Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Where to Shop in Florence Italy

If you are planning a visit to Florence, you may be wondering where to shop in Florence Italy.
Despite its small size, Florence boasts a good variety of high quality shops, selling designer clothes, shoes, antiques, crafts, jewellery, gifts, food and wine. It’s not the place for bargain shopping, but you will definitely be spoilt for choice.

If you are looking for designer goods, all the big names such as Armani, Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino can be found in the elegant streets of Via de’ Tornabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova. If you’re seeking bargains you may want to take a trip to the designer outlets listed in section 6.4, or do your shopping during the months of January or July when the sales are on.

If you’re looking for leather goods your best bet is to head for Santa Croce or San Lorenzo. There is a wide selection of shops selling leather jackets, handbags, wallets and shoes. If you’re a leather enthusiast you may also want to check out the leather museum near Santa Croce, where you can view work in progress and do a spot of shopping.

The street for antique shopping is Via Maggio, near Santa Spirito in the Oltrarno area. Here you’ll find everything from furniture to picture frames and vases, as well as antiques dating from the 16th century.

If it’s jewellery you’re after, then head for the Ponte Vecchio where you’ll find many small shops offering unique jewellery.

Also, if you are wondering where toi shop in Florence Italy like the locals don’t forget to visit the markets!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Venice Lagoon Islands - Lido, Murano, Burano, Torcello

If you are in Venice for a few days you may want to consider taking a boat ride to visit some of the Venice Lagoon Islands. You may find the following islands to be interesting.

Lido
If you are a beach lover and want to enjpy some sunshine and swimming during one of Venice's warm summers, then Lido is a great option. In September the Venice Film festival takes place and lots of celebrities attend. If you want a game golf you'll also find a good golf course here.

A short boat ride will take you out to Sant Erasmo. Pellestrina is another option for those looking for a quieter spot to sunbathe.

Murano

One of the most popular Lido lagoon islands is Murano. A lot of tourists come to Murano to visit the glassmakers and buy some souvenirs. The art has been practiced here for centuries. Since the late 13th century, glass artisans here have been offering their wares to rich and poor alike. Prices can range from a few dollars for a trinket to thousands for a true work of art.

The Museo Vetraio (Glass Museum) on the island continues to attract visitors by the thousands every year. A 30-minute tour provides a complete introduction to this fascinating and beautiful craft. Tourists can see an outstanding church on the island: Basilica di Santi Maria e Donato. There's also a fascinating small lighthouse worth a look.

Burano

Burano has 7,000 inhabitants, and is one of the larger islands of the area so there is a lot to see here. There are lots of lovely colourful houses in pink, yellow, lavender, green and blue

This island is famous for its lace-making industry. It was traditionally a small fishing village and it houses the Museo del Merletto displaying many samples of the wares that made the town famous.

Torcello

Finally there is Torcello. This is a nature preserve and attract animal lovers. The human population numbers fewer than 100, but there are thousands of wild birds and sea life species. There is also a lovely church, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which was built in the 7th century. The Mosaic of the Madonna is one of the main attractions.

You can easily spend a full day visiting the Venice Lagoon Islands and there is lots to do and see for everyone.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sightseeing in Fiesole,Tuscany

A sightseeing visit to Fiesole can take just an hour, after winding up the steep curvy road, or it can last a full day or an afternoon if you prefer.

Fiesole is a wonderful side trip from the bustling city of Florence below, Fiesole also offers amazing views of Florence, the River Arno and a lot more.

The town itself far predates the Roman period, and gios right back to the country's Etruscan era in the 9th century BC.

Fiesole was conquered by the Romans in 283 BC and soon became home to an outstanding school of the period. The city saw wars between Rome and the Vandals, as well, in the early 5th century AD. Its citizens fought many wars with Florence until succumbing to its more famous neighbor in 1125 AD.

If you take a sightseeing trip to Fiesole you'll find reminders of that histry scattered around the town.

The cathedral in Fiesole is a relatively plain building, but still well worth a quick visit for its orange brick and medieval tower. The Franciscan monastery is another site that may offer simple architecture, but is full of historical significance. In the Courtyard to Heaven, there is a quite interesting small column with a cross set between two short thin columns topped by a lintel.

Much more impressive is the Medici Villa, which was constructed by the famous rulers in the mid-15th century. You may also want to visit the nearby Lombard tombs, a reminder of the time the site served as a necropolis. In addition, there are outstanding examples of Greek vases, amphorae and many other artifacts that would have been well known to citizens of the day.

But unquestionably, one of the most enticing sights for sightseeing visitors to Fiesole is the Roman Theater, still in use today.

Built in the 1st century BC, it offers an amphitheater that seats 3,000 people today just as it did 2,000 years ago. The right half is original, the left portion was rebuilt in the 19th century. Sitting among sections of column, broken friezes and other remnants of the period, it's easy to imagine hearing a performance from that bygone era.

A grove of olive trees decorates the center and there are baths with outstanding arches nearby. Sitting on the curved stone bleachers one can hear the strains of Vivaldi from the 18th century while being reminded of music from much further back.

Sightseeing in Fiesole can be very rewarding, even if it is just a couple of hours spent wandering around the streets and a quick coffee in a pavement cafe.