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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

20 FREE THINGS TO DO In And Around Florence, Italy (Firenze)


There are the "must see" places in Florence like the Uffizi Gallery where you can see famous works of art by Michelangelo, DaVinci, Rembrandt, and many, many more or the Galleria dell' Accademia where Michelangelo's "David", one of the most incredible statues you will see anywhere in the world, is located. But most museums and even the churches charge heavily to enter, so you must purchase a FirenzeCard for €72 (valid for 72 hours, allowing free entry into many of Florence's museums), choose very wisely, visit during FREE ENTRY DAYS (normally the first Sunday of the month), or visit the many free venues in the city ...

1) SANTA MARIA NOVELLA PHARMACY

Florence is very rich in old churches and many of them are free to enter (except Santa Maria Novella as I recently found out). These (used to) include the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, one of the most beautiful churches in the city which houses works by Giotto, Masaccio and Ghirlandaio, now charging €5 to enter. Like Basilica di Santa Croce across town, at least they do not discriminate in their greed as Catholics are required to pay the same as everyone else to enter a Catholic church ... what a disgrace.

Its famous pharmacy, founded by Dominican friars in 1221, is located around the corner from the square at Via della Scala 16. In their gardens they cultivated medicinal herbs that were used to prepare medications, balms and ointments for the small monastery. They follow the same formulas for preparation of spices, liquor, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to this day. 

Pharmacy website: www.smnovella.it

Address: Via Della Scala 16

2) THE "DUOMO" (THE CATHEDRAL OF FLORENCE")

Built in the 15th Century, admission is free to Santa Maria del Fiore (the Cathedral or "Duomo"), Italy’s second largest church (after St. Peter's in Rome) and the third largest in the world (St. Paul's in London is the other). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is open from 10AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday and 1:30PM to 4:45PM on Sunday. The dome, bell tower, museum, archeological site, and baptistery all charge to enter or you can buy a consolidated ticket on their website. The Museo dell'Opera is closed until November 2015 for renovations.

The facade and dome of Santa Maria del Fiore is imposing and awe-inspiring, dominating the large piazza in which it stands it is so large that it is impossible to photograph the entire structure without a special lens. Its beautiful marble polychrome facade of greens, pinks, and whites is unlike any other I have seen. The interior is massive and spectacular, my favorite part being the massive dome completed in the 1460s with a fresco of the apostles who appear to be sitting on the edges with their legs dangling over the sides.

This is one of the most impressive structures I have seen anywhere in the world and is a MUST SEE if visiting central Italy. Unlike the rest of the complex (dome, baptistery, vault, bell tower, and museum), you can enter the cathedral for free. Entry is through the north door of the massive west-facing facade and the line snakes along the routinely shaded (in summer) north wall of the cathedral, but it moves rather quickly. There are even free guided tours in several languages lasting around 30 minutes, so check at the desk on the left after you enter to inquire.

3) BAPTISTERY OF ST. JOHN

Across from the Duomo entrance is the Baptistery of St. John. Until the 19th century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The octagonal monument is distinguished by its geometric, colored-marble exterior and detailed interior mosaics. Admission is €5, but admiring the famous bronze doors (with replica panels) carved with scenes from the Bible is free.

4) OBLATE CAFETERIA

On the second floor of the famous Oblate Library and not far from the Duomo, their Cafeteria has been open to the public since May 2009 and has already become an important place of the city’s social and cultural life. The interior decoration is modern with every detail chosen carefully, allowing you to spend time at the library in a relaxed, safe and unique atmosphere.

Almost every evening there is a themed musical event with free admission and optional drinks (unless you sit at a table of course).

CLICK HERE for more details.

5) SANTA CROCE NEIGHBORHOOD

Just to the east of the historical center is the Santa Croce Neighborhood. Stop in Piazza Santa Croce, the neighborhood's lively main square, to admire the facade of the medieval Santa Croce Basilica, the largest Franciscan church in the world. Many famous Italians are entombed inside, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Marconi, but entrance to the church costs €5 (Open Weekdays: 9.30 am - 5.30 pm). Near the church is the Leather School of Santa Croce, Scuola del Cuoio, where you can see artisans making leather products and a display of leather-working tools.

