Italy Journals

Italian Diversion

A September 2002 trip to Italy by skeptic

The Streets of Venice Photo, Venice, Italy More Photos
Quote: The plan was to tour northern Europe by train. The weather made other plans. Dresden was flooded. So, it was off to Italy, Switzerland and France, thanks to Eurorail. From Paris it was just a matter of getting on the train to Milan and two weeks of adventure.

Remembering Pompeii

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The Ruins of Ancient Pompeii Photo, Pompeii, Italy
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Nearly 2000 years ago the citizens of the Roman city of Pompeii came to face their destiny, which was the volcano to the north. Ash rained on rich and poor alike, and few were able to escape the fate that is now etched in history. Their misfortune was a boon to modern archaeologists, because the rapid burial preserved a snapshot of one day in the life of Pompeii.Pompeii is today an active archaeological site, along with adjacent Herculaneum. Round out your visit to southern Italy with a tour of the archeological park, and make an entire day of it. A full day is required to take in the whole of the ancient ruins, and park accommodations include a substantial restaurant and a souvenir sh...Read More

Colorful Burano

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Along the Canal in Burano Photo, Venice, Italy
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In the northern part of the Venetian Lagoon, the island of Burano offers a different aspect of life in Venice. Landing at the foot of Via Marcello after a ferry boat ride from Venice brings visitors to a world of open byways, colorful houses, casual dining and art.Burano is traditionally a fishing village, but the modern industry is lace. Burano lace is not that obvious unless you visit the local shops or the museum. The Museum of Burano displays Venetian and Burano lace.Apparently, houses of a different color became a popular Burano theme in times past, and this turned out to be such a tourism draw that all houses were required to adopt a harlequin motif. A certain home ow...Read More

Fiesole and Italian Origins

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Fiesole Sprial Staircase Photo, Fiesole, Italy
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Florence may be the cultural heart of Italian Tuscany, but Fiesole is the soul. Round out your visit to Florence with a day at this historic town.The Etruscan culture is one of the oldest in Italy, and the settlers of these hilltops north of present day Florence shaped the nation’s future. Rome conquered Faesulae, what is the Fiesole of today, in 283 BC, and about 1000 years ago Florence defeated the locals and absorbed Fiesole. Christian influence was asserted early on by Saint Romulus, a disciple of Saint Peter.Modern Fiesole is an archeological treasure, and a nice museum displays historical artifacts adjacent to the archeological park. Take the number seven bus from the...Read More

Getting Acquainted With Venice

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The Streets of Venice Photo, Venice, Italy
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I have to say our concerns about Venice were overwrought, and you should consider this. How, we thought, could we possibly stay in Venice. The place is so popular and so compact, hotel accommodations will be either non-existent or else out of sight. So, the plan was to stay in Padua and use our rail pass to train daily into Venice.Big mistake. Hotel accommodations in Padua were non-existent due to a flower festival. There was no option but to train into Venice and eat the expense. We were pleasantly surprised.Arriving in Venice is hard to imagine without doing it. To be sure, Venice is built on a collection of coastal islands, but you don’t have to take a boat to get the...Read More