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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas assault on pope in St Peter’s


Pope Benedict delivered his traditional Christmas Day blessing in 65 languages to worshippers packing St Peter’s square just hours after a 25-year-old woman, said to be mentally disturbed, knocked him to the ground of the basilica as he was preparing to say Christmas Eve mass.

The 82-year-old pontiff was said by the Vatican not to have been hurt, but Roger Etchegaray, an 87-year-old French cardinal, broke his femur in the incident when Susanna Mailo, wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt, climbed over a barricade and managed to grab the pope by his vestments, pulling him down to the marble floor as security personnel intervened.

The incident – coming less than two weeks after a man with a history of mental problems broke the nose of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister, outside Milan’s cathedral – has further fuelled a debate over security and violence in Italy.

Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right government used the attack on the prime minister to accuse the centre-left opposition of creating a “climate of hatred” in Italy. The latest incident might lend weight to those few observers who said one question raised by the assault on Mr Berlusconi was the state of care in Italy for the mentally ill.

Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, admitted that Ms Mailo, who was said to hold dual Italian-Swiss nationality, had tried to breach papal security at last year’s Christmas mass. But he said it would be “unthinkable” for the Vatican to create a wall between the pontiff and the faithful. Defending the security arrangements, he said the woman was not armed and did not appear particularly dangerous.

Italian media quoted the woman, who was arrested and taken to a medical facility, as saying she had not intended to harm the pope. The incident occurred as the pope’s procession was making its way toward the main altar. As usual security was relatively light although worshippers do pass through metal detectors.

Pope Benedict made no mention of his tumble in his Christmas Urbi et Orbi message which he delivered from the basilica‘s balcony. He spoke of the global financial crisis, conflicts across the world, particularly in Africa and the Holy Land, and drew attention to the plight of Christians in Iraq.

The Vatican had brought forward the mass on Christmas Eve by two hours out of concern for his heavy schedule and his health.

In 1981 Pope John Paul II was seriously wounded by Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk, who shot him in St Peter’s Square.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009. You may share using our article tools.

Source:FT.com

Angry Italian-Americans demand MTV pull 'hateful' reality show


They put up with The Godfather, Goodfellas, and decades of gangster movies. They endured The Sopranos. But one thing Italian-Americans will not stomach is a reality TV programme which appears to suggest that their community consists entirely of Mafia members, bimbos and buffoons.


Or so MTV discovered after launching its latest docu-drama, Jersey Shore. The show is on only its third episode, but after being accused of advancing ugly stereotypes by a string of race-relations groups it has been boycotted by two advertisers and reawakened a rumbling debate over the alleged excesses of "fly-on-the-wall" TV.

The programme follows eight twentysomething New Yorkers whose lives revolve principally (in the words of one cast-member) around "being Italian, representing family, friends, tanning, and hair-gel". They were filmed spending this summer's holiday season on New Jersey's "shore" region, a portion of the East coast that is roughly equivalent to Blackpool.

Its stars, whose home is painted in the colours of the Italian flag, have devoted early episodes almost entirely to excessive drinking, fighting, and sexual promiscuity. Critics noted that the men count abdominal muscles among their proudest possessions, while the women endlessly discuss sex, make-up and breast implants.

Crying racism, America's three largest Italian-American organisations – Unico National, the Order Sons of Italy in America, and the National Italian American Foundation – have called for the show to be pulled. "You wouldn't believe how much anger there is about this," said Unico's president Andre DiMino. "There's a major problem with the way Italian-Americans are presented in the media. But, normally, the negative stereotypes exist in fiction. Here, they're presented as reality."

Following the withdrawal of the advertisers Domino's Pizza and America Family Insurance, MTV has agreed to drop the word "Guido", a derogatory term similar to "wop", from Jersey Shore's publicity material, but is resisting calls to drop the show. "Our intention was never to stereotype, discriminate or offend," said the channel's Brad Schwartz. "This is not a scripted comedy show. This is a documentary."

The commentariat isn't so sure. Linda Stasi of The New York Post was among those to condemn the show's "hateful" portrayal of Italian-Americans as "gel-haired, thuggish ignoramuses with fake tans, no manners, no diction, no taste, no education... no real knowledge of Italian culture and no ambition beyond expanding [their] steroid and silicone-enhanced bodies". Would the programme have been broadcast, she asked: "if the group were African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Jewish people?"

Perhaps inevitably, the controversy was a boon to ratings, helping Jersey Shore to 1.4 million viewers.

The furore comes at a time when reality programme-makers are facing scrutiny. "It follows a long line of freak shows," said Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief of TheWrap.com, a website which recently revealed that 11 former reality stars had committed suicide. "We are witnessing the Jerry Springer-isation of American culture."

Source:independent.co.uk/

Venice flooded as Italy's bad weather continues


ROME — An unusually high tide flooded most of Venice early Wednesday, forcing tourists and residents to wade through knee-high waters or take to improvised, elevated boardwalks set up in St. Mark's Square and other landmarks.

The waters came in before dawn and reached a peak of 56.6 inches (144 centimeters) above average sea level. City authorities said that put around 60 percent of Venice's streets and piazzas under water.

Wednesday's level was still far from last year's record 63 inches (160 centimeters), Venice's worst flooding in more than two decades.

The tide receded during the day but the city said that more flooding is expected in coming days.

Northern Italy has been hit by snowstorms and cold temperatures that have shut down airports, idled trains and wreaked havoc on traffic in Milan and other cities.

Venetians are largely used to the "acqua alta" (high water) phenomenon, which occurs when strong winds from the south contribute to raise the sea level in the lagoon city.

The ANSA news agency reported some shops and ground-floor apartments were damaged by Wednesday's flood.

A system of movable barriers that would rise from the sea bed to protect Venice from exceptionally high tides has been in the works for years but will not be operational before 2014.

Source:AFP

Italy: Fiat’s Sicilian workers strike


Fiat has been forced to halt Lancia Ypsilon production at its Termini Imerese plant in Sicily after a strike to protest the OEM’s planned cutbacks at the facility. According to a Bloomberg report, output at the plant near Palermo was stopped on 22 and 23 December because of the walkout. Production was set to be suspended from 24 December until 7 January as part of a planned shutdown under a government-funded temporary layoff programme.

Fiat’s chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne recently reiterated Fiat’s plan to close the plant despite wider plans to increase the company’s vehicle production in Italy by 50% in the future.

Italy’s Industry Minister Claudio Scajola has said that he will convene another meeting to discuss the “future” of the Termini plant in January 2010. The Italian government opposes any shutdown of the plant, which employs 1,400 people and supports another 1,000 jobs among local suppliers.

The same plant was forced to stop production in early December when workers at a local unit of Lear Corporation, which makes seats for the Ypsilon, went on strike to protest against the OEM's plans to stop making cars at the plant after 2011. Production was halted due to a lack of seats.

Workers also went on strike at the Pomigliano d’Arco plant near Naples on 23 December. Fiat has said it will need to extend temporary layoffs there as it retools the factory to prepare for production of the new Panda small car starting in 2011

Source:automotiveworld.com/

From '8½' to 'Nine'


New York

To film his vision of "Nine," which opened on Christmas Day, director Rob Marshall needed a large concession from Maury Yeston, who wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical "Nine" almost 30 years ago: Cut several songs from his Tony Award-winning work. Mr. Yeston agreed, and with the help of a script by Michael Tolkin and the late Anthony Minghella, Mr. Marshall recast not only the story in the original musical but in its source material, Federico Fellini's "8½."

It's hard to imagine the 64-year-old Mr. Yeston as less than agreeable. During our meeting last week at his apartment near Carnegie Hall, he was as animated as he must have been as a child growing up in Jersey City, N.J., where he was raised a short ride from Broadway, the 52nd Street jazz clubs, concert halls for classical music and the folk scene in Greenwich Village. While we spoke, he ran to the piano several times to illustrate a point: I heard renditions of Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now" and "'Round Midnight," the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up Little Susie," themes from the score to "Taras Bulba" and Louis Armstrong's "Big Butter and Egg Man." He showed me a copy of Alan Watts's "The Wisdom of Insecurity" he keeps handy, quoted Nietzsche, challenged Freud and recalled how Katharine Hepburn saw an early reading of "Nine" and wrote to Fellini praising it.

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Maury Yeston
Not long after that reading, the show's director, Tommy Tune, proposed they move it to Broadway. To do so, Mr. Yeston said he had to take a year off without pay from his associate professorship at Yale. It turned out to be a good bet: His royalties for the first week of "Nine" on Broadway exceeded his annual teaching salary.

