptistry. - Cremona

Cremona.

On our last visit to Italy, we decided to visit Cremona for the day. We took the train from Brescia and the journey took about an hour. We left Brescia on a cold, but bright day with clear blue skies. About half way through the journey, a thick fog descended and we travelled through a bleak, snow covered wintery landscape on our way to Cremona. Fortunately Cremona itself was not too foggy, just a bit cold. In Cremona we visited Stradivarius Square, the Piazza del Comune with its lovely cathedral, bell tower, town hall and baptistry, several violin shops, a church, the River Po, the Piazza Roma, the Piazza Lodi and the Po River.

We were supposed to spend just half a day in Cremona then travel onto Mantua, but I insisted we visited the Church of St Pietro on the Po which turned out to be closed. I also insisted that it must be near the River Po and we should go there, too. It was nowhere near the Po and by walking to the river, we missed the train to Mantua, so that city will have to wait for a future visit. Such is life. Two cities on one day is excessive for us anyway. We are not really speedy travellers. Cremona is a lovely historical city. Its cathedral and the square on which it is located are very beautiful. It is of course world renowned for violin making and is the home of the Stradivarius violin.

Stradivari Square.

Cremona was the birthplace of world famous violin maker, Antonio Stradivari. He was born in Cremona in 1644 and lived here till his death in 1737. His violins have the best sound of any violins in the world and are very valuable. As well as violins, Stradivari also made other stringed instruments such as cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. There is a square named after him in his home town with a statue of Stradivari passing on his violin making skills to the youth. Stradivari lived a long and productive life, dying at the age of 93. He is buried in the Church of San Domenico in Cremona. Stradivari Square is right next to the Piazza del Comune where Cremona's cathedral is located.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

Stradivari Square.

The Piazza Del Comune.

The Piazza del Comune is Cremona's main square. It is surrounded by beautiful buildings such as Cremona's lovely cathedral, its tall bell tower, its town hall, the loggia dei Militi and the baptistry. Cremona's tourist office is also located here. Cremona's tall bell tower is known as the Torazzo. It was built in the middle of the thirteenth century. It has a clock dating from 1583. The Torazzo is 112 metres high, making it the highest medieval tower in Italy. We did not go up it, but apparently there are lovely views from the top. We did go in the cathedral which had wonderful paintings inside. The Baptistry is an octagonal shaped building dating from the late twelfth century.

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Piazza Del Comune

The Loggia Dei Militi.

The Loggia dei Militi means the loggia of the soldiers. This building is on the Piazza del Comune next to the town hall. Its portico contains the emblem of Cremona which is being held by the city's mythical founder Hercules. The Loggia dei Militi dates from 1292.

The Loggia Dei Militi

The Loggia Dei Militi

The Loggia Dei Militi

The Loggia Dei Militi

The Loggia Dei Militi

The Loggia Dei Militi

Cremona Cathedral.

Cremona Cathedral is known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Italian. It is the seat of the Bishop of Cremona. Construction of the cathedral began in 1107 and the building was probably finished in around 1170. Inside the cathedral there are frescoes of the Stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph among others. Pairs of lions guard the outside of the cathedral and nearby baptistry. The facade of the cathedral has a lovely rose window and many sculptures.

Cremona Cathedral and Bell Tower. - Cremona

Cremona Cathedral and Bell Tower. - Cremona

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Town Hall.

The Palazzo Comunale, located on Piazza del Commune, is Cremona's old town hall. It was built in the early thirteenth century. There are frescoes under the portico. We did not go inside, but apparently there are some traditionally decorated rooms inside plus exhibitions of stringed instruments.

Cremona Town Hall

Cremona Town Hall

Cremona Town Hall

Cremona Town Hall

Cremona Town Hall

Cremona Town Hall

Violin Makers.

Cremona is famous for being home to Stradivarius violins. Near Piazza del Commune you can still see some workshops where violins are made, repaired and sold. These were all closed when we visited, but their window displays were interesting.

Violin Makers

Violin Makers

Violin Makers

Violin Makers

Violin Makers

Violin Makers

The Church Of San Pietro Al Po.

The church of San Pietro al Po dates from 1563. We walked all the way here because I had read the interior was beautiful. It was unfortunately closed. The exterior was quite plain. There was a nativity scene at the front of the church. From its name I expected this church to be on the River Po, but it is not.

The Church Of San Pietro Al Po

The Church Of San Pietro Al Po

The Church Of San Pietro Al Po

The Church Of San Pietro Al Po

The River Po.

Our problem was that the River Po was not actually on our map and I was convinced the Church of San Pietro al Po must be on the river, so we went the wrong way to the river. Well, not so much wrong as round about and indirect. It took us a long time to get there and not very much time to get back to the centre. The River Po was actually quite beautiful with the weak wintery sun reflecting on its waters. As we were gazing into the river, a small fishing boat passed by.

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The River Po

The Ponchielli Theatre.

On the walk back from the River Po we passed the Ponchielli Theatre. The original theatre at this site dated from 1747 when some local noblemen decided to present the town with a public theatre. The theatre was designed by Cremona architect Giovanni Battista Zaist. Unfortunately that building was destroyed by fire in 1806. The current Ponchielli Theatre is named after Amilcare Ponchielli the great Cremona operatic composer.

The Ponchielli Theatre

The Ponchielli Theatre

The Piazza Roma.

This is a pleasant central square in Cremona with very beautiful gardens and lots of interesting sculptures. We really enjoyed wandering around here and taking lots of photos of all the fascinating statues.

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

The Piazza Roma

Piazza Lodi.

Piazza Lodi has a statue of the composer Claudio Monteverdi in its centre. Monteverdi was born in Cremona in 1567. He is credited with writing the first ever opera L'Orfeo. He died in Venice in 1643, aged seventy-six. Monteverdi had a huge influence on the world of music.

