Archive for August 30th, 2018

August 30, 2018

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, Vittoriano of Rome!

On my family trip to Rome and surrounding Lazio region area we were confronted with lots of history and architecture which we love. However, one building really struck us for its size, meaning and even a bit of controversy. It sits in the middle of old Rome yet the building is newer sort of a big contrast that Romans and visitors alike come to understand and like. We like it too.

I have written on bits in my previous Rome posts, but think a separate post will do justice to this wonderful building, oh yes it is the Monument of Vittorio Emmanuell II the unifying king of Italy known there as Vittoriano as well.

Rome

In fact, looking back of my blog, only had briefly mentioned it on a post on squares of Rome, piazzas! So many things to see in my Europe sometimes overwhelmed with ideas. Now is the time to make up for it.

The monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, also known as Vittoriano, is located in Piazza Venezia (Venice Square) next to the Capitol. At the center of the monument stands the altar of the Fatherland (Altai della Patria), while the interior of the building houses the museum on the Reunification of Italy (Museo del Risorgimento).  The immense monument of an immaculate white marble, made between 1885 and 1911 to celebrate the 50 years of the Italian unity. It was built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy unified in 1861. It was built in the neo Classic style.

Rome

Architecture description, brief.

The monument, along with its grand staircase, is full of dazzling white marble extracted from the quarries of Botticino, Brescia. It is a profusion of columns and fountains where throne an equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II, supported on both sides by 16 columns. The reliefs represent the Italian cities, the great reliefs on both sides of the altar of the Nation; these sculptures evoke Italy in art, science, religion and law. The structure measures 140 meters wide and 70 meters high. Above the building, on each side, representing unity and freedom, two statues inspired by the representations of Athena lead a quadriga. Below burns the eternal flame, on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The fountain, on the left, symbolizes the Adriatic Sea and on the right of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Romans have given it a number of humorous and somewhat uncomplimentary nicknames, including La torta nuziale (the wedding cake), dentine ( the Gears), Macchina da scrivere (the typewriter) and the Zuppa inglese (English soup) etc. However, today most Romans consider this monument, which continues to attract many visitors, as one of the symbols of their city.

Rome

Rome

What is there to see, really.

The monument holds the Tomb of the unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of Goddess Roma after WWI following an idea of General Giulio Douhet. The body of the Unknown Soldier was chosen in 1921 from among 11 unknown remains by Maria Bergamas, a woman from Gradisca of Isonzo whose only child was killed during WWI. Her son’s body was never recovered. The selected unknown was transferred from Aquileia, where the ceremony with Maria Bergamas had taken place, to Rome and buried in a state funeral in the same year 1921.

Rome

The flags of disbanded units of the Italian Armed Forces, as well as the flags of ships stricken from the naval register of the Italian Navy are stored at the Vittoriano in the so-called Shrine of the Flags (Sacrario delle Bandiere). The oldest flag on display is the flag of the 19C frigate Giuseppe Garibaldi. When an Italian military unit is reactivated its flag is taken from the Vittoriano and returned to the unit, which with the flag receives also the name, traditions, and military honors bestowed upon the flag over time.

One of the most attractive aspects of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is the panoramic view that is obtained from the terrace at the top of the Quadrigas. Panoramic elevators/lifts are the only way to get to the top floor but the nice views from above make it worthwhile to climb.

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It is at the Piazza Venezia Free admission but to get the elevator/lift admission to top terrace is 7€. You have some nice nearby places to see as well such as the Basilica of Saint Mary in Aracoeli only 48 meters, Museum of the Capitole 134 meters, Capitole square 142 meters, Venice Palace 187 meters and the Trajan steps at 273 meters (the longest 273 meters is about 900 feet.

In all, it is a nice area to walk and walk we did. I do like to walk in the cities rather than public transport; I do come in by car , parked and walking we go; the best way to see and feel a city is walking above ground lol!

A webpage on tourism of Rome with a good (better) explanation of the monument here: http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-architettonici-e-storici/monumento-a-vittorio-emanuele-ii-vittoriano.html

Hope you enjoyed this modern part of Rome ::) as we did.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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August 30, 2018

Another time in Vannes, my Capital city!

So continuing in my lovely vacation with lots of rests and quick pinch to several places, I cannot keep away for long from our Capital city of Vannes of the Morbihan Breton in Brittany of course. Degemer Mad ! Welcome Bienvenue to all. Less text and more pictures lol!

