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Topic 18

My Visit to Italy

This fortnight's topic is, My visit to Italy. I am making this as a topic as Italy has some sort of beauty attached to it and it needs some description along with the photos.

Italy is one of the parts of old Roman empire and the country is filled with art and beauty similar to India.

Actually I made this visit to attend a conference on Echocardiography in Florence, the place which I am going to tell more about. I went to present my cardiac imaging software at the conference of EuroEcho9 conducted by the European Society of Echocardiography. I started from London on 7th of December and my journey is to Florence (Firenze in Italian) via Milan (Milano in Italian). I stayed there for four days upto the 11th of December culminating the trip with a visit to leaning tower of Pisa.

My first thrilling experience is when the plane passed from the top of the Alps. It is such a beautiful experience to see the snow clad alps from the air. Sorry I cannot switch on my camera to take a snap shot of that scene.

I landed in Milan and immediately catched my connection flight to Florence. It is 30 min. from Milan to Florence and by the way it is 1:30 hrs. from London to Milan.

Florence is a very old city in Italy and is a main tourist place in Italy as it has some of the finest art of the renaissance period and most importantly country's biggest art gallery, Uffizi gallery. Florence is situated in the mid-western part of the country and is on the banks of river Arno. This is the first capital of the united country. It falls in the Tuscan district and the modern Italian language evolved from the Tuscan dialect, the dialect that is spoken by people here.

The famous visiting places in Florence are, Piazza del Duomo (Square of Dome), Piazza della signoria (Square of Signoria), Bargello, Santa Maria Novella (Local Saint Mary's Church), Santa Croce, San Lorenzo and Palazzo Pitti (Palace Pitti).

I did not get time to visit all of them but I visited most of them. I visitedPiazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, The Bargello, Santa Maria Novella and Palazzo Pitti.

Here I give brief descriptions about them and some photos of them (I am not in all of them :-().

Piazza del Duomo : All roads in Florence lead to Piazza del Duomo, site of wonderful cathedral and its attendant museum, with the magnificent Baptistery and Campanile completing the ensemble. Here are the photos of Duomo, tower of the Duomo which is all tiled with marble stone. Also the whole Duomo is tiled with marble blocks, pictures of Jesus Christ, one being tortured and one in placid bath and blessing everyone

Piazza della Signoria : Signoria means a Civic building and Piazza della Signoria means Civic Building Square. It is a square with very good statues and a fort and the uffizi gallery beside it. Here are some photos of the signoria including the image of God Neptune in Roman mythology, the image of David, Hercules, imag of Perseus who cut off the head of an evil lady Medusa and displayed it to the crowds gathered at this square.

Bargello : This is a fort with beautiful collection of Renaissance period sculpture and applied art. I did not go inside this fort but here is the picture of it from outside. You can see it in the slide show above (signoria).

Palazzo Pitti : This is a palace situated to the south of the river Arno and it comes under the district called Oltarno. This is a gigantic palace with very beautiful gardens and museums. I don't have technical information about this palace but I can say in general. It has good porcelain museum and painting museum and very big natural gardens. Here are the photos of the palace which involve: example of the influence of Eastern art and culture, a building basing a water fountain, a garden inside the palace and me in the garden. It also includes a view of city from the garden.

The Uffizi Gallery : This is the biggest art gallery in the country. It contains art from Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Antonio Michelli, Botticelli. I did not dare to go inside of it as it takes more than a day to visit the whole gallery. That big it is. But I have some photos of the big building and some sculptures from outside of it. Here are they, which include sculptures of Galileo, Antonio Michelli and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leaning tower of Pisa : Pisa is another city in Italy which falls in the mid-western coastline of the Italy. It is relatively a small city and the only attraction in it is the leaning tower of pisa. This tower became a wonder not because of its art or height but because of its leaning nature which has come accidentally and naturally.

The tower is 60m tall and weighs circa 14,500 tonnes. The tower is shaped like a hollow cylinder formed by two concentric walls (in marble blocks) which contain mortar and other known matter. The inclination is 5.5 degrees towards the south, which means the seventh cornice protrudes 4.5m over the first cornice. The staircase consists of approximately 300 steps.

The tower was constructed over the course of 200 years. It was first started on 9 August 1173 and were suspended in circa 1178. The construction was recommenced in circa 1272 and was interrupted in 1278 when seven cornices were built. The construction of the belfry (the highest order where there are huge bells) began again in 1360 and was completed 10 years later in 1370. The tower has subsided vertically by around 2.8m as a result of unstable nature of the underlying ground. And so it is a man-made wonder!

Here are my photos of the tower.

V Rama Aravind,
Posted on: 2005-12-28

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