Archive for July 24th, 2021

July 24, 2021

Athens for the old times’ sake!!

It has been a while I was thinking of writing on this wonderful city of Athens, Greece. I was here back in 2006 and had pictures but could not find, so there is only one and will dare do a post for Athens for the old times’ sake!! Another of my life’s trails and now in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as I.

First a bit on the country of Greece. Mostly the text taken from wikipedia fyi

Greece officially the Hellenic Republic , and is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin , and the 11th longest coastline in the world; featuring many islands, of which 227 are inhabited.

Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization, being the birthplace of democracy, western philosophy, western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, theatre and the Olympic Games. Greece one of the most visited countries in Europe in the recent years.

The Greece tourist boardhttps://www.visitgreece.gr/

Now let me give some info on Athens again mostly from wikipedia as would be unfair to tell my story from so many years back.

Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years , and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11C and 7C BC. It was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, and the home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, particularly Ancient Rome.

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments, while its historical urban core features elements of continuity through its millennia of history.  The oldest known human presence in Athens is the Cave of Schist, which has been dated to between the 11C and 7C BC. Athens has been continuously inhabited for at least 5,000 years. Athens is built around a number of hills. Lycabettus is one of the tallest hills of the city proper and provides a view of the entire Attica Basin The Cephissus river, the Ilisos and the Eridanos stream are the historical rivers of Athens.

Some of the most interesting areas me think are the Omonoia Square, the oldest square in Athens. It is surrounded by hotels and fast food outlets, and contains a metro station, named Omonia station. Syntagma Square,(Constitution Square), is the capital’s central and largest square, lying adjacent to the Greek Parliament (the former Royal Palace) and the city’s most notable hotels.   At Ermou Street, an approximately one km-long (.6 mile) pedestrian road connecting Syntagma Square to Monastiraki, is a consumer paradise for both locals and tourists.

Plaka, lying just beneath the Acropolis, is famous for its plentiful neoclassical architecture, making up one of the most scenic districts of the city. It remains a prime tourist destination with tavernas, live performances and street salesmen. Nearby Monastiraki, for its part, is known for its string of small shops and markets, as well as its crowded flea market and tavernas specialising in souvlaki. Another district known for its student-crammed, stylish cafés is Theseum or Thission, lying just west of Monastiraki. Thission is home to the ancient Temple of Hephaestus, standing atop a small hill. This area also has a picturesque 11C Byzantine church, as well as a 15C Ottoman mosque. Kolonaki is the area at the base of Lycabettus hill, full of boutiques catering to well-heeled customers by day, and bars and more fashionable restaurants by night, with galleries and museums. This is often regarded as one of the more prestigious areas of the capital. Exarcheia located north of Kolonaki, often regarded as the city’s anarchist scene and as a student quarter with cafés, bars and bookshops. Exarcheia is home to the Athens Polytechnic and the National Archaeological Museum.

The Athens International Airport (ATH), locally Eleftherios Venizelos is located near the town of Spata,some 35 km (22 mi) from Athens. The airport is served by the Metro, the suburban rail, buses to Piraeus port, Athens’ City Center/downtown, Liosion and Kifisos Intercity bus stations and Elliniko metro’s line 2 southern terminal, and also taxis. I came in by Nantes, Roissy CDG and this airport and then took taxi to hotels from which I did my walks except taxi to the restaurant below.

The Athens Metropolitan Area in particular is served by some of the most modern and efficient transport infrastructure in Europe, such as the Athens International Airport, the privately run A6 (Attiki Odos) highway network and the expanded Athens Metro system.

The Athens tourist officehttps://destination.thisisathens.org/en

A useful private Athens tourist webpage: https://www.thisisathens.org/

As for the memories of my visit in about 2006 to Athens.

I stayed at the Athenateum IHG hotel with a wonderful experience of pampering and good company. Located within 3 km from the Acropolis and close to Metro stations and the business district of Athens, the Athenaeum Intercontinental features award-winning restaurants, a spa centre and a 24-hour gym. The spacious, elegant rooms include marble bathrooms and a seating area. Featuring wooden furnishings, soft colours and carpets. The restaurant located on the 10th floor, offering spectacular views of the Parthenon and the city of Athens.   The scenic Old Town of Athens, Plaka, is just 1.5 km away. Ermou shopping area is within 2 km. Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is at 23 km.

