Chany's Trip to Greece & Italy in 2015

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My 2015 trip was a visit to Greece and Italy

Here are trinkets from my trip to Greece and Italy These can be found on my desk at work. From left to right, the trinkets represent:

    Athens
    Meteora
    Venice
    Pisa
    Mt Vesuvius
    Rome





Here are maps of Greece and Italy showing the places visited on this trip.

    Greece: Athens - Delphi - Meteora - Olympia - Santorini

    Italy: Lake Como - Milan - Venice - Pisa - Florence - Pompeii - Rome




Greece (2015 November 26 - December 6)

The Zappeion is a building in the National Gardens of Athens, Greece. It was conceived in 1869 and used for the 1896 Olympic Games as the Fencing venue. It's current use is for meetings and ceremonies, both official and private.

Here I am sitting in the Panathenaic Stadium, Athens. This stadium was built for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The stadium is located on the site of a stadium used for the Panathenaic Games in ancient times. The stadium is the only one in the world made completely of marble.

Here is another view of the stadium. It is open at one end.

View of Acropolis from the Panathenaic Stadium. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky hill above the city of Athens and contains the Parthenon.

The Parthenon is a temple on the Athens Acropolis that is dedicated to the goddess Athena. Construction of the Parthenon began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC.

It is unfortunate that various events through the years have really made the Parthenon in as bad a shape that it is in now.

View of Athens from the Parthenon. The Theater of Dionysus can be seen below on the south slope of the Acropolis. The Acropolis Museum is in the center of the picture.

Here's a view to the north west with the Ancient Agora of Athens below with the Temple Of Hephaestus.
Here's a view to the north with Lykavittos Hill in the center.


Temple of Hephaestus, located in north-west side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. This temple is well preserved and is considered a miniature version of the Parthenon. Construction started in 450 BC and was completed in 415 BC.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, in Athens. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun. The Acropolis can be seen in the background.

Here I am in the ancient Ampitheatre at Delphi, Greece, about to make a speech to my subjects. It was originally built in the 4th century BC but was remodeled on several occasions since. Its 35 rows can seat 5,000 spectators.

Here is a view of the ampitheatre from above. The Temple of Apollo is just beyond the ampitheatre.

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi. It was erected on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was erected on the site of a 7th-century BC construction attributed to the architects Trophonios and Agamedes. The Oracle resided at this temple; people consulted the Delphic oracle on everything from important matters of public policy to personal affairs. On this day, the Oracle told me nothing!

The Agia Triad Monastery, at Metéora, Greece. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Click here for a picture of the Grand Metéora Monastery, the largest and oldest (circa 1340) of the Monasteries at Metéora.

Click here for a picture of the Monastery Of Rousanoú, currently a convent run by nuns.

View of the town of Kalampaka, from the Agios Stefanos Monastery at Metéora. Spectacular views to be had from the Metéora monasteries.

Click here for the view from the Monastery of Áyios Nikólaos Anapafsás (St. Nicholas).

The Altar of Hera (Queen of the Greek Gods), at Olympia, Greece. It is here the Olympic Flame is lit using the power of the sun for the modern Olympic Games, since 1936.

This is the archway that leads to the ancient Olympic Stadium. As I walked under the arch on my way into the stadium, I could almost hear the cheers of the spectators from over 2500 years ago.

The remains of the ancient Olympic Stadium, in Olympia. The stadium was a holy place for the ancient Greeks, as this is where sporting activities dedicated to Zeus were held. The track is 212.54 m (697.3 ft) long and 28.5 m (94 ft) wide and surrounded by grassy banks on all sides. All the seats were made of mud and on the southern slope (right side of picture) there was a stone platform, the exedra, on which the Hellanodikai, the judges, would sit. Opposite this, on the north slope (left side of picture), was an altar to Demeter Chamyne. The stadium could hold 50,000 spectators. This stadium hosted the shot put competition in the 2004 Olympic Games.

The black sand beach at Kamari, Santorini, Greece, under the mountain of Mesa Vouno, looking north. It appears that I have the beach all to myself!

Here's the view looking south with Mesa Vuono looming above.

Ancient ruins of Thera in Santorini. It is located on top of the 360 meter high Mesa Vouno mountain on the Greek island of Santorini. It was named after the mythical ruler of the island, Theras, and was inhabited from the 9th century BC until 726 AD. Here's another view of the ruins, with the Greek island of Anafi in the background.

Here I am atop the ruins with a view of the villages of Perissa and Agio Georgios and their black sand beaches in the background.