Piazza Lodi

Piazza Lodi

Cremona is easy to reach by train. We got there in about an hour from Brescia. It is also on a direct line from Milan and Mantua. The train station is about fifteen minutes walk away from the historical centre of Cremona. It is an easy walk, exit the station and go straight ahead. There was an interesting monument in the square directly in front of the station. Our trip to Cremona went through some snow filled wintery landscapes. Address: Via Dante, Cremona.

Cremona Train Station.

Cremona Train Station.

Outside Cremona Train Station.

Outside Cremona Train Station.

On the way to Cremona.

On the way to Cremona.

On the way to Cremona.

On the way to Cremona.

Posted by irenevt 22:14 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Iseo - Paradise on a lake.

Peschiera Maraglio on Monte Isola. - Lago d' Iseo

Peschiera Maraglio on Monte Isola. - Lago d' Iseo

Iseo.

We bought a travel pass for the Lombardy Region on our last visit to Italy and noticed that we could travel on the boats on Lake Iseo free of charge. Add that to the fact we were based in Brescia, located around twenty-five minutes away from Iseo by train and we were bound to visit. And visit we did. On our first visit we found this lake and surroundings so beautiful that we changed our travel plans in order to visit Lake Iseo again. We were not disappointed.

On visit number one, we explored the lovely town of Iseo, the largest place on the lake. We explored the main square, castle and a beautiful church. Then we took a boat to Peschiera Maraglio on the wonderful island of Monte Isola. After wandering the shoreline and exploring the church, we took a boat to Sulzano back on the mainland.

Ferry on Lago d'Iseo. - Lago d' Iseo

Ferry on Lago d'Iseo. - Lago d' Iseo

On visit number two, we returned to Iseo and explored another stunning church. Then we took a ferry to the tiny village of Sensole, nestling under its hilltop castle, back on the Island of Monte Isola. We walked from there along the shoreline past a cat sanctuary and rows of drying fish back to Peschiera Maraglio. From there we returned to Sulzano for a more leisurely look around than on our first visit. We wandered around the lakeside and then up to the church before departing by train back to Brescia.

Peschiera Maraglio, Monte Isola. - Lago d' Iseo

Peschiera Maraglio, Monte Isola. - Lago d' Iseo

Lake Iseo is located between Lake Garda and Lake Como. It is a long, narrow and surrounded by mountains. For some reason it is not as well known as the other two lakes and is therefore mercifully peaceful to visit.

Iseo Village

Iseo is the name of the lake but it is also the name of the biggest town on the lake. Iseo town has a population of around 9,000. You can get there easily by train from Brescia and it has a ferry service to other places on the lake. Iseo's main square is the Piazza Garibaldi. There is a statue of Garibaldi in the centre of this square. Some of the houses on this square still have fragments of the frescoes that were once painted on their walls. There is a second square with a statue down by the waterfront and the tourist office is supposedly near this square, though we did not visit it. Iseo has an old castle which contains a small war museum. Iseo has several very beautiful churches.

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Iseo Village

Oldofredi Castle

We walked up the hill away from the lake until we came to Oldofredi Castle. This castle was built at the end of the 11th century. It was named after the Ghibelline Oldofredi family who originally came from Iseo. It was burnt down by Barbarossa during his war with Italy and later restored by Giacomo Oldofredi in 1161. In 1586 the castle became a monastery for Franciscan friars. Nowadays it is a war museum. I was surprised to see how large the castle windows were at the back, not really in keeping with its style. The war museum inside is free entry and apparently interesting, but as we arrived at lunch time it was shut and we did not go inside.

Oldofredi Castle

Oldofredi Castle

Oldofredi Castle

Oldofredi Castle

Oldofredi Castle

Oldofredi Castle

Our Lady Of The Snow

Next to the castle there is a lovely church called the Our Lady of the Snow. This church was built on the remains of an older church called the church of St. Stephen. In 1655 a crippled man regained his ability to walk after praying in front of a fresco of the Holy Family on the wall next to the old church.This miracle prompted the rebuilding of the ruined church and it was renamed as Our Lady of the Snow. This church was beautifully decorated and very peaceful inside.

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Our Lady Of The Snow

Garibaldi Square

This is the main square in the town of Iseo. In the centre of this square there stands a statue of Garibaldi. He is in front of the town hall, which was the former Vantini Palace. This is a nice area to take a rest in.

Garibaldi Square

Garibaldi Square

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea

On our second visit to Iseo, we visited the parish church of S. Andrea. This church is quite plain on the outside, but beautiful on the inside. I especially loved the nativity scene which even had sound effects such as running water, baaing sheep and cockerels crowing. This church was founded in the 6th century by Bishop San Vigilio. It has an unusual bell tower. There is a tomb on the outside wall of the church. There are several lovely paintings inside the church.

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

The Parish Church Of S. Andrea:

Walk Along The Lake Front.

There is a walkway along the lakefront which is very pleasant to stroll along. From here you can enjoy beautiful lake land scenery. There are many boats on the waters. There are also lots of ducks and swans.

Walk Along The Lake Front.

Walk Along The Lake Front.

Walk Along The Lake Front.

Walk Along The Lake Front.

Walk Along The Lake Front.

Walk Along The Lake Front.

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio is a stunningly lovely little fishing village on Monte Isola. We strolled along its waterfront and climbed up its steep narrow streets to its attractive church. The church was beautiful inside, but we could not photograph it as there was a service going on. Near the ferry pier some old photos of women repairing fishing nets were on display. The waterfront was beautifully decorated for Christmas. From Peschiera Maraglio there are great views towards Sulzano and its surrounding mountains. There is quite a frequent ferry service between Peschiera Maraglio and Sulzano.

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep,Narrow Streets.

