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Around Venice

Around Venice

I walked a lot in Venice. (And occasionally took the vaporetto.) The map of the city on my phone contained well over a hundred various points of interest – museums, churches, squares, bridges, etc. – and every day I followed a route that loosely led me from one to another.…

Venice: San Marco

Venice: San Marco

Hardly anyone who comes to Venice – be it for the first time or the fifth time – does not make a beeline for Piazza San Marco. I can’t claim any immunity from being awed by that monumental public space, so my first full day in Venice was almost entirely…

Back from Venice

Back from Venice

With all due respect to the Eternal City, which I not long ago declared the most satisfying place to visit, nothing compares to La Serenissima in terms of delightful walkability. People who have been to Venice only passingly do not realize that the city is not mostly water. Instead, it…

A WH fix in Chicago: Robie House

A WH fix in Chicago: Robie House

A couple of weeks ago I was on a business trip in Chicago. This being my first long-distance foray since Austin, I had to incorporate a bit of sightseeing into the itinerary. As may be easily predicted these days, I focused on the World Heritage places that I had not…

Rome, briefly re-visited

Rome, briefly re-visited

I love Rome! Unsurpassed quality of its historic and artistic treasures aside, it is very likely the most satisfying city in relation to my traveling preferences. I like to walk and see what awaits me beyond the next turn, hoping to find something to admire. Central Rome, like practically nowhere…

A few more from Sicily

A few more from Sicily

A few morning hours on our last day in Sicily allowed us to make a couple of brief stops in additional locations. We first drove up to Castelmola, a veritable balcony over Taormina. Here is the view towards Taormina from one of Castelmola’s terraces. Castelmola is the tiniest of villages,…

Mount Etna (WHS #162)

Chasing World Heritage: #162 (Mount Etna)

It is well covered within this space that we rarely prioritize nature over culture on our travels. Especially whenever exploring a natural wonder veers into could be dangerous territory – such as, for instance, going up an active volcano. My focus in the last decade or so on visiting World…

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Ironic detective stories by Joanna Chmielewska used to be fairly popular in the country of our births when we were young. One of them, Dead Man’s Tale (its Russian-language title translates more literally as “What the Deceased Said”), jumps between various locations in Europe with a short but prominent chapter…

Syracuse, Sicily (WHS #161)

Syracuse, Sicily (WHS #161)

Syracuse is geographically closer to Noto than Catania is, but it enjoys a separate World Heritage recognition as an exceptional record of the development of Mediterranean civilization over three millennia. The WH site is actually a three-part collection that includes the archaeological park of Neapolis over a mile northwest of…

A few from Catania (WHS #160 the end for now)

A few from Catania (WHS #160 part 5)

The second-largest city in Sicily was even less of a certainty on our itinerary than Palazzolo Acreide. It is part of the same Val di Noto World Heritage site as Ragusa, Noto, Scicli, and since a big city always requires a bigger allocation of time, we initially considered leaving it…

Ragusa, Sicily (WHS #160 part 3)

Ragusa, Sicily (WHS #160 part 3)

While Scicli is fairly off the beaten path, Ragusa is a common popular feature on Sicilian itineraries. How can it not be?! Just look at this perspective of a quintessential Sicilian hilltop village. What we see here is Ragusa Ibla – the historic and medieval in topography part of Ragusa.…

Scicli, Sicily (WHS #160 part 2)

Scicli, Sicily (WHS #160 part 2)

Scicli is enough off the beaten track so a fair portion of the WH-focused community considers it a favorite among the towns comprising Val di Noto serial site. It is bright and clean, its compact central area is easy on the eye, and the ratio of locals-to-visitors is higher than…

Noto, Sicily (WHS #160 part 1)

Noto, Sicily (WHS #160 part 1)

In the south-eastern part of Sicily, eight towns comprise the World Heritage serial site of Val di Noto, recognized as a great rebuilding achievement in the decades following the devastating earthquake of 1693, which resulted in surpassing examples of Baroque town planning and architecture. It is a varied collection, ranging…

A few from Austin, TX

A few from Austin, TX

On a business trip – what a concept, no!? – a couple of weeks ago I landed in a part of these United States that I had never been to before. In the Texan capital for less than 2 days, I could carve out an hour and a half in…

Chasing World Heritage: #158 (Agrigento)

Chasing World Heritage: #158 (Agrigento)

The archaeological area of Agrigento (also known as “Valley of the Temples”) is inscribed on the World Heritage list in large part for its Doric temples dominating the erstwhile Greek settlement dating from the 6th century BCE. Temple of Concordia is the undeniable primary highlight of the site, and clearly…

Palermo

Palermo

Quick show of hands – who has Palermo on their must-see-in-your-lifetime list? The capital and largest city of Sicily does not enjoy a highly-recommended status among the travelers (and, like any other place in the South of Italy, is nowhere near the list of most-visited destinations in the country). It…