When I was in high school, the name of Sorrento was known to me because of the famous Neapolitean song Torna a Surriento by Luciano Pavarotti. The outset of the song is ‘Vide ‘o mare quant’è bello, spira tantu sentimento’ which means ‘Look at the sea, how beautiful it is, it inspires so many emotions’. From that time, I wondered how beautiful the coast is until in 20 July 2020, I finally visited this place and glimpsed the eternal azureness.
Sorrento is a town located on the Sorrentine Peninsula accessible by the Circumvesuviana rail line from Napoli. It is quite convenient to come here from the Napoli Centrale station with just 3.6 euros. This town has the area of only 9 km2 so there is nothing special to visit here. This is the central area of Sorrento, the Piazza Tasso, named after the poet Torquato Tasso.
The town is surrounded by rough cliffs that rise 55 meters above the sea. The town look like being built on different layers. The town’s weather is the traditional Mediterranean weather; it is rich of vegetation like lemon trees. Lemon is the best choice for making homemade limoncello liqueur in Sorrento because its lemons are extremely aromatic with very few seeds.
The Piazza Sant’Antonino is one square that is close to the Piazza Tasso. There’s a statue of Sant’Antonino in front of the Conservatorio Santa Maria delle Grazie which forms part of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. The color style of many building in this town is light yellow, traditional color of Italien renaissance building.
The Villa Comunale is small park on the cliff with beautifully-manicured gardens and the visitors could see one of the best views of the coast. There is a charged lift here and the visitors could take the lift down to the Marina Piccola coast.
After short thinking, I didn’t take the lift because there is a steep paved road towards the bottom of the cliff. When I travelled in Europe, walk was always my first choise. For me, it was the best way to relax.
This is the transportation area of the marina. When I went down quickly to the bottom of the cliff, I found many travel boats and some crowding restaurants and bars here. Please stop here for a while and enjoy the most beautiful view of Sorrento is in this area.
The visitors could enjoy the beach in the summer, warm sun light and endless blue sky as far eyes can see at the Sorrento coast. Also the stylish houses faraway on the cliff hiding in the trees are remarkable.
Most touriste will come here from Napoli or the coast of Amalfi by boat and rent a chaise longue under sun umbrellas at the sea side. They will bask idly in the bath of sun light for a whole beautiful day accompanied by red wine and beautiful girls.
This is one picture taken at the port. At this moment, when the warm intoxicating winds were blowing ashore, I am staring at the Mount Vesuvius which is visible at the far side of the sea and the sky. The sea reflects the pure azureness of the sky and both of them fuse together. Now it seams that my heart has also melted into this beautiful sea. Just as the song Torna a Surriento extolled ‘ chi ha girato tutto ‘o munno, nun l’ha visto comme’a ccà.’ (Even he has travelled all over the world, he has never seen a sea like this one.)
For myself, travel is like on the way of looking for the new elements that I have never known before. I have to say that if I didn’t know the song Torna a Surriento, I would never come to this new land and would not know how it is. So I have to tell myself endlessly the meaning of the life is ‘always keep on exploring the novelty and your soul will be refreshed.’
Verona is a small city in the west of Venice. It is an old city ruled by the Della Scala Family in 13th and 14th century. Its old history could be traced back to the Roman Empire. Nowadays there are many monuments in the city center built during these periods. That’s why it is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The famous love story of Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona so it attracts many touristes to visit every year.
I arrived at this city on the noon of July 23rd 2020 and afterwards I would catch the train towards Turin in the evening so there are only several hours for me to visit it.
This is the statue of gladiator outside the Verona train station. When I left the station and walked towards the city center, I could see this statue. It seems to tell the visitors that this city has an old history and the culture inherited from the Ancient Rome.
The Portoni della Brà is the town gate, enclosing the Piazza Brà to the south. Originally the Portoni della Brà was not designed as a city gate but as a passageway between the Castelvecchio and the Citadel. Now the last remains of the walls of the former Citadel could be seen. Both the archways and the former citadel were built by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in the 14th century.
When I entered the city gate, I could find this palace at the Piazza Brà. The Palazzo Barbieri looks like the Roman building but it is actually the neoclassical style; it now serves as the town hall. It was designed by Giuseppe Barbieri and was completed by 1848.
In the north of the Piazza Brà, it is the famous Verona arena which is the third largest Roman amphitheatre in Italy. The arena was built in the 1st century AD by the Flavian emperors. The gladiators fought here bloodily for 400 years until the emperor Honorius prohibited the gladiator games in 404 AD. Nowadays, it became a perfect place to see the opera and theatre performances.