6) STROZZI PALACE

Strozzi Palace is the perfect example of a Renaissance mansion, appearing like a fortress in the heart of the historic center of Florence. Every Thursday evening from 6PM to 10PM free entry is allowed to the "Strozzina" and its Exhibition of Contemporary Art in the palace's Center for Contemporary Culture.

More details on www.palazzostrozzi.org

7) FREE WALKING TOURS

These tour are the original walking tours of Florence, they are FREE. Arranged by local professional guides working on a tip-only basis, your generosity will allow them to continue this service.

They offer two daily tours beginning at the Central Railway Station (Santa Maria Novella). You will can choose between the Renaissance Tour (11AM), Medici Family Tour (2PM), or take both.

Find more details here: www.florencefreetour.com

8) PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO

Looking for the perfect photo opp while in Florence? Do not miss this large plaza located at the top of a hill above Piazza Poggi on the south side of the river Arno. The centerpiece of the piazzale is its terrace, the perfect place to spend some time taking in the beautiful city below. You can reach this lookout by bus if you are not up to the climb or, like me, have knees that have seen better days.
View From Piazzale Michelangelo

9) ABBEY OF SAN MINIATO AL MONTE

Follow the main street from Piazzale Michelangelo to the steps of the Abbey San Miniato al Monte, one of the highest points in Florence. Michelozzo’s Cappella del Crocifisso (built in 1448) is the centerpiece of the Romanesque basilica and frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi decorate the crypt behind it. 

Wander the abbey’s cemetery where Carlo Collodi, author of Pinocchio, is buried and stay until sunset when the golden light reflects off the Arno and terra-cotta roofs of the majestic city below. 

Admission is free (open from 7AM to 1PM, 3:30PM to 7PM on weekdays in winter, and 7AM to sunset in summer). Masses are held throughout the day on Sunday and holidays; and the 10AM and 5:30PM masses are performed in Gregorian chant in the crypt, an incredible experience.

10) DANTE'S CHURCH
You must pay to enter Dante's house down the street, but entry to Santa Margherita dei Cerchi, dating back to 1032 and known primarily as the "Church of Dante", is free. 

It has been said that Dante met his muse, Beatrice, here for the first time and fell in love with her. Beatrice’s family had tombs are there where her father, Folco Portinari, is buried. Many visitors like to think that Beatrice is buried in the church and in front of what tradition has identified as Beatrice’s tomb, you can find a chest full of messages lovers leave to Beatrice asking her to protect their love. Beatrice, however, was married to a member of the Bardi family and was likely buried in the tomb of her husband’s family in the cloister of Santa Croce Church.
Address: Piazza dei Giuochi, 50122 Florence, Italy

11) PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA

Florence's most famous square, Piazza della Signoria is the heart of the historic center and a free open-air sculpture exhibit. The imposing Loggia dei Lanza, also known as Loggia della Signoria, holds important statues, including those by Cellini, Giambologna and Fedi and a proportionally smaller copy of Michelangelo's David stands in front of the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio. The piazza has been Florence's political center since the middle ages and Florence's town hall, the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, literally towers over the piazza. You'll also want to admire the beautiful fountain in the square or have a seat in front of or under the Loggia della Lanza to relax or watch the multitude of tourists wander past.

12) LOGGIA DEL MERCATO NUOVO

Not far from the Piazza della Signoria you will find the new market or "Loggia del Porcellino", the name of the fountain portrayed by a wild boar sculpted in bronze and created in the 7th Century by "Pietro Tacca" (the original is kept in Palazzo Pitti). It would be worth your while to spend some time in the area as there is a tradition of placing a coin in the boars mouth. If it falls out and rolls over the water drain, you then rub its nose to bring good luck. Remember the coin must travel to the other side of the drain for it to work!