We left the waterfront to climb up to the lovely old village church and really enjoyed wandering Peschiera Maraglio's steep narrow streets. There was a service going on in the church during our visit.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - Steep, Narrow Streets.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Church

As you approach Peschiera Maraglio from the water, you well see its skyline is dominated by a beautiful yellow church. This is the Church of S. Michele. It was consecrated in 1648. The church is wonderful inside and has many frescoes on its walls and ceiling. As there was a service on when we visited, we could not photograph the inside of the church.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Church

Peschiera Maraglio - The Church

Peschiera Maraglio - The Church

Peschiera Maraglio - The Church

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio has a walkway along its waterfront from which you can enjoy some absolutely stunning scenery. Our visit coincided with one of the few moments of this holiday when the sun came out, but there was lots of snow on the surrounding hills adding to the wonderful views.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Peschiera Maraglio - The Waterfront.

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

I liked the Christmas decorations along the waterfront and around the town at Peschiera Maraglio, too. It is always wonderful to visit Italy at Christmas. I especially adore nativity scenes and there are always plenty of these around.

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Christmas On Peschiera Maraglio

Sulzano

Sulzano is on the mainland on the shores of Lake Iseo. There is a regular ferry service between Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. They are opposite each other. We visited Sulzano twice. Our first visit involved running from one ferry pier to another to catch a boat. Our second visit was more leisurely. We strolled the waterfront then walked up to the church. It was locked unfortunately, so we did not see inside. The train station is right next to the church. We took the train out of Sulzano on our second visit.

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano is a small place but it has some lovely quaint streets to explore. The buildings are brightly painted in a wide variety of colours. Its lake side scenery is also very attractive. It is a peaceful and calm place.

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Streets

Sulzano Waterfront

As with all the places on Lake Iseo we visited, Sulzano had a lovely waterfront backed by colourful houses and filled with gently bobbing boats. You can get here by boat or train. You can take boats from here to other places on Lake Iseo.

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Waterfront

Sulzano Church

This lovely church dates from the eighteenth century. I am not sure of its name. It was locked when we visited. It is located next to Sulzano train station. We just had a wander around the outside of the building.

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sulzano Church

Sensole

On our second visit to Monte Isola we went by ferry from Iseo to Sensole. This is a tiny place nestling under a castle perched on its hill. There is a little island offshore and there is a scenic walk from here to Peschiera Maraglio along the waterfront.

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Sensole

Cat Sanctuary

At one point on this walk we past a rather attractive cat sanctuary filled with our little feline friends.

Cat Sanctuary

Cat Sanctuary

Cat Sanctuary

Cat Sanctuary

Cat Sanctuary

Cat Sanctuary

Sensole Castle

Sensole sits nestled under a ruined hilltop castle. It is called Rocca Martinengo and dates from the 15th century. Its original name was Rocca Oldofredi. We did not climb up to the ruin. We just took some photos of it. If you look back on the walk from Sensole to Peschiera Maraglio, there are lovely views of Sensole with the castle towering over it.

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Castle

Sensole Village

Sensole is a tiny village. When we visited it was decorated for Christmas. Its Christmas tree had some rather unusual coke can decorations. The harbourfront at Sensole was very pretty and lovely for a stroll.

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Sensole Village

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

This walk took us around half an hour, walking at a leisurely pace and taking photos. The views back to Sensole were absolutely lovely. The walk is entirely along the waterfront so the scenery is superb.

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking To Peschiera Maraglio From Sensole

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

On our walk from Sensole, we passed lots of fish drying in the sun. Most of the villages on Monte Isola are fishing communities. The stacks of drying fish are in my opinion highly photogenic. It would have been nice to go for a fish meal around here, too.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Walking From Sensole - Drying Fish.

Wildlife On The Lake

Lake Iseo was filled with a huge assortment of greedy seagulls, squabbling ducks and graceful swans. It was extremely interesting to walk along the waterfront and watch the antics of all these wild birds.

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Wildlife On The Lake

Nativity Scenes

I absolutely love nativity scenes and the ones at Lago d'Iseo were wonderful. I really enjoy simple nativity scenes, not too over the top. The ones there had a fishing theme which I really liked. On Monete Isola, Jesus, Mary and Joseph were placed inside a toy boat under a Christmas tree. In Iseo the nativity scene was displayed in three rowing boats on the harbour.

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

San Paolo Island.

We did not go to this tiny island. We just looked at it from Sensole. I believe the island is privately owned. A Cluniac monastery once stood here in the 11th century. Nowadays there is a villa. I took my photos using a powerful zoom.

San Paolo Island.

San Paolo Island.

San Paolo Island.

San Paolo Island.

San Paolo Island.

San Paolo Island.

The Madonna Della Ceriola Sanctuary

Standing on the shore at Sulzano looking towards Monte Isola, I saw a building right at the top of the island. At first I thought it was a castle, then I realised it was a church. It turned out to be the Madonna della Ceriola Sanctuary which dates from the seventeenth century. In this church apparently you can see a painting of the Madonna and several frescoes dating from the sixteenth century. You can climb up to the church via the village of Cure and you will pass the stations of the cross on route. We did not go here. I just photoed it using my zoom.

The Madonna Della Ceriola Sanctuary

The Madonna Della Ceriola Sanctuary

The Madonna Della Ceriola Sanctuary

The Madonna Della Ceriola Sanctuary

Getting To Iseo

We got to Iseo by train from Brescia. The train was going to a place called Breno. Some trains may go all the way to Edolo. The train travels the full length of the lake's eastern shore and the scenery is beautiful. The train stops in Iseo town and in Sulzano. There were trains once an hour. The journey to Iseo took about 25 minutes. Trains left from Brescia West platforms - two smaller platforms at the end of platform one.

Getting To Iseo

Getting To Iseo

Getting Around The Lake

We travelled around Lake Iseo by boat. We got on the boat from the waterfront in Iseo town and travelled to Monte Isola. You must check schedules carefully in advance as there can be long gaps between boats. The service operates all year, but is more frequent in summer. From Peschiera Maraglio there was a frequent service to Sulzano and back. At one point we took a boat from Iseo to Sensole on Monte Isola then walked to Peschiera Maraglio and took a boat to Sulzano from there. The walk was scenic and took around half an hour or so.

