Italy Travelogue, Part 1

I finally got off my lazy butt and went through my Italy trip photos >_<  After cleaning out the junk images, I ended up with around 1,000 photos.  Of course, I’m not going to be posting them all here, no one would like that xD.  Instead, I’ve picked out some of the better ones and will be posting them along with a description of where I was and what was going on.

I present part 1 of 2 or 3 total parts, I haven’t decided how many more to do ^^;

italy 001We started our trip off in Indianapolis, departing from the new Indianapolis International Airport that opened last winter.  Definitely the coolest airport I’ve visited.

italy 002After a stop at Philadelphia, we hopped on our flight to Venice.  A mere 8 uncomfortable hours later… we touched down at Marko Polo International.  This is not quite the part of Venice you picture with the gondolas, more outside of the old city.

italy 004The relatives we stayed with live a couple hour’s drive north of Venice near the Italian Alps.  The corn was an all too familiar reminder of Indiana but the mountains were something we definitely don’t have ^^;

italy 003Out on my first walk around the town.  For some reason unknown to me, there are huge, massive slugs all over the place near the mountains.  And I seriously mean everywhere.  You had to watch where you stepped or you’d have slug guts on your shoes in no time >_<

italy 005The cozy little white stucco house at which we stayed.  This is typical construction style for Italian houses.  Light-colored stucco exteriors, red clay roofs.  The white stucco and clay roofs are to keep the buildings cool as many houses, like this one, don’t have central air conditioning.  Despite having no AC, the house remained cool most of the time.

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A quick trip to a neighboring town.

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To pick up some gelato, of course!  I don’t think a single day that went by when we didn’t get gelato ;)

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The number and variety of flavors was mind boggling.  I liked Bacio a lot ^^

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Took a trip to a nearby mall the next day.  Found an article on Google Chrome in the local paper, couldn’t help but snap a picture.

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Er, just testing out the lens ^^;

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The scenery just driving to and fro was spectacular when you’re right next to the mountains.

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Got up at 6am the next morning to take the train to Venice.  Train was 45 minutes late if I recall.  Not so fond of Italian trains.  More on that later.

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Once the train finally arrived, it was only about a 1 hour ride to get to the old part of Venice.

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And, at last, the Venice everyone recognizes!

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The old city of Venice is not large, but large enough that you spend a whole day walking through it.  Here is a market on one of the busier streets.

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The place was already pretty busy with tourists and vendors when we arrived in the morning.  It only got worse as the day wore on.

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A small alley.  Only the alleys here weren’t paved, they were canals ^^.

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Just in case you feel too out of place among the ancient buildings and massive churches, you can always go to the Venice McDonald’s for some familiar greasy hamburgers…

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We arrive at the Grand Canal, the largest waterway in the main part of the old city.  The waterway was pretty busy as you can see.  A lot of the goods, food, etc is brought here, at least partially, by boat.

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Lunch time!  A nice little place we had pizza.  We arrived right after they opened for lunch so we got the whole place to ourselves for most of our meal.

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Back to the streets.  One of the quieter streets, a nice break from the surging crowds on the main roads.

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We stripped down to our undies and had a nice swim here.

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Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Plaza.  Huge, famous square with pigeons everywhere.  Might be familiar sight to Aria fans.  I’ve only seen the first few eps of Aria but I remember this square was in it.

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The bell tower of St. Mark’s Bascilica.  Not the original as it collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt in 1912.  Still an impressive structure.

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Oh, what’s this?

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I could be wrong but it looks like the cafe that the Aria scene was based on.  No, I don’t know if they move the chairs as the sun moves but from the look of it, I would say no =P

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One of the most impressive structures in Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica, the most famous church in Venice.  Really quite amazing when you realize this building is nearly 1,000 years old.  As you can see, the crowds were really getting dense by this time.

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Mosaics under the arches.

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After a short wait, we were able to enter the church.  The interior was as impressive as the exterior.  The ceiling is formed by domes adorned with mosaics.

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The ceiling mosaics were incredible.  Thousands of tiny, individual stones were placed together to form the whole image.  Of course, these have undergone countless restorations throughout the centuries.

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Near the front of the church…

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Marble floors that had some crazy patterns on them.

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Huge window at the front of the church that lets in loads of light.

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Now leaving the main island and heading to San Giorgio Maggiore island to see the church there.

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Not quire as impressive as St Mark’s Basilica but massive nonetheless.  All the old churches are huge, imposing structures that makes you feel tiny when you walk into them.

