Archive for May 8th, 2021

May 8, 2021

Piazza Venezia in Rome!

And working up these older posts in my blog I bring you to eternal Rome! I brought the family here and we had a good time and many memorable moments. One of these was the walking and seeing these wonderful squares such as this one the Piazza Venezia of Rome! Hope you enjoy it as I.

And why not come back to eternal Rome! Italy calls and the squares are it for us. There are many nice things but we have been there and done that. However, the walks in the square full of its history and architecture in addition to the shopping and foodie around or in them is sublime.  I like to tell you about another nice square of Rome, the Piazza Venezia!

Piazza Venezia is a square of Rome, lying below the Capitole and its square. It is dominated by the monument to king Vittorio Emmanuel II.   Various buildings bordering it such as the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali and the Palazzo Venezia.


From 1902 to 1904 the first construction work of the main headquarters of the insurance Assicurazioni Generali, Piazza Venezia in Rome. It was used a symmetry effect, copying the shape and dimensions of the old Palazzo Venezia or Palazzo Barbo. The majestic façade is a long, three-story neo-Renaissance building with a dungeon or corner tower in the southwest. The ground floor is made up of large arcades. The main entrance is surmounted by a balcony of honor and an ancient cartridge of Renaissance period representing the Lion of St. Mark from an ancient bastion of the city of Padua. The project was reworked and resumed from 1906 to 1911.


The Palace of Venice (Palazzo Venezia) was built from 1455 to 1467. It is not at all a typical square of Rome, but rather one of the traffic nodes of the center of Rome, which serves as semi roundabout and from where three main avenues leave: Via dei Fori Imperiali, via del Corso and Via del Teatro di Marcello. It is next to the Capitole, departing from Imperial Avenue (Fori Imperiali), that is the square or pîazza of Venice, a vast space which took its present form at the end of the 19C. The square is surrounded by the Palazzo Venezia which houses an important museum, the Church of St. Mark, the Bonaparte palace, the Palace of the Generals, and is dominated by the imposing white mass of the Vittoriano, the Monument to king Vittorio Emanuele II.  The current aspect of the square is mainly due to the demolition and reconstruction interventions carried out between the late 19C and early 20C after the construction of the Vittoriano, the colossal monument to king Victor Manuel II (Vittorio Emanuelle II), often identified with the Altar of the Fatherland, which is its central part, in which later in 1921 ,the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was done.


On the west side of the square is the Palazzo Venezia, which was initially pontifical headquarters: Pope Julius II was attending from the balcony of the palace to the race of the Berber horses, which until 1883 was disputed along the Via del Corso and ended near the square , in the now gone Via della Ripresa dei barberi.   Subsequently, from 1564 to 1797, it hosted the Venetian representation in the pontifical States.  When the Vienna Congress assigned the Habsburgs the territories of the Republic of Venice, the palace followed the same fate and served as the Embassy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1914, when it was confiscated by the Italian State. In 1929 Benito Mussolini chose it as the seat of the government and from the balcony he pronounced his speeches to the fascist masses. For this reason, the square, which in those years was considered the center of the city, was proclaimed forum D’Italia.


In addition to the Palazzo Venezia, the original configuration of the square has been preserved on the north side, where the Palazzo Bonaparte is located, where lived from 1818 until her death Maria Leticia Ramolino, mother of Napoleon. Behind the covered balcony ,called Mignano, that still can be seen today in the corner with Via del Corso, the Lady who made a very retired life spent the days observing the life of the square, which was then much smaller . When at a very advanced age she lost her sight she did not renounce her hobby, and made her housekeeper tell her the life of the square.

Piazza Venezia can be reached from Rome’s Colosseo Metro station. Of course , we were in Rome away in Nomentano district and came first by bus and then lots of walking.

The Rome tourist office on the Piazza Venezia

The official Palace Venezia museum on its history:

A lovely square with huge architecturally stunning buildings all around you and plenty to shop and eat to enjoy further your stays in Rome! The Piazza Venezia is nice indeed and worth the detour.

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

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May 8, 2021

Some news from Spain CIII

And how about the latest tidbits of my beloved Spain; my choices of course. There are plenty more and getting the smell of Summer and travel again looks great. Hope you are all doing well from this pandemic and be able to travel again. Now let me tell you about the latest some news from Spain!!