Mr. Yeston's mother was his first piano instructor; at age 6, he began composing, winning a local competition four years later. Everything around him seemed to advance and stimulate his interest in music. He went to summer camp and his counselor was Jerry Herman, who went on to write the score for "Mame," "La Cage aux Folles" and "Hello Dolly!"

"I didn't want to play classical music," Mr. Yeston recalled. "I wanted to play what we called in those days 'popular music.'" A teacher bought him what's known as a fake book, which contains simplified sheet music. "I learned a thousand songs. By the time I was 13 or 14, I was playing club dates."

Movie Trailer: 'Nine'
1:04
Watch the trailer for the new musical starring Daniel Day Lewis, "Nine." Video courtesy of tThe Weinstein Company.
He worked with virtuoso jazz musicians; a fan of the Modern Jazz Quartet, he took up the vibraphone in honor of the MJQ's Milt Jackson. And he was influenced by what he called the golden Age of Broadway: "'My Fair Lady,' the Frank Loesser shows. And film musicals too. 'West Side Story.' Rock 'n' roll exploded. 'Sh-Boom,' Elvis, the Beatles. Everything. "

In 1963, Mr. Yeston drove to an art house in Irvington, N.J., to see "8½." "From the very first frame, I was overwhelmed. I thought the movie was made specifically for me." He was intrigued by Guido, Fellini's protagonist, a beleaguered, narcissistic film director who, through fashion and a cavalier attitude about marital fidelity, embodied the era's alpha male, Italian style.

Though he went on to study at Yale and in Cambridge, Mr. Yeston said he started mulling over what would eventually become "Nine." With Raul Julia as Guido, Mr. Yeston's "Nine"—his first Broadway show—was a smash hit, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score.

Mr. Marshall began to think about his version of "Nine" about three years ago. From the beginning, the plan was not to make a movie version of Mr. Yeston's musical, a decision with which the composer agreed—especially after reading Minghella's version of the script.

"'8½,'" said Mr. Yeston, is "the quintessential film about the making of a film. Anthony found a way to make it a film about the making of the film we just watched." In turn, he said, "Rob did something that's neither 'Nine' nor '8½.' It's an homage to both."

Mr. Marshall's film also recasts Fellini's attitude about the women in Guido's life, a decision that gave Mr. Yeston an opportunity to write three new songs, all of which illuminate and, to a degree, re-form, Fellini's protagonist. Kate Hudson, as a Vogue correspondent who believes style is substance, sings a rousing "Cinema Italiano," which artfully explains the appeal of Italy in the mid-'60s, when the new film is set. The haunting "Guarda La Luna," sung by Sophia Loren, who plays Guido's mother, summarizes his problem: Do you think that so many will love you as I do? And the powerful "Take It All," sung by Marion Cotillard as Guido's wife, damns him for his infidelity and egocentricity. You grabbed for everything, my friend / But don't you see that in the end / There will be nothing left of me, she sings.

In "8½," Guido's attitudes about women are presented as customary for an artist. Fellini's edict was "accept me as I am," said Mr. Marshall. Yet, he added, "It just isn't enough. Guido needed to feel that comeuppance and work toward something."

Thus, the new "Nine" is in large part about the women in Guido's life. "Fellini left out the destructive detritus in the wake of Guido," Mr. Yeston said. "That was my opportunity. That's what this 'Nine' is all about."

Source:WSJ.com

Rob Marshall's slick new musical is uninspired despite sexy A-list cast


Saraghina (Fergie) and dancers perform Be Italian in the musical Nine. (David James/Weinstein Co./Alliance Films)

"Be Italian!" director Rob Marshall exhorts us with his new film, Nine. To judge from his movie, that means adopting a zesty accent, wearing dark glasses indoors and smoking incessantly ­­– in other words, taking on only the most superficial aspects of Federico Fellini's 8½, the immensely influential masterpiece on which this slick but uninspired musical is based.

To be fair, the musical – first seen on Broadway in 1982 and revived in 2003 – is meant more as an exuberant homage to Fellini and the lusty Italian cinema of the '60s than a faithful rendition of 8½'s intellectual and amorous conundrums. Even on that level, however, Nine is strangely mechanical.

Nine may boast half a digit more than the title of Fellini's 8½, but it's incalculably less of a movie.Director Marshall has assembled the sexiest A-list cast an $80-million budget can buy – Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson, Fergie and, in the lead, perennial hottie Daniel Day-Lewis. Yet the resulting movie is about as arousing as a plate of cold pasta. Only Cruz, who seems to ooze eroticism from the pores of her skin, is anything close to Fellini-esque. When she's on screen, the picture briefly lights up, promising the playful fun of those Italian classics of yore. She's a lady you'd like to frolic in the Trevi fountain with. (Instead, a sedate Kidman is the one who visits said fountain, but she doesn't even get her toes wet.)

Italian film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis, left) loves many women, including his wife (Marion Cotillard). (David James/Weinstein Co./Alliance Films) The screenplay, by Michael Tolkin and the late Anthony Minghella (loosely based on the Arthur Kopit/Mario Fratti stage libretto), follows the broad outline of Fellini's film. Day-Lewis stars as Guido Contini, a great director about to shoot his ninth feature, an epic titled Italia. But he's facing a creative crisis. He's got a huge Roman-ruin set waiting for him on the Cinecitta studio lot, fabulous threads by his trusty costume designer, Lili (Judi Dench), and eager ingénues doing screen tests. All that's missing is a script.

Hounded by his anxious producer, Dante (Ricky Tognazzi), and his creative team, Guido escapes to a spa hotel in Anzio. His efforts to hide away and write are a failure, however. Carla (Cruz), his high-maintenance mistress, shows up, followed by his neglected wife, Luisa (Cotillard). Dante, meanwhile, brings the entire production crew to the hotel in the hope of kick-starting the picture. As Guido tries to juggle lovers and minions, further temptation is thrown his way in the blond shape of Stephanie (Kate Hudson), an American journalist for Vogue, who puts the moves on him in the hotel bar.

Forced to return to Rome, Guido confronts the star of his picture, his long-time muse Claudia, who refuses to shoot without a story. In Fellini's film, Claudia was the young Claudia Cardinale, more or less playing herself and glowing like a goddess descended among mortals. Here, embodied by Kidman, she's more like a governess who won't let the childish Guido have his way.

As Guido, Day-Lewis does a sedulous impersonation of Marcello Mastroianni, star of 8½ and Fellini's favourite avatar, but he has none of the soulfulness of the late Italian actor. After his wildly original performance in There Will Be Blood, Day-Lewis has reverted to merely gifted imitation, verging on parody. As a singer, he manages to make his way through his opening solo, Guido's Song, as if he were running a tricky obstacle course. (As a chain-smoker, though, his Guido is a champion who could go cigarette for cigarette with Mad Men's Don Draper.)


Guido's mistress Carla Albanese (Penelope Cruz) performs A Call From the Vatican. (David James/Weinstein Co./Alliance Films)The most inspired casting, aside from Cruz, has trashy Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas in the role of Saraghina, the seaside whore from Guido's boyhood. She's the one who gets to belt out that lusty tune Be Italian while flaunting her barely covered lady lumps. In a further sop to pop music, Hudson channels Britney Spears in an MTV-flavoured number called Cinema Italiano – one of a handful of new songs that the musical's composer, Maury Yeston, wrote for this film.

Yeston also provides a gentle tune (Guarda la Luna) for the 75-year-old Sophia Loren, who appears in flashbacks as Guido's mother and serves as the movie's one authentic link to that bygone cinema Italiano (even though she never made a film with Fellini). Marshall shoots Loren reverently, as if she were the Madonna in a grotto, with no suggestion that she was once Italy's spiciest movie export. Judi Dench is much livelier as Lili, who at one point breaks into a raucous ode to the Folies Bergere, complete with Edith Piaf accent. (Hey, I thought this was supposed to be a movie about Italian culture!) It reminds us that, long before her current matronly roles, Dame Judi played naughty Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

Cotillard, who won an Oscar for her Piaf in La Vie en Rose, does the film's most heartfelt acting as the betrayed Luisa. But again, for Fellini aficionados, her teary performance is no match for the incomparably composed one of Anouk Aimée in the original film.

Visually, the movie quotes Fellini here and there, but mostly it resembles Chicago, Marshall's 2003 Oscar-winning film of the Bob Fosse musical. Actually, it was Fosse who did the best musical variation on 8½ with All That Jazz. His semi-autobiographical 1979 movie, about a beleaguered, womanizing choreographer (Roy Scheider), had all the authentic passion of driven artistry that the ersatz Nine lacks.

