Monthly Archives: February 2014

Crimean Journey Part 3: Yalta Conference, the Romanovs and the Church on the Rock

Livadia Palace, built in 1911 for the Romanovs and the location for the February 1945 Yalta Conference.

Livadia Palace, built in 1911 for the Romanovs and the location for the February 1945 Yalta Conference.

The gardens of Livadia Palace.

The gardens of Livadia Palace.

My third day in Crimea began with a ride on the crowded minibus 115, which took me from near to my guesthouse in Alupka to the Livadia Palace. The palace was built for Tsar Nicholas II as the Russian royal family’s summer residence and completed in 1911. The royal family loved Crimea and appreciated its fresh air. The palace was also the setting for the February 1945 wartime conference, Continue reading

Crimean Journey Part 4: Sevastopol and the Charge of the Light Brigade

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place in this valley. Lord Raghan watched the disaster unfold from here.

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place in this valley. Lord Raghan watched the disaster unfold from here.

Sevastopol's sea front.

Sevastopol’s sea front.

My fourth day in Crimea began again at the bus stop for the 115 minibus, only this time I was heading in the opposite direction, away from Yalta. With some help from the English speaking owner of the guesthouse, who I had spoken to on the phone, I had found a way to get to Sevastopol, avoiding going into Yalta and back again. Continue reading

Villas of the Brenta

Villa Foscari, Malcontenta

Villa Foscari, Malcontenta

Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, many of Venice’s wealthy families acquired land on the banks of the river Brenta, which flows from Trentino and joins the sea near to the Venetian lagoon. There are around a hundred villas, a few of which are open to the public.

Two of the most impressive are Palladio’s Villa Foscari at Malcontenta, and the large eighteenth century Villa Pisani at Stra. Continue reading

Palladio’s Vicenza

Palladio's Basilica in Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza

Palladio’s Basilica in Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza

The tower in Piazza dei Signori

The tower in Piazza dei Signori

Vicenza appeals from the moment you step off the train. When you walk out of the station, your first experience is to cross a pleasant green park which separates the station from the historic centre. I arrived in the early evening, and checked into Hotel Campo Marzio (www.campomarzio.com ), just across the park about 5- 10 minutes walk from the station, and about 3 minutes walk from the start of Corso Palladio, the main road which runs through the historic centre. Continue reading

Visiting the Palladio villas around Vicenza

La Rotonda

La Rotonda

It’s good to plan on being in Vicenza on a Saturday or a Wednesday between mid March and the end of November, because then you can visit the interior of both the main Palladio villas on the outskirts of Vicenza- Valmarana and La Rotonda, With careful planning, the villas can be combined with the Basilica of Monte Berico. Continue reading

Mantova- Palaces and Lakes

Arriving in Mantova by train from Verona, you cross a bridge between Lago Superiore and Lago di Mezzo

Arriving in Mantova by train from Verona, you cross a bridge between Lago Superiore and Lago di Mezzo

Mantova has a lot of good and reasonably priced restaurants. You can find many on the walk south from the Palazzo Ducale to Piazza Broletto

Mantova has a lot of good and reasonably priced restaurants. You can find many on the walk south from the Palazzo Ducale to Piazza Broletto

Like Romeo, I left Verona, for Mantova. In a way I was continuing the operatic theme too, as Mantova is the setting for Verdi’s opera Rigoletto. Continue reading