The autonomous communities of Spain have been publishing this week the measures that will remain in force in their territories to limit the expansion of the coronavirus as of this May 9. This is what is known to this day. In the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, the Valencian Community or Navarra, the curfew will be maintained, although most regions limit themselves to applying restrictions to the hours of the hotel business, their capacity or the number of diners per table. The macro closures also will  disappear, so it will be possible to travel between the territories. However, the islands will maintain access controls, and many communities will impose perimeters to the localities with the highest incidence of the virus. Only some such as Castilla-La Mancha or the Valencian Community will ask to keep it. Also the Balearic Islands, which also intends to continue with the restriction on mobility until May 23. The Community of Madrid has announced that there will be no curfew once the state of alarm subsides next Sunday. In this way, Madrilenians regain the fundamental right to circulate at night.

The Fiesta de los Patios de Córdoba, a century among flowers. In the streets of the Alcázar Viejo neighborhood, in Córdoba, a tense calm erupts inside their houses. In the patios, the explosion of color of the geraniums and gypsies that hang from the pots anchored on their walls mixes with the bustle of their owners, who clean leaves, move pots or whitewash walls in the final stretch for the Festival de los Patios of Córdoba, which, after breaking with the uncertainty of the pandemic, will be held until May 16.

There is an association already for this the Asociacion de  Amigos de los Patios Cordobeses or the association of the friends of the Cordobese patios. Webpage:

The illusion of the participants in the contest remains intact ; however; the owners of the 50 courtyards that compete are all year round looking after their plants, although when spring approaches they increase their cello. If we are guided by the awards, in addition to the streets of the Alcázar Viejo, on the route we must mark the streets of the Marroquíes, Tinte, Parras or Chaparro. The patios de San Basilio offers guided tours of the various patios of the Alcàzar Viejo;webpage:

 I will suggest possible trips one hour from Madrid, my recommendations of course, and written on many in my blog. The monastery of El Escorial, history in a big way; Chinchón aniseed, bullfighting, comedies and a unique plaza; Colmenar de Oreja: the quarries of Madrid; Aranjuez: gardens for royal relaxation; Pelayos de la Presa: blue flag on the beach of Madrid between the towns of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, El Tiemblo, Cebreros and Pelayos de la Presa; Manzanares El Real , the castle: where the Mendoza reigned; Buitrago de Lozoya: a castle and a lot of Picasso; Patones de Arriba: the town that had a king chronicles said that the king of Patones, head of a picturesque hereditary monarchy, survived independently of the king of Spain in this town of difficult access until 1750. He even exchanged letters with the kings, until Carlos III decided to end this pseudo rural dynasty by refusing to pay taxes. ; Alcalá de Henares: the first university in Madrid and The best gin, with water from Guadarrama, is made in Los Molinos Monti London Gin is not distilled in the English countryside, but in the urban center of Los Molinos, one of the best-known towns from the Sierra de Guadarrama. Enjoy the tour folks.

Moving right along on more suggestions to really enjoy the Comunidad de Madrid and around the capital city of Madrid. In the Lozoya valley, at the foot of the highest mountain in the Sierra de Guadarrama (Peñalara, 2,428 meters), the thermometer never goes up very much. For something the capital of the valley is called Rascafría. The trick to not being cold here in winter  is simple: don’t stop all day. Rascafría is easily reached without going up or down any port on the A-1 motorway, turning off at kilometer 69 on the M-604 to go up the Lozoya valley, so green that it does not seem north of Madrid, but that of Spain. By going through the M-604 road to the port of Cotos, where Rascafría adjoins La Granja de Segovia! You can stop by the main monument of Rascafría, the monastery of Santa María de El Paular, founded in 1390, which has always been a magnet for tourists but more since in 2011 it recovered the 54 large canvases by Vicente Carducho that decorate its Gothic cloister. The visit can be guided by a monk or on its own, but always with prior reservation. Also, the Puente del Pérdon or bridge of forgiveness. In the Middle Ages, those condemned to death in this valley could request, when crossing the river on the way to the gallows, that a court of the highest instance review their case and obtain a pardon. Or not. And a little further on, the ruins of the Batanes mill, where the paper for the first edition of Don Quijote was made! Another wonderful tour of the Comunidad de Madrid!

