Thursday, June 05, 2014

Central Europe last part; 5 Days Solo Wandering in Italy

23-days Autumn Experience on my 1st Schengen Visa Escapade
October 28 to November 02, 2013 

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." - Dante Alighieri

My 26th country to visit, 25th solo backpacking trip, 5th visa application for tourism on entire single page, and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure.

Italy is acknowledged as the birthplace of Western culture. Not surprisingly, it is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country. It is also famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, its trendy fashions, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its many beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains (the Alps and Apennines). No wonder it is often nicknamed Il Bel Paese (The Beautiful Country). Two independent mini-states are surrounded entirely by Italy: San Marino and Vatican City. While technically not part of the European Union, both of these states are also part of the Schengen Region and the European Monetary Union, (EMU).

miniature famous landmarks of Italy

gondola's of Venice

masks of Venice

This another race against time, very short backpacking researched in somehow detailed manner has a compressed itinerary designed as follows: 

October 28 Monday:
Venice City day-tour

October 29 Tuesday:
Milan City day-tour

October 30 Wednesday:
Florence City day-tour

October 31 Thursday:
Pisa day-tour

November 01 Friday:
Rome day-tour

November 02 Saturday:
Vatican City day-tour
1300H ETD Rome

Basic Words to Remember;
hello - ciao;   thank you - Grazie;   I love you - ti amo;   goodbye - arrivederci!
yes/no - si/no;   sorry - Mi dispiace;   please -   Per favore;   excuse me - Mi scusi!
toilet - toilette;   train station - stazione ferroviaria;   airport - scalo

timezone - +0100H UTC;   capital - Rome;   language - Italian
currency - Euro 1EUR = 56 PHP = 1.3 USD
visa - Filipino's need to apply 1st before travel 
how to apply tourist visa in Italy ? (Schengen visa applied in France Embassy)

architectural showcase in Milan

Dante in Florence

Pitti palace of Florence

Interesting Facts about Italy: 
1.The name "Italy" comes from Greek "italos", which means calf. It was originally given to the region of Calabria by Greek settlers in the 8th century BCE, and was extended to the whole peninsula under Roman emperor Augustus. 
2. Italy now has one of the lowest birthrate and fertility rate in the world.
3. Two of Europe's smallest countries, San Marino and the Vatican, are enclaved within Italy. 
4. Europe's only three active volcanoes, the Etna, the Stromboli and the Vesuvius, are all in the South of Italy. Mount Etna also happens to be the world's most active volcano.
5. The Colosseum in Rome is the largest ancient building dedicated to entertainment.
6. St Peter's Basilica in Rome is the largest Christian edifice in the world. Its construction took 120 years (1506-1626).
7. There is evidence that some sort of pasta and pizza were already eaten in Ancient Rome. The world’s first true pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, opened in Naples in 1830. Each Italian consumes in average 25kg of pasta each year.
8. Many of the world's most famous artists were Italian, with such names as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael, among many others.
9. Italy has more famous fashion designers than any other country, including Gucci, Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gianfranco Ferré, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Valentino, Trussardi, Benetton... 
10. Many of the world's most prestigious sports cars are Italian, such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bugatti or De Tomaso.
11. In Italy divorced fathers must provide child support for their adult children still living with their mothers, even if they are over 30 years old. Considering that half of adult children in Italy still live with their parents, that may explained why the Italian divorce rate ranks among the lowest in Europe. 

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Rome Coliseum at night

Vatican City at night

Venice Train Station arrival at night (coming from Salzburg, Austria);
Overnight train travel from Salzburg to Venice was not that relaxing with no hassle and minor interruption, direct train ride. No hassle means absolutely no immigration security check anywhere and minor interruption means the train had 30 minutes delayed BUT arrive exactly on time. 


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