Released in 1963, Fellini's 8½ was named in reference to the eight pictures he had directed at that point, plus one he'd co-directed. Nine may boast half a digit more than Fellini's title, but it's incalculably less of a movie.

Source:CBC.ca

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rome, Without Borders Film Festival, 1 – 3 July 2009




The “Without Borders Film Festival”, which takes place in Rome from the 1st to the 3rd of July (book now hotels in Rome), is meant to show what human beings have in common, if they go beyond religious and cultural differences, and telling stories dealing with the encounter of different peoples, it is intended to show that it is possible to go beyond geographical and mental borders.

The festival, which will be held this year for the second time (the first edition achieved a great success, attracting many cinema lovers in Rome), takes inspiration from a documentary realised by Paul Smaczny, “Konwledge is the Beginning”: filming a tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which is made of musicians coming from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, the documentary shows how inhabitants of countries that fight against each other can travel, work and live together, learning something from each other.

And the films that are selected every year to take part in the festival deal with similar themes, and telling stories they try to find a common humanity between people, which goes beyond any border. About 15 films of all genres (feature, short, animation films and documentaries) are projected during the festival, and projections are accompanied by meetings and discussions with directors, which give tourists in Rome the possibility to look into important issues and to exchange ideas with other people.

Among the themes discussed in this edition of the festival, the role of women in different societies (in the movie “Feminin – Masculin” by Sadaf Foroughi), censorship (“Head Wind” by Mohammad Rasoulof), the negative opinion that too often people have of Islam (“I Bring what I Love” by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi), peace and non-violence as means to achieve important aims (Kashmir: Journey to Freedom” by Udi Aloni), questions about identity (“Off and Running” by Nicole Opper), and much more. Do not miss the short films realised by some Roman students dealing with the theme of “walls”, in the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin wall: this works, together with a photo essay realised by some New York’s students which will be presented during the festival, highlights the importance of learning to destroy borders from an early age.

During the festival you will also have the possibility to visit the exhibition “The Course of History”, with the photos took by Belgian photographer Bart Michiels, who visited the most famous European battlefields and took photos of those landscapes as they appear today, to show how the passing of time covers the traces of those fights, while men cannot find a “cure” for war.

Date: 1st – 3rd July 2009
Location: Casa del Cinema, Rome, Italy

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com


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Rimini, a city with famous births



The “Without Borders Film Festival”, which takes place in Rome from the 1st to the 3rd of July (book now hotels in Rome), is meant to show what human beings have in common, if they go beyond religious and cultural differences, and telling stories dealing with the encounter of different peoples, it is intended to show that it is possible to go beyond geographical and mental borders.

The festival, which will be held this year for the second time (the first edition achieved a great success, attracting many cinema lovers in Rome), takes inspiration from a documentary realised by Paul Smaczny, “Konwledge is the Beginning”: filming a tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which is made of musicians coming from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, the documentary shows how inhabitants of countries that fight against each other can travel, work and live together, learning something from each other.

And the films that are selected every year to take part in the festival deal with similar themes, and telling stories they try to find a common humanity between people, which goes beyond any border. About 15 films of all genres (feature, short, animation films and documentaries) are projected during the festival, and projections are accompanied by meetings and discussions with directors, which give tourists in Rome the possibility to look into important issues and to exchange ideas with other people.

Among the themes discussed in this edition of the festival, the role of women in different societies (in the movie “Feminin – Masculin” by Sadaf Foroughi), censorship (“Head Wind” by Mohammad Rasoulof), the negative opinion that too often people have of Islam (“I Bring what I Love” by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi), peace and non-violence as means to achieve important aims (Kashmir: Journey to Freedom” by Udi Aloni), questions about identity (“Off and Running” by Nicole Opper), and much more. Do not miss the short films realised by some Roman students dealing with the theme of “walls”, in the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin wall: this works, together with a photo essay realised by some New York’s students which will be presented during the festival, highlights the importance of learning to destroy borders from an early age.

During the festival you will also have the possibility to visit the exhibition “The Course of History”, with the photos took by Belgian photographer Bart Michiels, who visited the most famous European battlefields and took photos of those landscapes as they appear today, to show how the passing of time covers the traces of those fights, while men cannot find a “cure” for war.

Date: 1st – 3rd July 2009
Location: Casa del Cinema, Rome, Italy

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Asiago, a unique and unforgettable city


Who has never heard of Asiago? Few, if not very few. There are those who think it as a tourist destination in summer, that being near the Po Valley becomes a refuge from the heat and humidity for many of our major urban centers like Venice, Padua and Milan, and even Rome.

Others consider Asiago a great center for gliding, with the possibility to fly over the unforgettable Dolomites. Still others think about winter sports. And do not forget the Asiago cheese, known throughout the world. Or the “Rosso Asiago”, derived from our own quarries and cladding many buildings in Italy and abroad, such as in Kuwait. The Asiago plateau, composed by eight municipalities, is a beautiful terrace facing south on the Po Valley and tenderly protected to the north by the magnificent Dolomites. It is one of the most popular and sparkling tourist resorts in winter and summer and also offers a lively after ski. In Asiago and in the plateau, you can practice numerous sport activities. During winter: cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering ski, telemark, ice skating, figure skating, speed skating, ice hockey, walking with snow shoes (called “ciaspole”). During summer: trekking and hiking, Nordic walking, mountain biking, horseback riding, golf, orienteering, grass skiing, ski roll, gliding and motor. All year round, in different sport structures: athletics, soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming and tennis. As for the cheese, Asiago is an Italian cheese of Protected Designation Origin, produced in two different flavors, fresh and matured. The high level historical center features for the many and classy shops, for its pubs, discos and a town always in a festive mood. Holiday on the plateau evokes strong emotions in those who enjoy holiday in the mountains, for those who appreciate the mountains of Veneto, including beautiful landscapes and a great touristic offer. The Asiago plateau, also known as the Seven Municipalities Plateau, offers a chance to live a wonderful vacation in the mountains with the whole family, a romantic getaway in the picturesque peaks of Vicenza, a holiday of sport and physical activity, in winter as in summer, skiing on the beautiful ski slopes of the area or for hiking, walking, mountain biking etc.

To visit the Asiago plateau, you should begin a journey through the 8 charming towns.
The first town you encounter is Rotzo, the oldest of all the Asiago plateau’s municipalities and this is also the municipality most rich in history and ancient testimonies. A Rotzo you can visit, in addition to the numerous votive capitals, the Church of Santa Margherita, the oldest church of the plateau, and the Ossuary built after the war to preserve the remains of the fallen.

After Rotzo continuing along our route, we meet Roana, location that, like all of the Plateau of Asiago, was heavily involved the numerous fights of the first World War, as the Museum of War'15-'18. For those who love nature, not far from Roana, it is possible to visit the Lonaba artificial lake, a tourist destination of great charm.

The next step leads us to Asiago, the most famous and popular tourist region of the entire plateau. Holidays in Asiago hotels offer the opportunity to practice all summer and winter sports, skiing on the beautiful slopes of the ski area and enjoy walking and hiking in the beautiful landscapes. The main attractions of Asiago are the Military Shrine (an Ossuary giving a rest to the fallen in the First World War) and the astrophysicist Observatory of the University of Padua.

After Asiago, the path to the discovery of Seven Towns of the Plateau leads us to Gallio, where you can visit the lovely church and immerse yourself in the lush surrounding nature.
After Gallio you reach Foza, a tiny but charming town of the Province of Vicenza, where you can enjoy days of total relaxation and escape from the world.

The route continues towards Enego, a place where nature retains a special charm. In Enego you can visit the Church of Santa Giustina, and the remains of the tower of the ancient castle.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Rome: Giotto and the 14th Century, 6 March – 29 June 2009



The exhibition “Giotto and the 14th century”, which will take place in the eternal city from March the 6th to June the 29th, is an unmissable event for all art lovers and scholars, who will not miss the chance to book a hostel in Rome and visit an exhibition that is meant to deal not only with Giotto’s works and the influence that the artist had on his contemporaries and on subsequent art, but also with Italian art between the end of the 12th and the first half of the 14th century. As the title of the exhibition suggests, indeed, the exhibition is not only dedicated to Giotto, but more in general to the time when he lived, and it includes not only works realised by this great artist (about 20), but also those of other artists: painters (Cimabue, who was Giotto’s master, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti), sculptors (Arnolfo di Cambio, Giovanni Pisano, Giovanni di Balduccio), and goldsmiths (Guccio di Mannaia and Andrea Puvvi Sardi), totalling 150 works.