At the centre of the loggia you can also see the "scandalous stone" (Pietra dello Scandalo), the place place where debtors would be punished in Renaissance Florence. The punishment consisted of chaining the prisoners and whipping their legs, repeatedly falling down onto their behinds.

13) THE MARKETS OF FLORENCE

A stroll through the local markets does not cost anything unless you indulge yourself, but is an excellent way to enjoy a morning, afternoon, or an entire day. Here is a selection of  Florentine markets:

• SAN LORENZO MARKET: Extends from Piazza S. Lorenzo to Ariento Street around the Basilica of San Lorenzo (in the historic center of Florence). It is the most important market in the city and you will find clothing, leather goods, souvenirs, local food products and much more. It is a great place for a quick, inexpensive lunch to eat there or take withg you for a picnic elsewhere in town. It is open Monday to Friday from 7AM to 2PM and on Saturdays from 7:00 to 17:00 (except from mid-June to September when it is closed on Saturdays).

• SANT’AMBROGIO MARKET: Near Piazza Ghiberti and Piazza Sant’Ambrogio, Mercato Sant'Ambrogio has outdoor spaces where you will find fresh fruit, vegetables, clothing, flowers, shoes and appliance stalls. If you are looking for food, enter the building where you will find meat or fresh fish, pasta, general groceries, cheeses, and bread. If you get hungry, there is also a restaurant inside the market with good, cheap meals. The market is open every day (except Sunday) from 7AM to 2PM.

• MERCATO DELLE PULCI: The ‘flea market’ is located in Piazza dei Ciompi and is open daily from 9AM to 7:30PM. On the last Sunday of the month, the stalls are extended to the surrounding streets where you will find whatever you can imagine, including furniture, paintings, antiques, coins and jewelry. Maybe you will find a treasure among the many antiques!

• MERCATO DELLE CASCINE: Is located in the beautiful Parco delle Cascine (the largest park in Florence). Open every Tuesday from 7AM to 2PM, it is probably the biggest and cheapest market in town where you can buy clothing, shoes, housewares and much more.

• THE CURE MARKET, In Piazza delle Cure, it is open every morning except Sunday and holidays.

• THE FIERUCOLINA: “The Fierucolina” is an organic market that promotes organic farming and biodynamic agriculture with food, wine, and handmade bio-manufactured products. It takes place the third Sunday of each month (except in August) in Piazza Santo Spirito (Oltrarno).

• THE MARKET OF RARE BOOKS: In Loggia del Grano, it is open Thursday to Saturday from 10AM to 6PM.

• THE FLOWER MARKET: Under the porch of Piazza della Repubblica, every Thursday morning from 10 to 19.• THE PIGGY MARKET: Florentine straw objects, handmade embroidery, leather goods, wooden objects, and flowers in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo from 8AM to 7PM every day except Sunday and Monday morning.

• THE STRAW MARKET: Piazza del Mercato Nuovo from 9AM to 6:30PM every day except Sunday and holidays.


Across the piazza from chiesa Santa Maria Novella, a free bus will take from Florence's Santa Maria Novella train station to various itineraries in and around Prato, a town between Florence and Pistoia heading toward Lucca and Pisa. You pay only for the entrance to museums (if applicable) and your lunch.

The tours are available 10 consecutive Sundays from May to July, taking four routes/itineraries with both Italian and English Guides:

  • CONTEMPORARY ART AND INDUSTRIAL ARCHEOLOGY
  • WHEN THERE WERE THE ETRUSCANS / ETRUSCAN PAST
  • THE NOBLE TRAIL: VILLAS AND CASTLES
  • THE PATH OF PILGRIMS
Email thatsprato@po.camcom.it to request a spot or visit their website: http://thatsprato.com/


15) OLTRARNO - SANTO SPIRITO AND SAN FREDIANO NEIGHBORHOODS

If you want to get away from the crowds, head across the river on Ponte Santa Trinita (west of Ponte Vecchio) or turn right after traversing Ponte Vecchio toward the area known as Oltrarno. Here you will find interesting neighborhoods that see far fewer tourists. It is a pleasant place for a walk where you will see typical Florentine buildings, small stores, artisan workshops, and small neighborhood squares. In Piazza Santa Spirito there is a small morning market and in the Santo Spirito Church, designed by Brunelleschi in the 15th century, you will find a wealth of art work. Santa Maria del Carmine Church has a beautiful Renaissance fresco in Cappella Brancacci (open 10AM–5PM, Sunday 1PM–5PM, closed Tuesdays).

