Summer months (July and August) elapsed fast and I was ready for going back to Italy. Campania, Puglia and Sicily inspired me to go on exploring these parts of Italy but my next voyage was a little bit to the North, i.e. to Central Italy.
Why? Because I hadn’t gone to drink Chianti for many years as well as I hadn’t ever been to five particular lands in nearby Liguria.
Of course, you know my other weak point, called Greece. I have to admit that I always feel upset and down if I don’t visit one of my homelands (Bulgaria, Hellas and Italy) even once a year. So, before going to Greece, my adventurous soul brought me to ….
T U S C A N Y
There is no doubt that Tuscany is one of the regions that is the most described one in books, the most visited one and of course, the most beautiful one of Italy (it doesn’t mean at all that the rest parts of the country are not worth visiting 🙂 just on the opposite …. 🙂 ). When it comes to Toscana everybody associates it with Florence as the Cradle of the Renaissance, and Tiramisù and Palio in Siena. But Pisa is also worth mentioning.
Pisa is an important city in Tuscany, Central Italy. It was established on the banks of the River Arno, just before it goes into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Namely its location predetermined its maritime role in ancient times. The Pelasgi, the Greeks, the Etruscans, and the Ligurians are thought to have been the first founders of the city. Its most famous square not only in Italy but also worldwide is la Piazza dei miracoli. It is a walled, about 9-hectare square area in Pisa which is famous worldwide for its four major attractions. It’s one of the most significant mediaeval artistic, architectural and historical places in Tuscany and in the world. By the way, the square is also considered a holy place by the Catholic Church which is its owner.
Being in Tuscany, you should also visit the little town of Collodi which is hidden among the rows of cypresses and vines and it offers a true journey back to your childhood. If you’re not a fan of driving, just like me, but you desire to visit it, you’ll have one other “Italian train-and-bus fairy-tale” while you are trying to reach this tiny settlement. If your starting point is Pisa, you’ll enjoy a journey by train that lasts about an hour. (Should I mention again that it’s great fun to use Italian trains that are almost always late? 😀 ) After that you will have an hour and a half break in Pescia. No worries it’s not that bad because even, we – early birds, get hungry and this is the most suitable time for us to have un cornetto and cappuccino for breakfast near the station.
Once you are in the tiny village you will immediately remember Carlo Collodi’s world famous book starting like this: “C’era una volta un pezzo di legno …” (“Once upon a time there was a piece of wood …” and its main character – Pinocchio, will say “Ciao” to you from every corner. Apart from il Parco di Pinocchio (the Pinocchio Park), you have the chance to indulge in the quietness of the historic Garzoni Garden which is among the 18th centuries “garden masterpieces”. The well known “garden age” gave a birth to some really very splendid parks and villas like the Villas of Lucca, the Royal Palace in Caserta and the Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel, and of course, the Garzoni Garden. The latter was simply a small forest for hunting in the very beginning. Later it turned into an awesome country residence of the Counts Garzoni where there was a wise usage of water and plants and all disadvantages of the terrain became advantages.
If your vacation is based in Pisa, don’t miss the chance to visit Eden on Earth, namely …..
L I G U R I A
Monteresso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore were old antique settlements but their flourishment dates back to the early mediaeval ages. At that period of time fishing and agriculture were the main vocation which has been kept up to the present times. Nowadays the steeply terraced cliffs on which the five Ligurian beauties (the five lands or better known as Cinque Terre) are situated are surrounded by green fields, gardens and vineyards while the pristine blue sea beneath turns this place into one of the most amazing tourist sites on the Italian Riviera.
After having taken my portion of “Italian travels”, I head to the land where my grand-grandparents and ancestors lived ….
A T H E N S
Athens is one of le sette più sette (7×7), i.e. towns built on 7 hills. The capital of Hellas is definitely, one of the most notable ancient cities built on 7 hills whose citizens are the pioneers of arts, philosophy and theatre.
Of course every visit there starts from Ἀκρόπολις (The Highest Town) and then it continues on its slopes. The Acropolis (from “akros”/”the highest” and “polis”/city) is well visible form almost everywhere in Athens, especially at night when it is naturally and artificially illuminated. It was initially inhabited in the Neolithic times, i.e. around 4000-3000 BC. The first temples dedicated to Gods and Goddesses were built during the Mycenaean period of time and everything started with one contest between Goddess Athena (the Goddess of fertility and nature) and Poseidon (the God of the sea and of earthquakes) both of them wanting to become a patron of the town. And what happened exactly.
Being on the hill of the Acropolis, we are inevitably left breathless by the birds’ eye views from above. Whole modern and ancient Athens is in our palms and this awesome feeling of enjoying the picturesque ancient-modern view will remain in our minds forever and ever. The whole city is dotted by the remains of ancient cultural and civil buildings which are visible either along the slopes of the Acropolis or beyond the Gate of Adrianus.
If you want to escape the Athenian Antiquity it won’t be possible at all because Athens is equal to Antiquity and the historic triangle of Athens goes hand in hand with the modern heartbeat of Athens well “guarded” by the Evzones.
There is one more day before the end of my leap year. Most of you know that my birthday is so much awaited. Surely, it doesn’t mean that I will wait for my “own” other birthday to come in four years in order to continue travelling …. Nope …. That’s why I am sending you lots of greetings from ….
A leaper at the age of 9 years already who is un vero boème mediterraneo (a true Mediterranean Bohemian) 😉