Giotto, who was born in Vespignano, in the province of Florence, moved to many Italian cities throughout his life, leaving an indelible trace in every place that he visited. The exhibition can be seen as a sort of reconstruction of Giotto’s travels in Italy, which can make us discover how the artist spread his artistic language in various Italian regions (Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Lombardy, Lazio, Campania), and how his works influenced the painting schools of the cities he visited. This is a large and exhaustive exhibition, which features works coming from all over Italy and from all over the world to make the tourists who plan to visit Rome discover the innovative features of Giotto’s style, from three-dimensional representation of space to the return to naturalism and human figure.

The displayed works will include Giotto’s “Madonna with Child on a Throne and Two Angels”, “God the Father Enthroned”, “Christ blessing St John the Evangelist and the Virgin”, Cimabue’s “Virgin and Child”, Puppio Capanna’s “Crucifixion”, Taddeo Gaddi’s “Greggio Crib”, and some recently restored works which will be displayed for the first time after the restoration, like Giotto’s “Badia Polyptich”. Besides the works that will be displayed at the Vittoriano, which have already convinced many art lovers to book cheap hotels in Rome, the exhibition will also include some “virtual” works which, due to their frailty or to their big size (Giotto was not only a great painter, but also a great architect, and an evidence of that is given by Santa Maria del Fiore bell tower, in Florence) have not been taken to Rome, but which are necessary to present Giotto’s work in an exhaustive way. These works make up the interesting and innovative educational section “L’altro Giotto” (the other Giotto), which is meant to introduce visitors into the exhibition and into Giotto’s world and art.

Tickets: 10 euro, reduced 7,50 euro
Date: 6th March – 29th June 2009
Location: Vittoriano Museum, Rome, Italy

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Travelling Tuscany,charming region in Italy


As one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, Tuscany attracts more and
more visitors each year. Like other popular tourist regions, Tuscany, too, offers a wide
range of attractions, many sights and different landscapes. This diversity makes Tuscany
a holiday area for every taste and an ideal destination for the most different kinds of
holidays to opt for such as individual holidays, group vacations, family trips and couple
vacations.

First of all, it is the mild climate throughout the year and the beautiful and picturesque
landscape of Tuscany which fascinates many travellers. The rich flora and fauna includes
pine trees, cork trees, lavender, thyme, rosemary, vineyards and olive groves. The color-
ful flower fields and the country roads lined with cypress trees are a delight for the eye
and give this region a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere and impart a very special Me-
diterranean charm no visitor can escape. Further tourist hot spots in Tuscany are the nu-
merous beautiful bathing beaches and the various day trip destinations. Due to its proxi-
mity to Liguria, vacationers can choose between many interesting and worthwhile places
of excursions.

But it is also the culinary delights of Tuscany, its eventful history and its rich culture
which constitute further attractions of this region in Italy. The many interesting cities
such as Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano and their sights and art treasures are
an obligatory destination not only for the culturally interested traveller but for everyone.
Especially those visitors who want to immerse themselves deeper into European art his-
tory and Italian Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque architecture should plan an excur-
sion to one of these cities.

A place which shouldn't be missed during a holiday in Tuscany is the city of Lucca. Lo-
cated in the valley of the Serchio River and northeast of Pisa, it is a good starting point
for visiting many beautiful destinations. Worthwhile sights of Lucca are the Duomo of
San Martino, the Piazza Napoleone, the Piazza San Michele, the Anfiteatro, the church
of San Michele in Foro and the Chiesa di San Frediano. Other local attractions include
the various museums of the city such as the Museo Nazionale Guinigi and the Museo e
Pinacoteca Nazionale.

Urbino, Italy: The Other Tuscany



If you love cobbled streets, terra-cotta roofs, provincial cuisine made with lamb, rabbit, swine, and cheese, you may just love Urbino. This hill town lies nestled in the calf of the boot that is Italy, in a region known as Le Marche (MAHR-kay). Divided into four provinces — Pesaro-Urbino to the north, Ancona, Macerata and Ascoli Piceno to the south — the Marche extends from the Adriatic coast in the east to the Sibillini Mountain chain of the Appenines in the west. From north to south, the region is characterized by gently rolling hills and fertile valleys that run east to west from the sea to the mountains.

Along these verdant valleys, four-lane highways connect the seaboard and the A14, the major north-south highway, to the interior, making it possible to swim in the sea in the morning and relax in the shade of an alpine forest in the afternoon. The 9,694 square kilometers of the Marche are populated with 2,120,000 people, mostly employed in the service and artisan industry.

The name Le Marche was bestowed sometime around the 10th century from a German word meaning a border town. And the authentic Italy here seems to linger on the periphery of foreign binoculars. The tourists who have traversed Tuscany have not yet “marched” en masse into these very Italian hamlets, whose origins reach back into millenia.

Although there have been artifacts found on Mount Conero dating 100,000 years ago, it wasn't until the ninth century BC that a permanent settling of the Marche took place. The "Picenus," a people of controversial origin, settled in the southern part of the region having followed a sacred bird, a woodpecker (in Latin "picus" thus the name "Picenus"). The 50 necropolis founded by the Picenus clearly indicate that these people were divided into tribes, each independently ruled and having its own language. The Picenus were unable to form a political administration and continued to live in separate city-states. Overpowered by the Galls and the Athenians in 395 BC, the only remaining memory of these people is in the city of Ascoli Picenus (renamed Ascoli Piceno after Italy's Unification).

And the residue of the region’s ancient peoples remains: in the atmosphere and in the cheeses of Le Marche’s best-known city, Urbino. In the 15th century, Duke Federico of Montefeltro, a swashbuckling mercenary, refurbished Urbino into an early model of the ideal Renaissance town. His palace was a study in early Renaissance palazzi. The Duke cultivated art, architecture, and philosophy so that today’s visitor will encounter a freeze-frame of Medieval intrigue and style.

At the Ducal Palace of Urbino, works by Raphael hang on the walls. One might still capture a whiff of history while sitting at the café tables of the Piazza della Repubblica. And if the scent is not the enchanting aura of the past, it is likely an Italian staple of sharp formaggio di fossa; a cheese that is entombed in limestone to age.

Once your appetite is piqued, there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy. After all, you’re in Italy. Make your cheese selection part of an antipasti of local salami, stewed beans and polenta. Move on to the pasta. A fresh pasta of egg, parmesan and breadcrumbs, known as passatelli, is a traditional Marchigiani dish. Chunky strips of pasta in a creamy spinach sauce is called strozzapreti. Predictably, no culinary tableau will be complete without a wash of the local wine.

In Urbino, you will find food, history, atmosphere, frescoes, and orange light off clay tile. Best of all, you will experience all this without the crowds of Tuscany.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Short Walk In Florence, Piazza Santa Croce


Starting from the hotels in the centre of Florence, one of the itineraries not to miss is the one of Piazza Santa Croce, one of the most beautiful square of Florence. The square is in the historical center, not far from the Duomo (15 minutes walking), passing through Piazza della Signoria and Borgo dei Greci. Although a map of the city is available, for free, in all of the hotels halls of the centre of Florence. If your accommodation is not so close to the centre many services are available to reach the centre: taxi, driven car rentals, buses and train for who arrive from the suburbs.

Piazza Santa Croce is placed in front of the church of Santa Croce, in the centre of Florence, and take its name from it, that square was built in medieval times to host the great number of people that attended to the religius ceremonies. In Renaissance times the square was also used to the fun activities of Florence, as festivals, shows, rides and games like the Calcio storico (Historical Football). This game, more similar to the Rugby than to the modern football, was played the day of San Giovanni (24 of June) in 3 matches within 4 teams, one team for each of the historical quarter of Florence ("white" team for Santo Spirito, "blue" team for Santa Croce, "red" team for Santa Maria Novella and "greeen" team for San Giovanni).

Overlooking the square is the church of Santa Croce, that was built from the Franciscan Friars between the 13th and 14th century, with a facade built only in the 19th century in neogothical style, that have on its left the monumental statue of Dante Alighieri. Dated from the same period of the facade and of the Dante's statue of the square, on the opposite side of the church, there is a baroque fountain, originally realised by Pietro Maria Bardi and remaed in the 19th century by Roberto Manetti. Entering the church from the main door, walking along the main aisle, is noticeable immediately the austerity and the vastenss of the enviroments, and on the perimeter many chapels (some of them frescoed by Giotto, Maso di Banco etc..) destinated to the bury of the noble of Florence (Peruzzi, Bardi, Baroncelli, Pulci.Bardi) that paid, with their donations, the built of the church. Santa Croce is famous in the world also to be the burial of many very important people of the policy, of the history and of the litterture of Italy, here there are the burial of Ugo Foscolo, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Gioacchino Rossini, Leon Battista Alberti, Vittorio Alfieri.