16) CASA GUIDI: ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING HOME.

Just down the street from Palazzo Piti on the Altarno side of the river, Casa Guidi is located on the first floor (second floor to Americans) of a historic palazzo. There is an engraved stone marker above the massive door indicating where she lived and a brass nameplate above the buzzer outside with details about operating hours. There is also a single brass button below the rest that merely says "Elizabeth".

The apartment consists of just three rooms that you can visit, but they are spectacular and contain furniture of hers and from the period as well as photos, paintings, busts, and other memorabilia. Her husband study is small, but has elaborate frescoes on the walls and ceilings. The dining room is large, but not extremely interesting. The living room, off of which are the bedrooms and kitchen (not open to the public, but apparently you can rent them for lodging). is massive and contains a large library of her works, more artwork, and some beautiful period furniture as well as some of her possessions.

The visit is self-guided and FREE, but you must visit on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday (April to November) between 3PM and 6PM only. Just ring the buzzer for Casa Guidi, though the giant door and a gate, then go up one flight of stairs to her apartment on the left.

Address: Piazza San Felice 8, 50125 Florence, Italy
Phone: +39 055 354457

17) PONTE VECCHIO

Ponte Vecchio, or the "old bridge", was built in 1345 and was Florence's first bridge across the Arno River. It's the only surviving bridge from Florence's medieval days (the others were destroyed during World War II). Following a flood in 1345, the bridge was reconstructed, adding rows of shops to the bridge where many of the city's butchers were located. More shops were added later and Ponte Vecchio became a place for gold and silver shopping in Renaissance Florence. It is still lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, a good place for window shopping or people watching ...

18) PASTAFICIO CHELUCCI: PASTA FACTORY TOUR

Hand-crafted pasta since 1912, the owner Giuseppe has been in the family business since 1950, is extremely friendly and informative, and made us feel welcome for our free, private tour.

During World War II, the Nazis took over the building, a villa, making it their headquarters in 1942. The family had to walk for two days to Florence while the Germans occupied their home. Once the Nazis fled from Allied Forces in December 1942, they returned home and were the first pastificio (pasta factory) of 36 in Pistoia to resume operations after the war. They are the only remaining pastificio of the original 36 in Pistoia.

The valley in which the villa sits is quiet, green, lush, and much cooler than smoldering Florence, so it was a breath of fresh air, literally, after a month in 100 degree Florence and its wall-to-wall tourists. If visiting Tuscany and tell him CombatCritic sent you!

Read my full review now!

Pastificio Chelucci
Via di Valente, 7
51100 Pistoia, Italy

Phone: +39 0573 42011 for free tour reservations
Email: info@pastificiochelucci.it

Web: pastificiochelucci.it


19) APRITI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL



Free entry to the outdoor Apriti cinema, an international film festival, held from the end of June to late July, is located in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, just east of the Accademia Gallery and Piazza San Marco.  Films are from all over the world and are in their native languages with Italian subtitles. Starting at 21:30 nightly, there are hamburgers (€5), french fries (€2.50), and artisan beers (€4) available for purchase when available.


20) IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, PEOPLE-WATCHING IS "THE BOMB"

The best free activity in Florence may very well be people-watching. While you peruse the jewelry and souvenir shops on Ponte Vecchio (the medieval stone bridge over the Arno River), get off the beaten path and head to Oltrarno, the neighborhood on the far and less touristy side of the Arno. Get lost on the narrow cobblestone streets, wander in and out of artisan workshops, and rub shoulders with locals at the daily morning market (closed the second and third Sundays of the month, when artisan and antique markets are held) in Piazza Santo Spirito.