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Getting Around The Lake

Sulzano Train Station.

There is a small train station in Sulzano from which trains run along the eastern side of Lake Iseo. We caught the train back to Brescia from here. The station has a free, clean toilet and a little waiting room. It is right next to Sulzano Church.

Sulzano Train Station

Sulzano Train Station

Sulzano Train Station

Sulzano Train Station

Posted by irenevt 06:26 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Verona - In the Land of Romeo and Juliet.

snow

Cathedral Nativity Scene. - Verona

Cathedral Nativity Scene. - Verona

Verona.

Verona is a beautiful, beautiful historical city and we should have had a wonderful time there...... but we didn't. And the reason we didn't was all down to the weather. When we arrived it was cold, very, very cold, but not unbearable. Then it started to snow and the snow was soft and fluffy and white and pretty, but our cameras started to fog up and it was difficult to bring our hands out of our pockets and gloves to take photos, but it was still bearable. Then it must have warmed up just a tiny bit and the snow turned to rain, ­ ice-cold rain that went on and on till our clothes were soaked and our hair was soaked. My hair managed to get inside my coat and inside my layers of sweaters and drip icy cold rain down my back. Our cameras which were a bit fogged up in the snow, became so fogged up they were next to useless. Our fingers were like icicles and we should really just have given up and gone to a museum or something, but stubbornly we ploughed on, wandering miserably from sight to sight, getting colder and colder and colder. We saw the Porto Nuova Gate, the old city walls, Piazza Bra, Piazza L'Erbe, Piazza Signoria, the Scaligeri Tombs, Juliet's house, San Anastasia Church, the Cathedral, the Ponte Pietra Bridge, Castelvecchio and the Ponte Scaligero bridge. We had intended to cross the Adige River and explore the other side of it, too, but we did not. We were too cold and too wet and the winter's day got dark even earlier than usual due to the bad weather. Eventually we decided enough was enough and we had seen quite a lot and that would have to do. I would guess that Verona is very, very crowded in summer because even on this dreadful, freezing cold, miserable day there were still quite a lot of people out sightseeing, just like us. Verona is located in the Veneto Region of Northern Italy on the banks of the Adige River. It has a population of around a quarter of a million.

Train and Statue. - Verona

Train and Statue. - Verona

In the first century AD Verona was part of the Roman Empire and it has important remains from this period. The most famous is its lovely amphitheatre which is now used to stage operas. Later Verona fell under the control of the Venetians, then Napoleon Bonaparte. With his departure, it became part of the Austrian Empire. Verona's most famous family were the the Scaligeri or della Scala family. They ruled Verona from the twelfth to the fourteenth century and left behind many important remains, such as castles and tombs. Verona is the setting for William Shakespeare's most famous romantic tragedy ­- Romeo and Juliet. Although these characters are fictitious, they still attract thousands of tourists to Verona each year.

Sculpture on a Verona Wall. - Verona

Sculpture on a Verona Wall. - Verona

Porta Nuova.

Porta Nuova or New Gate is the name of Verona's main railway station. The railway station has this name because it is located close to an old gate in Verona's city walls called Porta Nuova. This gate was built by Sanmicheli in the sixteenth century. In 1854 this gate was enlarged during the Austrian occupation of Verona.

Porta Nuova. - Verona

Porta Nuova. - Verona

Porta Nuova. - Verona

Porta Nuova. - Verona

Statue Filled Square.

Between the Porta Nuova and Piazza Bra we passed a pleasant, though small, statue filled square. Not sure what it was called, but it looked like quite a pleasant place to sit on a warm day. It most certainly wasn't a warm day when we visited.

The Italian poet Berto Barbarani (1872-1945) - Verona

The Italian poet Berto Barbarani (1872-1945) - Verona

The Church Of San Luca Evangelista - Chiesa di San Luca Evangelista .

Before reaching Piazza Bra on the walk from the station we visited the Church of San Luca Evangelista. A big plus for us was this church was heated so we could thaw out a bit and when we had thawed a little and started to look around, we realised it was actually a very beautiful church. It also had a lovely nativity scene. This church unlike many in Verona is free entry.

The Church Of San Luca Evangelista

The Church Of San Luca Evangelista

The Church Of San Luca Evangelista

The Church Of San Luca Evangelista

The Portani Della Bra.

Following the road from the railway station you will arrive at Verona's main square -­ the Piazza Bra. To get there you pass through a magnificent archway called the Portani Della Bra. It is worthy of a photo.

The Portani Della Bra

The Portani Della Bra

The Portani Della Bra

The Portani Della Bra

Piazza Bra at Christmas Time.

At Christmas time in Verona a huge Comet Star is raised over the arena. Naturally this represents the star which led the three wise men to the stable where Jesus was born. This iron structure is seventy meters high and weighs seventy-­eight tons. It dates from 1984 and was built for the first Verona Christmas Crib Exhibition. It was intended to be used only once but was so popular it has been used every Christmas since 1984.

The Christmas Comet Star. - Verona

The Christmas Comet Star. - Verona

The Christmas Comet Star. - Verona

The Christmas Comet Star. - Verona

Piazza Bra.

Piazza Bra is the main square in Verona. The word bra comes from the German word for broad, because Piazza Bra is a very wide open square. Piazza Bra is surrounded by many beautiful old buildings and there are many cafes and restaurants on this square, too. Part of the square is surrounded by Verona's old city walls and its old city gate. This square is also home to the Gran Guardia Palace, the Lapidary Museum and the town hall. In the centre of Piazza Bra there is a statue of the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele II mounted on a horse. However, the most noticeable and prominent building on the square is the Ancient Roman arena. We did not actually go inside the arena. Nowadays it is used to stage operas and at Christmas time it houses an exhibition on nativity scenes.

