There is nothing new orÂ extraordinaryÂ about water in the streets of Venice – well just as long as it flows in the channels andÂ doesn’t flood the streets and squares. Venice has been fighting high water for years, because of the rising sea level and theÂ subsidenceÂ of the sandy grounds, threatening the city to sink into the sea. A barrier to protect the city from repeated winterÂ flooding, which has been planned for decades, is due to be finished by 2015.
No matter how often you visit Rome, the Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is always on the agenda. Maybe it’s because of the legend and tradition that if you throw a coin in to the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to the eternal city. Regardless if this is true or not, the Trevi Fountain has something magical about it and is one of these places that change depending on mood and day and also the amount of visiters at any one time.
The shape of the Trevi Fountain is not round, as the typical fountains in the different piazzas usually are. Additionally the Trevi Fountain is a true masterpiece and can be included to the most amazing and beautiful ones around the world. This is way millions of tourist visit Rome every year and undoubtedly the Trevi Fountain is one of the most photographed fountain in Rome.
The area surrounding the Trevi Fountain is always filled with people, not only because of the fountain itself, but also because this area is particularly beautiful, filled with cafÃ©s and shops. There is undescrible feel of energy here – the sound of the rippling water and the murmur of all the people. The sculptures on the fountain are really detailed and beautiful, especially because they are in the back of the fountain and built upon the antique Palazzo Poli. This makes this area seem bigger and more magnificent.
The name Fontana di Trevi derives from the latin word “trivium”, which means “the crossing of 3 streets”. In fact the Trevi Fountain can be found on a Piazza, where 3 streets meet: Via De’Crocicci, Via Poli and Via Delle Muratte.
The constuction of the Trevi Fountain took around 30 years and was completed in 1762. It is by far the biggest fountain in Rome with a width of 20 meters and a height of 26 meters. At night this fantastic baroque fountain gets special lighting which emphasizes its beauty even more. The Fontana di Trevi has been featured in the films “Three Coins in the Fountain” from 1954 and the award-winning Federico Fellini Film “La Dolce Vita” from 1960.
It is estimated that the amount of coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain lie in the region of â‚¬3.000 to â‚¬12.000 per day. I would love to believe the story, in whichÂ the coins of the Â fountain are collected each night and are donated to charity. But there are stories circulating in the italien press, whereby thieves steal the coins and the police simply look on!
The Fontana di Trevi is located in the middle of the historic old town of Rome, directly next to the Spanish Steps. By foot the Trevi Fountain is easily accessable from most attractions in Rome. This impressive attraction is definitely worth a visit, when in Rome and shouldn’t be missed!
The leaning tower of Pisa impresses with its history, the myths that surround it, its architecture and its appeal. The leaning tower of Pisa also plays an important role as an economic factor for not only the city of Pisa but the whole of Tuscany.
The leaning tower of Pisa as we see it today on the “Piazza dei Miracoli” was only built this way by coincidence. According to the original plans, the tower of Pisa was meant to be a unique Monument: At a hight of 100m, the tower was supposed to be a freestanding bell tower, called Campanile in italian, and was supposed to tower over all other bell towers in Central Italy.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Leaning Tower of Pisa took place in August 1173. Â The construction start date has been carved into the tower near the entrance to the tower of Pisa. However rather than August 1173 you will find the date August 1174 carved, because back then the new year began in March for the Pisans.
After just ten years and the first three floors completed the building works were discontinued. The substrate gave way on one side and the tower began to lean towards the southeast. Today we know that the Campanile was built on the edge of a former island. There probably was a harbour here in ancient times, which had already silted up long before the contruction work on the Tower of Pisa had started in the Middle Ages.
Almost 90 years later contruction on the tower of Pisa resumed. An attempt to compensate for the inclination, four more floors were constructed in 1272 with thin walls and sloping floors on the overhanging side. The construction stopped again until 1372 when the 7th and last floor of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was completed. That same year, the bell was finally installed with its 7 bells. However it was built in the opposing angle to the tower, so that the ascent to the belfry has 6 steps on the south side but only 4 steps on the north side.
From “failed” structure to a World Culture Heritage
This unique architectural history is the reason behind the world fame of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The misalignment also contributed to other legends that surround the tower. It is said that Galileo Galilei was inspired by the inclination to discover the laws of gravity and to verify it from the tower.
Since its completion there had been fears of the tower collapsing. In the Middle Ages, therefore, no one dared to ring the bells but still the leaning tower of Pisa always attracted visitors from all over the world. In 1987, the sloping structure and the and the “Piazza dei Miracoli” were awarded a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Unfortunately the Campanile had to be closed in 1990 for a duration of 11 years for renovations and rescue work. The site has been reopened again in 2001.
Every year thousands of tourists flock to the “Piazza dai Miracoli”. The total height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is 55meters from the ground and it weighs around 14,5 tons. A spiral-shaped staircase about 1 meter wide leads to the belfry at the top of the tower and you will have to climb 296 steps to reach it. Each floor has an exit to the colonnade, each of which consists of 30 columns. Once you reach the top you get a wonderful view of the plain of Arno on the one side and on the other side you can see till the Parco die San Rossore. Entry to the tower will cost you â‚¬15.
The “Piazza dei Miracoli” with the cathedral and the leaning tower, however are not the only attractions in Pisa. For just â‚¬9 you can rent a bike and explore the whole city of Pisa. As Pisa was one of the 4 great maritime republics in the middle ages and it still retains a good selection of monuments from that era. The Arno River and the museums are well worth a visit. Thanks to all the green surrounding this region it’s a good city for strolling, relaxing and enjoying at a leisurely pace.