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Title: 20 FREE THINGS TO DO In And Around Florence, Italy (Firenze)

Key Words: free, things, to, do, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Ponte Vecchio, Duomo, piazza, signoria, ponte, vecchio, santa, maria, novella, Oltrarno, market, mecato, walking, baptistery, Santa Croce, travel, Value

Free in Florence: Apriti Cinema International Film Festival - 29 June through 21 July 2015


Free entry to Apriti cinema, an international film festival from 29 June to 21 July 2015. Films start at 21:30 nightly and there are hamburgers (€5), french fries (€2.50), and artisan beers (€4) available for purchase.


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Title:  Free in Florence (Italy): Apriti Cinema International Film Festival - 29 June through 21 July 2015

Key Words: Free, Florence, Italy, Apriti Cinema, International Film Festival, Apriti, cinema, international, film, festival, Firenze, movie, outdoor, food, beer, travel, value, CombatCritic

A Slightly Underwhelming, Inexpensive. Light Meal Option In Central Florence

Lo SchiacciaVino
Via Giuseppe Verdi 6R
50122 Florence, Italy
Santa Croce Area
Phone: +39 055 2260133
Prices: $$$$$

A moderately charming, clean option for an inexpensive sandwich and glass of wine, this small shop lies less than a block north of famous Piazza Santa Croce and its historic church which houses the remains of such famous Italians as Marconi, Galileo, Michelangelo and and many more.

Their sandwich, "schiaccia" in Florence, comes on fresh, toasted focaccia bread and your choice of several meats, cheeses and spreads, all for €4 each. I had the "Bomba", a mixture of ground sausage and soft cheese served warm and was not overly impressed. The cheese and ground sausage were mixed together then thinly slathered on the toasted focaccia. The taste was good, but the contents were overwhelmed by the bread and it was not very filling. My wife ordered the "Goloso" with local salami and a soft "squacquerone" cheese also served warm on toasted focaccia. It was better than my schiaccia, but lacking enough contents to make it worth the €4. A bit more salami and a little lettuce and tomato would have been welcome additions.
Goloso

They have some inexpensive wines, a vino rosso locale at €2 per glass that was not very good, so I ordered a Chianti for €3.50 that was much better. They have several options available escalating in price up to €8 per glass.
Bomba
They speak decent English and the service is friendly and fast. There are only two small tables outside on the sidewalk where you can sit comfortably, otherwise the bars with stools on opposite sides of the entryway are the only eat-in options and not very cozy. If you want a quick, decent, light meal and a glass of wine for less than €10, this is a good option, but there are better values in town for a quick, inexpensive meal.

CombatCritic Gives Lo SchiacciaVino A Solid 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!




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Title: A Slightly Underwhelming, Inexpensive. Light Meal Option In Central Florence

Key Words: Lo SchiacciaVino, schiacciavino, schiaccia, vino, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Santa Croce, croce, sandwich, wine, travel, value, review, menu, CombatCritic

Monday, June 29, 2015

Away From Tourists, Tuscan Charm Meets Fresh, Local Products In EastCentral Florence

Piazza Ghiberti, Florence.

E-mail:  mercato.ambrogio@virgilio.it


Having spent several weeks in Florence over the years, I find myself returning over and over again to the wonderful Mercato Sant'Ambrogio. Situated just northeast of Santa Croce and around the corner from the Loggia del Pesce and numerous antique stores, this indoor and outdoor market sells everything from underwear, socks, shoes and clothing to salami, cheeses, bread, pasta, fruit, vegetables and wine.

Locals abound and few tourists venture this far east of centro storico (historical center) even though Mercato Sant'Ambrogio has been around since 1873. The covered stalls outside offer shade from the summer heat, housing the fruit and vegetable vendors as well as those selling clothing, shoes, household items, and more. 

