Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy

Civitavecchia is located in the province of Rome, city and seaport, stopover of all major cruise companies, port that also serves Corsica and Sardinia. There is Fort Michelangelo whose upper part of the ‘maschio’ towers was designed by Michelangelo. The structure has 4 towers with a diameter of 21m and the walls are between 6 and 7.6m thick. The St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral was built by the Franciscans on a small existing church. There is a remarkable statue that all those who visit the city will always have in memory, with a height of 9 meters, it shows us a sailor kissing a nurse who reminds us the image of Times Square at the end of the Second War world which had been immortalized by a photo-journalist.

Tips

If you want to enjoy an excursion to Rome and the Vatican it is possible, tit takes almost 90 minutes by car. You could also take the train (1h06).

If you are cruising, the best option would be to take their excursion because you might run out of time and not arrive in time for the departure of the ship.

If you like the terms, you will find an archaeological site ‘Taurine Terms’ a few kilometers from the city and if you want to take a bath, go to the terms of Ficoncella (ancient Roman terms that still work). You could  take a taxi to get there.

If you just want to have a quiet holiday, the city offers you a sea promenade with some beaches and a calm sea, bars and restaurants where you can enjoy having a good meal or the boutiques to do some shopping.

Colossus of St. Charles Borromeo, Arona, Italy

The Colossus of St. Charles Borromeo (said Sancarlone) is a statue of over 30 meters high located in Arona on the Sacro Monte of San Carlo, considered a symbol of the city. San Carlo Borromeo was born on October, 2nd, 1538 in Rocca di Arona and in 1565 he became archbishop of Milan and he gave material and spiritual assistance especially during calamities such as famine and plague. He died in 1584 and was beatified in 1602 and canonized in 1610. In 1624 the works for the construction of a sacred hill and also a huge statue visible from Lake Maggiore which celebrates the memory of the saint, were started. It was designed by Giovanni Battista Crespi and was built with copper sheets hammered and assembled with nails and iron rods while the head and hands were made of bronze; being Bernardo Falconi of Bissone and Siro Zanella of Pavia, the sculptors. In 1698 it was finished and blessed. The statue is 23.40 meters tall, but it has a granite pedestal of 11.70 meters which make it one of the largest statues in the world and the monument can be visited inside. With this statue they wanted to represent the “gigantism in faith.”

Tips

The statue is open to the public, you can climb through a first spiral staircase and then another right as a stepladder to get inside the head of St. Charles. You can pay general access to get to the foot of the statue and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view that it is really worth or add a few euros to go up to the interior top. For children under 6 it’s free.
From Milan you can reach Arona by train on the Milan-Domodossola line.
If you have to wait a few hours to catch a plane, it is a good opportunity to go to know the statue because Malpensa airport is located only 23 km from Arona.

Estensi Gardens, Varese, Lombardy, Italy

The gardens of Estense Palace, more known as Estensi Gardens,  in Varese, are among the most beautiful in Northern Italy and constitute one of the main tourist attractions of the city. The gardens are located around the Estense Palace which was the summer residence of Francesco III d’Este, Duke of Modena and the Austrian Governor of Lombardy, Commander of the imperial troops in Italy. On the site where today stands the Estense Palace existed a villa, Thomas Orrigoni’ Villa; in 1765 the Duke Francesco bought it and had it restored to serve as a residence. The architect Giuseppe Antonio Bianchi made even the splendid garden. The gardens have a large tub that opens in the parterre in front of the Palace and several large flowerbeds, whose small shrubs and ornamental flowers are treated in detail. The presence of different reliefs, avenues, paths and lawns gives movement to the French-style garden. A symmetry axis, passing through the centre of the porch entrance, connects optically palace entrance-parterre-hill starting at a large outdoor area. Today this building has the Council’s offices of the city of Varese.

Tips

The garden is a landmark of the city and are open daily and the access is free.
Generally on Saturdays, the municipality celebrates weddings in the morning until noon so you can find more people than usual. If you go to take photos, it is better to choose a day other than Saturday or Sunday.
If you want to have the best view, climb all the stairs of the garden up top and you could also take photos of the building with the magnificent gardens and pre-Alpine mountains with the Lake of Varese. It’s really is beautiful landscape.