Saturday 23 May 2009

European adventures: Venice, Verona and Lake Garda

Finally managed to find the time to post up some photos of my recent jaunt to Venice and the Veneto. I originally intended to just post up a few snaps, but it was such an awesome trip with so many cool sights that I've ended up posting far more. We spent three days in Venice, three days in Verona and four days in Lake Garda. This part of Italy is just as beautiful as I remembered; I totally recommend this trip. Travelling around is made easy by the Italian trains, which are cleaner, cheaper and faster than the crap relics we have shuddering along the tracks in the UK.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here's the photos, with captions underneath. As usual the formatting is a little uneven, but it's the best I can do. Sort it out please google... ;)

View of the mouth of the Grand Canal, from the top of the Campanile in Piazza San Marco

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, probably my favourite building in Venice

View of the Grand Canal, taken from the Rialto Bridge (note the gondola in the centre)

Another view of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Gondola on a typical Venice canal

Entrance to the Doge's Palace

Front of Basilica di San Marco

Close-up detail of one of the reliefs on Basilica di San Marco

Porphyry statue (4th century) of the four Tetrarchs that co-ruled the later Roman Empire, stolen from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. And me :)

The entrance to the Arsenal, the key to Venice's naval power in the sixteenth century. Here, the 16,000 workers could allegedly turn out a ship a day

Lion statue (circa first/second century AD) outside the entrance to the Arsenal, stolen from Piraeus, Greece, in 1687 during the Great Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire

Random building on the Grand Canal

Classic view of hillside in Verona

Houses in Piazza delle Erbe

The balcony where Juliet is meant to have waited for Romeo (a totally false historical connection, but it's a nice scene)

Graffiti in the entrance to Juliet's balcony

Verona's Roman arena, completed 30 AD. Third largest in Italy, and could seat 25,000 people. What you can see here is actually the internal support structure - most of the actual exterior no longer remains

The Arco dei Gavi, a Roman triumphal arch built in the 1st century AD. Reconstructed in 1932 after being destroyed by French troops in 1805

The Italians love their ice cream, and damned good it is too. The blue variety you see here is called puffo, which I think is bubblegum flavour (at least, that's what it tasted of)

The Giardino Giusti, a fantastic Renaissance garden in Verona

Me, with lemon tree :)

The Scaligeri castle at Sirmione on Lake Garda (13th century)

Me at the ruins of the (huge) Roman Villa to the north of Sirmione. Seriously impressive. Said to have been owned by the Roman poet Catullus, this is in fact impossible as he lived before the villa was constructed

A view of the main entrance to the Roman villa

One of the towns on Lake Garda - can't actually remember which one!

The Scaligeri castle (13th century) at Malcesine, Lake Garda. This was actually the view from our hotel balcony

View from the top of Monte Baldo - note the cable car cables

Another view from Monte Baldo

Me atop Monte Baldo - you can see the northern edge of Lake Garda in the bottom left

Another view from Monte Baldo
Argh, looking at all these pictures has got me hungry for some more travelling... I'm hoping to head back to Italy in September to visit Pisa, Florence and Bologna, but we'll see...


Iain said...

Excellent pictures James.

As you included pictures of the Venetian Arsenal and The Tetrarchy statue, nicked from Glorious Byzantium by those evil Venetians, I have a couple of book recommendations for you. The first is Empires of the Sea, which is about the Venetains, Spanish, French, Maltese and Turks fighting for control of the Mediterraean in th 16th Century and the other is the Fall of Constantinople, which as you can imagine is about the siege and fall in 1453. Both are by Roger Crowley.

James said...

Glad you enjoyed the pics Iain, and thanks for the recs - I really must read more history, but it's so hard to find the time!

Gabriele Campbell said...

Very nice pics. Love the Roman stuff especially, but I've been bitten by that bug ages ago. :)

Iain, I so need more books for my TBR pile. lol

Kendall said...

Awesome pix; I visited Italy many years ago, including Venice, and still have fond memories (and hundreds of pix) of the trip. I want to return one day, so I'm jealous of your trip! ;-)

Francisco Norega said...

Nice shots :) As I've been busy for a couple of weeks, I couldn't visit your blog for a time, James.
But this shots... wow, are amazing. I have to find some time to restart visiting blogs :)

Have you ever come to Portugal? Is very beautiful too ;)

James said...

Gabriele, Kendall, glad you liked the pics.

Francisco - I've been to Portugal at some point when I was much younger, and don't remember anything at all of it. I'll have to try and get there at some stage...

Francisco Norega said...

You won't be disappointed :) Portugal has very beautiful cities and villages, but also very beautiful mountains and forests :P

And be free to tell me something when you decide to come here. I would be glad to show you my country, and it would be great to talk with you about fantasy and science fiction :P

Alex said...

Very nice! I love European architecture, makes London look so bloody dour.

"The balcony where Juliet is meant to have waited for Romeo (a totally false historical connection, but it's a nice scene)"

LOL, a fake connection because they're fictional characters! Wonder how many people actually believed it though..