Monday, March 13, 2006

European wonderful cities: London

London

We all know that the capital of Great Britain is London. We know the number of inhabitants and its composition, we know the location and the economic data of this city but what do we know about its spirit and history saturation in every its stone?

Reading the articles of other authors we learn that London is a city of contrasts where the modern meets the ancient, people of different backgrounds and social positions stand side by side and the austere style with grey colours is perfectly combined with the bright colours of today’s life.

London is called the city of Museums since every building and every square was erected many years ago and played certain role in the history of this city.

London is thought to be a city of cities as besides people of different nations and origins came here to settle bringing their culture and customs; London is formed of several small cities, united into one, each with its characteristic features and buildings.

London is a city of a fancier: here you can find everything to entertain yourself and to please yourself. You will spend hours in exploring this city and can say for sure that you never perceive it. To get accommodated in London and to spend wonderful hours in explorations please visit: Cheap London Hotels.

London is believed to be the best city for business. Recently 12 categories of positive factors for business running were analyzed. Among them there were the market access, staff qualification, labour and office cost, attitude of the government towards the businessmen and general level of life in the city. London won the first place in the list!

London was proclaimed the most expensive city in Europe. Life is very costly in London and those living in London have to come down with their money. The British metropolis in cost of living stands the third in the list after Tokyo and Osaka and before Moscow. The market researchers explain the leading position of London in cost of living by high price of accommodation and transportation in London.

To sum up we can say that London is a city to visit, is a city to stay at and to enjoy every minute spent here.

London is a city-fairy tale as it has so much miracles and things to wonder at!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bed and Breakfast in Italy: how to choose

If you are supposed to know exactly what to expect from a Hotel, it is not always easy to predict what you are going to get in case you are willing to book a bed and breakfast in Italy.

If with hotels the universal rating system (stars) should work properly, with other types of accommodations such as bed and breakfast, independent apartments, guest houses and country inns, the situation is quite different. In these cases you have to trust what you see and what you read.

Serious innkeepers and companies promoting these types of accommodation should be as transparent as possible. You should be able to know exactly the location (the use of an interactive map surely helps), you should be able to see as many rooms pictures as possible, a broad description and a list of facilities/amenities available at the accommodation.

What about reviews? Are they candid? I must confess that many times a review or a guest comment could be more misleading than a bad picture. How you know about other people standards and requirements? Maybe they were on a budget and for them a shared bathroom was more than ok, and they were extremely happy just for the fact that have spent 5 euros less than in another accommodation.

What makes you referent more reliable is when they offer the possibility to talk with somebody: if you are booking a bed and breakfast and you are thousands miles away, the best and most relaxing thing is to know that you have somebody to talk to and to interact with, somebody who is able to answer your questions and clarify every single doubt. Even if by e-mail or by phone you should be able to deal with humans and not with automatic systems.

Find an Italy accommodation website which deal mainly with bed and breakfast and which is listing not all of them. Choose a website with a few selected accommodation and look for pictures, maps, descriptions and read as much as possible…. And then, talk (by e-mail of phone) with somebody.

Gianluca Martini
Founder of Italia Lodging – Charming small accommodation in Italy

Monday, March 06, 2006

Florence: to see beyond the walls

Bisides its wonderful country-side scenery the surroundings of Florence offers many attractions and sites worth to be seen. Here we list a few of them:

