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italy

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Sunday July 18th
Via a scenic route we went to Bologna: the city of terra brick. Because it was Sunday it was really quiet. On the Piazza Maggiore you can find the Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d'Accursio, La Fontana del Nettuno, and the Basilica di San Petronio. The Basilica is on decree of the Pope not built bigger than the Saint Pieter in Rome; all in all it is still one of the five largest churches in the world. Bologna lives up to its name and has terra coloured houses and buildings everywhere.
The university is supposed to be very beautiful, but we only could get to the square where the university is situated, because the university is closed on Sunday. Le due Torri consist of one tower that is 97 meters high and leans over 1,3 meter (built in 1109), and the other tower which was supposed to be higher, but they stopped building at 48 meters, because it was then already tilting 3,2 meters. The best experience we had here was the visit to the 11th century Chiesa del Crocefisso (which is part of the Basilica de Santo Stefano).

Monday July 19th
We had a calm day in Fiesole itself, which used to be the most important city of the Etruscan empire that was founded 700 BC. In the Zona Archeologica there are a lot of Roman en Etruscan remains, like temples, baths, et cetera. There is also a beautiful view from Fiesole of Florence. Again we had dinner at the Festa de l'Unita; we now even have political discussion in Italian; they start of okay, but once the Italians are getting fired up the discussion is hard to follow.

Tuesday July 20th
We went to Siena today. There is so amazingly much to see in Siena that it is hard to decide where to start. The following list is not exhaustive, but gives the most important sights (according to us):
  • Piazza Salimberi, where there are three different architectural styles to be found in the Palazzo Tantucci, Palazzo Salimbeni (Gothic) and Palazzo Spannochi (Renaissance).
  • The Loggia dei Mercanti; a 15th century; merchants plotted deals here.
  • Chiesa di San Domenico; most known for the fact that Santa Caterina di Sienna took her vows here. The church has the most exquisite and beautiful stained-glass windows.
  • The magnificent, scallop-shaped, slanting Piazza del Campo which is the wown centere with the Palazzo Cummunale and its graceful bell tower: Torre del Mangia.
  • Although it has Romanesque elements the cathedral is one of Italy's great Gothic churches. The Duomo is one of the most beautiful churches imaginable; especially the inlaid marble floor and the extraordinary ceiling of the Libreria Piccolomini. Too bad it was so crowded with tourists that the atmosphere was not one of a cathedral.

Wednesday July 21st
All we did today besides playing some games at the camping, reading, eating and drinking was shopping at the outlet mall, where they sell Armani, Gucci, Valentino, et cetera, but we bought nothing.

Thursday July 22nd
We leave the camping today in order to go to Cinque Terre at the coast. We take the scenic route via Pistoia (the town that gave its name to the pistol) and then continued on the marble route to eventually end up in Deiva Marina, near Cinque Terre. Pistoia is a really nice and cosy town with a sweet little cathedral, the Battisterio of the by now famous green and white marble, and finally a splendidly decorated hospital. At the camping of Deiva Marina we met two Dutch girls that we spent the whole evening drinking with. We had finished, besides the beers, a bottle of Sambuca before we went to bed at three in the morning.

Friday July 23rd
Esther had major problems with the aforementioned bottle of Sambuca, thus we stayed at the camping all morning doing nothing. In the afternoon we walked to the beach, where underway we saw emus walking around behind some fences. We stayed at the beach for a couple of hours to go back to the camping, eat, and sleep.

Saturday July 24th
We went to Genua today, which is about 80km north of Deiva Marina. We went to the Aquarium in the Porto Antica, designed by Renzo Piano. Very diverse, both the building as the sea life: jelly fish, lots of sharks, sun fish, penguins, you name it ... and NEMO. The city itself is quite grandeur as well; especially the Catedral di San Lorenzo and the piazza de Ferrari, with the Palazzo della Borsa.


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