Travel 50+ sites in Europe in this playlist!
This video blog series is a trip across Europe compiled over a few years. It is also a roadmap for travelling all these sites in a single trip if you have 4-6 weeks available. For details on preparation and a suggested itinerary for such a trip check out this blog .
Places to visit
Eastern Europe and The Alps: We start in Budapest, Hungary and head west visiting Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. Then we travel to Southern Alps visiting Munich, Linderhof and Newscheinstein in picturesque Bavaria, Germany. We then turn North across the Alps to Switzerland visiting Zurich, Basel and the picturesque Rhine river village of Rheinfelden.
Italy: Next we head south to Northern Italy visiting lake Como and Milan before reaching historic Venice by the Adriatic sea. We then crisscross across Italy visiting Florence, Siena, San Giminano and Pisa in sunny Tuscany. Our Italian tour continues west through Genoa and Savona and into Ventigmilia of the Italian Riviera.
Riviera and Provence: Moving onto the French Riviera we visit Nice, Eze, Villafranca and Monaco. Driving further west we explore beautiful French villages and towns of Lacoste, Cavallion, Arles and Avignon ending up in the port city of Marseilles.
Iberia: Their we embark on a cruise exploring the Mediterranean including Barcelona, Spain! Heading deeper into Spain we explore Madrid and the Andalusian cities and villages of Seville, Zahara, Grazalema and Ronda.
Northern Europe: We then fly north to romantic Paris and royal Versailles before ending our journey in London, England!
The video blog
A brief photo tour of the Louvre Museum
The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres (782,910 square feet). The Louvre is the world’s most popular museum, receiving approximately 8 million visitors annually.
We visited the museum at Paris in the summer of 2018. Below is a small collection of artworks photo we took while exploring this vast museum.
The Martyrdom of Saint Dennis by Henry Bellechose (1416).
Glenda resting in one of the halls of French Art Gallery where an artist is working on a copy.
The Medici gallery at the Louvre has a large collection of artwork depicting the history of this famous Italian family and their alliance with the French monarchy through marriage.
David and Bathsheba by Jan Massys (1562)
One of the most famous sculpture at the Louvre – The Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) from 190 B.C.
Below pictures are from the Monalisa gallery which is the most visited hall at the museum.
Below 2 photos are of artwork and ceiling at the museum gift shop and adjoining hallway.
The Egyptian and Near Eastern artifacts wing holds many priceless collection of sculptures, mummy and stone carved artworks.
Exploring the Louvre over multiple days is a wise approach given the vastness of artifacts. The best time to visit is afternoon through evening on weekdays when the tourist rush is bit less. Using the Paris Museum pass will get you multiple day entry to the Louvre along with many other museums and landmarks in and around Paris.
An audio-visual tour of Duomo de Milano
Milan Cathedral (Duomo de Milano) is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy and the third largest in the world.
The main square surrounding the cathedral is a major tourist hub littered with famous fashion stores, the beautiful Victor Emmanuel II mall, museums, concert/event space, a major metro stop and shops and restaurants.
The cathedral tour has 2 sections. The amazing and historic interior. And the beautiful terrace with its Gothic architecture.
Leonardo da Vinci spent a major part of his career in Milan. Some of his engineering works are still in display at the Cathedral.
The sculpture “Saint Bartholomew Flayed” is a major tourist attraction.
A few hundred gargoyles and other smaller statues adorn the exterior of the magnificent cathedral.
Each of the tall aspires is dedicated to a famous person. During the allied bombing campaign in world war II only two aspires were damaged. Milanese attribute that to divine intervention!
The terrace atop the cathedral hosts concert events and offers an amazing view of Milan.
We spent a few days in Florence during our 2017 Italy trip. Below are some pictures we took that highlights this beautiful city. Check out my other blogs about Tuscany for details on some of these sights.
Florence historic city center at night
Hall of the Five Hundred (Palazzo Vecchio)
Italian breakfast at a Florentine cafe
Statues at Plaza del Signoria
A fresco inside the Medici residence
Florence viewed from the Duomo
The Florence Duomo
“Sabine Woman” (Academia Gallery)
Michelangelo’s “David” (Academia Gallery)
Vassari’s painting of Dante’s inferno
Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence and former residence of the famous Medici family. The Medici were defacto ruler of Florence and Tuscany from 14th to 17th century. Their patronage of arts and sciences led to the Renessaince. Consider the following facts to get a better grip of the Medici and Florentine influence in modern civilization.
- Modern Italian language is adopted from Florence
- The greatest Renessaince masters from Donatello to Leonardo, Michelangelo and later Vasari were all financially supported by the Medici.
- International banking and financing practices has it’s roots in Medici bank
- Christopher Columbus expedition to the new world was funded by Seville branch of Medici bank
- Ameriggo Vespucci was a Florentine navigator who first mapped modern North America, the continent named after him
- Gallelio tutored 4 of the Medici kids and initially named Jupiter’s moons after them.
- Machiavelli, the diplomat famous for art of shrewd negotiation, was also from Florence during the Renessaince.
- The poet Dante, whose Inferno shaped the vision of hell, is from Florence. His poem was visualized by Vasari in the roof of Florence Duomo financed by the Medici
- The Medici family produced 4 Pope!
- The Piano was invented at a Medici family music workshop!
Getting to Palazzo Vecchio is a few minutes walk from Florence city center, the historical district . It’s located by the Plaza del Signoria, the historic plaza adorned with sculptures, nice restaurants and shops buzzing with tourists. Cars are not allowed in the city center but it’s very walkable and served by bus and taxi from all over Florence.
Before heading into Palazzo Vecchio, visitors can marvel at the collection of statues at Loggia dei Lanzi. The statues are mostly copies of great masterpieces but the craftsmanship is amazing. Also next to Palazzo Vecchio is the world famous Uffizi Gallery which can take up a few hours to tour. We had dinner at one of the restaurants in Plaza Signoria. Here is a video clip of us exploring Plaza del Signoria.
Exploring Palazzo Vecchio
The entrance to Palazzo Vecchio has 2 imposing statutes including a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Inside the Palazzo, a beautiful courtyard leads to the museums. The first museum is the former residence of the mother of Cozimo de Medici. This connects through a great hall to the main palace rooms and eventually to the grand hall called Salone dei Cinqueciento. Here, magnificent paintings adorn the roof and the walls with work by Vasari and earlier work by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci (now lost). This connects to the private rooms of the Medici family decorated with grand paintings mostly by Vasari and Boticelli.
Click this Video Tour of Palazzo Vecchio to explore more.
Exploring the Florence Duomo
One of the key attractions in Florence is it’s historic Cathedral and the surrounding museums. The Dome (or “Duomo” in Italian) of the cathedral was the largest in the world until modern era. The cathedral itself is 3rd largest and 3rd tallest, and climbing it all the way to the top is an amazing experience.
In this video link I captured our
Climbing the Duomo in Florence .
Halfway to the top of the Dome is a section where visitors are able to walk around a semi circle. Here we can marvel at the roof painting by Vasari in mid-1600s depicting a vision of hell from Dante’s Inferno.
An evening stroll through the historic district is another great way to appreciate the grand and magnificent features of the Duomo, maybe after a dinner and dessert by the Plaza del Signoria nearby!