Iconic view of the town of Oia, Santorini. It is located on the north west part of the caldera of the island of Santorini. The distinct white houses are built on the edge of the caldera at a height of between 70 to 100 meters above sea level. There are so many picturesque views to be had!

Of course, here's the obligatory sunset picture from Santorini.




Italy (2015 December 6 - December 16)

The village of Varenna, on Lake Como, Italy. Varenna was founded by local fisherman in 769. This looks like a nice place to relax and take it easy.

Sunset on Lake Como. Lake Como is a retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since the Roman times, and is currently a popular tourist attraction. It is a good place to get away from the craziness of the cities.

The Duomo (Milan Cathedral), in Milan, Italy. Dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity (Santa Maria Nascente), it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the 5th largest church in the world and the second largest in Italy.

It was crazy busy there when we visited, with wall to wall people! No, I did not get pickpocketed!

The City Gate Arch, in Milan. The gate is marked by a landmark triumphal arch called Arco della Pace ("Arch of Peace"), dating back to the 19th century, although its origins can be traced back to a gate of the Roman walls of Milan.

The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. The work is presumed to have been commenced around 1495 and was commissioned as part of a plan of renovations to the church and its convent buildings by Leonardo's patron Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. The painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, as it is told in the Gospel of John, 13:21. Leonardo has depicted the consternation that occurred among the Twelve Disciples when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him.

This is a very popular tourist attraction, so one is limited to 15 minutes of viewing only. There were no "unguided" tickets available, so we were forced to sign up for a guided tour of this painting (at €25 guided versus €8 for unguided).

Here I am on the Ponte degli Scalzi over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. The Ponte degli Scalzi, literally, "bridge of the barefoot [monks]", is one of only four bridges in Venice, Italy, to span the Grand Canal. The bridge connects the sestieri of Santa Croce and Cannaregio.

Here's the view looking the other way (west) on the bridge

The Piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice. It is the iconic square & gathering place dating back to the 12th century & dominated by St. Mark's Basilica and the Campanile di San Marco (an imposing 16th-century square cathedral tower with an angel-topped spire & belfry offering sea views)

The Ponte Dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) in Venice. This marble bridge leads from the Palazzo Ducale to the prison. Yes, I did sigh as I crossed this bridge!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa, Italy), at sunset. It is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt. The 56.67 meter tall tower currently leans at 3.99 degrees; the top of the tower is off by 3.9 meters from center at the top.

The interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Constructed as a bell tower, it is hollow inside. There are 294 steps to the top of the tower.

The floor inside the tower was also leaning towards the south, which made standing inside a little odd.

Here I am standing next to one of the seven bells atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Each bell is tuned for one note of the musical major scale.

The view from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is nice; the Pisa Cathedral is the domed structure located next to the Tower.

Located in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy, this is marble sculpture of the Biblical hero David before he battles Goliath was created by Michaelangelo, and is considered to be one of the greatest sculptures in the world. It was created between 1501 and 1504 and stands 5.17 meters tall.

The Galleria dell'Accademia is an art school, and there were many students sketching the David sculpture; I was inspired and I made my own sketch of the David scupture.

The well preserved ruins of the ancient Ampitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. It has a capacity of 12,000 and hosted events such as circus shows and gladiators.

Remains of a table (with lion carvings) in the House Of Casca Longus, Pompeii. The Impluvium (the basin to the left of the table on the floor) is the rainwater collection basin for the house.

Here I am checking it out.

Frieze in the Villa dei Misteri, Pompeii. The Villa dei Misteri is a well preserved villa outside the city walls of ancient Pompeii. Here is one of the haunting friezes found in the Villa dei Misteri, purported to represent scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus. This scene is of the woman as she prepares for marriage. I found this scene interesting for the way the woman is looking at you, the viewer.

Here are some additional pictures of friezes at the Villa dei Misteri:
  Left Wall
  Center Wall

Me at the caldera of Mount Vesuvius, the destroyer of ancient Pompeii in AD 79. No visit to Pompeii is complete without a visit to the destroyer of Pompeii. Vesuvius is currently listed as an "active" stratovolcano, thus it is expected to erupt again. The last major eruption was in 1944. While I was there, steam and gas was being emitted from the crater.

The Pieta sculpture, by Michaelangelo, in St Peters Basilica, Vatican City. The sculpture depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the crucifixion.

Due to an act of vandalism on the statue back in 1972, it is now behind glass and roped off to be admired from a distance. This was as close as I could get!

Inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. It was also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre or Colosseo. It is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering ever.

The ancient Roman Forum ruins, in Rome. It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men.

Click here for a video (50 MB) showing the expanse of the Roman Forum ruins.



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