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Welcome to Itali(a)!!
Dec 08, 2004 03:44 PM 2763 Views
(Updated Dec 08, 2004 03:44 PM)


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Italy is an European Replica of Modern India. Leave food and language aside, the Country is yours. The people, houses, roads, bikes, politics, crimes, girls and traffic rules. Now, also take the food in, Indians go crazy after Pizzas and Pastas and Lasagnes and Panzerottos, we have Langauge to deal with. Its a crazy language and most people say its beautiful and melodious.

May it be so, but whats the use, if you don't know it?? And I say, Learn it and you know. You know, HOW NOT to get lost by walking tiresome 3.5 kilometers instead of stated 300meters. You know, HOW NOT to pay Euros 24 for a single course breakfast. You know, HOW to catch a proper bus. You know, HOW to appreciate violet colored glasses of a gorgeous Italian girl if she asks you for a lighter....and you know, how NOT TO miss your return flight even after spending more-than-enough 4 hours of city-travelling, just because you can't communicate properly in Italian (FYI, Italians are poor in English). Anyway....

The Tour

Pisa: We started with this wonderful place. Leaning tower of Pisa cost us half-an-hour. Its wonderful and indeed one of the most fascinating monuments around the world. Circular Baptistry helps Leaning Tower look fantastic.

Tip: Do not eat anything in the restaurants around the wall of Tower's premise. Its expensive as hell.

Florence: Magnificient city itself. Piaza duomo is momentous. And no matter how hard you try, you can not capture it in one single snap. Not far from there is the Galleria dell'Accademia, fine collection of 15th century arts and famous David by Michelangelo. The Santa Corce cathedral represents early 19th century buildings. The Bird's eye (or Camp Michelangelo) was however the best thing we experienced in Florence. From this hill-top point, an eye-catching sight of this magnificient city is first thing you enjoy, and you just keep doing that. You can see all the monuments, including Duomos, Pitti Palace (too bad we missed it), Boboli garden slope and Cathedral Corce. It also has a replica of Famous David in the center, which people often mistakenly call the Original.

Don't miss: Ponte Vecchio - small beautiful bridge across the lake. Especially the evening walk to Ponte Vecchio, also the market on the bridge, is cheering. You can buy stuff, eat and drink and just roam around the place.

Venice: City of lakes. City of Love. City of cooing pigeons. City of Water-buses and water stops. City of Gondolas. City of Carnival. City of beautiful glass artifacts City of houses with one door opening on the ground and other one opening in water.This MUST VISIT city in Italy has redefined the conventional infrastructure of human inhabitation. Creating such an eco-friendly and functional urban comfort out of all unserviceable resources must have been of great challenge. But they made it. Far successfully. City itself is so enticing that the monuments and cathedrals look as fickle and charmless as any other building in the city.

Things to do: 1. Take a grand canal tour, either by buying a ticket from central bus-stop (Euro 7.00 pp) or by hiring a Taxi (more than Euro 12.00 pp). The canal is huge and the grand view of grand city is enjoyable. 2. San Marco (or Mark??) square. They have this cathedral modelled on Constantinople's Church, with Golden mosaics decorating the interior dome and above the doorways. In the bastille, the open square, there are lot of shops where you can bye those famous carnival masks and funny witch hats. If you enjoy feeding pigeons, the right place for you, ofcourse after London's Trafalgar square and Gate-way-of-India in Mumbai.

Don't miss: Gondolas. The moment you step in it, you remember this song from The Great Gambler ''Do Labzo ki hai'', which was picturized in Venice, and in Gondolas. Even if you don't have the heart of 80s, the apetite for crystal clear love always resides somewhere in the corner. You don't feel nostalgic, instead you feel the lonelyness even with perfect companionship of your beloved. You are shaken with the mild water waves, as the rover escorts you throuth narrow channels of lake water. He tells you stories of buildings, weather, tourists, his family and how much he enjoyed watching ''Aishwarya Rai'' when she was there!!.....GONDOLA, Integral part of Venice's beauty...ultimate tool for exploring the hidden treasures of town.... Expensive??, Not if you don't care, and Yes, if you do, simple as that.

Rome: Do not compare it with Paris. You will be disappointed. Not because it fails, but because it competes. Compare the Versailles to the mighty colosseum, Compare Eifel to the Roman Forum, compare De Louvre to the Vatican church. Forget the world famous creations, try to compare richness or pleasant air or lovely females.... Tell me one thing in which Paris leads. In fact, Paris fails when it comes of prosperous historic background. In the Rome, the Roman empire has left the shadows of its civil enrichment in the atmosphere, in true sense.

Places to see: You will not miss Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon and Vatican Church. There is a lot for me to say about these. The remnants from Roman era, still standing firm and unscathed as they stood milleniums ago.

  1. Colosseum might take few extra hours. The biggest amphitheatre (untill 19th century), 49 meters tall and covering almost 7 acres of land, has lot of interesting things to know about. I suggest you to take a guided tour, as most of the information including Purpose of Building Colosseum, its working, political and religious motives behind it, the construction strategies and information about the ancient sports they had organized.

  2. Roman Forum was the commercial, political and religious center of ancient Rome, which features the Temple of Saturn, Arche of Titus and Arch of Septimus Severus. The boards and placards telling the history behind every stone of it, are in Roman script. Better have a guided tour here as well.

  3. Fontana Di Trevi is the place tourist love most and without doubt city's one of the most crowded area. The legend is that if you throw a coin in the fountain water, it assures you will return to that place (or to Rome, for us) at least once. Why not give it a try??

  4. Vatican Museum is the biggest collection of Roman arts including Michelangelo's ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And Pantheon,one of the most impressive monuments of Augustan Rome, is said to be dedicated to the seven planetary divinities and featuring an interior of gorgeous marble.

Other places are, St. Peter?s Basilica, Piazza Venezia, Church San Giovanni, Spanish Steps, Castle San Angelo and Catacombs (Located in outskirts of the city).

Food and Transportation

Food: Eat what Italy is famous for. Pizzas. Prices ranging from Very cheap to very expensive. And its delicious. Give Panzerottos and Lasagnes a try. Make sure they are free of red meat (If you are veggie). And drink lot of Capuccino, its cheap and it has a quality. The best Capuccino I had in my life. (Esp, in Florence).

Transportation: Cheap. Handy. Frequent. And confusing. They have Buses (water buses in Venice) and Metros (only in Rome). Make sure of the timings and Bus no. or Metro Lines and the stops you need to get down (/board) well before your journey. Last-minute plan could lead to waste of time and money. Please note that common Italian man doesn't know English. [Word of Experience]

*Best time to go is Mid-March till Late September.


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