Next to the church there is one of the major convent of Florence, today home of one beautiful museum, where are exposed the ancient treasures of the church, like the crufix of Cimabue.

Over Piazza Santa Croce are overlooking many palaces too, some of them especially beautiful. For example Palazzo dell'Antella thet have a long facade decored, in the first years of the 17th century, with frescoes representing themes of wisdoms and divinity.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Trip To Italy April 2007


It was our first trip to Italy.

W e expected to see a lot of ancient civilisation( ROME, POMPEII), the religious center of the World (VATICAN CITY), icons of Italy (NICOLOSSEUM, LEANING TOWER OF PISA, VENICE, TREVI FOUNTAIN), wonderful statues and frescos, paintings, architecture and the culture of a country known for its history and its famous people( MICHAELANGELO, LEONARDO DA VINCI, GALILEO, ST PETER, ST FRANCIS OF ASSISSI,MARCO POLO).

All these we visited and saw the beauty of Italy.

Some advice we wished to give new visitors:

Parking for coaches are always very far from the tourist spots so be prepared to walk a lot. Try and get comfortable sport shoes.

During summer it can be very hot so buy lots of water to drink during your trip.

Water can be bought at different prices in the country. Rome and Vatican city are the most expensive with 500cc of water costing 3.50 euros while at Florence we were able to get 12 litres of water for only 0.99 euros.

The sun can also be very glaring to the eyes. We advise bringing good UV block sunglasses or wear a hat or cap.

Most of the big shops uses the major credit cards such as VISA, MASTERCARD, DINERS CLUB, AMERICAN EXPRESS but for the small stall holders selling souveniers cash is still important.

Bring sufficient cash for incidental buying of souvenier, food, icecream, even the usage of toilets etc. Remember that there are many pickpockets in Italy so keep your valuables(cash, credit cards, and passports) in a body pouch. It is safer than to lose your valuables to the pickpockets.

All services and goods carry a value added tax of 20% which can be refunded at the customs in the airport provided the amout is large enough. Get a form filled up at the shop where you buy the goods.

The hotels in Italy are generally comfortable but do not come with amenities like kettle, teabags or coffee. So if you need to boil water, bring along a travel kettle. Remember to bring the the right plug for the electical socket.

There is no airconditioning in most hotels but there are heaters for winter. Services like porters are slow so expect to receive your luggage late. It is better if you can bring the luggage up to your rooms yourselves.

Most Italians speak very little English. So try to learn a few Italian phrases.

Internet services cost about 5 euros for half an hour.

We found that there are a lot of illegal immigrants such as Africans and Asians selling fake goods along the roadside.

Once on the way to our hotel there was a blockage ot the road by the police as a result of strike by some workers working in factories. As a result the coach had to U turn and go by an alternative route.

Not all the toilets are free. Some cost 0.5 to 1 euro per entry. Best places to use a toilet would be at MacDonalds or you may be able to use a toilet at a food shop provided you buy food from them. No purchase means no usage of their toilets.

Bring sufficient batteries for your camera or bring the charger for your camera. If you don't then all the pictures which you take for your vacation will be wasted. The cost of batteries are very high in Italy.

Photo taking are prohibited in many places in Italy especially where there are frescos as the flash damages the painting. Examples are Sistine Chapel, Pompeii, Assissi.

Churches or Basilica are places of worship so your dress code should be decent-no mini skirts and exposed shoulders. Silence is also important!

The largest lemon in the world can be found in Sorrento.

Finally enjoy your trip to Italy as we did with all these tips and precautions.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Tuscany Car Rental Made Easy


Seasoned travellers and novices alike will find it is not difficult to rent a car in Tuscany. There may be a few minor obstacles to getting around, just as there would be in any other new location, but in general a Tuscany car rental is easy to acquire and simple to use.

Reserving Your Car

Most of the major car rental companies do business in Europe and have areas of their web sites for International rental. What may differ from booking a more local car rental is that you may not have as many choices in cars or be as familiar with the makes and models of your choices.

Cars in Europe tend to be smaller for the average renter. There are still luxury and larger rentals available, but they are not as common for navigating the narrow cities streets, many of which were built centuries ago.

To make a reservation you will need a valid diver’s license in the country in which you reside. Generally you do not need an International license unless you will be spending a long time in the area. You will also need a credit car to hold the reservation. Once the booking is complete, you will be given a reservation number that you can use to pick up your car rental at the airport or train station.

Driving Around Tuscany

Tuscany is a wonderful region to explore by car. It is dotted with major cities just short drives apart, with quaint villages filling in the gaps. There are breathtaking coastal drives and lazy, meandering cruises through the rolling hills of the countryside. With a car rental you can take it all in at your own pace.

You can drive through the wine region of Chianti and stop for a picnic and afternoon nap. You can park on the outskirts of the city and then walk through the streets to each tourist destination.

The driving in Tuscany is done as it is in the United States. Drivers stay to the right and the wheel is on the left – the opposite of Great Britain. The biggest difference an American driver may notice is the speeds. Many highways have very high speed limits equivalent to around 90 or 100 miles per hour or none at all! The best way to stay safe is to keep up with the flow of traffic. Slower drivers may actually be more of a hazard on this type of highway.

Many secondary roads in the country can be impassable during bad weather since the countryside is not as well travelled in some areas. You’ll want to plan according to the season.

Driving in Luxury

If you want the best of both worlds – the freedom of your own car and the carefree feeling of public transportation, then you may want to look into hiring a car with a driver included. Drivers are familiar with the roads, rules and system, so they can quickly get you where you want to go, while maintaining your schedule or lack thereof.

More of the benefits of driving mean you can pack more. You can also bring along picnics, shop to the capacity of the car’s trunk (and your budget for shipping items) that you may find along the country roads in Tuscany. Renting a car is the best way to be sure you get to do what you want, and on your own timetable.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Treasures Of Florence And Italy



When you imagine Italy, it is really Florence Italy that you are seeing. That is because Florence is at the heart of Italy. It is a place filled with passions and indulgences that awaken all the senses. Visual masterpieces are there to behold and one almost begins to salivate at the thought of the Florentine cuisine. To make the most of your visit to Florence, you can learn a little here about where to stay, what to do, and what you can expect from the locals.

A Warm Welcome

The first thing you expect from your visit to Florence is a warm and hearty welcome. The local people are lovers of people and are not afraid to show it. It is not uncommon to be greeted at your villa by a someone’s “Nona” (grandmother) with a big hug and a hot plate of food – no matter what the time is when you arrive.

Next your accommodation at any price level will be clean and pristine. The linens and furnishing may not be the most luxurious in the lower costing rentals, but they will be freshly washed and painstakingly starched. It’s just the Italian way to keep their homes extremely clean and they offer no less to their guests.

Some Choices on Where to Stay

There are some popular favourites within the city limits of Florence. The Savoy hotel, Florence, Italy is one of those. Here you will find five star accommodations within walking distance of two of Florence’s most popular attractions – the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio.

Another Florence hotel popular among tourists is the Westin Excelsior. It is also located close to the most visited and historic attractions and offers rooms and services American’s are most comfortable with. In addition to these highest rated hotels, visitors will be comfortable at such centrally located lodgings as the Hotel Rivoli or Palazzo Galletti.

For extended stays in Florence you may want to look into apartment or villa rentals. Apartments can be found within the city limits, while most villas are about 20-30 km outside the city. For travel to wine country and then back to the city, Florence car rental offices can accommodate your needs.

Apartments in Florence Italy are generally small, but efficient. You will find a small kitchen is the norm, but they provide enough space to cook simple meals. For a short term rental, they are more than adequate and provide a good home base for exploring the entire Tuscany region.

Downtown Florence Italy is one of the most historically significant cities in Italy. Here tourists come to take in the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge crossing the River Arno, and the St. Croce Chuch. In addition, there is the Duomo, the city’s Exhibition and Congress Centre. No visit to Florence Italy would be complete without feeding the pigeons at Boboli gardens or walking down the garden’s avenue lined with cypress trees dating back to the 1600s.

Florence is a city that needs more than a weekend to see it all. Plan on visiting during the most pleasant season between April and June and make sure you give yourself at least a week to enjoy the city and surrounding countryside.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Travel in Italy: Great Free Travel Guide of Venice by Flashbooking budget reservation website

Flashbooking is becoming a recognized source of information and services for who loves creating a trip by him/herself and book bed nights securely online.

