Did I say how much I loved Budapest?? Okay I probably did but here’s another post to prove my point 😉
On my second day I went to Fisherman’s Bastion at the Buda side of the city. Situated on Castle Hill, it is a unique monument whose name comes from the fishermen who defended the walls in the Middle Ages. The entire area on Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Buda Castle sits on the other side and houses the National Gallery of Hungary along with a Library and Museum of History. Completed in the 13th century, the castle is one of the most imposing structures of Budapest. Also at the Fisherman’s Bastion is the Mathhias Church made in a gothic style with 7 bells!
Reaching the Castle Hill is very easy as there is the option of walking, taking a bus (No 16) or a funicular. I chose the first one as it was only a 5-10 minute walk. Along the way I could see amazing views of the city. It was surreal!!
Best part of visiting the Castle Hill is really the location. One can spend as much time as one wants and see the vast vistas of the city! The entire area is like a small town with an old part and a Palace. There is also a five star hotel and a Starbucks which shows how commercial it is now becoming.
Many expensive shops in the area sell “Hungarian” goods but I didn’t know the authenticity of them so chose to ignore. Walking back to Pest I noticed how quiet the Buda side of the city is compared to the hustle and bustle of the Pest side.
It was an intriguing experience to see both sides of the city. More so because I had no idea about the history of Hungary and just got curious to know more. After my visit, I stopped at a bookshop to read more on Budapest. I’ll be posting about them later but for now I hope you enjoyed the hike to the Buda Castle?? Tell me if you are enjoying the Budapest series 🙂
I was in Ragusa only for a quick stop but the baroque town was nothing as I had imagined and seen on TV. Ragusa’s medieval styled architecture and piazzas with lack of tourists was enough to give me a high. It was raw and indescribable beauty.
Take a walk with me….
Did you enjoy??
Day 3 of the Three Day Quote Challenge is a quote that I think is the best tribute to the Bel Paese.
“You may have the Universe if I may have Italy“- Giuseppe Verdi
I eat, dream and live Italy and I think that this quote brings out the best for the nation. So much love and yearning for a nation that has not only influenced art and architecture but also literature, culture and food across the globe. No wonder it is thought to be one of the greatest countries of the world.
Cin Cin to Italy! 😀
Hope you enjoyed the Three Day Quote Challenge guys! This was something different and fun. I nominate fellow bloggers- Susan of Timeless Italy, Sylvia of villainumbria & Sam of twoblackdoggies to continue the challenge.
Meanwhile, have you checked my Facebook Page? There is always lots going on there. Do join in 🙂
Last week several fellow Italy bloggers met in Rome and spent an entire weekend discovering the delights of the magnificent city. If you check the hashtag #WinterinRome on Instagram/Twitter you will be amazed at the options Rome has in Winters. My fellow bloggers really inspired me to visit Rome in winters and I hope to make it a possibility someday. I felt a little “Rome” sick while following them along so thought of writing a post to make up for it 🙂
Today we will travel to one of Rome’s most enchanting structures- Castel Sant’Angelo. The Castel is my second favorite historic building of Rome, after the Pantheon.
Castel Sant’Angelo is gorgeous and ancient and will leave you spell bound. Built around 135 AD (Yes that long), the Castel served as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian and his family. It was also used as a prison at a certain point in time. Now it is a National Museum and is only a stone’s throw away from the Vatican. The Castel is huge and awe inspiring and one can even go inside for a price of EUR 9.
Castel Sant’Angelo is a pedestrian area and is connected through a bridge called the Ponte Sant’Angelo. The bridge is a photography zone. No really, you should see the number of people (myself included) grabbing the opportunity to capture Rome in its glory not to forget the fabulous views that the bridge offers of the St. Peters Basilica.
The bridge is flanked by 10 angels designed by Lorenzo Bernini, Domenico Guidi, Ercole Ferrata, Antonio Georgetti and several others. I love this area of Rome, could easily spend hours there, of course with my book and a gelato 😀
What do you think about this stunning structure??
Every month I, along with my #ItalianFWT Group (Food, Wine & travel) virtually explore a different region of Italy.
This month we are heading to the far east corner of the country to see and know the delights of the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Bordering the countries of Slovenia and Austria, the region of Friuli is often overlooked by travelers. I wonder why. It is beautiful with a deep history.
Let me take you to Castello di Miramare, situated near Trieste– the capital of Friuli.
Overlooking the stark waters of the Adriatic, Castello di Miramare (Castle of Miramare) is at the edge of a cliff and is really a sight to behold. Just a mere 15 minutes from Trieste, this magnificent white castle can be reached by Bus 36 from Trieste.
Castello di Miramare was built by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilan in 1860 for his wife, Charlotte of Belgium. It has 20 odd rooms with brilliant upholstery and elegant furniture (pictures not allowed). With an entry of EUR 6 (for the castle not the grounds they are free), you can visualize how the Archduke and his wife stayed away from the hustle and bustle of the affairs in this secluded castle. I loved exploring the castle grounds with its small ponds, rare plants and bubbling fountains. How grand must it be in the 19th century!
Like many historic places, Miramare has a tragedy attached to it. The Archduke died at an early age of 34 and it is said that after his death Charlotte went insane and spent her days in the castle pining for her lost love. Many people believe that spending a night in this castle of 20 odd rooms could lead to a person’s death, so as to say that the castle is cursed. Miramare may have a tragedy attached but it is gorgeous and it is absolutely safe to spend the day here 🙂
Miramare has a beautiful backdrop with nothing but an expanse of Adriatic and views of Trieste. What a picture the Archduke had in mind while building this beauty!