We had some errands to do and needed to go city center/downtown Pluvigner to find out the frames store (créacadres) was closed for holidays lol!! It figures. We drop off some old techno in our local Super U hypermarket for recycling purposes and set out for Vannes. Tomorrow is home heavier stuff out to the rubbish/garbage dump and continue painting our basement/sous sol! I admit to have a strange feeling walking these streets without my Martine, memories are hard to erase and it feels sad.

In Vannes, we did a quick stop to Micromania at the Carrefour shopping center to get the latest gadgets in video games for the boys, and then hop over to FNAC for some reading and tech reviews before well we were hungry.

That is my suggestion , and we went to a place been a couple times with colleagues from work , this time came with my boys to Le Tarmac in rue Ferdinand le Dressay on the other side of the Canal in the pleasure marina that takes out to the Gulf of Morbihan and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean!

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They have a Facebook page as many businesses now have: https://www.facebook.com/tarmacvannes/

They have a terrace right on the sidewalk facing the canals, and then a streel level room and a very cozy first level or 2nd floor. The service is friendly and prompt, the prices very reasonable and the food is good. We had tapas dish of accras (codfish cake), with breaded shrimp ,crackers tortilla Mexican style with guacamole sauce for 8,50€ and hot dogs with fries for the boys, all with a bottle of Vigne Antique côte de Provence rosé 2016 wine all came about for 15€ per person.

Vannes

We had all day to do and why not do some walks in wonderful medieval Vannes all kept original no wars did anything to it. It is lovely to walk here. Of course, we come by car so easy , we park on free parking past the Place Gambetta up the rue Ferdinand le Dressay and you will see the parking lot on your right passing the Harbormaster house.

Vannes vannes

vannes

We then take off on foot all over the city, it is easy to walk and very pleasant things to see. As I have written so much on it will not go into details here, just type in search Vannes and see all the posts going back to 2011 here in my blog.

First, the canal on the pleasure boat marina is awesome, it says can hold up to 3000 boats and goes all the way to the Gulf of Morbihan which is Unesco listed(and holds about 12 islands). You have the tourist office and underground parking here too as well as restaurants all around it on both sides. Like the one we went above.

vannes

Walking past the wonderful Porte de Saint Vincent , a gate to old town along Rue Saint Vincent, a Saint from Valencia Spain who came here around 1400’s and his body rest in peace at the Cathedral of St Peter at Place Saint Pierre.  The street is full of shops even a Casino supermarket!

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This street takes you on the left to the Place du Poids Public and further into the Place des Lices, two lively architecturally nice squares in old town Vannes.  We do a lot of our shopping here, and the Saturday morning market is awesome. Just around the Place du Poids Public you have the rue de la Poissonnerie that leads you into the Halles aux Poissons or fish market.

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Right in the corner of the two squares Poids Public and Lices you have the 17C Hôtel Francheville or Mynier recently completely renovated done in tufa style stone as the original. Up into the old town you have wonderful architecture, and the passing of the Cathedral St Peter as well as the fine arts museum La Cohue by place St Pierre and also a back entrance on lovely rue des Halles.

vannes Vannes

This rue des Halles is wonderful plenty of stores and restos from buildings as far back as the 14C! By here you will find the archeological museum of Vannes house in the Chateau Gaillard and its magnificent tower at rue Noé.

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You come into Place Valencia,name in honor of the before mention Saint born there, and also lived while in Vannes in the upper level of what is today the library La Procure.  There is a statue of the Saint in the wall. Here there is also the famous statues of the two women right on the wall of the restaurant Villa Valencia.

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You can side step into the place Henri IV just before the place St Pierre where the Cathedral Saint Peter is located, here is wooden houses going back to the 14C and after, loaded with quaint stores and one great chocolatier de France ….Coming up to this latest square you have the rue Saint Salomon, another wonderful medieval street full of shops. Right next to the Cathedral there is rue des Chanoines with more wooden houses taking you to the ramparts of Vannes!

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vannes

Ok so this was just an afternoon walk, there is a whole lot more here and my previous posts will show you. One really nice find we did moving here, and we love it! You too if you take the time to come and into history, architecture, and good French/Breton foods.

I will put the city and tourist office webpages here for ease of findings things as they are probably in all my other posts as well.

The city of Vannes in English, for tourist type info I have in History and Heritage. http://en.mairie-vannes.fr/discoveringvannes/history-and-heritage/

The tourist office of Brittany on Vannes: http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/unmissable-sites/vannes

The department Morbihan on Vannes in English: http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/the-main-destinations/vannes

Hope it helps you come and enjoy this jewel of Brittany and France as much as we do. And ,remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

August 30, 2018

Trevi Fountain in Rome!