Christmas Market on Piazza Bra. - Verona

Christmas Market on Piazza Bra. - Verona

Piazza Bra - Verona

Piazza Bra - Verona

Piazza Bra - Verona

Piazza Bra - Verona

Piazza Bra - Verona

Piazza Bra - Verona

Verona Arena - Roman Amphitheatre.

One side of Piazza Bra is completely filled by its wonderful Ancient Roman arena. Verona arena was built in the first century A.D. It could hold up to 30,000 spectators. Nowadays it is used to host operas. Address: Piazza Brà, 1, 37121 Verona VR. Italy.

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Verona Arena - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe.

We walked from the arena along a busy shopping street with several department stores to Piazza delle Erbe. The department stores were great for us because we were able to pop into a couple briefly to warm up. Piazza delle Erbe is a beautiful square which acts as Verona's market place and has done since Ancient Roman times when it was the site of Verona's forum. There are many beautiful buildings around Piazza delle Erbe. These include the Maffei Palace, the Case dei Mazzanti, the Torre dei Lamberti, Palazzo del Commune and the Casa dei Mercanti. There is also a clock tower called the Torre del Gardello which dates from 1370 and a tall column with a winged lion on top. This dates from the days when Verona was under the control of Venice. Piazza delle Erbe also has a beautiful fountain called the Fontana dei Madonna Verona .

Piazza delle Erbe was one of the most beautiful parts of Verona, but the rain was at its heaviest and iciest when we got here and we lost each other and had to wander round and round getting wetter and wetter till we found each other again. Despite the dreadful weather, I took lots of photos of it and so will post even more here. After all each photo taken involved taking my gloves back off and letting my hands get even colder and colder. On this square too we were approached by people asking us to sign a petition against drugs. Ignore these people. It is a con. If you agree to sign, they will ask you for a donation. They were quite annoying.

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza delle Erbe - Verona

Piazza dei Signore.

This square joins on to Piazza delle Erbe. I was expecting it to be just as beautiful and it probably is but during our visit several buildings were covered up for restoration, so it was most certainly not at its best. The Piazza dei Signori is also known as the Piazza Dante as there is a large statue of the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri here. This square was once the centre of power in Verona as it includes the former court and the Palazzo del Governo which was once the seat of power of Verona's leading Scaliger family. During our visit there was a Christmas market here.

Piazza dei Signore - Verona

Piazza dei Signore - Verona

Piazza dei Signore - Verona

Piazza dei Signore - Verona

Piazza dei Signore - Verona

Piazza dei Signore - Verona

The Scaliger Tombs.

The Scaliger Tombs are right next to Piazza dei Signori. These are a group of five very elaborate and highly decorated tombs commemorating the Scaliger family, who ruled Verona from the thirteenth to the late fourteenth century. The tombs are in the courtyard of the church of Santa Maria Antica. You can view them through an iron fence without entering the church. My camera got very fogged up when I was photographing the tombs, so my photos are not great.

The Scaliger Tombs - Verona

The Scaliger Tombs - Verona

The Scaliger Tombs - Verona

The Scaliger Tombs - Verona

The Scaliger Tombs - Verona

The Scaliger Tombs - Verona

Juliet's House - ­ Casa di Giulietta.

I had read that Juliet's house was not worth visiting, but I like to judge these things for myself. I must say though, I really did find it pretty awful. Despite the fact it was pouring and freezing there were lots of people there. Entry to the house's courtyard is via a passageway covered everywhere with love notes. It is a bit of a mess. There was a queue to go into the house itself and we did not bother going inside. There was also a queue to have your photo taken with the statue of Juliet. Everyone who gets their photo taken with her has to make a big deal of rubbing or, in some cases even sucking her right breast. That part of the statue is shiny from all the attention it gets. Juliet was of course just a character in a story and this house has been labelled her house because it has a pretty balcony and can be used to extract money from gullible tourists. Obviously from the crowds thronging there, lots of people do like this sight. I have absolutely no idea why though. It is probably the most over-­rated attraction I have ever seen. We had intended to visit Romeo's house after this, but could not find it and were so cold, we both refused to take the map out and look for it. If it was anything like Juliet's house, it did not really seem worth the effort anyway. Address: Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona.

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

Juliet's House - Verona

The Adige River.

We left Juliet's house and tried looking for Romeo's but did not find it. It would have been easy to find if we could have been bothered to look at a map, but we couldn't, so we ended up at the river. Despite the icy winds blowing along it, the river was beautiful and we walked along it for as long as we could before we were so cold we could take no more.

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

The Adige River. - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Chiesa di Sant'Anastasia.

We left our riverside walk to enter into the enormous Church of Sant Anastasia. This is the largest church in Verona. It does not look all that special from the outside, but it is beautiful inside. Entry fee was 2 Euros 50 cents. I had put this church on my to see list as I wanted to see the famous hunchback columns. These were worth seeing as was the rest of this lovely church. Sant Anastasia Church is a Gothic church which was built by the Dominicans between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries. The hunchback sculptures are holding up fonts near the entrance to the church. This church has six chapels and lots of beautiful art work. This is yet another place where I got carried away taking photos. There was a lot to see inside plus it was specially decorated for Christmas so how could I possibly resist?

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Sant Anastasia Church - Verona

Cappella San Pietro Martire.

Cappella San Pietro Martire is a chapel located next door to Sant Anastasia Church. Entry to this chapel is free. The chapel's walls were covered with beautiful frescoes and there were exhibits of various religious scenes in the centre of the chapel. This chapel is dedicated to Saint Peter of Verona.

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Cappella San Pietro Martire

Verona Cathedral.

