Friday, August 6, 2010

04. My Visit to Italy

Aug 14 - Aug 20, 1988 - 7 days in Italy

Italy is a republic in Southern Europe. The Republic was declared in 1946 after the country's defeat in World War II. Rich in cultural heritage and with many holiday resorts, much of the country is heavily dependent on tourism. The capital of the country is Europe.

We entered Italy through Venice (Venecia) a port of Northern Italy. The capital of Venetia of the Venezia Province, it lies in narrow canals a lagoon on 118 alluvial islands mostly separated by narrow canals crossed by some 400 bridgels. A road and rail causeway links it with the mainland.

Founded in the 15th century AD, Venice built an earthly maritime empire. It is world famous for its art and architecture including the Byzantine Cathedral of St. Mark. Tourism, glass an textiles are main industries.

I visited Venice. Since no cars were allowed into the city, it was necessary for us to park our camper outside the city limit.

Visited Augustus Caesar's Palace -- 16th century paintings -- Viewed Michaelangelo's immortal painting The Last Supper, Senate House, Miners House, Great Council Chamber (a great hall without any pillars under a big domw. Prison-- Ravine-- Rimini Beach -- Ricconic Beach-- hired a gondola for romantic rides in the channels and spent one hour in the gondola.

Traveled from Venice to Ancona on winding mountain roads--one side the Adriatic Sea and the other steep mountain ranges-- a grand view to look at the sea from the mountain tops. Visited the Gardinal Gardens full of beautiful fountains and colorful plants and shrubs and sweet smelling flowers and then proceeded to Sisten Chapel-- full of monuments and statues.

ROME:- Capital of Italy and of the Latium region known as the Eternal City. On the Tiber River it was built by the Romulus brothers on the Palatine Hill (753 BC). Once the cente of Roman Empire, it had many ancient remains including the Forum and Colosseum. Gradually it came under papal control until it was annexed by Italy in 1870. During the Renaissance it was flourishing art center and it is rich in buildings and works of art of the period. Rome became Italy's capital in 1871. It is also cultual tourist and manufacturing center.

Visited Old Roman's Senate-- Forum (the public square and market place of an ancient Roman City that was the assembly place for judicial and other public activity) and Pantheon Dome (Temple of Gods and Goddesses). Visited Sistene Chapel in Vatican city full of monuments and statues.

Vatican City: An independent state, the smallest in the world, lying within Rome in central Italy. The state is ruled by the Pope and administered by a lay governor and a council appointed by him. It is the supreme government of the Roman Catholic Church. Tourism and sale of its postage stamp provides the state's income. St. Peter's Basilica lies within the Vatican City, sometimes known as the Holy See.

(POPE: The bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Churches on earth, considered by Catholics to be, by apostolic succession from St. Peter, the vicar of Christ on earth.)

Public Audience: When Pope is in Vatican, he gives public audiences on all Wednesdays. We were lucky enough to participate in the audience. More than 10,000 people assembled in a great hall, waiting in anticipation to hear the words of the divine man. There was a long line which took 3 hours to reach the hall. The Pope addressed the assembly and blessed the audience at the end of the speech. He then received the people who had prior appointments to the podium and blessed them personally. The audience was held from 10 Am to 12 noon.

After being blessed by the Pope we visited the Trivi Fountain. People surrounded the fountain and threw coins into it hoping their wishes will come true. From there we went  to Spanish Steps, called the Lovers' Steps attracted hundreds of peoples with newly married couples throughout day and night. The night scenery was more attractive with musics, songs and dances.

Colosseum - An amphitheater in Rome built by Vespasian and Titus (AD 75- 80) Theater of Death where 2000 gladiators might fight on a single Roman Holidau. It is a four-storied complex of arches and arcades 48 meters big with 80 arches around the exterior. Individual boxes were provided for emperor and chief city officials. The seating capacity is 45,000 people. The elliptical arena is measuring 280 feet by 175 feet. It was constructed with a soundness which has endured for almost two millenia and is a striking monument to the skills of Roman engineers. Overall the Colosseum is 189 meters long and 156 meters wide. Mortal combat between  men or men and beasts was the dramatic form most often staged in the Colosseum. The last neast hunt was held in the Colosseum in 523 AD. Also visited the dilapidated palaces, ruined buildings, decayed statues, broken roads and pavements etc.

Left Rome for Florence. On the way we visited the Catacombes (underground old caves) where Christians took shelter from the attacks of the Romans. Hundreds of Christians were massacred by them. Our guide was an Indian from Calcutta by name Joseph. He took special interest in us and had a nice conversation with us after the tour. Our next visit was the Caste of Angelo on the way.

FLORENCE: Italian name Firenze. City in the Tuscany region of north central Italy on the Armo River, at the foo of Apeninnes. It was one of the most powerful and artistically brilliant city-states of the Italian Renaissance when it was under the rule of the Medici family. Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Dante and Donatello were all active in the city. Visited Uffizi galleries and the Cathedral, saw beautiful paintings, carvings and statues and walking through the downtown streets. Florence Corporation keeps the city very clean and neat though thousands of many kinds of visitors roaming the streets of the city everyday.

Leaving for PISA. We halted at the Sea Shore Resort Hotel, Pisa spending 3 hours of surfing, swimming, sun-bath, playing on the marina and taking rest under the shadows of the umbrellas.

Tower of Pisa, Leaning Tower of the Cathedral Pisa in Tuscany, Italy. The tower was built in 1174 AD and the chamber at the top was completed at about 1350 AD. During the construction which had a foundation too shallow to support, it leaned toward the south. Its deviation was accidental rather than intentional. It is about nearly 179 feet high. It deviates nearly 17 feet from the vertical. We climbed to the top of the tower and observed the view of the city.

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