Upon my business trips to Rome for some time, the time was tight, but did manage to get to some monuments; one of the famous ones always saw it on films was the Trevi Fountain. Once got to know Rome a bit; came with the family on a flight from CDG to Fiumicino airport, got to our apartment in Nomentano , got a bus 62 (best deal and see more above ground) and went to see it first thing!

 

It is very very touristic spot, sometimes overwhelming but you need to be there either early in the morning or at lunch time when everyone else does it. And still there will be folks there. However, at least for the first time,is a must to see in Rome. We came back several times by it in our two weeks in Rome. My boys finally convince me to take them ,and they all like it; my dear late wife Martine loves the sweets especially there!

I have written pieces of it in my other posts on Rome, however, it deserves a post on its own, therefore, here it is. Enjoy it la Dolce Vita.

The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is the largest and one of the most famous fountains in Rome. Built between 1732 and 1762, it is located in the Trevi Rione, in Piazza di Trevi, and is attach to the Poli Palace. The Trevi Fountain is an example of the perpetuation of the Baroque style in the 18C Rome, by its mixture of  monumental effects.

A bit of history I like

This monument was conceived at the request of Pope Clement XII who organizes in 1730 a contest to celebrate, with a fountain, the aqueduct of the Aqua Virgo built in 19BC.   Carried out on Piazza di Trevi, at the time three ways converge towards this square, hence the name of Trevi. The fountain is done in 1762, and inaugurated on 22 May 1762 . The Trevi Fountain wa the subject of a restoration in 1998 in order to modernize its hydraulic system. In 2014,came another restauration without the need to completely mask the monument to the public. However, the fountain was empty and visitors cannot easily see or approach the fountain. It is reopened to the public on November 3, 2015.

Architectural description

The composition of this monumental ensemble is dominated in the lower part by a rocky travertine cliff carved also from animals and plants, in the midst of various streams of water. In the center, a large niche framed with columns, with a coffered ceiling, houses the god of the ocean, Neptune, who drives a tank shaped like a shell drawn by two winged sea horses one of the horses is peaceful while the other seems agitated, in order to symbolize the two aspects that can be offered to us by the sea, themselves preceded by Tritons. The large central niche is framed by two smaller side niches occupied by two marble sculptures; on the right, the statue of safety and left that of prosperity, alluding to the effects of pure water. These two round-tops are themselves surmounted by two panels in bas-relief representing on the left, the general and politician Roman Agrippa commanding the construction of the aqueduct of the Aqua Virgo that feeds the fountain and right, the girl who discovered the source feeding the fountain.

Rome

The four large Corinthian columns support enrichment and an attic adorned with a panel on which is engraved the great inaugural inscription and which is adorned four small allegorical statues; from left to right, the abundance of fruits, the fertility of the fields, Autumn richness   and landscaping. The ensemble is crowned by a balustrade and by the arms of Pope Clement XII held by two cherubs. The Trevi fountain is water-powered by the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, built in 19BC. This 20-km long canal fed water throughout the Middle Ages, the area of the champ de Mars field; A part is visible in the underground archaeological area.

Rome

It was customary to throw a coin by the right arm by turning its back to the fountain before leaving “the Eternal City”, a superstition associated with the fountain being that whoever makes this gesture is guaranteed to return to the Italian capital in order to retrieve the coin. After some less good folks this practice is forbidden, and the coins of the fountain is now collected by the authorities and donated to the Catholic Caritas charitable association. Every morning, before the arrival of tourists, the circulation of water is cut. The fountain is cleaned with a brush and the coins are assembled in a long snake line, using long poles, and removed by suction, under police supervision.

Rome

The Cinema in the Trevi fountain, and one reason I came looking for it. My favorite films are: In The Fountain of Love (1954) by Jean Negulesco, three young Americans make the vow to find Prince charming by throwing each coin in the fountain. The La Dolce Vita (1960), Federico Fellini shows Anita Ekberg taking her bath in the fountain in evening dress, under the eyes of Marcello Mastroianni (superb). In 1995, on the death of Marcello Mastroianni, the city of Rome veiled the statues in black. Other famous by Federico Fellini is Roman Holiday.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must are

Site dedicated wholly to the Trevi Fountain

Tourist office of Rome on the Trevi Fountain

Region of Lazio tourism on the Trevi Fountain

There you go, all set, go. It is a must in Rome and a wonder always to look at it, love is in the air, and it is good for the soul. Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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