My Madrid is full of places capable of falling in love that many I have walked, I am not a fan of tours but these by Civitatis are interesting for the visitor and are free, they are located in the Plaza de la Paja, in the area known as Madrid de los Austrias, a dynasty known, among other things, for the intense sentimental life of its members, to such an extent as to have a route for themselves. It is about Los amoríos de los Austrias. The jealousy, intrigues and betrayals that marked the reign of monarchs of the stature of Carlos I or Felipe III mark this walk through the Villa and Court, where special emphasis will be placed, how could it be otherwise, on Felipe IV, known for that addiction to sex that gave rise, according to legend, to more than 45 illegitimate children, although 29 are officially recognized. The free tour begins in the Plaza de Oriente, at the foot of the equestrian statue of someone who was also known as the Planet King. From there you walk through the streets of Requena and Almudena and go to the Royal Palace, where the old Alcázar was, residence of the Habsburgs and behind whose walls Felipe II lived a passionate romance with the lady Isabel de Osorio. After an hour and a half of travel, the route will end in front of the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales or like Monastery of the Royal Barefoot, where many bastard daughters of the Habsburgs lived.

The Madrid de los Borbones (Bourbons) route departs from the heart of the city, the Puerta del Sol, with Carlos III as the first protagonist, the tour of the Congress of Deputies, Cibeles, the Prado or the Puerta de Alcalá will not be an obstacle to dealing with the married life of a Royal House that has also been marked by the shadow of adultery, highlighting the sexual life of Isabel II, which came to be satirized by the Bécquer brothers themselves. Although it is not the only one: there is still doubt about the paternity of the 14 children of Carlos IV’s wife, María Luisa de Parma (did someone say Manuel Godoy?) And the saying that the Carlists dedicated to the fourth wife of Fernando VII, María Cristina de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, after his death; married in secret and pregnant in public! Intriguing histories of my Madrid, enjoy them if you can.

The exhibition ‘‘Pasiones mitológicas’  or Mythological Passions brings together works by Tiziano, Veronese, Allori, Rubens, Ribera, Poussin, Van Dyck and Velázquez in the Prado Museum. In room C of the Jéronimos Building until July 2 2021. More info here:

According to ACI data global passenger traffic during 2020 fell by almost 65%, according to this report, while that of the ten busiest airports in the world fell by almost 46%  The top 10 worldwide traffic passenger airports were in order from 1 to 10. Dubai, Amsterdam ,London ,Paris, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Doha, Incheon (Seoul), Singapore, and Madrid! More info:

I love markets and Madrid has plenty , however in two of them as recently as before the pandemic I have enjoyed eating in them. There is a lot of culinary excellence in them. My treat at the Mercado de Anton Martin is  Doppelgänger  Calle Santa Isabel, 5  stand 44. Also at the Mercado de Chamberi,  Juancho’s BBQ Calle Alonso Cano, 10 ,stands 7-8. Buen provecho! 

And there you go folks a short news bulletin today but things will pick up by end of May and hopefully we will be in Spain this summer again. Hope you enjoy the post and thanks again for your loyal following since 2010.

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

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May 8, 2021

Foro della Pace in Rome!

And here taken you back to my Europe and historical Italy. I am updating this pretty post for you and me and hope you enjoy it as I. This is , I would dare say, an off the beaten path sight in the eternal Rome! Enjoy the Foro della Pace or Peace Forum of Rome!

As I told you, we go to a city by plane car or train and then we walk all over , staying above ground. In my opinion, the best way to see a city and its monuments. No different in Italy and especially Rome!

The Forum of Peace (Foro della Pace) is the third of the Imperial forums. The term peace did not have the same meaning as it may have in the 21C; it was the peace imposed by the Emperor of Rome or Pax Romana eventually imposed by the arms. Vespasian ,Imperator Cæsar Vespasianus Augustus had also built it, between 71 and 75, to commemorate his victory over the Jews of Judea.


It is a monumental ensemble of 145 meters over 85 meters, surrounded by a wall of walls on three sides and a large portico with columns on the fourth side. It was built to the east of the Nerva Forum, at the site of the former Macellum burned down in 64.