Much smaller, intimate, and less touristy than the Mercato Centrale located on the northern periphery of the historical center, Sant'Ambrogio feels much more comfortable and authentic. You can even sit down at the small Trattoria da Rocco (Mangino Gianpaolo) for a very inexpensive lunch (open Mon-Sat from 7 AM - 2 PM) at one of the few small tables where you will likely be dining with neighborhood residents rather than droves of tourists.
Gelateria Gallo Ghiottone Offers Tasty, Inexpensive Gelato Just Around The Corner!
So if you are looking for an authentic experience, inexpensive clothing, and fresh, local products away from the relentless tourist traps of Florence, Mercato Sant'Ambrogio is the place for you ...

CombatCritic Gives Mercato Sant'Ambrogio 9 Out Of 10 Bombs




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Title: Away From Tourists, Tuscan Charm Meets Fresh, Local Products In EastCentral Florence

Key Words: Mercato Sant'Ambrogio, mercato, sant'ambrogio, ambrogio, Santa Croce, santa, croce, Florence, Firenze, market, indoor, outdoor, fruit, vegetables, shopping, travel, value 

Abondanza...Simpatico...Buonissimo...La Vinaina is a Bargain and Treat in Residential Florence!



La Vinaina
Via dell'Agnolo, 48r, 50122 
Florence, Italy
Phone: +39.055.234.4120
Prices:    € €  



Around the corner from the wonderful Mercato Sant'Abrogio, my wife and I visited La Vinaina on several occasions with the students of the University of Kansas attending the study abroad program in Florence. Our apartment was just around the corner and we enjoyed the proximity, warm welcome, fresh ingredients, and very reasonable prices for lunch.

Being an amateur chef and restaurant critic, and having traveled to 49 countries around the world, I have eaten at few restaurants with the impeccable quality and value as we found at La Vinaina.


The pasta and bread...always fresh; the meat and fish...always prepared to perfection; the service...always attentive and friendly. I would recommend this restaurant to anybody...on a budget, like students, to more EXCLUSIVE and seasoned travelers alike. There is something for everyone at La Vinaina!



Watch my video collage dedicated to our friends at La Vinaina on CombatCritic TV:


Watch My Video of La Vinaina and Surrounding Area on CombatCritic TV!

or read more about this wonderful cucina tipica toscana in The CombatCritic Chronicle: 

http://www.CombatCritic.com


I have also posted reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Fousquare...search for "CombatCritic" and send a Friend request.







CombatCritic gives La Vinaina 7 BOMBS OUT OF 10...bombs in this case are good!

LIKE La Vinaina on Facebook!

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Title: Abondanza...Simpatico...Buonissimo...La Vinaina is a Bargain and Treat in Residential Florence!

Key Words: La Vinaina, vinaina, restaurant, trattoria, pasta, menu, Mercato Sant'Ambrogio, mercato, sant'ambrogio, ambrogio, food, Florence, Italy, Firenze, travel, value, CombatCritic


Sunday, June 28, 2015

See What 250 KPH On Italy's High-Speed Train From Naples to Florence Looks Like!

Italo, Italy's private, high-speed train ... this is what 250 kliks (150 MPH) between Rome and Florence looks like ...




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Title: See What 250 KPH On Italy's High-Speed Train From Naples to Florence Looks Like!

Key Words: Italy's, Italy, High-Speed, Train, Naples, Florence, Firenze, Napoli, Italo, kliks, MPH, kilometers, high, speed, trains, rail, station, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value

Friday, June 26, 2015

Florence, Italy: Important Changes To Amici Degli Uffizi Membership (Effective June 15, 2015)


