Tag Archives: Italy

Top things to do in Italy

Truth be told, a short description of Italy probably isn’t necessary for you. For one thing, Italy is too big and varied to accurately describe it in a few sentences. Plus, chances are you’ve already got a good idea of the country’s wonders else you won’t be here on this travel blog. So if you are thinking about a holiday to Italy, here are some must see destinations, from the well-known to what’s off the beaten track.

Colosseum

When in Rome

The capital of Italy is so filled with activities and sites, it can be a bit overwhelming. There is of course the Coliseum, where gladiators and slaves battled thousands of years ago. It’s both a magnificent display of architecture and a reminder of the depths of human behaviour. Another site well worth a visit is the Vatican. While you’re probably not going to meet the pope, you can still see the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s frescoes or wander through St. Peter’s Basilica. Of course, you could always just gorge yourself on some world famous gelato, with vendors lining seemingly every street.

The countryside of Umbria

Situated in the centre of Italy, Umbria is the only region that does not border a coastline or a surrounding country. Relatively unknown to tourists, what separates this region from its peers is the pure, unadulterated beauty of its landscapes. The countryside views are scenes straight from a postcard; the type of scenery that makes you sit back and reflect on how blessed you are to be able to experience it first-hand.

See the Amalfi Coast

Stretching along the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is an extraordinarily scenic coastline in Southern Italy. A bus ride through this 50 km stretch will offer some of the most breath-taking views you’ve ever seen. Be prepared for an adrenaline rush, as a 150 meter drop into the sparkling blue ocean awaits the inattentive driver. Along the way are charming little towns, but be aware that these are usually overrun with tourists. The real thrill is the drive along the coast.

Traveling and accommodation tips

Lodging prices vary sensibly depending on the area and quality. You shouldn’t expect to pay less than 30 euros per night, with hotels in high tourist areas usually more expensive than that. If you do decide to look for hotels in Rome, you’ll have a better chance of getting a deal because of the high amount of lodging around the area.

As far as traveling goes, Italy has an efficient public transportation system. Getting from city to city is easy, whether by train or bus. Buses will be the cheapest, but they’ll also be the most uncomfortable and take the longest. Trains on the other hand are much more comfortable. The fastest, their Eurostar line, will cost 40 to 100 euros. The best deal is a slower regional train, which will set you back anywhere between 5 and 10 euros. So now, the question is, what are you going to go see?

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When in Rome…

Off late, I’ve been travelling a lot in South India, I’ve been fascinated by some of the really amazing things I’ve come up on my trips. Especially to do with Ancient technology of the humans. Soon, I’ll be speaking at the BarCampMumbai on ‘Ancient Indian Technology’ and that’s when I found some fascinating facts about India that connected Indians to the Romans. While I’m going to solely focus on Ancient Indian technology there, Rome is something that has also fascinated me in terms of Ancient Technology.

Dig this:

1.  Roman trade with India through the overland caravan routes via Anatolia and Persia, though at a relative trickle compared to later times, antedated the southern trade route via the Red Sea and monsoons which started around the beginning of the Common Era (CE) following the reign of Augustus and his conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE.

2. Roman trade diaspora frequented the ancient Tamil country (present day Southern India) and Sri Lanka, securing trade with the seafaring Tamil states of the Chola, Pandyan and Chera dynasties and establishing trading settlements which remained long after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

3. Prior to Roman expansion, India had established strong maritime trade with other countries. The dramatic increase in Indian ports, however, did not occur until the opening of the Red Sea by the Romans and the attainment of geographical knowledge concerning India’s seasonal monsoons.

4. The Romans learnt the number 0 from Ancient India, through Aryabhatta, however detested it, only to accept it later and of course the entire world did.

So, I haven’t traveled abroad as much… and which is when I thought, one of the first places to  get out of this country, As fascinating as it is, the beauty and the ancient culture of Rome would be certainly amazing for me to study and understand. Coming to think of it, what are the top places I’d like to visit in Rome

So here’s what my Bucket List looks like. And without a doubt, it has to do with Ancient Roman Technology, just as fascinating as Ancient Indian Technology.

1. Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Statua Marco Aurelio Musei Capitolini Fronte

Statua Marco Aurelio Musei Capitolini Fronte

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman statue in the Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. It is made of bronze and stands 3.5 m tall. Although the emperor is mounted, it exhibits many similarities to standing statues of Augustus. The original is on display in the Palazzo Nuovo, with the one now standing in the open air of the Piazza del Campidoglio being a replica made in 1981 when the original was taken down for restoration in the Palazzo.

Although there were many equestrian imperial statues, they rarely survived because it was practice to melt down bronze statues for reuse as coin or new sculptures in the late empire. Statues were also destroyed because medieval Christians thought that they were pagan idols. The statue of Marcus Aurelius was not melted down because in the Middle Ages it was incorrectly thought to portray the first Christian Emperor Constantine. Indeed, it is the only fully surviving bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman emperor.

2. The Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome Italy

Colosseum in Rome Italy

 

The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium, Italian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started in 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus,with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign (81–96). The name “Amphitheatrum Flavium” derives from both Vespasian’s and Titus’s family name.

3. The Tempietto

The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio)

The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio)

The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio), which is an excellent example of Italian Renaissance architecture.  The church is decorated with artworks by prominent 16th- and 17th-century masters. The first chapel on the right contains Sebastiano del Piombo’s Flagellation and Transfiguration (1516–1524). Michelangelo, who had befriended Sebastiano in Rome, supplied figure drawings that were incorporated into the Flagellation. The second chapel has a fresco by Niccolò Circignani (1654), some Renaissance frescoes from the school of Pinturicchio, and an allegorical sibyl and virtue attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi.

4. Piazza del Campidoglio

Piazza del Campidoglio

Piazza del Campidoglio

Elliptical courtyard with central figure sculpture. At the top of the “Cordonata” steps, also by Michelangelo. A short walk to the south (starting out south-west) from the Piazza Venezia. The bird’s-eye view of the engraving by Étienne Dupérac shows Michelangelo’s solution to the problems of the space in the Piazza del Campidoglio. Even with their new facades centering them on the new palazzo at the rear, the space was a trapezoid, and the facades did not face each other squarely. Worse still, the whole site sloped (to the left in the engraving). Michelangelo’s solution was radical. The three remodelled palazzi enclose a harmonious trapezoidal space, approached by the ramped staircase called the “Cordonata”. Since no “perfect” forms would work, his apparent oval in the paving is actually egg-shaped, narrower at one end than at the other. The travertine design set into the paving is perfectly level: Around its perimeter, low steps arise and die away into the paving as the slope requires.

Well, these are some of the most interesting and fascinating things that I would be interested to visit in Rome.