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Although many of the most famous paintings are now kept in museums, many churches still retain their original masterpieces, some dating back 500+ years.  If you want to see art in Italy, you don’t really need to visit museums, just visit churches ;)

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The choir room at the back of the church.

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Going up the bell tower at the side.  Had to go up with this rickety elevator that didn’t seem entirely safe but we made it through alive ^^;

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Full view of Venice ^^

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The St. Mark bell tower.  Gives nice perspective when you look at the hordes of tourists at the plaza below.

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Don’t know what this is, but I thought it was a cool shot ^^;

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So while we were up in the bell tower this enormously massive cruise ship floated into the lagoon.  It was unbelievably huge to be sailing in between these islands in the middle of Venice.

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It was taller than all the buildings in the city (except for the bell tower).  Seemed really odd <_<

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After another ferry trip across the lagoon, we were back in the main city but on the other side of the Grand Canal.  Our final stop was Santa Maria della Salute, an large octagonal church.

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A very cool interior where  the octagonal design becomes apparent with the vast center room.  My photo doesn’t do it justice.

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By this time we were getting pretty tired from walking the city most of the day and decided to head back to the train station.  We took a ferry back through the Grand Canal which gives us a chance to look at some of the waterside structures.

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These buildings just abruptly end right at the water, it’s a pretty unique sight.

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The Grand Canal was still pretty busy as the afternoon wound down.

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Last pic in Venice as we’re finally back at the train station to head home.  Almost forgot to get a pick of Kagami enjoying the sights of Venice.  Turned out to be a bad photo…  Should have used a narrower aperture.

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The next day we head out to a open air market in a nearby town.  These are pretty common in Italy.  About once a week, the city closes off a few streets for the event and merchants transport and unpack their wares for display.  They’re also an important event for the local community as most people in the town use it as an opportunity to catch up with friends.

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A candy vendor.  Bought some gummies and yummy dried fruit here.

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Mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Can’t forget the cheese!  Huge wheels of cheese.  Italians like their cheeses ^^;

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Back home to eat the lunch we purchased at the market.

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Out on a walk after lunch, thought this was an interesting shot ^^;

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Some guy paragliding from the nearby hills.  Apparently, a lot of Germans and Austrians visit the area for this sport.  Something I should try someday ^^  Gotta love telephoto lens.

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After a day lazing around, recovering from the day of walking Venice, we went out for some pizza.  Pizza in Italy is not all that different than pizza in America.  Not as greasy, but otherwise constructed fairly similarly.  Oh, they don’t cut the pizza for you, that is different.  You get to cut and eat it however you like.

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They do carry-out boxes the same though ^^

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And to wrap part 1 up, we enjoy a relaxing philharmonic concert by a community orchestra that happened to be starting right as we passed by.

That concludes part 1 of my Italy travelogue.  Putting this post together too much longer than it should have.  I think I posted too many images ^^;  I was planning for 3 parts but I may cut down the number of photos next time and just do two parts.  Hope you didn’t fall asleep from all the photos! ;)

8 thoughts on “Italy Travelogue, Part 1

  1. Smithy

    Lovely images of Venice! I’m hoping to go sometime soon to enjoy the sights, as an “Aria” fan feel it would be a nice trip to see the real city the series location of Neo-Venezia is based on. ^^

    Great photos too, what lens did you use in your Venice shots? ^^
    .-= Smithy´s last blog ..Code Geass C.C. dakimakura =-.

  2. meronpan

    enjoyed the pics! been wanting to go to italy but japan has taken priority so far ^^; maybe one day i’ll land a job in japan so then my vacations can be to other countries ^^;;

    i have been to spain and visited a ton of cathedrals there… super impressive, looks like italy is no different.
    .-= meronpan´s last blog ..ぐーぱん! ~ Gu-pan! and Figure Talk =-.

  3. Optic

    It’s not often I see pictures of Venice so it’s a nice welcoming feeling.
    While I feel it’s a nice city, it’s not a city i’m willing to go to unless it’s a free trip. :D

    Are their pizzas usually bigger?
    .-= Optic´s last blog ..SMASH! 09 =-.

  4. Greenville, South Carolina car isurnce

    August 8, 2009 – 11:49 am Matt, thanks for the heads up about Bing’s new phone verification.I claimed a Bing listing for a client about two weeks ago, and we were waiting for the PIN letter to show up. Just checked the listing status again, and the Bing Local Listing Center indicates we can do a phone verification.What an improvement!Thanks again!


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