Sincerely, Loree is a lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, books, culture, fashion and slow living on the small Mediterranean island of Malta.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Ten beautiful places in Italy

Italy is full of beautiful cities that are famous all over the world. The country is a fascinating blend of unique architecture, unusual traditions, delicious food and turbulent historical events, set against the back-drop of a stunning natural landscape. It is hard, if not impossible, to visit Italy and not come to love one or more of the aspects that make up this remarkable country.
I could, of course, talk for hours about each of the ten places I have chosen to share with you today. But, since we all lead busy lives, I will try (try is the key word here)to limit myself to a few sentences about each.
Lucca
Lucca, Italy
Lucca is a walled city to the north of Pisa. It is famous for its excellently-preserved  Renaissance walls, cobblestone streets, medieval churches, and the Giunigi Tower that is crowned with holm oaks. It is the birthplace of composer Giacomo Puccini and his house is now a museum. In the heart of  Lucca is the beautiful Piazza del Anfiteatro which was built on the site of a Roman amphitheatre and still retains its elliptical shape.
More about Lucca:
PisaPisa, Italy
I am sure that Pisa, with its world-renowned Leaning Tower needs no introduction. But Pisa is much more than its tower. In Piazza dei Miracoli alone, three other monumental buildings are worth more than a second glance: the Baptistry, the duomo of Santa Maria Assunta and the Campo Santo, a monumental cemetery that is said to have been constructed around a shipload of sacred soil from Golgotha. Further afield are the Church of Santa Maria della Spina (a tiny but exquisite Gothic church) and Piazza dei Cavalieri where the impressive Palazzo della Carovana, designed by Giorgio Vasari, is located.
More about Pisa:
Sirmione
Sirmione, Italy
Sirmione is a walled town located on a peninsula on Lake Garda, in Northern Italy. At the entrance to the town is the Rocca Scaligera, a medieval port fortification surrounded by a moat. Apart from the castle, the main historical landmark of Sirmione is the Grotte di Catullo – the name given to the ruins of a large Roman villa built at the end of the 1st century B.C. that belonged to the family of the poet Gaius Valerius Catullus.
FlorenceFlorence, Italy
If you love art you have to visit Florence at least once in your life. The sheer amount of art on display is a shock to the senses and it would take more than a short paragraph to make a list of all the attractions that dot this enchanting city that saw the birth of the Renaissance. From Brunellschi’s gravity-defying dome atop the the duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore,  to the huge, artistically important bronze doors of the Baptistry; from Palazzo Nuovo to Ponte Vecchio; from the Uffizi gallery to the  Galleria dell’Accademia there is no escaping the fact that the rulers of Florence did everything in their power to attract the most famous artists of the period, acting as their patrons and commissioning wonderful works of art like Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ which is my favourite painting in the world.
VeniceVenice, Italy
In Venice ditch the maps and get hopelessly and wonderfully lost while you discover the other Venice: mysterious, solitary, seductive; the Venice of crumbling facades, peeling paint and streets only as wide as your outstretched arms. Away from the crowds ogling San Marco, the Rialto and the Bridge of Sighs, you will find the Venice of the Venetians, with people quietly going about their daily lives, buying their fruit and vegetables from the back of a boat and doing their daily chores seemingly forgetful that they live in one of the most mesmerizingly beautiful cities in the world.
More about Venice:
SienaSiena, Italy
Oh Siena! I thought it would just be another city (and I use the word loosely) on our Tuscan itinerary but I was pleasantly surprised but its vibes and quirkiness. Siena is, without a doubt, a product of the  Middle Ages, characterized by narrow, winding streets and brown brick buildings that give it an air of austerity. Its most famous edifice is the Torre del Mangia that towers over the equally iconic Il Campo, where the infamous horse race known as Il Palio takes place twice during the summer months. In stark contrast to its surroundings is the ornately carved white marble façade of Siena’s duomo with its black and white striped tower that, for some reason, reminds me of an iced, multi-tiered wedding cake.
More about Siena:
VeronaVerona, Italy
Verona is best known for its Roman amphitheatre (the Arena di Verona) that is the third largest in Italy and extremely well-preserved, and for being the setting for one of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies: Romeo and Juliet. Its main thoroughfare, Via Mazzini, links Piazza Bra (yep, that’s its real name) to Piazza delle Erbe that is flanked by some very architecturally interesting buildings. Close by is Piazza dei Signori, with its Renaissance palaces that were once the homes of the Scaliger family that ruled Verona, and a statue of Dante surveying the passers-by with a thoughtful look on its face. The grand tombs of the Scaliger family, the Arche Scaligere , a wonderful example of Gothic art, are another of Verona’s attractions.
Burano
Burano, Italy
This island in the Venetian lagoon is most well-known for its lace and colourful buildings. The vibrant colours of the houses are said to have been chosen so that fishermen would find their homes during the foggy winter months. After the stifling heat of Venice, Burano was a welcome break as its less imposing buildings ensured that there is plenty of space for a pleasant breeze to circulate. Perhaps in an effort to emulate the more famous tower of Pisa, Burano’s church of San Martino also  boasts a leaning tower. If you don’t do anything else, stroll around and admire the colourful houses. The house owners cannot choose just any colour they like to paint their home but must submit their chosen hue to the government who will then determine whether that particular colour is permitted for that lot.
More about Burano:
San Gimignano
San Gimignano, Italy
San Gimignano is a walled hill-top town in Tuscany that is most well-known for its skyline of medieval towers. Today, fourteen towers out of the original seventy-two still defy the ravages of time and look down from their great height on the picturesque town that they have defended for centuries. The main square of the town, Piazza del Cisterno, is triangular in shape and at the centre of it is a well that was the main source of water for San Gimignano’s residents. Equally fascinating are the unusual door knockers adorning some of the town’s doors.
More about San Gimignano:
Rome
Rome, Italy
Rome, the Eternal City on the banks of the Tiber. Need I say  more?
More about Rome:
It was really hard just limiting myself to 10 places because all of Italy is so beautiful and unique. If you really want to enjoy the country, avoid visiting during late spring and summer because it gets very crowded and the heat can be quite oppressive.

9 comments:

LA CONTESSA said...

Never been to VERONA!However, I know the OTHER CITIES WELL!!!!!
Listening to IL DIVO now and reading your BLG takes me away.............I should have NEVER LEFT!
XO

Loree said...

I agree. I think you have an Italian soul.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Wonderful to know about Italy. I think Sienna is where I'd go first.

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Loree - I visited your links - I just love Burano...such cheerful colors on the houses. I am sure Venice is gorgeous but my pick would be Burano. You definitely need to write for a travel magazine - your photography and writing just makes you perfect for this type of work. Always love seeing and reading about your travels. Take care friend. Wish I could send you some snow but I think you might have to come visit to see a few flakes. I have an extra bed :) Hugs!

Loree said...

Burano is certainly special. It's colourful and relaxing and totally bewitching.

Loree said...

Siena is truly a gem. I hope to revisit it one day.

Loree said...

PS thanks for you kind comment Debbie. Writing for a travel magazine would be one of my dreams come true. And thanks for the offer of the bed :)

SteffR said...

I am bookmarking this amazing post because so help me god I will get to Italy someday and these are exactly the kinds of things that interest me most! I admit I have always romanticized both Venice and Florence and dreamed about them,but it would be great to take a few weeks and see so many of the slightly lesser known cities and towns too. I will have to check out your other Italy posts too! :-)

Loree said...

So glad you found it useful Steff.

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