In fact, thanks to a secure server certified SSL provided by Thawte (the global certificate authority) Flashbooking is able to guarantee instantly confirmed and secure online bookings. Thawte is a system which encrypts all the processed data and guarantees that this will not be read, used or modified by other parties.

Venice is situated in the Veneta Lagoon, on an archipelago of 120 islands, separated by 160 canals,which in their turn are spanned by 400 bridges.The city, connected to the mainland by both a rail and road bridge, is divided into six districts (sestieri): San Marco,Dorsoduro, Cannaregio, Castello, Santa Croce and San Polo. These zones are divided up by a dense network of canals (rii) and an intricate system of narrow and windy streets (calli and Salizade) which open out onto the canals and campielli (small Venetian squares). The historic centre borders the Grand Canal, which is crossed by the Academy bridge, the Ponte di Rialto and the Ponte degli Scalzi.

A Skype account has been recently added in order to give more assistance to our travellers and backpackers needs. Flashbooking accommodation database is easily available online and comes completed with all relevant information about hostel location, description, contacts, prices, instant real availability, customer ratings, facilities and pictures. In particularFlashbooking provides a large selection of cheap or low cost accommodation offers in Florence where there are plenty of low cost solutions for backpackers in budget youth hostels, Bed and Breakfast, family run guesthouses, cheap hotel deals.

Recently, Flashbooking staff and management have decided to put at travellers' and partner hostels' free disposal some useful tools as some pocket travel guides, written for giving the essential information about the most visited cities in the world. Especially created for a quick visit, a week end, a city break, these free pocket guides are printable and downloadable online. The staff efforts concentrate on making them simple to read and with a nice format and full of essential hints on where to go, things to see, shopping and markets, quality places reasonably priced where to eat or hang out in the nights, budget hostels and cheap hotel deals to book, emergency numbers and more.

Venice is relatively small and the majority of the city is easily reached on foot. Using a street guide makes it impossible to get lost in the maze of streets. All the buildings are numbered, based upon the district to which they belong and not to the street. Each house is indicated initially with the name of the district followed by the number.There is a wide choice for those who wish to take a boat trip. tickets are available from all the boat stops and in some bars, shops, and tobacconists who show the ACTV sign.

See Flashbooking database of selected accommodations worldwide and help us enlarging the hostel offer by reporting the contacts of some accommodations, lodgings, BandB, youth hostels and budget small hotels where you personally stayed. In fact, Flashbooking policy tends to privilege small and family-run hotels in order to promote an alternative tourism respectful of cultures and different societies.

If you also have a personal website or a travel blog, or even manage a youth hostel or a hotel accommodation, and are interested in the travel city guides, you can collect all of them and put at your visitors' disposal.
Other city pocket guides of top European cities are: the London guide, the Rome guide, the Amsterdam guide, the Paris guide, the Prague guide, the Barcelona guide and more coming on soon!

So mates, we are looking forward to finding you THE budget accommodation that meets your needs and pocket for your next trip!

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Great free Travel Guide for Rome Italy


Flashboking.com is a young dynamic hostels-booker that provides students, independent travellers, backpackers, conscious tourists, families etc. with an online secure booking service.

A growing database of selected budget accommodations worldwide from cheap hotel deals, youth hostels, B&B, apartments, campsites and guesthouses is easily available online with all relevant information about location, description, contacts, prices, instant real availability, customer ratings, facilities and pictures.

In particular Flashbooking.com provides a large accommodation offer in Rome where there are plenty of budget solutions in youth hostels, local apartments and Bed and Breakfast.

Another useful tool Flashbooking.com staff has put at travellers’ disposal is the Rome Pocket City Guide: this free travel guide of Rome contains, just in a few pages, all the essential information and very good suggestions about the Italian Capital as shopping areas and markets, museums and art galleries, budget restaurants and cheap accommodations, classic itineraries you can’t miss, transports and a lot more.

The Rome Pocket Guide comes with colour pictures and it is free and downloadable for anyone who wish to book and go!
Moreover, for anyone that owns a personal website, the travel guides ( London, Amsterdam, Paris and more coming on soon!) come for free and can be used as an extra travel resource for theirs users.

We are looking forward to finding the best accommodation for you on your next trip!

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Rome Shore Excursion Civitavecchia to Rome




People today to have more chances at disposal and can quicly organize their cruise to Rome in order to see more. To make an example, when you are just arrived at the port of Civitavecchia, you can visit the samllest country in the world, the vatican city.

The City State of the Vatican is the smallest independent sovereign country in the world and for its immense treasures it's the richest. The holy see guests the biggest roman art collection in the world, with approximately 6000 roman statues preseved in the vatican museums. A huge part of the vatican is featured by the biggest church in the world, St. Peter's Basilica, an amazing creation of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Basilica raises up 140 meters (420 ft) with its dome designed by Michelangelo, who spent 30 years of his life working for the popes in Rome.

What you will be able to see when coming from the harbor of Civitavecchia will be really a short percentage of what really the vatican has under the floors of its precious galleries.

The Vatican City has its own constitution, postal system, seal, flag, and other symbols of property. The Vatican also has its own army, the Swiss Guard, numbering about 100 soldiers. The swiss guards today work as private guards of the popes and cardinals because there is a treaty of extradition between Italy and the holy see for crimes committed within the state, like the terrible attack against John Paull II in 1981. The Italian police is permanently taking care of the security on the other side of the Tiber river.Vatican Radio is the official radio station, and powerful transmitters beam “the pope’s voice” to a global audience. In 2001 Vatican City had an estimated population of 1,000 people. Citizenship is gained by permanent residence in the Vatican together with the performance of special duties in the service of the Holy See.

The pope has absolute executive, legislative, and judicial powers within the city. He appoints the members of the Vatican's government organs, which are separate from those of the Holy See, the name given to the government of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the Papal Palaces that house the Vatican Museums, the biggest in the world, there are paintings by Giotto, Beato Angelico, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and then the collection of classic Greek and Roman art that includes such artifacts of world-wide fame as the Apollo del Belvedere and Laocoonte, and the tapestries designed by Raphael, the maps drawn by a cartographer of the 16th century that are so precise, they could be used even today. We shall walk through the apartments of the Popes, and the great Stanze di Raffaello (rooms in the Papal apartments painted by Raffaello). The journey through time and art must culminate with one of the world's wonders - the Sistine Chapel - the "Holy of Holies" of the Popes, covered with frescoes painted by the greatest artists of the 15th century, and completed with frescoes by perhaps the greatest of all artists, Michelangelo.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Florence: Great Free Pocket Travel Guide


Flashbooking is a growing youth hostels and hotels directory specializing in budget accommodation for independent travellers, students, backpackers, families and all the ones that travel on a pocket. Flashbooking is becoming a recognized source of information and services for who loves creating a trip by him/herself and book bed nights securely online.

In fact, thanks to a secure server certified SSL provided by Thawte (the global certificate authority) Flashbooking is able to guarantee instantly confirmed and secure online bookings. Thawte is a system which encrypts all the processed data and guarantees that this will not be read, used or modified by other parties.

Online bookings also mean that your holiday is just a click away, that you can get all the information needed to book online, that you can save time and money! The customer service is always available to suggest you the
perfect accommodation for your trip. A Skype account has been recently added in order to give more assistance to our travellers and backpackers needs. Flashbooking accommodation database is easily available online and comes completed with all relevant information about hostel location, description, contacts, prices, instant real availability, customer ratings, facilities and pictures. In particularFlashbooking provides a large selection of cheap or low cost accommodation offers in Florence where there are plenty of low cost solutions for backpackers in budget youth hostels, Bed and Breakfast, family run guesthouses, cheap hotel deals.

Travelling safely on a budget, often means having your credit/debit card with you and some coins in your hand for daily needs. Flashbooking helps you saving money with a special promotion that allows travellers to earn money and credits of 1,5 euros by inviting other friends to subscribe and receive the monthly newsletter, rich of information about hostel and hotel deals. For each friend that sings up, our travellers get 1,50 euros: it is possible to earn up to 40 euros! These credits are immediately registered in the user's personal online account 'My Booking' and at the reach of 40 euros they are automatically deducted to pay your online hostel reservations!!!

See Flashbooking database of selected accommodations worldwide and help us enlarging the hostel offer by reporting the contacts of some accommodations, lodgings, BandB, youth hostels and budget small hotels where you personally stayed. In fact, Flashbooking policy tends to privilege small and family-run hotels in order to promote an alternative tourism respectful of cultures and different societies.

