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.

 

Snow Jade Cave, Fengdu, China

Located about eight miles from the new county of Fengdu, the Snow Jade Cave is rated as China’s most beautiful by Chinese National Geography. Discovered in the mid-1990’s, the cave is over 1,022 miles long. Because of its uniqueness and beauty, it has become a popular scenic spot along the Yangtze River as well as serving as a research site for the study of caves. Most of the stalactites in the cave are white and pure as jade, hence its name. Stalactites grow quickly – thirty-three millimeters in one hundred years in fact. In contract, in other such kinds of caves, the average stalactite only grows one millimeter in a century. It houses many spectacular and unusual karst formations. These include a waterfall; stone hair; shields; coral and animal shapes. Tourists have 725 miles to visit. You will see the so-called ‘Four Wonders’; the coral tower in the cave is the largest of its kind in the world; the glittering and transparent King Stone Flag at 26 feet high is the world’s tallest and thinnest stone flag; the stone shield at 13 feet high is also known as the Snowy Jade Penguin; some groups of stalactites resemble goose necks, some as much as two yards long.

Tips

You can go there by car or boat or you can take a bus at Chaotian Gate bus station to Fengdu.
The best time to visit the region is in winter or spring.
You must take some warm clothes to enter into the cave. Another possibility is to rent warm clothes there.
It’s recommended not to visit the cave alone.
If you make a trip along the Yangtze River, the cave is one of the usual tourists stops.