This was easily far and away the highlight of our visit. For a start it had heating and we actually managed to regain feeling in our fingers and toes after being in here, plus it had a free, clean toilet and having spent hours in the freezing cold, I was very happy to see one of them. I do know these features are probably irrelevant to most people. Verona cathedral is absolutely beautiful. Entry costs 2 Euros 50 cents and was well worth it. Verona's duomo is the Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare. A cathedral was first built on this site in the eighth and ninth centuries, but this was destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. The present cathedral was built between 1117 and 1138, however its interior was completely redone in Gothic style in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The cathedral is filled with many beautiful works of art. Off to the left of the cathedral apse a connecting door leads to the Baptistery of San Giovanni which has an octagonal font. Near the baptistery stands the small chapel of Saint Helen, which has the remains of some Roman floor mosaics.

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

Verona Cathedral - Verona

From an exhibition of paintings inside - Verona

From an exhibition of paintings inside - Verona

Mosaic Floors - Verona

Mosaic Floors - Verona

Duomo Nativity Scene.

I know I'll be thought of as a complete philistine but even surrounded by all those wonderful works of art my favourite feature of the duomo was its nativity scene - ­especially the sheep. I loved it because it was so simple and childlike and well just so pretty. This was the best nativity scene I saw all holiday though the Church of Sant Andrea in Iseo came close.

How could you not love those sheep? - Verona

How could you not love those sheep? - Verona

Duomo Nativity Scene - Verona

Duomo Nativity Scene - Verona

Duomo Nativity Scene. - Verona

Duomo Nativity Scene. - Verona

Ponte Pietra.

When we left the cathedral, we walked back down to the River Adige to see the Ponte Pietra Bridge. When Verona was founded around 90 BC, a wooden bridge was built at this site across the Adige River. When Verona was occupied by the Ancient Romans, this wooden bridge was later replaced by a stone bridge. The Ponte Pietra Bridge has been destroyed many times by floods and later during the Second World War by bombs. Its most recent restoration was in 1959. This is an attractive bridge in its own right. Plus it has excellent views up and down the river. On the far side of it there was a castle, a beautiful church, the remains of an Ancient Roman theatre and an archaeological Museum. As we were soaked through and freezing and we knew we would soon run out of light, we had to leave all that for a future visit.

Ponte Pietra - Verona

Ponte Pietra - Verona

View from Ponte Pietra - Verona

View from Ponte Pietra - Verona

View from Ponte Pietra - Verona

View from Ponte Pietra - Verona

View from Ponte Pietra - Verona

View from Ponte Pietra - Verona

Castelvecchio.

Castelvecchio means Old Castle. It is located on the banks of the Adige River. It consists of four main buildings and seven towers. It used to be surrounded by a ditch. Castelvecchio was built by Lord Cangrande II della Scala for defensive purposes between 1354 and 1376. The castle is connected to a fortified bridge across the River Adige. This is called the Ponte Scaligero Bridge. This was built as an escape route for the della Scala family if they ever had to flee their home. It even slopes downhill so they could run down it faster. The castle is now a museum.

Castelvecchio - Verona

Castelvecchio - Verona

Castelvecchio - Verona

Castelvecchio - Verona

Ponte Scaligero - Verona

Ponte Scaligero - Verona

Ponte Scaligero - Verona

Ponte Scaligero - Verona

Porta Borsari.

We were not looking for Borsari Gate. In fact we did not even know it existed, but we stumbled upon it as we walked to Castelvecchio. The Borsari Gate was originally called the Lovia Gate. In Ancient Roman times this gate was the main entrance to Verona on the Postumia Road.

Porta Borsari - Verona

Porta Borsari - Verona

Porta Borsari - Verona

Porta Borsari - Verona

Shakespeare Bust.

This bust of William Shakespeare is located near the Bra Gate. The inscription comes from Romeo and Juliet and reads:

"There is no world without Verona walls,
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence ­banished is banish'd from the world,
And world's exile is death."

These words were said by Romeo as he left Verona after being exiled. He was supposed to have left the city through the Bra Gate.

Bust of William Shakespeare. - Verona

Bust of William Shakespeare. - Verona

The Lion's Gate.

I saw this and photographed it without even knowing what it was. In fact I still had no idea what it was until I started writing up my Verona page. It was between Juliet's house and the river. We were wandering around looking for Romeo's house but we were so cold we had kind of lost interest in anything other than warming up, so we just glanced at this site as we passed. We also just glanced at the excavation of Roman remains nearby. Lion's Gate was once situated on the Ancient Roman Cardus Maximus Street. The gate is called Lion's Gate because of a nearby sarcophagus which had two lions depicted on it.

The Lion's Gate

The Lion's Gate

The Streets of Verona.

We saw lots of beautiful buildings as we were just wandering by. I did not photograph all of them because my hands were so cold I did not want to keep taking off my gloves, but every now and again I just could not resist. There are other photos that I like and nearly got frostbite taking. If we get the chance we will revisit Verona in better weather. It is a very beautiful city.

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

The Streets of Verona - Verona

Posted by irenevt 05:14 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

The Beautiful City of Brescia.

semi-overcast

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

We have just returned from a trip to Northern Italy. During that trip we based ourselves in Brescia and travelled around the region. As well as looking at Brescia itself, we visited Verona, the stunningly beautiful Iseo Lake, Cremona, Lake Garda and returned briefly to Milan where we based ourselves for last year's trip. I had read mixed reviews about Brescia, with several people describing it as rough and threatening. We loved it. We found it perfectly safe and perfectly friendly. We loved the fact it was a real place, not just a tourist destination, yet it had so many beautiful places to explore.

The only downside to this year's trip was that it was much colder than last year. When we were in Verona, it even started to snow. We devoted three half days to exploring the historical centre of Brescia. Only one of these half days was not unbelievably cold. The historical heart of Brescia centres around three main interconnected squares: the Piazza della Loggia, the Piazza della Vittoria and the Piazza Paolo VI. There is also a lovely hill-top castle and wonderful Roman remains. Brescia has an apparently excellent museum, too. I say apparently, because we did not visit it. There were just too many other things to do.