Recently, Flashbooking staff and management have decided to put at travellers' and partner hostels' free disposal some useful tools as some pocket travel guides, written for giving the essential information about the most visited cities in the world. Especially created for a quick visit, a week end, a city break, these free pocket guides are printable and downloadable online. The staff efforts concentrate on making them simple to read and with a nice format and full of essential hints on where to go, things to see, shopping and markets, quality places reasonably priced where to eat or hang out in the nights, budget hostels and cheap hotel deals to book, emergency numbers and more.

Freshly issued is the Free Pocket City Guide of Florence that contains, in just 9 printable pages, all the essential information and very good suggestions about this famous Italian and Tuscany Art Capital as its renown leather shops and flea markets, Uffizi Museums, Academies and Art Galleries, budget Florentine restaurants and cheap lodgings, classic itineraries in the Chianti Tuscany hills or in Siena, transports and a lot more. Free for anyone who wish to book and go and rich of colour pictures, the Florence Travel Pocket Guide is at your disposal inFlashbooking.

If you also have a personal website or a travel blog, or even manage a youth hostel or a hotel accommodation, and are interested in the travel city guides, you can collect all of them and put at your visitors' disposal.
Other city pocket guides of top European cities are: the London guide, the Rome guide, the Amsterdam guide, the Paris guide, the Prague guide, the Barcelona guide and more coming on soon!

Last but not least, the Flashbooking philosophy can be summarize in a few lines: 'Those who love travelling light, those with a sense for adventure, those who love flexibility in their trip, those who like meeting locals and
travelling slow and low... THOSE ARE OUR TRAVELLERS!'

So mates, we are looking forward to finding you THE budget accommodation that meets your needs and pocket for your next trip!

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Venice-Italy's Pride


The city of Venice is unique in the entire world. A port city, Venice is built directly on canals. Venice is truly a city of explorers and among its most popular citizens was Marco Polo. It is also an important location as far as the shipping fraternity is concerned. Tourists to this city are always in awe of its rich history and beauty.

The fantastic Northern Italian city of Venice presents a unique section of Italy, which has a distinct style in art, architecture, food, and people. Unlike other Italian cities, Venice has a unique Turkish flair with Byzantine designs in architecture and gold coatings on every available surface.

On your visit to Venice, do not miss the world famous St. Mark’s Basilica, better known as San Marco. This fantastic edifice was restored for the Jubilee year of 2000 and is now more breathtaking than ever! With all the gold, mosaics, and carvings freshly cleaned, San Marco is a sight worth seeing. The building is most famous for the four horses that stand guard over the basilica. Originally thought to originate from Constantinople, Napoleon Bonaparte looted the four equines, which were returned years later in 1815.

The piazza where the basilica is situated is known for its pigeon population and is just as famous as the building itself. However, if you are bird shy, you can watch from the arcades on either side of it. But, you must not miss out on the beautiful Doge's Palace and all the shops in the square.

Venice is a city of bridges that cross over the lagoons and canals, but the "ridge of Sighs" is the most famous one. It is located near the Piazza San Marco and can be seen from the Grand Canal. It gets its name from the prisoners who used to pass through the bridge to go to their cells in the 17th Century.

The Rialto Bridge along the Grand Canal is the next famous bridge in Venice. There are shops along both sides of this famous bridge, and you can purchase a bevy of Venetian goods from these. There is also a legend attached to this bridge for eternal lovers. It goes on like this. If you take a ride in one of the famous gondolas and kiss your lover while under this bridge, you two would remain in love forever.

Gondolas have been a major attraction of this famous city for a long long time. Take a ride on these long black boats. What is unique about this experience is that these stripe shirted gondoliers use only a pole for navigation and have the knowledge of the city's canal system on their fingertips. If you tip and tip well, they would most definitely oblige you with a song.

By far the most famous item made in Venice is the lovely Murano Glass. Made in a tiny island just minutes from the Piazza San Marco, Murano is home to some of the most famous glass companies in the world. Be sure to visit the factories and see how these masters of glass blow and shape molten glass into exquisite creations.

Article Source: http://www.travelarticlelibrary.com

Why Choose A Farm Holiday In Tuscany


If you are looking to travel to a unique and beautiful destination in Europe, the wonderful Tuscany, Italy, is an excellent choice of holiday destination. The rich culture, fascinating lifestyle, and breathtaking beauty of this destination means that a vacation here will truly be a vacation to remember. When it comes to finding accommodations in the area, you will enjoy a range of choices one of which is a farm holiday in Tuscany, where you can enjoy the delights of your own farm accommodation throughout your stay, enabling you to really get a feel for the lifestyle and culture in the area. You will find holiday villas in Tuscany are dotted all around the region, and with Tuscany vacation rentals you and your family can enjoy the luxury of your own accommodation with all the space and privacy you need. You can get a variety of different types of Tuscany villa, from a country style villa to a luxury villa in Tuscany. A farm accommodation is just one type of holiday home in Tuscany, and is a very popular choice amongst those that visit this area.

Enjoy the charm of a farm holiday in Tuscany

When you opt for farm accommodation on your visit to Tuscany you will enjoy the charm and beauty of these traditional buildings coupled with modern amenities and facilities to make your stay here just perfect. Whether you are visiting Tuscany on a family vacation or a romantic break for two, these farm accommodations will prove ideal, boasting real style and traditional Tuscan beauty. You will find farm accommodations in various areas of Tuscany, and you will find that you are never far from a host of attractions and sights as well as fabulous scenery and incredible surroundings. You will find that with a farm holiday in Tuscany you get to stay in a wonderful place with bags of character and charm, all of which will help to add to your vacation experience as well as the wonderful memories you take home of your stay in this region.

Explore the beautiful region from your luxury farm accommodation

Your farm accommodation will provide you with the perfect base from which to explore the splendour and beauty of Tuscany. You can enjoy relaxing in your own gardens, where you can take leisurely breakfasts or lunches. You will enjoy being within easy reach of attractions and facilities such as vineyards and wineries, pubs, restaurants, shops, churches, sights, monuments, and more. Yet, at the same time you will enjoy having the privacy and space you need with your own beautiful farm accommodation in a fabulous setting. There is no better way to enjoy all that Tuscany and its unique and breathtaking areas has to offer, and you can be certain that the whole family will be thrilled with the comfort and amenities as well as the traditional charm and character that comes with this type of accommodation when you opt for a farm holiday in Tuscany.

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Things To See In Florence Italy

Florence Italy is in the Tuscany region about midway between Milan to the north and Rome to the South. During the Renaissance, Florence was the center of art, politics and intellectual thought. The city is the biggest tourist attraction in the region with plenty to see and do. The city is small enough to walk to most places, but offers many attractions to keep you interested for weeks.

A large airport and train station in town make travelling within the region or out of the country easy. With public transportation and most attractions in easy walking distance, a Florence car rental may not be necessary.

Everyone in the region speaks Italian, but many people also speak some English. It’s a good idea to have some knowledge of Italian when visiting the area. If you don’t speak Italian, consider purchasing a phrase book with common phrases in Italian to help you communicate while staying in the area.

Early Autumn and Spring are the best times to visit Florence. This is still considered to be tourist season, but is not too overcrowded. Summer is the busiest season and you should expect crowds if you choose to travel at this time. The later Autumn tends to be chilly and can be rainy. It is still warm enough to visit and the crowds will have disappeared by this time.

Things to See in Florence Italy

o Casa di Dante is the home of the famous author of The Divine Comedy. The house is a tourist attraction and is located in the medieval section of the city.

o The Baptistry of John the Baptist is an ornate church that was built in the 11th century

o The Church of San Lorenzo is the oldest religious structure in Florence. It was built prior to the year 400.

The dining in Florence is amazing, with a wide variety of restaurants throughout the city. You will get the chance to sample Florence Italy recipes, which use the freshest ingredients. If you rent villas or apartments in Florence, you may want to try out a few of these in your own kitchen with fresh ingredients purchased at the local market.

Museums in Florence Italy

Florence is home to several well known museums:

o The Florence Archaeological Museum is a palace with Egyptian and Etruscan art collections.

o Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens: the palace consists of several museums with paintings by several celebrated Florentine artists. The Boboli Gardens are manicured Renaissance gardens that you can walk and enjoy.

o Uffizi Gallery was built in 1560 and contains numerous art works. The museum offers a beautiful view of the city in addition to spectacular works of art.

Places to Stay in Florence Italy

Visitors have several Florence accommodation options. There are a wide variety of hotels in Florence Italy, both in the center of town and on the outskirts. Prices vary according to the clientele and location. For longer stays apartments in Florence are a good choice. Most have small kitchens for a more home like atmosphere. If you prefer a more remote, country setting, a farmhouse holiday in Florence is a good choice. All of these can be booked on the internet or through a travel rental agency.

