July 28, 2014

Travel News: Italy 2014

I've just returned from an amazing and very busy tour of Italy. As expected, the weather was hot. The ticket lines at major sights were long. And we managed to circumvent a railway strike, thanks to our capable tour director. The unexpected can also arise while travelling so if you're visiting Italy this summer, here are some things you should know.

Expect lengthy queues at the Vatican Museum, Rome


Major European sights are always undergoing renovations and this summer the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain (no water!) are included. My daughter was disappointed that she wasn't able to throw her coin in the fountain and ensure her return to Rome so we did the next best thing. In Florence we visited the Mercato Nuovo (or Straw Market) and rubbed the snout of Il Porcellino, a statue of a wild boar, thus ensuring her return to Firenze someday.

Il Porcellino, Florence


Baptistery of San Giovanni, Florence

The Baptistery of San Giovanni is currently covered in scaffolding but there's good news in Florence. Both the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery now permit photos of their artwork (without flash or tripod) allowing visitors to bring home their own souvenir photos of masterpieces like Michelangelo's David.

David, by Michelangelo
Accademia Gallery, Florence


There's more good news for photographers and art lovers in Venice. Photos are also allowed at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of modern art and Ca' Rezzonico, the Museum of 18th Century Venice. At Ca' Rezzonico, I searched out the paintings by Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, who painted postcard views of Venice as souvenirs for wealthy visitors.

Il rio dei Mendicanti, Antonio Canal
Ca' Rezzonico

These changes in photo policies seem to be quite recent, as signs hadn't yet been replaced, so do ask when entering a museum. You may be pleasantly surprised. And unexpected bonuses such as these might make up for a disappointment you've encountered somewhere else.

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