The IHG on the Athenaeum hotel: https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/fr/fr/athens/athha/hoteldetail

The official Athenaeum hotel webpage: https://athenaeumgrand.com.gr/portal/

Other than the hotel facilities ,and some quick snacks on the streets around the hotel, I remember went to a fancy resto recommended by taxi from the hotel. You’ll find Strofi in an old mid-war mansion at the foothills of the Acropolis, in the surrounding and elegant suburb of Thissio. The restois at 25 Rovertou Galli. This is the restaurant I had dinner and with view of the Acropolis with a Greek dance show and on which I received the paperweight of Alexander the Great as souvenir of the visit. I am sure many years ago but believe it was this one. Webpage: https://www.strofi.gr/en/

Athens greece medallion paperweight alexander great c2008

There you go folks, I had to have it in my blog for the old times’s sake of my travels and Athens ,Greece was one of them. Hope you enjoy it and do feel free to tell me your stories on Athens and if know the restaurant!

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

July 24, 2021

Giardino Degli Aranci and Parco Savello of Rome!

This was a nice find walking up and up streets we came to this beautiful park garden and love it, we rested here! I am updating this older post of our family visit to Rome. Hope you enjoy the post on the Giardino Degli Aranci  and Parco Savello of Rome!

Ok so this was a dandy I need to tell you more about it. 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. As we walk we came to a high point with great views of the city and a nice story. So with different names but in English, Orange Garden or Giardino Degli Aranci  and Savelo Park or Parco Savello.

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The Orange Garden is the name used in Rome to describe the Savello Park. It has a surface area of 7,800 square meters and is located on the Aventin Hill. The Park is famous for offering an excellent view of the city. The garden, as it is today, was designed in 1932. It has been designed to offer the public access to the view on the other side of the Hill, creating a new viewpoint, to be added to the viewpoints already existing in Rome, such as the Pincio and the Janiculum. We were actually in Trastevere and decided to walk towards the Tiber river crossed it a the ponte sublicio going along the river and saw these huge building above us which was actually the Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino (see post) or the Saint Sabine basilica, and right next to it is the parco Savello!

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A bit of history I like

The Orange Garden, whose name comes from the many orange trees that grow there, stretches over the area of the ancient fortress built near the Basilica of Santa Sabina by the Savelli family between 1285 and 1287. It was built on an ancient castle built by the Crescentii family in the 10C. The garden is bordered by a wall that surrounds the Castle Savelli and other remains of the castle are still visible. The castle was later given to the order of the Dominicans of Santa Sabina, which transformed it into a monastery, and the small park, in vegetable garden. According to legend, St. Dominic gave the garden his first orange tree, after transporting a graphe from Spain. The legend also tells that Catherine of Siena picked the oranges from this tree, and made candied fruits, which she gave to Pope Urbain VI.  The garden is very symmetrical, with a central avenue aligned with perspective, later named in honor of actor Nino Manfredi. The central square is named after another Roman actor, Fiorenzo Fiorentini, who for several years had led the summer theatrical season in the Savello Park.

The fountain at the entrance is composed of two separate rooms: an antique Roman bath basin, and a monumental marble mask. This mask was originally backed by a fountain built in 1593 for a cattle market (Campo Vaccino) in the center of Rome. The mask has a long history. After the dismantling, in 1816, the fountain of Campo Vaccino, it was recovered and then in 1827 used to decorate a fountain erected on the right bank of the Tiber river. This fountain was demolished in 1890, and the sculpture was kept in a municipal depot before being moved to its current location.

The Rome tourist office on the savello park/gardenhttps://www.turismoroma.it/en/places/savello-park-and-orange-garden

Indeed the views of Rome are splendid and worth the detour in your travel plans . Enjoy the oranges and the park (do not eat the oranges lol!) One of the nicest walk you can do in Rome with plenty of architecture, garden and history all around you. Ciao Roma!

