It is not a city, it is a miracle. And, with proper care, it is up to man to fulfil miracles.
A thousand year old unstable equilibrium, near to collapse, wavering and creaking yet unsinkable and durable...it is too beautiful for it to be consumed. The city is a play of lights, shadows, illusions and reflections, a ghost in 18th century costume. Maybe instead it is the result of a study on the optical effects of symmetrical refraction.
Inside the Caffè Florian, spaces expand and out of focus customers seem to be split in two...Along the more hidden canals, in which the water (even if it is muddy) manipulates the slender passages, amplifying the boldness of the buildings and changing speed with every movement.
Piazza San Marco is at the centre of this scene. Hidden behind the Basilica and its domes: the East that throws an anchor into Europe. Opened from the front towards infinity, towards a sun that gets closer, towards an unknown, that is desired more than avoided. With sides covered by the Ducal Palace and the good word of Marco Polo.
The bridges make a link with the elegance of Rialto, animated by the continual flow of tourists, or the regret of Sospiri. Venice is a place to explore on foot, getting lost on intricate streets and flights of steps, to discover the treasures of the baroque Santa Maria della Salute, of the Accademia Gallery, that is home to masterpieces of Venetian painting from the 14th to the 18th centuries, and of the Scuola di San Rocco, with its extraordinary series of paintings by Tintoretto.
Venice is also home to modern and contemporary art, like the renovated Punta della Dogana, or the inside of Palazzo Grassi, or the avant-garde art exhibited during the Biennial.
It is pointless to try and avoid the subject and the iconography: Verona is the city associated with love and opera.
Romeo and Juliet continue to perform their dream and their drama every day. The Montagues and the Capulets put on a performance in every area of the city, even when it seems there is no motive for inspiration: if it’s not there, it’s not hard to find. They act out their scenes for all lovers, for all those who know not to escape the unavoidable turmoil of Eros and Thanatos. That is, for everyone.
Dream, ecstasy, tragedy: the essence and power of opera, “where every drama is a fake.” It seems that the Romans, in building the Arena, predicted that in this very place, on the placid banks of the Adige, the dance of sounds, words and limbs could become real emotions and be engraved on the skin of the audience.
The Arena is located in Piazza Bra and is mirrored by the Palazzo Barbieri and the Gran Guardia, whilst all around it local venues and meeting places thrive that blow soul into the monuments.
Not far away, there is Juliet’s House and the Piazza delle Erbe...but you cannot re-emerge from the wave of the past that lifts us up like surfers of history...there is also the Piazza dei Signori, the Palazzo di Cangrande and the Loggia di Fra Giocondo, the Palazzo di Cansignorio and the Palazzo della Ragione.
Gothic and Roman, the Cathedral (with a Tiziano altar piece) and San Zeno (triptych of the high altar by Andrea Mantegna), the battlements of Castelvecchio (14th century) and the river, that sensuously curves around the old town.
A city undoubtedly full of beauty, such as the Palazzo della Ragione, the Prato della Valle and the Loggia dei Carraresi.
But “crushed” under the weight of two men on the confines of human and very, very close to the spirit as much as to the matter of things.
The first is Saint Anthony, the Basilica of which is similar to that of Saint Mark, the rite of pilgrimage is celebrated (four million visitors a year), but also the Venetian style (Chapel of San Giacomo and Chapel of the Saint) and hospitality.
The other is Giotto, his works are present in the city in the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, at the Palazzo della Ragione and the Chapel of Santa Maria dell’Arena (Chapel of the Scrovegni). The latter, in particular, succeeds in capturing a fundamental teaching: the painter, before being appreciated for his artistic skills, reveals that he has already completed a masterpiece, not on the wall, but of his own life. The cultural journey, in a broad sense, followed by the son of Bondone peasants, led him to heights of comprehension and of the human and the divine by providing the tools to speak to the hearts of the humble, the ignorant or even just uninterested. The play of forms, expressions and colours (The Flight into Egypt, The Kiss of Judas, The Final Judgement) is a technique subservient to the communication of emotions and of humanity. Such is art, as it should always be.
In Padua, the Pinacoteca of the city must also be recommended, housed in the Cloisters of the Hermits, where unique works by Giotto, Tintoretto, Reni and Tiepolo are still kept.
Padua provides a pleasant confusion of squares, markets, old taverns, historic bars such as Caffè Pedrocchi or more fashionable ones where you can enjoy an aperitif.
Lake Garda is a tourist attraction not just as an example of a marvellous work of nature.
But also for the wealth of possibilities for the visitor in search of relaxation and recreation, and a wide variety of interests. Villages, castles, monasteries and traces of antiquity add value to the tranquillity that the lake landscape can offer.
Signs of prehistory show themselves on Mount Baldo, whilst the Roman villas of Desenzano and Toscolano recall how much the qualities of the place have always been appreciated.
The Middle Ages find a space in the Torri del Benaco or in Sirmione, dominated by imposing well-preserved constructions from the period.
The holy art can be found in the Romanesque churches of Maderno, Sirmione and Bardolino.
The Lake and its hinterland allow for any sporting activity (in addition to water sports, most notably sailing and surfing, hiking, mountaineering, equestrian sports and mountain biking, amongst others, are also possible).
The region of Venice take advantage of the area known as the “Riviera of Olives”, with well-equipped beaches, and places suited to sports, entertainment and active holidays (Gardaland is found here and other amusement parks).
The following have all frequented Lake Garda: Catullo, Dante Alighieri, Goethe, Ugo Foscolo, Lord Byron, Henry Stendhal, Gabriele D'Annunzio, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Franz Kafka.
It could be argued whether the Dolomites are really of this world. So much so that they have come to be known as the “Pale Mountains”.
Due to the reflections of the moon that light them up on cold winter nights.
The Dolomites have to be considered as a single geological formation, even if, in different locations they can create different landscapes between them or characterised by variable geographical compositions. They are contained between the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano, Pordenone, Trento and Udine and it is they that dictate what is known as “dolomitic scenery”: we can find the “Dolomites” in France, Austria and Switzerland, but also in Norway and Slovenia.