W
We were in Florence for a month in 2012 and purchased Amici Degli Uffizi memberships which included free entry to most of the major museums, including the Uffizi and Galleria dell'Accademia, the two "must see" museums in town, among many others. Membership was around €55 at the time and it was a great bargain. Not only did you have access to the best museums in Firenze, but you also skipped the long lines at the Uffizi without a reservation.
Unfortunately, the latest rumors are true and the Amici Degli Uffizi membership IS ONLY GOOD FOR ENTRANCE TO THE UFFIZI effective June 15, 2015. You can visit their website for more details:
However, there is the FirenzeCard which gets you into the vast majority of museums (Uffizi, L'Accademia, Palazzo Vecchio, etc) as well as city public transportation (Ataf, Linea, and tram) and Firenze Free Wifi offered by the City of Florence. The card is valid for 72 hours from first use and costs €72. If you plan on visiting many of the participating museums and leaving the historical center by public transport, it could be worth the rather steep price. The Uffizi and L'Accademia are two of the more expensive museums, both charging €8 for a full-price ticket, so you might want to do some calculations to see if the ticket is a good fit for your budget before you buy. You should also know that the vast majority of Florence sightseeing can be done in the historical center and public transportation is not necessary for most people. I have spent quite a bit of time in Florence and have only taken public transportation once, a bus to and from Piazzale Michelangelo which sits atop a hill across the river from the center of town.
Many of the museums in Florence also offer free entry once each month. For example, L'Accademia (€8 at the box office; full price ticket online is €23) has "Sunday at the Museum" where you gain FREE entry to the museum on the first Sunday of each month. The Uffizi Gallery also offersfree entry on the first Sunday of every month as do several others. So if you happen to be in Florence on the first Sunday of the month, you are in luck ... Buon Viaggio!
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Title: Important Changes To Amici Degli Uffizi Membership (Effective June 15, 2015)
Key Words: Amici Degli Uffizi, amici, degli, Uffizi, gallery, Uffizi Gallery, membership, member, free, entry, museum, Michelangelo, DaVinci, da, vinci, travel, value, CombatCritic,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Montevergine, Italy: Shroud Of Turin's Former Home, Now Houses Famous Byzantine "Madonna"

Santuario di Montevergine
Mercogliano, Avellino, Italy


Mercogliano, a hillside town about 30 miles (50 kliks) east of and a world away from Naples, Italy, sits below the famous mountain-top abbey: Santuario di Montevergine. The abbey of Montevergine has been the site of religious orders dating back to the 12th Century and sits almost 5,000 above the base of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples. It was reportedly the hiding place of the Shroud of Turin during World War II (behind the massive altar) and is home to the massive and celebrated Byzantine painting on wood of the "Madonna" (Blessed Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus).

Entry to the abbey is free and the highlight is the Byzantine Madonna which consumes one wall of the chapel in which it is housed at the back of the main church. The church itself is unremarkable, but the exterior of the abbey is picturesque and the view of Avellino and the valley below is breathtaking.

CombatCritic Gives Santuario di Montevergine 8 Out Of 10 Bombs




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Title:  Once Home To "Shroud Of Turin", Now Houses Famous Byzantine "Madonna"

Key Words: CombatCritic, Italy, Mercogliano, Montevergine, santuario, santuario do montevergine, monte, vergine, virgine, TravelValue, travel, value, hilltop, mountain, abbey, free, 

DayTripQuip™: Napoli to Ascea and Zona Archeologica di Velia (Scavi di Velia)


DayTripQuip: If you plan on visiting Naples, Italy (Napoli) there are an abundance of day trips available including Pompeii, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, the islands of Capri and Ischia, Pozzuoli, Mount Vesuvius, or less than two hours by train south, the seaside town of Marina di Ascea. Spend the day at the pristine beaches with soft sand and award winning "clean" water or hop on a bus and visit Zona Archeologica di Velia (read full review by clicking this link), just ten minutes north of town. Entry to the site is just €3 ($3.40) where you can see well preserved and maintained Greek, Roman, and medieval ruins all in one place!









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Title: DayTripQuip™: Napoli to Ascea and Zona Archeologica di Velia (Scavi di Velia)

Key Words: DayTripQuip, day, trip, quip, Napoli, Ascea, Zona Archeologica, Velia, Scavi di Velia, scavi, ruins, Roman, Greek, medieval, mosaic, fresco, villa, bath, travel, value

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His Holiness and I

By C.T. Sorrentino “His Holiness”. I first saw him on TV, a documentary, 60 Minutes, I forget exactly where or when, but he i...

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