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

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July 24, 2021

Church of the Trinity of the Mounts of Rome!

I like again taking advantage of these times of ours to update this older post of a wonderful family visit to Rome. This church is important for the French as well… Let me tell you a bit more on the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts of Rome! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

And now I take you back to the eternal Rome! There are so many old stone to see there with lots of history and architecture features as well. However, I like the open spaces and some special monuments such as the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts. This France in Rome! There are several but I like this one better for its location and feats of faith inside. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok, hope you enjoy it as I do.

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The Church of the Trinity of the Mounts or Trinità dei Monti (Ita) or église de la Trinité des Monts (Fr)  is one of the French national churches of Rome. It is located on the Pincio, at the top of the staircase of the trinity of the mount dominating the Spanish Steps and has a world famous façade with its two symmetrical steeples dating back to 1495. In front of this elevation stands an Egyptian obelisk.  In fact, this obelisk originates from the gardens of Sallust and contains pseudo-hieroglyphs carved by the Roman artisans, imitating the obelisk of Augustus of the Circus Maximus; it seems however that the stone block is of Egyptian origin.

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A bit of history I like

This convent ensemble was founded by king Charles VIII in 1495 for the benefit of the Minimes, in recognition of the assistance of Saint Francis of Paula who came to Plessis-Lez-Tours to try to heal his father Louis XI. He bought four hectares to build a royal convent and a Gothic-style church from 1502 to 1595.  The order of the Minimes settled there until 1828, with an interruption during the French revolution and the First Empire, before being replaced by the Nuns of the Sacred Heart. The Institute of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart in the Trinity of the Monts was one of the most prestigious girls ‘ establishments in Europe for most of the 20C, where the teaching was entirely in French, and the instruction Christian. They closed the convent, which became mixed in 2006 and were replaced by the Brotherhoods of Jerusalem until 2016.

The Church of the Trinity of the Mounts, long abandoned as a result of the collapse of part of the vault, had been reinstated and restored in 1816 thanks to Count de Blacas, the French ambassador to Italy, by artists from France. This church, like that of the ensemble dedicated to Saint Louis of the French, belongs to the pious establishments of France and Lorette. As such, the management and maintenance of this building are the responsibility of the French State.  In the old gardens of Lucullus, a reception house opened in 1975 to welcome Francophone tourists and pilgrims.  On 25 July 2016, agreements were signed in Rome between the Holy See and the French Republic in order to entrust to the Emmanuel community the management of the domain of the Trinity of the Mounts.

It is in this church, that in 1544, Felipe Neri experienced a mystical experience, that he named his “personal Pentecost” experience that led him to the priesthood and the foundation of the Congregation of the Oratory.

A bit on the interior description.

Since its construction began during the Gothic period, the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts consists of a single nave with seven chapels on each side. Visitors can only visit part of the church because at two-thirds of the nave, a grid rises to limit access to the altar and to several chapels that are reserved for worship.  The chapels are of different styles and are composed of various ornaments. We can observe frescoes and paintings made, for the majority of them, in the 16C. Some, however, are more recent and date from the 19C. Among them, we can underline the frescoes of Naldini on Saint Jean the Baptist, the famous assumption of 1541 by Daniele da Volterra, disciple of Michelangelo, in one of the first chapels, frescoes of the Florentine Perino del Vaga or The monuments Burial of the Orsini Chapel, an important Italian family. I especially recommend you to walk through the chapels and enjoy the art that abound in this church.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Church of the Trinity of the Mounts webpage: https://trinitadeimonti.net/en/homepage/

Welcome center for pilgrims to the Church: http://www.centreaccueilrome.com/eglises/la-trinite-des-monts

A webpage for French churches in Rome including this Church: https://eglisesfrancaisesarome.it/

There you go folks, hope again you enjoy it is on a beautiful area of Rome with not only the Piazza di Spagna but the Villa Medici and great views over Rome. A place to visit and a bit of France in Italy!, which was unique for us to see.

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

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