Italy in ’09, Greg’s International Program

Greg found a international business program in Paderno del Grappa, Italy that he really wanted to attend.  While I’ve always encouraged Greg and Julie to explore the world, it was still a financial decision that we had to grapple with.  In the end, we pulled things together to send him to the program.  I will say, I think Greg gained a lot from the international exposure beyond the pub crawls and good times he had with the friends he made in Italy.  In the end, Clare, Julie and I went over to retrieve him at the end of the program and enjoyed a two week trip in northern Italy.  We stayed in a very comfortable hotel in the small town to visit the area for a couple of days.

The scenery was magnificent and our trip was off to a great start.

Our first stop on our tour was Marostica.  A nicely preserved old town with old battlements.  Marostica is famous for it’s human chess game that is played every two years.

Then we took a trip to Asolo.  Greg had certainly learned a lot about the area and where to visit.  He became our go to tour guide in traversing Italy.

There was always time to find a vineyard and do a tasting before going to another site.

I’d forgotten where this was but thanks to the Web and Wikipedia, I was able to find out a lot about the Tempio Canoviano or Temple of Canova.  It is a Roman Catholic parish church built in a severe Neoclassical style, based on the designs of Antonio Canova located on a hilltop in Possagno in the Province of Treviso.  Construction began in 1819, and was completed in 1830. The temple was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and was completed after Canova’s death in 1822 with modifications by Pietro Bosio and Giovanni Zardo along with Giannantonio Selva and Luigi Rossini. The architect was Giuseppe Segusini.  I think it’s an absolutely stunning architectural structure.

Then on to Venice.  I can see why people would fall in love with Venice.  It’s jaw dropping enchanting and beautiful.  If I ever have the chance to go back to Venice, I’m there!

While in Venice, you have to go on a gondola ride, it’s mandatory.

Stopping in for a libation after the gondola was a must.

I want that yacht.

Take a trip over to Murano to see them making the famous Murano glass.  Imagine the bus stop that you go to in Venice.

Back in Venice.  St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica located in the Piazza San Marco.  The views are spectacular but the bells when they ring can be deafening.

While in Venice, you can’t get over the wonderful scenery.

Verona was on the tour so we had to visit the Romeo and Juliet house, actually it was Juliet home.

And yes, Verona has a Roman Arena.  The city also has marble side walks and some roads which are very slick when they get wet.

Stop by Basono del Grappa and try some grappa.  Grappa is made by distilling the leftover skins, pulp, seeds, and stems and its alcohol content can be as high as 60%.  Italy originated grappa.  Legend has it that grappa originate at Basono del Grappa by a Roman soldier.

Florence came next on our whirlwind tour.  I tried capturing Florence through iron work and windows.

But there is far too much to see of Florence then through gaps in iron work and windows.   There are the statues for instance, mostly real but some fake.  Can you find the fake.

You can’t miss the Duomo, formally the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.   It truly is a wondrous work of architecture built in the Gothic style.  The Duomo cathedral has a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto.

Other scenes around the Florence were often spectacular.

If you get lucky, there will be some type of celebration.  While we were there, they had a fireworks display one evening and a parade.

We did have a chance to take a bus over to Siena, one of Florence’s rivals.  The two cities fought for years and Siena was defeated by Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown in 1555 during the Italian War of 1551-59.  According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus. Supposedly after their father’s murder by Romulus, they fled Rome, taking the statue of the she-wolf suckling the infants, which became the symbol Siena.

The Siena Cathedral is a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture.   Begun in the 12th century, it’s main facade was finished in 1380.  The distinctive white and black stripes in the cathedral may have come from Senius and Aschius who rode white and black horses, giving rise to the Balzana, or coat of arms of Siena with a white band atop a dark band.  I don’t know that for a fact but was doing some research and learned about the coat of arms.

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