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Holiday Villas In Tuscany


Holiday villas in Tuscany are becoming increasingly popular for vacations in Italy and around Europe. Villas allow you to enjoy the quiet of the countryside and offer a relaxed alternative to busier cities and tourist areas. You can find rentals and book them online or through a travel agent.

Benefits of Holiday Villas in Tuscany

There are several benefits to renting a holiday home in Tuscany when you travel. Staying longer in a Tuscany villa allows you to experience more that the area has to offer. It gives you the opportunity to experience more of authentic life than a hotel can offer. You can visit the shops and buy groceries, while interacting with the people living in the area.

Staying in a holiday home in Tuscany is a more relaxing experience than the busy city for many people. Staying in a hotel is nice, but you need to go out for every meal. In a rented home, you can prepare your meals and relax on the porch or by the pool and really feel refreshed at the end of your vacation. This gives you the opportunity to try out some of the local recipes on your own.

A variety of large and small luxury villas in Tuscany are available for rent. A farm holiday is another way to enjoy the pleasures of the country. The larger the home, the more expensive the rent. The largest villas can cost $5000 per week or more. If you will be travelling with other couples or families, consider renting a large home together to share the cost.

The kitchen will be stocked with supplies for cooking and eating. Most will have dishes, flatware, cooking utensils, pots and pans. All you will need is the food you will prepare. Linens for the beds and towels are included as well. All you will need to bring from home is your clothing. A dictionary of Italian phrases is another good thing to pack, if you don’t speak the language at all.

Renting Holiday Villas in Tuscany

Tuscany vacation rentals can be found through travel agents, vacation rental agencies, and travel magazines or on the Internet. The internet is the easiest and most accessible place to find resources. Large websites have descriptions with pictures of the interior and exterior of rentals. Most agencies have websites with pictures.

You can read reviews online and find advice from people who have taken a trip to the region in the past. This will give you a better idea of the accommodations than you would get by just reading the descriptions. Reviews written by fellow travellers are particularly valuable if this will be your first trip to the region.

Many sites allow you to book your rental online. Keep in mind that many areas fill up quickly, particularly in the busy season. You should plan on booking your trip at least six months in advance. A year ahead is even better in the busy times. You will be required to make a deposit when you book your rental. Fifty percent down is common. You will either pay the balance when you arrive, or up to a month before your travel date, depending on the agency.

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Lure Of Lucca, Italy


Tuscany is home to the town of Lucca, an exquisite example of Romanesque architecture displayed in all of its glory throughout the town. The cathedrals of San Michele and San Martino are two of the best examples of the Romanesque architecture to be seen in Lucca, or all of Northern Italy for that.

Lucca sits near the Serchio River, about 30 kilometers from Pisa and 80 kilometers from Florence. The town itself rests on a plateau under the watchful gaze of the Apuane Alps. The medieval walls, thick and strong, built in the sixteenth century still surround the town and the walkways present on the top of the walls offer an enjoyable opportunity for biking or walking to nearby sights.

The town is full of charming shops and antique markets that offer a variety of unique and interesting items. In fact, the town is sufficiently insulated from the hectic pace of city life, that it provides a restful and peaceful vacation spot.

The superb aromas wafting from the restaurants in Lucca tempt tourists and residents alike. Superb dining is at the end of their search for the perfect cuisine or culinary delight to feed their hunger. One of the best restaurants in Lucca is Ristorante Buca di Sant'Antonio. Make sure to try the faro soup. This is known to be one of the oldest dishes in Italy.

Large villas, nestled in the surrounding hillsides in all of their finery, and impressive gardens beckon too many tourists who visit the area. Some of Italy’s finest beaches are less than a half an hour distance away. Nearby is the town of Barga. It is north of Lucca and is a wonderful medieval walled city that is not on the tourist path. Pietrasanta is another small town nearby that is known as the place which Michelangelo came for stone. Today, it remains a place where many artists reside and a continue to craft items from the stone.

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Introduction To Tuscany Italy


Tuscany, Italy is the place that movies are filmed and fantasies run wild. Perhaps it is the cities of Florence, Pisa, or Livorno that invoke feelings of culture, art, or arouse the senses to the smells and taste of the Chianti region. The fact is that Tuscany is home to some of the most famous tourist destinations in Italy. It is here that budding artists come to learn from the masters. It is here that the world of fashion takes it cues. And it is in Tuscany that romantics rekindle the flame and celebrate their love.

The Cities of Tuscany

Florence is perhaps one of the most famous cities in the area known as Tuscany. The Uffizi museum after all is home to such masterpieces as “The Birth of Venus.” Originally built to house the Tuscan administrative offices, the top floor now houses masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio. Each visitor to Florence must also stop in and gaze at Michelangelo’s “David,” on display at the oldest art academy, the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Ponte Vecchio is a landmark that literally translated means “old bridge.” It was built in the 1300s and has withstood floods and wars in order to continue to hawk some of the world’s most wonderful 18 and 24k gold products and leather goods.

Chianti is known for its wines which are famous around the world. Tourists to Tuscany can enjoy the world’s finest wines while enjoying the picturesque countryside.

Siena, also located in the Chianti region houses a gothic cathedral and paintings by medieval masters, Duccio and Simone Martini. The Renaissance and Etruscan history are evident in each landmark of the region.

Piza is best known for the Leaning Tower whose construction began in the 12th century, but starting sinking into the ground after only 3 stories were completed. It stood this way for 90 years and was finally completed by the son of Andreo Pisano, Tommano Simone and Giovanni de Simone almost 200 years after it was started.

Hillsides and Waysides

Part of the beauty and mystique of Tuscany is its countryside. The rolling hills that slope down to the coast are dotted with vineyards and villas. There are working farms and vacation villas suitable for the most adventurous tourists or those who demand first class accommodations. Tuscany car rentals allow tourists to explore each tiny village at their own pace and on their own schedule.

The Heart of Commerce

Emerging as a real business centre, Tuscany is home to thriving businesses in the furniture, leather, fashion, and manufacturing industries. These businesses keep the region in the 21st century while the people and culture keep one foot in the past.

If romance, tradition and culture are your idea of an ideal vacation, then Tuscany is for you. On the other hand if shopping and the face pace of a thriving city are your style then you will also find it in the Tuscany region of Italy.

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Florence Museums At A Glance


Florence museums are known around the world to house some of the world’s greatest masterpieces by the masters of each era of the art world. Trends in painting and sculpture have set the pace for others and made times in history immortal. The art work of Florence tells the tales of the Birth of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection. It tells of fashion trends and how the world viewed beauty. Each element of the world’s history has been captured in the art found in the museums and galleries of Florence.

The Uffizi Gallery

Perhaps one of the most well known galleries in Florence the Uffizi is home to the Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. The list of artists reads like a who’s who of the greatest and includes Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Rubens.

The Accademia

At the Accademia you will find the world famous David by Michelangelo. It also home to a large collection of Renaissance paintings, but is better know for the sculptures of Michelangelo including the Palerstria Pieta.

The Baptistery

The Baptistery is so old its date is not really known, but it is understood to be one of the oldest monuments in Florence. The exterior façade houses three arches that are adorned with sculptures and marble decorations. The doors are pieces of art in and of themselves. They are gilded in bronze and date back to the 14th and 15th century. Panels from the original dome have been removed and restored and are now housed at the Museum of the Opera del Duomo.

Gallery of Modern Art

Florence is so well known for its Renaissance era works that many people overlook the fact that the Gallery of Modern Art houses 18th, 19th and 20th century works that are modern by comparison in a city so old. The museum is located on the second floor of the Pitti Place. Here you find familiar works by Cezanne, Gauguin, and Grassi and others who adopted the style and techniques of French artists. Equestrians will particularly enjoy the works of sculptor Marino Marini.

The Horne Museum

Named after the English art collector Herbert P. Horne, this museum blends art with a history of life during the Italian Renaissance. The furnishings and accessories along with the architecture itself are a reflection of this rich era. Artwork ranges from the 14th to 17th centuries and includes pieces from Cafaggiolo, Urbino, and Orvieto.

The Silver Museum

This museum houses an interesting collection of objects from the various dynasties ranging from the Medici through the Lorraine. There is great diversity in the pieces of jewellery, gems, semi-precious tones and various art objects. These are all from eras in time when a rich life and extravagance were the norm. One of the most valuable pieces housed here is a collection of vases by Lorenzo the Magnificent.

This small sprinkling of museums only touches the surface of possible historical sites in Florence. Florence is home to more than 50 museums, galleries, or architectural wonders that make this city a place one could visit for weeks and still not take it all in.

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