The history of the street fountains in Rome is as old as that of the world. They are called Nasoni and you will find over 2,500 dotted around the city, with the first one ever being installed in 1874. Nasoni translated means â€œbig noseâ€ and each one is marked with the traditional Roman S.P.Q.R which stands for Senatus Populus Que Romanus (“the Senate and the People of Rome”). S.P.Q.R. is the Nasoni near trevi fountain and appears almost everywhere throughout the city (coat arms, manhole covers, civic buildings, etc.) . The nasoni are round and stout, made of cast iron, and stand about 3 feet tall and produce chilled, fresh water.
There are more of these Nasoni near trevi fountain than in any other city worldwide. But for a first time visitor to Rome, you will more than likely just walk past them without realising they exist. Contrary to many, the nasoni do provide you with clean, great tasting ice cold drinking water â€“ in fact it is the same water you get in the roman households. The water for the nasoni comes from a huge reservoir in Peschiera, which runs through channels approximately 70 miles long before emerging from the spout of a street fountain.
Of course you can buy bottled water for â‚¬2 if you feel safer, or you could just keep filling one bottle up FOR FREE … itâ€™s your choice!
Initially, only 20 street fountain were installed in the city and you will find some of these originals in the historic Trastevere neighborhood. As Rome expanded throughout the 20th century, more Nasoniâ€™s were placed in the newer districts, especially around outdoor markets, piazzas and squares. You will find around 280 Nasonis within the city walls. Even after 130 years since they first appeared, these fontanelles are still very much a part of the daily life in Rome.
Concerns over the high consumption of drinking water (as the fountains run continuously) have led to some taps being installed on a trial basis some years ago. Unfortunately they were victims of vandalism, which resulted in them being made redundant. However, the flow of water has another 2 useful purposes, which may not be so obvious at first, rather than uselessly seep into the ground:
- Â it keeps the water circulated and so prevents the formation of foul odorsÂ that occure from stagnant water and
- it serves the urban fauna (dogs, cats, birds) as an important source of drinking water. Any additional unused water is then reused for the irrigation of the green areas.
The Piazza San Marco, Rialtobridge and the Bridge of Sighs, black Gondolas, colourful carnival masks, Murano glass. No one who arrives in the city, sees these wonders for the first time. Too often has it been talked about and represented in film, music and photography, so that it has been incorporated in our collective consciousness.
This pretty little town, built on stilts, still has houses that were built in a different epoch and it truly does feel like you are taken aback into a different era. However, it is sufficient to walk through the maze of streets, squares and backyards for 1 or two hours to suspect that Venice is an architecturally beautiful, so close and rich and stocked with treasures to explore like no other city in the world.
The miracle of Venice started around 500ad, when the inhabitants of the mainland, the veneti, fleed from the Huns and Lombards into the lagoon. They started combining dozens of small islands together through bridges and rammed millions of wooden poles into the muddy ground and so created the 7,5kmÂ² area as we know it today. All in all there are about 3,000 streets, 100 squares around 150 canals and over 400 bridges.
The most famous bridge is probably the bridge of sighs, because this bridge connected the prison and the building where more often than not an inmate was executed. Every prisoner who walked over this bridge knew this and sighed deeply. It is claimed the sigh was so loud that you could hear it through the streets.
Surrounding the 6 districts (Sestieri), the historic centre (Centro Storico) there are dozens of little islands, some of which still serve a social purpose – the cemetery island of San Michele for example, or the vegetable islands Sant’Erasmo and Le Vignole. Not to forget the glass-blowing island of Murano, the ancient diocesan town of Torcello, in between Burano, the refuge of the lace makers, and on the southern horizon, the Lido, a narrow strip of sand between the lagoon and the open sea.
The view from the church tower is what gives a new visitor to Venice the picture of the uniqueness of the cityâ€™s location. From the Campanile of the Benedictine monastery San Giorgio Maggiore for example, the outline of the city are good to make out. I little further East the green of the Giardini Pubblici, the City Park, illuminates and the adjacent exhibition area of the Biennale. The concrete blocks that are the car park garages and the train station jut out in the west, over the shingle roof sea and in the distant still the vents of the industrial zones of Marghera and Mestre can be seen.
Within reach, however, is the large, mirrored “S” of the Canal Grande. A small bit to the east from the end of the Canal lies the heart and former political center of power of Venice – the Doge’s Palace and the Piazza di San Marco and its Basilica. On the square in front is the winged Lion of St. Mark, which is a symbol of the “raids” of the city, as this statue was brought back hundreds of years ago after a raid in other countries and is the pride and joy of Venice.
Every step you take, you will feel as if you are being transported back in time. Venice is rich in history and the city has done a good job in preserving this. As any tourist-y area anywhere in the world, beware of the tourist traps and being mercilessly ripped off! The best examples are probably the prices for Ice cream, Coffee or even just a bottle of water. If youâ€™re gonna buy either at Piazza di San Marco, expect to pay three times the regular amount (which is still expensive!). Have a little wander into the side streets where you will fine more quaint and beautiful little cafÃ©s that sell drinks and food at more affordable prices. After all a glass of water is a glass of water â€“ regardless of how much it cost.
Enjoy the beautiful city of love and experience everything it has to offer!