Tag Archives: Italy

A to Z of Cathedrals – A is for Alghero in Sardinia

 

I first visited Alghero in Sardinia in 2009, I remember that it rained a lot.  I thought that it might be a good idea to stay dry and visit the Cathedral but sadly it was closed for restoration.

This has happened to me quite regularly I have to say, I am quite  unlucky when it comes to visiting Cathedrals and I very often find scaffolding, men at work and no entry signs.

Eventually the rain eased.  There was a little bar that overlooked the sea and we ordered Italian beer and some sandwiches that when they arrived we had to eat quickly because of the unwanted attention of hundreds of irritating flies that quickly became uninvited guests at our table.  The waiter apologised and explained that this time of year is always bad for these little pests.

It was really warm and we were glad of the seafront location as we sat and watched the activity on the promontory overlooking the sea and we were envious of the unhurried pace of life that the local people seemed to enjoy.  A bit of a walk, a bit of a chat, a bit of a walk, a bit of a chat, a bit of a walk, a bit of a chat and then turn around and do it all over again as they dawdle back in the opposite direction.

We navigated the city and as went peered down slightly shabby narrow streets, disfigured by graffiti, care worn but lived in with brightly colour-washed buildings with ancient coats of paint like fragments of history which have blotched and blurred by a combination of successive harsh summers, equally hard winters and general neglect resulting in a glorious wash resembling water colours running in the rain, everything dripping and running, liquefying and merging, leaking and fusing.

The streets between the houses were like deep gullies made brilliant by vibrant washing lines even after a night of torrential rain strung outside of windows like carnival bunting as though in anticipation of a parade, stretching across the streets dripping indiscriminately and swaying gently backwards and forwards above the secret doorways and back alleys and with realistically today, in view of the weather, only an outside chance of drying out.

Alghero has a Catalan heritage and even today Catalan is recognised as an official language and street names appear in both Catalan and Italian. A good percentage of the population speak this language although being rather isolated from direct Catalan influence over the years the dialect of Alghero today is said to be similar to the language spoken in Catalonia between the middle of the fourteenth and the end of the seventeenth century.  For an Algheran to speak to a Catalan today would be rather like me trying to have a sensible conversation with William Shakespeare.

As if to emphasise this Catalan connection Alghero has four twin towns, Tarragona and Balaguer in Catalonia, Encamp in Andorra (almost Catalonia) and Catalan speaking Palma in Majorca.

We walked along the city walls with the stunning views out to sea and we made note of promising looking restaurants for our evening meal.  We frequently detoured into the labyrinth of streets to explore the town and especially liked a deli bar/restaurant but were shocked by the price of the wine and decided instead to look for a supermarket.

 

Images of Vesuvius

Continuing the editing of the pictures of my visit to Naples I came across these images at an exhibition about the famous volcano…

I added one of my own…

Read the Full Story Here…

 

Venice – Four Visits, Three Hotels

“To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.” – Alexander Herzen

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On This Day – Vaporetto Ride to Burano

The vaporetto on the Grand Canal beats too, softly as a human pulse, faltering and renewing itself after every hesitation which marks a landing stage.”  –  Lawrence Durrell, ‘Bitter Lemons of Cyprus’.

Along with Riga in Latvia I have visited the Italian city of Venice more than any other. On 5th April 2005 I took a water taxi ride on the Venetian Lagoon from Venice to Burano…

Burano is situated seven kilometers from Venice, a short forty minute trip by Venetian public transport motorboats called Vaporetto. We waited at a stop on the Grand Canal and when one arrived waited for the boatman to secure it and then invite us to go on board and climbed to the upper deck where there was a good view of the city and the other islands.

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Monday Washing Lines – Alghero in Sardinia

 

Welcome to my latest theme. Monday Washing Lines.

This was a very windy day in Alghero in Sardinia…

…the next morning, the night after the cyclone,  when we opened the shutters of the room and looked out into the storm battered streets Alghero looked rather damp, drenched, soggy and windswept, forlorn and feeling rather sorry for itself…

It is a Challenge, do feel free to join in…

On This Day – Rome (Twice)

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 26th June 1976 I was in the city of Rome in Italy.  I was 22 and this was the very first time that I had travelled abroad and due to a girlfriend/relationship breakdown I ended up going with my dad on a two week holiday to Sorrento.

Here he is at the Trevi Fountain…

96 Rome

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By chance as I have been looking through my picture files I discovered that exactly thirty-five years later on 26th June 2011 that I was in Rome again, this time with a silly hat…

IMG_9178a

Read Another Full Story…

A Postcard From Sorrento

Postcard From Sorrento.jpg

In the spring of 1976 I made arrangements for my very first trip to continental Europe and booked a Cosmos holiday to Sorrento in Italy with my girlfriend Linda.  We were due to go on the 12th June but at some point shortly before travel she fell for the charms of a reporter on the local newspaper and abruptly ended the relationship.

This created a problem because it was within the no refund period and so I was faced with the prospect of losing all my money.   I could have begged I suppose but that would have been undignified so instead we had a family crisis meeting and the solution was found when dad enthusiastically stepped in and agreed to take her place. That’s what dads are for, I would do exactly the same!

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or

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Travels in Italy, A Walk Around Rimini

I was pleasantly surprised by Rimini, I was expecting a ghastly Mediterranean holiday resort but found history, charm, elegance and a busy fishing port.

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Travels in Italy, Looking Back

Travels in Italy

Not surprisingly Italy is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites; it has fifty-three, seven more than Spain which has the second most sites in Europe.  I have visited half of the sites in Spain but when I reviewed the Italy list I was disappointed to find that I have been to less than a quarter.

This time in Italy I was planning to add a few more, Milan (The Last Supper), Modena and Ferrara.

Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…

Travels in Italy, Emilia Romagna

Emilio Remagna Preview

After the success of the previous year’s holiday to Portugal where we used the train service to travel from Lisbon to Porto with various stops upon the way we decided that we would do something similar this year and when we were making plans we decided to travel to Italy persuaded most of all by the £40 return air flights to Milan.

Our plan was to use the trains to first visit the Italian Lakes and then to travel through the Region of Emilia-Romagna and stop off at the cities of Parma, Modena and Bologna and finish at the seaside at Rimini on the Adriatic Riviera.

Travels in Italy coming soon…