Our next destination was Italy. Italy is more of architectural beauty when compared to any other European countries and we had 4 days with us to explore this country. Italy is also considered as the home for many wonders of the world. We were all very excited for our next visit to Venice – the land of Gondolas. I had visualized it in a similar way because of this famous song, “Do lafzon ki hai, dil ki kahani” being pictured at this location. Oh love that song.
Coming back to Venice, the whole city is in waters man. People stay above water and to travel anywhere and everywhere you have to make use of Gondola’s (Gondola being a traditional rowing boat and is rowed by a single person). You have to walk a furlong to actually get a Gondola ride for yourself. We did get in one of those Gondola’s and enjoyed our ride to the fullest. I remember kids waving at us while we were passing on the streets (on water) next to their houses. Every house had windows with some flowering plant in it. It looked very beautiful. The Gondola also takes us to the main market from where you can see the famous Rialto Bridge.
Once we were done with the ride we went to the St. Mark Square. The place was pretty crowded and without wasting much time here we just headed towards the Murano Glass making factory. They showed us here with the glass blowing techniques and make some beautiful work of arts like chandeliers, ornaments and art from glass. We bought some stuffs for ourselves here. By evening we were done with all the places around and headed back to our small ferry. You get quite amazed to see something like this as the foundation of every other building in Venice has been laid under water…wow!!!
The next day we visited Florence, the capital city of Tuscany. It is declared as the world Heritage site because of its architectural monuments. You can relate to this because of its beautiful churches or be the art being displayed in various sculptures by Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo and many others that you will find on the streets. The famous of them being David. David is a masterpiece created by Michael Angelo and is a nude man standing tall at some meters on the pedestal. David’s statue is at two places…the original one is in the Academia gallery and the replica is kept at the public square. In this square you can also find the Fountain of Neptune. We did walk around for 4kms in and around Florence.
The next day we visited Rome which is the capital city of Italy. It’s the land of churches (and tell you they are really huge churches) and is native to many sculptors which is very evident in the streets while you wander in Rome and Florence. In Rome, the first place we visited was to the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. As a kid I remember in DD national they used to telecast it live when Pope would come to the balcony and wave to thousands of people accommodated in the square. Never had thought then that I would visit it one day.
The entry to the square is through the four layers of huge Pillars which acts as its perimeter. The exteriors and interiors here offers with artistic styles at its best. This is one of the largest Churches in the world and is the burial site of Saint Peter who is considered as the first Pope and Bishop of Rome. When we entered the Church, we literally had a jaw dropping experience. It was so huge and beautiful. The Dome of St. Peter raises to a height of 448ft from the floor and is the tallest Dome in the world. The whole ceiling has paintings from renowned painters of that era. There were huge paintings on the walls too which depicted one or the other incidents of history. The tomb of Saint Peter is kept directly under the Alter of basilica. You also have an option of going to the Dome thru the steps but you require a lot of time for that. We decided to move on, once we were done seeing most of it and taking pictures there.
Our next visit was to The Colosseum. It is basically an Amphitheatre, being the largest in the world again, located in the Centre of the city. This place reminded me of the movie Gladiator. The whole place stands partially ruined due to earthquakes and stone-robbers. It was one of the places which was included in the Seven Wonders of the World earlier. The whole city of Rome has to be witnessed at night because of its lightings. Every other monument is being lighted up and it looks really splendid.
Then we visited the Trevi Fountain, one of the most popular landmarks in Rome. The fountain is located at the junction of three roads. There is this coin throwing custom also which is followed by tourists very religiously. The coin is thrown using the right hand over the left shoulder. We being no different from the rest did the same.
Then our next visit was to the world famous Leaning tower of Pisa located at the Italian city of Pisa. It is considered one of the wonders again as because it’s standing strong till date with its unintended tilt to one side. Surprising right!!! Initially I had thought that the tilt started due to an earthquake or some other natural calamity but then when I visited the place, I got to know the actual reason behind it. It seems the tilt was there from during the construction of the tower itself and gradually it started increasing till the structure was completed. Then later on it was being stabilized with lots of efforts being put in the process.