THE MEDICI VILLAS DI CASTELLO AND DELLA PETRAIA
The Villa di Castello was restored for Cosimo I de' Medici who commissioned Tribolo to design and build the beautiful Italian gardens. The interior of the Villa, headquarters of the Accademia della Crusca, is not open to the public. The Villa della Petraia is just a short distance away; the Medici ordered Buontalenti to remodel it in the 16th century. The villa, frescoed by Cosimo Daddi (1591-94) and Volterrano (1636-48) was the residence of King Vittorio Emanuele II during the 19th century.
MUSEO STIBBERT
This museum contains the collections that Frederick Stibbert bequeathed to the city in 1906. The armor and weapons are the most outstanding items.
PARCO DI VILLA DEMIDOFF
The Villa Demidoff park is located at Pratolino, on the Via Bolognese. Little remains of the splendid villa that Buontalenti built for Francesco I de' Medici in 1575. The park, that has been completely restored, is open from April to October, and it is a wonderful place to visit outside the city. Giambologna's monumental statue of the "Appennines" (1579-89) is an outstanding example of Florentine Mannerism.
FIESOLE
Nestled on a hill overlooking the Arno valley, in a splendid panoramic setting, Fiesole dates back to ancient times as we can see from the vast archeological area with ruins of the Etruscan temple and walls, the Roman amphitheater and baths and the Museo Civico that contains many excavated items. The Gothic Cathedral of San Romolo (12th century) and the Basilica of Sant'Alessandro, the oldest in the city, are places of interest. The Museo Bandini, with its collection of paintings by Italian artists from the 13th to 15th century and the Museo Primo Conti, with oils and drawings by the recently deceased Florentine artist, are both worth a visit.
CENACLE OF SAN SALVI
What was once the refectory of the former Vallombrosian monastery of San Salvi contains Andrea del Sarto's fresco of the "Last Supper" (1526-27).
SETTIGNANO
This is a small village that grew up on the hillside north east of Florence; it can be reached by bus or via a panoramic drive along the hills from Fiesole. Gabriele D'Annunzio lived here in the Villa la Capponcina; the gardens of the Villa Gamberaia are considered among the loveliest in Europe and offer unforgettable views of Florence.
CERTOSA DEL GALLUZZO
Just 2 kilometers south of Florence rises the austere, fortress-like Certosa del Galluzzo. Founded by Niccolò Acciaiuoli in the 14th century to host young Florentines wanting to study the liberal arts, today it is inhabited by a group of Cistercian Benedictine monks. It contains several important artworks including five lunettes with "Scenes from the Passion", frescoed by Pontormo (1523-25).

A Florence View - bed and breakfast in Florence

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Florence Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum contains one of the most important collections of Etruscan art in the world.It is housed in the Palazzo della Crocetta, which was built for the grand duchess MariaMadalena of Austria in 1620, probably by Giulio Parigi.Established in 1870, the museum was housed in the current building in 1880.

One section of the Archaeological Museum is formed by the Egyptian collections, the most important in Italy after those of Turin.

The original core of the Egyptian section, which was formerly housed in the Cenacolo di Foligno, was the Nizzoli collection, purchased in 1824, together with pieces from the Italian expedition headed by Ippolito Rosellini, which took place at the same time as the French expedition of Champollion.The collection was subsequently added to through numerous acquisitions and donations, as well as by the finds of the 1885 and 1891-92 archaeological campaigns in Egypt led by Schiaparelli.

The museum's most famous work, the bronze Greek statue known as the Idolino, is housed in the Room of the Idolino. Displayed in the Bronze Gallery are three large Etruscan bronzes: the statue of Minerva, the famous Wounded Chimera of Bellerophon, from the 5th century BC, and the Harranguer, a monumental funerary statue from the 3rd century. The section dedicated to Attic black-figure vases houses the famous François Vase, from the 6th century BC, attributed to the Greek artist Cleitias.

Archaeological MuseumVia della Colonna, 36 - Tel. +39 055 23575

INFORMATION:
Opening times:
Monday: 14.00-19.00; Tuesday and Thursday: 8.30-19.00; Wednesday, friday, saturday adn sunday: 8.30-14.00

Booking and information:
Tel. +39 055 294883 - fax +39 055 264406

Guided visits:
These can be organised by contacting the Education Department of the Curator's Office (055/2388658), or the booking service (055/294883) or authorised private guides.

A Florence View - bed and breakfast in Florence