Here are the rest of my fellow bloggers featuring Friuli:
Vino Travels – Pignolo and Schioppettino and Picolit, oh my!
I visited Siena on a radiant day from Florence. Although a few hours is not enough to see this gorgeous Tuscan town, I wanted to visit anyway.
A hill town known globally for its Palio- a horse race that happens twice every year on July 2 & Aug 16, Siena also prides itself in its medieval walls and stunning squares.
The town has been Florence’s rival since the Middle Ages because of several territorial and economic conflicts not to forget that it houses wondrous works of art just like Florence. Apart from that, Siena is also a photographer’s dream with its old styled architecture and narrow alleys, oh so romantic!
My Tuscan excursion to Siena was mostly walking around the town which is the best to get a sense of place. I wanted to just hang around the two popular landmarks- the Piazza del Campo with its Torre del Mangia (Mangia Tower) and the Piazza del Duomo with the Duomo di Siena (Cathedral of Siena).
Man I was stunned. It was a breathtaking sight!
The campo is huge and shell shaped, lined with several famous caffes, an old marbled fountain and the Civic Museum.
When in Siena have a quick bite of panforte- a hard nutty Italian dessert which is a speciality of the town.
Later I took an uphill walk to see the Duomo of Siena. Only a short climb from the Campo is the Duomo and the uphill isn’t that bad either with shops selling leather bags, stationary, truffle oil and fresh pasta. The Piazza del Duomo is massive and extremely impressive!
With marble columns carved by Giovanni Pisano, it is something not to be missed. The interior is equally stunning.
In my humble opinion, Siena’s Duomo gives Florence’s Duomo a run for its money 😉 This should in no way get controversial as I love them both. Oh wait, there is also the Duomo of Orvieto.. See how hard this keeps getting??
After spending some time at the Duomo, I headed back to the Campo. Did I tell you the Campo is the best place to catch a drink and watch the world go by? Something I mastered on my travels to Italy.
Thank you, Siena for your ancient beauty. I know there is a lot left to experienc, much of which I have left many for my next visit, whenever that is. The Piccolomini library is certainly on the cards for the next time as is the climb to the gothic tower of Palazzo Pubblicco.
Ci Vediamo 🙂
Some things to remember:
Siena’s train station is at the foot of the hill so the best way to reach the town is by bus from Florence. If you are traveling from Rome or Venice, it is advisable to take a train.
The Siena duomo entry costs EUR12 with the Cathedral, Piccolomini library, Bapistery and crypt. Thank me later!
The Leaning Tower’s beauty is universally acknowledged. I don’t think I need to say more about it. Oh, but I will.
The Leaning Tower is magnificent, a sight to behold!
No matter how “touristy” it seems or how much you read or hear that its crowded, it is really worth to visit this tilted white marbled spire once in your lifetime.
The Tower is a part of a splendid square called “Piazza dei Miracoli” (Square of Miracles) that proudly boasts a cathedral, a baptistery and a cemetery. I would recommend spending time there and relaxing on the lush green grass… maybe with a book?
Then you might want to visit the top of the tower (296 steps that is manageable) to have some fantastic views of the square and the town of Pisa.
Note: you will feel a slight “lean” while climbing the stairs and a little dizzy because the tower defies gravity but it will all be good when you reach the top 😉 The ticket cost is EUR 18. Hope you enjoy these pictures from the top. Ciao for now!
|The Morni Fort|
I arrived there at the time of rains and it was gorgeous and really peaceful. As I climbed the hill towards the fort, a beautiful Shiva temple awaited me at the entrance. On my left was a Pheasant Breeding centre managed and run by the Wildlife Department.
|The restored gardens|
The guard sitting at the entrance of the fort was able to provide me with some information of the history as there isn’t much written on this place. Apparently, they are now converting the fort to a five star hotel.
|The South Tower|
Morni fort wasn’t like any of the forts I have visited before in Delhi or Rajasthan. For here you will find no queues for tickets, no guide books or vendors selling knick knacks, but just the fort itself standing mammoth for you.
| Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore
One of the most beautiful churches that I visited was the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore. An astoundingly beautiful and striking church called the “duomo” it is located in the heart of Florence and is the town’s heartbeat. Thousands of people visit this mammoth structure daily. Needless to say, it is very crowded outside, albeit the interiors are much peaceful. It stands apart from all the other churches that I have visited. The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore happens to be the largest brick dome ever constructed. The Santa Maria Novella and Santa Spirito in Florence are also beautiful churches. Very striking.
|Basilica di Santa Maria Novella|
|Basilica di Santa Spirito|
The capital city, Rome, is also home to hundreds of churches approximately 900 as per the list on Wikipedia. Apart from the famous St Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican, there is the church of Saint Agnes. I count myself lucky to have visited there. It is absolutely heavenly amidst a large crowded square.
|Church of Saint Agnes|
|St Peter’s Basilica|
There were also some unusual churches in the offbeat side of the country. For instance the Church of San Lorenzo in Manarola was near a fruit shop overlooking several houses. If one longs for quietude and peace this church is the place to be. Another famous one is the church of Saint Peter- a striking structure of the 12th century in Portovenere.
|Church of Saint Peter|
The beautiful and picturesque Vernazza was also home to a 13th century church- Santa Margarita d’Antiochia, that stands on a rock. Unfortunately I did not visit the inside of this church.