Brescia is situated at the foot of the Alps. It is close to Lake Garda and Lake Iseo. Brescia was founded over 3,200 years ago. Its old name was Brixia. It was an important town in Ancient Roman times. Roman Brixia had three or more temples, an aquaduct, a theatre, a forum and some baths. We were able to see the remains of the theatre, one temple and parts of the forum. Modern Brescia is an industrial city. Its symbol is the lion which you can find carved on many walls and emblazoned on many drain covers. While visiting Lombardy we bought a seven day rail pass for the region, just as we did the year before. At 41 Euros this pass is good value. It is also convenient as it only has to be stamped on the first day of use and it saves having to queue up for tickets. We had to buy an extra ticket to get all the way to Verona as it is out of the Lombardy Region.

Piazza del Mercato.

Piazza del Mercato means Market Square. It was the first square we got to when we walked into town from the railway station. This square has been home to Brescia's market since 1428. On the west side of the square stands Palazzo Martinengo Palatino. This former palace is now part of Brescia University.The square also houses the little church of Santa Maria del Lino. In the middle of the square there is a fountain of a boy with a dolphin. There was a merry­-go-round in the square when we visited.

Piazza del Mercato

Piazza del Mercato

The Torre Pallata.

We had a wander through Brescia's old town and found some lovely attractions such as the Tower of Pallata. This was built in 1254 as part of the city walls. Pallata means fence. A clock was added to the tower in 1461. At the bottom of the tower is the lovely Fountain of Pallata which dates from 1597. The statues on the fountain represent the gods of the two main rivers of Brescia: the Mella and the Garza.

The Torre Pallata

The Torre Pallata

Brescia Castle - ­ Sculptures.

The castle had attractive grounds and there were also some interesting statues and sculptures spread out around the castle grounds. We spent quite a while wandering around here. It is well worth a visit.

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle is also known as the falcon of Italy, presumably because of its high vantage point over the town. Construction of the castle began in the thirteenth century and continued until the sixteenth century.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle - Castello di Brescia.

Brescia Castle is an attractive building located on Cidneo Hill. We walked up here by following the signs from Paolo VI Square. It is an easy uphill walk. The castle houses two museums though we did not visit these. There are wonderful views over Brescia from the castle. The castle is free entry. You only pay if you go to the museums. There were some interesting statues in the castle grounds, including the statues of two lions. The castle grounds also housed an old steam locomotive engine.

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Piazza della Loggia.

The Piazza della Loggia is a beautiful square interconnected with the Piazza Vittoria. Here you can see the Renaissance Palace of the Loggia. This building is now the town hall. It dates back to 1492. On the south side of the square stands the Monti di Pietà which has fragments of ancient masonry embedded in its wall. The east side of the square contains a building dominated by the sixteenth century mechanical Clock Tower. This is modelled on the clock tower in Venice. The tower also has an astrological clock. There are several statues around the square. This square was the site of a dreadful terrorist explosion on the 28th of May 1974. Eight people were killed and more than a hundred were injured here during an anti­fascist ralley. The bomb which caused all the damage was concealed in a rubbish bin.

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Astrological Clock - Brescia

Astrological Clock - Brescia

Piazza Paolo VI.

Piazza Paolo VI used to be called Piazza del Duomo because it houses both of Brescia's cathedrals: the old and the new. However, it was re­named in honour of the Brescian pope Giovanni Battista Montini or Pope Paul the Sixth who lived from 1897 to 1978 and held the office of pope from 1963 until his death. On one side of the square stands the lovely Broletto -­ home to the Provincial Council, the Prefecture and the local Registrar's office. Next to that is the magnificent new cathedral with its huge green dome. Next to that stands the picturesque Rotonda or old cathedral. There are two fountains in the square. One depicts the goddess Minerva and is called Brescia Armed.

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

The Broletto - Palazzo del Broletto.

The Broletto was built in the thirteenth century. It has been the headquarters of the municipal authority in Brescia since the Middle Ages. The broletto has a tall tower -­ the tower of Pegol ­ whose bells were once used used to summon the citizens of Brescia. I especially loved the faces carved above the central courtyard. Some were quite comical.

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The New Cathedral - Duomo Nuovo. ­

One of the best things about the new cathedral was it was lovely and warm inside. I say that because Italy was freezing when we visited and getting in somewhere warm from time to time helped us to keep going. Another thing I really liked was the cathedral's nativity scene, especially the camels peeping out from under the table. The new cathedral was built on the site of an earlier cathedral -­ the Cathedral of San Pietro. Construction of the cathedral began in the first half of the seventeenth century. The cathedral was designed by the Brescian architect Gian Battista Lantana.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral. - Brescia

The New Cathedral. - Brescia

The Rotonda - Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral.

The Old Cathedral of Brescia is also known as the Rotonda, because of its round shape. Near the entrance there is a sarcophagus containing the body of Bishop Berardo Maggi, who died in 1308. Inside the cathedral you can find the Holy Crosses Chapel and the Holy Sacrament Chapel. There are also stairs down to a crypt.

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

Nativity Scenes.

During our visit to the rotunda there was an exhibition of Nativity Scenes from around the world. This exhibition was very popular and crowded. The church and exhibition were free entry.

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Piazza della Vittoria.

Piazza della Vittoria was designed by the Roman architect Marcello Piacentini. The is home to the Post Office building and the Torrione or high tower. It is a very modern looking square. The facades of some of the buildings are decorated with marble. On one side of the square is a red stone pulpit covered with carvings. It is used by public speakers to address the assembled crowds. When we visited, there was a very popular ice-­skating rink in the square.This square overlooks some attractive churches. It is interconnected with the Piazza della Loggia and the Piazza Paolo VI.

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Ancient Roman Theatre.

Not far from the temple lie the remains of an Ancient Roman theatre. This was built in the 1st Century AD. It could hold up to 15,000 spectators. This theatre, like most Ancient Greek theatres, lies on the sloping hill.

