Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A Day Sightseeing in Venice

Venice Italy: Our First Day
By Mark Schaaf

After spending many hours planning our Italian vacation I couldn't wait for the day to start in Venice. We arrived late in the afternoon knowing by the time we checked into our hotel we wouldn't have time to do any real sightseeing. After getting settled in we walked around the area we picked out a nice little restaurant for dinner. After which we went back to the room and double checked our plans for the next day then settled in for the remainder of the evening.

The next morning we started with breakfast at the hotel and were on our way. Since we did a little walk around the evening before we knew the water bus stop was only a couple blocks from the hotel and was the only part of the trip planning that I didn't know much about. The entire length of the city of Venice is only about 2 miles and we were headed to Saint Marks square which was about a mile away so it didn't seem far but since we had never been on a water bus we couldn't guess on the time it might take to get there. It turned out to only take about a half hour to get there however the ride was quite interesting as the boat zig zagged from one side of the Grand canal to the other making it important to know which side of the canal you wanted to go.

Once we arrived at Saint Marks square (Piazza San Marco) we walked around a little took some pictures and decided which of the 3 main sights we planned to see first. We decided to go to the top of Saint Marks square tower and get a view of the city. At first I thought we were going to have to walk to the top and was surprised to see an elevator in it. The ride only took about a minute but seemed longer because there are no windows to look out on the way. Once at the top I realized what a beautifully pristine day we had and without a speck of haze in the air we would be able to get some great pictures. We took our turn looking out each side of the tower at the view which was spectacular and took some great pictures. I kept a close look at my watch for the time because the huge bells in the tower still struck on the hour and I for one didn't want to be in the top of the tower when there were ringing.

After coming down from the tower the next place to see was saint Marks basilica which is the most famous of over 400 churches on this little island. Upon entering the church I was a little surprised with the lack of light, which I thought made it a little difficult to see the paintings and other works of art in the church. Another thing that struck me odd was not being able to take any personal property into the church, I could understand no cameras but you couldn't take in a back pack and I can't remember if a large purse was allowed in either.

After we were finished in the church we took time out from sightseeing to have a bite of lunch at a nice place right around the corner, a little pricey for me but we were on vacation and planned on going to just a few pricey places and more reasonable places the rest of the time.

The last sight we had planned on seeing this day was the Doge's palace and I suggest to anyone going to Venice as a must see sight. Entering the palace the first thing you notice are the ceilings which are all very ornate with carvings and paintings everywhere. To me it seemed like there must have 50 or more rooms in the palace and everyone had a different kind of pattern carved and painted in the ceilings.

Most of the rooms were big over 30 x 30 and a few rooms that seemed small compared to the rest but each one had either paintings or sculptures in them. There were a few rooms we found particularly interesting one being two very large side by side rooms with a giant 24 hour clock mounted in the common wall so you could see the clock from both rooms, each room being at least 120 x 75 feet.

The most impressive room in the palace was a common meeting room which I believe was used as a court room and for town meetings. I have seen very large rooms before but this place was immense at least 250 foot long 120 or more feet wide and over 60 feet high with no center support beams of any kind the entire roof was freestanding. I couldn't imagine how they could build such a span well over 400 years ago without steel.

By the time we were finished seeing the Doge's palace it was mid afternoon around 4, so we still had time to see more so we walked down to see the bridge of Sighs, probably the second most famous bridge in Venice. After which we headed back to the hotel for a short nap before going to dinner.

We were staying in a hotel about 100 feet from Rio Tera San Leonardo which is one of the major streets in Venice and will take you all the way to the train station after a few street name changes that is. Being so close to a major street made it easy to find a nice place for dinner, after which we took a nice walk to see our little part of Venice at night before turning in for the evening.

I can't believe according to what I have read that most people only stay in Venice for one day and I recommend to anyone planning a visit to Venice to stay for at least 3 days, there are just too many wonderful things to see to only stay for a day.

Mark Schaaf is an avid traveler and web site owner who enjoys sharing information with other travelers in order to help make there trip more enjoyable. You can learn how to plan your trip by visiting the planning section of the site at . You can visit the site and view more tips at

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Volterra Sightseeing

 Are you looking for Volterra sightseeing ideas? Read on to learn more about what Volterra has to offer.

A Great Italian Vacation in Volterra Tuscany
By Ems Aleks

When people come to Italy for a vacation or to spend the holiday, they are often drawn to Tuscany, but Tuscany is not a small place and there are many places that are concentrated tourist areas, but who knows which places are the best to go. Some people may say that San Gimignano is the more popular tourist spot in Tuscany, but other persons who are really aware of what a vacation should be like will tell you that Volterra Tuscany is the place to be.

Volterra is a hill town and is a little over 500 metres above the valley of Cecina, when you are atop you can see the horizon of the Tyrrhenian Sea which is spectacular view. This place as history and some of it is still around for you to see, one of which is the sections of the Etruscan wall that is still remaining. This wall has been around since the fourth century, when the city was known as Velathri which was a very significant city back then because it was large exporter of minerals to other countries in the Mediterranean region.

When you take vacations in Volterra Tuscany, you will not be short on entertainment especially during the holiday seasons, Volterra is not uncommon for festivities, during these festivals that depicts different aspects of their culture, you will see natives dressed in old Roman clothing at the medieval fair, where they act and dress the parts of their ancestors from the A.D era. It is a fun filled event for both tourists and locals alike.

They are not short on truffle fairs either; in April you can see the fair that hosts an all day arts and crafts display and parade, all events for that day is completely dedicated to the arts. In May, you can take in the cross bow competition and see true skills at their best in a fun environment. In July and August you can feast your ears on the cool tranquil sounds of jazz as the festivities for those two months include the Jazz festival in August and other jazz related fairs in July. I could go on and on about the different activities that takes place in each month, which do not include the day to day fun activities that will keep your vacation interesting and memorable. The fact is, there is always many things to do and places to go in Volterra, no matter what time of year you decide to visit.

Volterra is also known for its museums, one of which was the first to be developed and constructed in all of Europe. Even if you are not exactly a history buff, you will still love and appreciate the sights and narration of this ancient city and the culture that it represents. The entire collection of arts and culture will leave you in awe of what that little city (in comparison to its history) as to offer.

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