On the site of the Forum of Peace you could find,  the Temple of Peace at about 34 meters by 22 meters, which contained the treasure recovered during the capture of the second temple of Jerusalem and many other works of art. The library of the Forum of Peace (tabularium) which contained the archives of the urban Prefecture, the cadastral plans and a series of documents concerning the work of the world, notably under Vespasian and Septime Severa, as well as a very large number of the works of the doctor Galen. The famous Forma Urbis , a marble cadastral plan of Rome, new edition supplemented and updated the plan of Agrippa, executed in 73, and destroyed during the great fire of 191 or 192. There is also, a nice garden. The location of the Forum of Peace in modern Rome is located in the space between Via Cavour , corner with the Via dei Fori Imperiali and between the Colosseum, and the Monument to Vittorio Emanuelle II.


As we were walking ,it was not hard to by pass this Foro della Pace on your left side coming from the Colosseo or Coliseum. Great walk and plenty to eat ok in this area in off the beaten path restos especially on the Via Cavour side.

This wordpress blog Fori Imperiali has plenty of information on the Foro della Pace it in Italian:

Another private site Romanoimpero with lots of info on Rome and the Forum of Peace in English:

And the official Rome tourist office on the forum

Hope you enjoy the short post as much as we did visiting and hoping you do too soon. The Foro della Pace is one of those sights that even if small and little mentioned holds more in your trip highlights of Rome.

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

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May 8, 2021

Hostal Restaurant Palacios ,Toledo!

This is glorious and one reason I am enjoying updating these older posts in my blog. The memories lingered always when I speak/write about Toledo, Spain. I have spent many days here with initially family living nearby from the time I lived in Madrid. Then, coming to visit from abroad alone and then with what was to be my wife and then with the boys , like I said many memorable moments in Toledo; all told in my blog, see posts. For now let me tell you about one of those unforgetable places, the Hostal Restaurant Palacios of Toledo!!

Spain is like my home, I am Spanish citizen since birth from my grandparents of Tenerife.  I have lived in Madrid and still cousins there . I do visit Spain at least once every year since upteen times. All said and done. However, when I write I tell you about experiences and things to see eat do, but I like to bring one dear place to give it the credit it deserves in my arsenal of memories ,hoping they become yours too. My family was taken to Spain by my insistance for several years now and they became to love it too; no question every year vacation time Spain came out on top and get away from our beloved France where we have lived for the last 18 years.

The visit to Toledo is a must for all, and no different for us Spaniards to see the history of our country ,the tolerance of Toledo is awesome. While walking its narrow cobblestone streets in the center and beyond and got to the point of been hungry we stop at a restaurant that is also a hostal (inexpensive hotel) right in the tourist central! We thought would be crazy to eat there but the price was right, amazing even 7,95€ complete meal with wine/beer so we took the opportunity.  It has been our must stop each time in the city for lunch for the last several years except 2018 when my dear late wife Martine passed away from pancreatic cancer. She loved this place so much. I would tell you briefly on Hostal Restaurant Palacios in Toledo!


The magic lunch menu price has been kept from 7,50€ to 7,95€ over the years and always fully loaded with entrée, main dish, dessert, drink of juice sodas/wines/beers and coffee! It changes every time often. The food is terrific and the place very quant with very nice people we have come to know, they even remember us!!


This Small and modern Hostel-Restaurant is located in the heart of the old town of Toledo next to the Cathedral and 200 meters from the Plaza de Zocodover and the Alcázar de ToledoRestaurant Palacios is part of the facilities of the Hostal Palacios, located in Calle Alfonso X the Wise corner with Calle Navarro Ledesma. In this restaurant they have been satisfying the tastes of the most exquisite palates with their wide variety of dishes and portions and the excellent quality of their products. Enjoy homemade food and typical Toledo dishes.  In General, Toledo eats well. It Is true that not always cheap, as many stand out, but if you look a bit, you will find gems like Palacios.


Hostal Palacios (this not tried yet) offers comfortable accommodation in this impressive city. The air-conditioned rooms are decorated in a warm and rustic style and feature a plasma-screen satellite TV and views of the old town of Toledo. The hotel offers an Internet point from where you can organise your excursion to the beautiful Alcázar and other sights


The official Hostal Palacios

The Toledo tourist office on Hostal Palacios

There you go folks, I feel better now, it is worth mention good memorable places like the Hostal Restaurant Palacios, when we travel even if humble places, they are part of the thrill of traveling and family stories to last a lifetime. I know Martine would be happy to tell you about it too!  One for the memories forever my dear late wife Martine!


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

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