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Roman Remains - The Temple.

If you walk through the broletto from Paolo VI Square and follow the signs, you will end up at the Capitolino Temple. This restored Roman temple was built in 73 AD. It towers over the remains of the ancient Roman forum. The Capitolino Temple was the heart of Roman Brixia. It was built by the Emperor Vespasian.

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

The Big Face.

If you look closely at my photos of statues and fountains in Brescia, you will see many have no noses. This is explained next to the statue of the Big Face in Brescia. At a time when the states that now make up Italy were always fueding, Brescia sided with the pope and against the emperor. Sadly the emperor conquered the city and he was so angry with the people of Brescia he threatened to cut off their noses. He was later persuaded to alter his threat to cut the noses off all their statues which he did. Big Face was one of many statues deformed in this event.

The Big Face

The Big Face

Fountains of Brescia.

Brescia had some very beautiful fountains. Apparently there are more than seventy in total. We did not see all of them.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Monument to Garibaldi.

We rather liked this statue to Garibaldi in Brescia old town. I especially liked the lion. Wandering around Brescia old town was quite rewarding with lots of interesting sights scattered around. I would recommend doing this.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

Brescia's old town had some beautiful churches. We liked the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. This is located on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. This church was built to house an icon which was believed to have miraculous powers. The church was designed by Ludovico Beretta between 1480 and 1490. The exterior of the church is very beautiful. We sat inside for a while and found the interior lovely, too. The interior of this church was damaged during the Second World War but has been restored.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita.

We found this beautiful church quite close to the Roman remains in Brescia. This church was originally built in the sixteenth century but has been added to and changed over the years. It is very beautiful inside.

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

Getting to Brescia.

We flew from Dubai to Malpensa Airport near Milan, then travelled into Milan Central Station and caught a train to Brescia. From Milan Central to Brescia takes around an hour. On the flight we passed over some wonderful snow clad mountains. I am not even sure what country we were flying over at the time. It could have been Turkey.

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Trains from Brescia.

Brescia has good train connections to many different areas. It is on the main Milan/Verona line. It has direct connections to Lake Garda, Lake Iseo, Venice, Cremona, Bergama. We read a lot of negative comments about Brescia Station before going. We passed through it at least twelve times during our stay without ever feeling threatened, being asked for money or being harassed in any way. It was absolutely fine, just busy.

Trains from Brescia

Trains from Brescia

Trains from Brescia

Trains from Brescia

Brescia Metro.

Brescia has a very useful metro system for getting around on. To get to it, exit the station and go right. It is signposted. To get to the centre, travel one stop to Vittorio Station. This journey is also walkable.

Brescia Metro

Brescia Metro

Lombardy Pass.

We bought a seven day Lombardy Pass for our stay in Italy. It cost 41 Euros each. It includes train travel on regional trenord trains, on the Milan metro, the Brescia metro and on the boats on Lake Iseo. It also includes one return trip on the cable car at Como. Last year it included transport from Malpensa Airport if you travel via Ferma. This year we had to pay to Ferma and the pass included the rest of the journey. The pass is good value, plus it only has to be stamped once and it saves queuing for tickets at stations.

Lombardy Pass

Lombardy Pass

The Novotel Brescia.

We stayed in the Novotel Brescia Due for six nights in December 2014/ January 2015. To get to the hotel we travelled by train to Brescia train station, then exited the station and turned right towards Brescia Metro. We travelled one stop in the direction of Sant Euphemia and got off at Brescia Due. When we exited the metro we turned left and walked along the main road. We crossed one major road. ­I think it was called Malta Street. There are zebra crossings on it and on the next road we turned left and walked to the hotel. The walk took around 10 minutes or less. Check in was efficient and friendly. Our room was wonderfully quiet and we slept really well every night. Everything in the room was very clean. The bed felt hard but was surprisingly comfortable. We had a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. We had a room safe worked by a credit card, but it did not work at all. We did not complain; we just did not use it. The only thing that annoyed me was that we came back one night to find no cups and glasses in the room and I got angry when I had to wait a long time for them to be replaced. Cups in Italian Novotels always seem to be paper cups and glasses plastic glasses which I also do not like. We had breakfast every morning. The breakfast staff were always pleasant. Breakfast was extremely good. We loved the fresh bread. For hot foods there was Italian ham, scrambled egg and sausage. I normally ate bread, cheese, cold meat, tomatoes and boiled egg. There was also cereal, cakes and fruit. You could order freshly made coffee, but we generally just used the coffee machine. There was also a selection of teas. At first we thought our room was a bit cold, but then we realized that we controlled the heating from inside the room and made it lovely and warm. The hotel has a restaurant and bar but we did not use them. Directly opposite the hotel there is a large and excellent supermarket. This stays open till around 8PM. They have a great selection of breads, cold meat, cheeses and even hot food. Above the supermarket there is a pizza restaurant called Blue Lagoon. You get to it via the lift. We had an excellent pizza here, though they do a whole range of food. We also ate in the Spieler Pizza Restaurant which we passed on the walk from the metro. It had pizzas and lots of other choices plus German draught beers. We had a lovely meal here too. To get to the centre of Brescia by metro we travelled two stops to Vittoria Station which is right at Brescia's historical heart. If you walk in I believe it is around 2KM. The hotel had an attractive outdoor swimming pool but of course it was not open in winter. The hotel had free wifi and the signal strength was good. Checkout was quick and efficient. Brescia is a beautiful place and it is very close to both Lake Iseo and Lake Garda. I would happily stay here again. Unique Qualities: Nice and quiet, handy for the supermarket. Address: Via Pietro Nenni 22, 25124.

Our Room. - Brescia

Our Room. - Brescia

Our Room. - Brescia

Our Room. - Brescia

Posted by irenevt 02:02 Archived in Italy Comments (4)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 11) Page [1] 2 3 »