This was one old church nearby, the chiesa di san fermo maggiore. Its history could be traced to the 8th century.
这是附近的一座古老教堂San fermo maggiore。它的历史可以追溯到8世纪。
The campanile was completed in the 13th century and contains six bells cast in 1755. It rung with the Veronese bellringing art which is a unique style of ringing church bells that developed around Verona from the eighteenth century. The bells are rung full circle, being held up by a rope and wheel until a note is required.
Near the church I could find the statue of Umberto I who was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his assassination on 29 July 1900. Under his reign, the Triple Alliance with the German Empire and Austria-Hungary was formed. Also Italy has expanded their colonies in Eritrea and Somalia at that time.
Next I visited one square with very old history. The Piazza delle Erbe (Market’s square) was once the town’s forum during the time of the Roman Empire. Now it becomes one crowded marketplace selling clothes qnd small articles. The fountain in this picture is the Fountain Madonna Verona built in 1368 by Cansignorio della Scala. The statue called Madonna Verona was a Roman sculpture dating to 380 AD.
接下来，我参观了一个有着悠久历史的广场。香草广场（Plazza delle Erbe）曾经是罗马帝国时期的广场。现在它变成了一个熙熙攘攘的杂货市场，出售衣服和小物件。这张照片中的喷泉是维罗纳圣女喷泉。它由Cansignorio della Scala于1368年建造。这座雕像是公元380年的罗马雕塑。
In the square, there is one 84 m high bell tower. The Torre dei Lamberti was constructed in 1172. This tower could be seen from the city streets very far away. The main color style of city is brownish red, the tower and archway on the square also follow this pattern.
On the north-western side of Piazza delle Erbe, we could find this Baroque style building Palazzo Maffei in the 15th century. It has five arcades. Over each arcade there is a window with an elegant balcony separated by Ionic semicolumns. There are six sculptures of Greek god on the top of the building. In front of the palace, we could see a white marble column. It is St. Mark’s Lion, symbol of the Republic of Venice.
Near the Piazza delle Erbe, there is another square, the Piazza dei Signori which was surrounded by the main buildings of the former city government, including the court and the seat of power of the Scaliger family. There is one statue of Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the middle of the square. Behind the statue, the yellow building is the Loggia del Consiglio. The Venetian Renaissance style house was built in 1476 by Fra Giocondo. It was decorated with columned double windows and small statues on the roof . The loggia with this kind of decoration is quite popular in Italy.
The Scaliger family ruled in Verona from the 13th to the late 14th century so it has left deep imprints on this city. This is the view of the tombs of Scaliger family. The gothic style tombs are located in a court outside the church of Santa Maria Antica, separated from the street by a wall with iron grilles. The rule of the Scaliger reached its peak during the period of Mastino II (1308-1351) and his son Cansignorio (1334-1375). A statue of the knight locates at the top of the tomb of Cansignorio.
The Santa Maria Antica church is Romanesque in style and dates to 1185, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1117. The original building could be dated back to the end of the period of Lombard domination in the 7th century.
The church has a small bell tower with three bells cast during the 17th century ringing in the Veronese syle.
‘Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene ‘; this is the prologue from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For visitors especially lovers, it is meaningful to follow the steps of Romeo and Juliet and visit their houses. This is the house of Romeo located in an alley, just behind the Scala Family tombs. It looks like a brick castle.
In Shakespear’s play Act 1, Romeo has tested Juliet’s feeling towards him using the metaphor, he said ‘ If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. He uses the metaphors of shrine, and pilgrim which is romantic in the poetry.
This is the Juliet’s house with the most romantic balcony in the world. It was a beautiful Gothic style house from the 14th century. The city of Verona bought the house from the Dal Capello family in 1905 and made it to be a touriste attraction. It was said that the lovers who write down their love vows and stick them on the wall of the house will stay together for the rest of their lives.
In Shakespear’s play Act 1, Juliet answered Romeo with metaphor as well, ‘ Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.’
The so called Juliet balcony actually never existed. It was famous because there was the well known scene ‘ when the moon shone unusually bright, that whilst Romeo was climbing the balcony, the young lady … opened the window … After this they have a conversation in which they declare eternal love to each other. ‘
Of course people are willing to talk delighly of this romantic story for thousands of years and Verona have attracted many touristes looking for romance because of this. There is a bronze statue of Juliet in the small courtyard of the house. It is believed that touching the right breast of the statue will bring luck to all who are trying to find their true love.
When I walked northwards, I arrived at the river side of the Adige River. The five-arch bridge was originally built in the 16th but it was destroyed during the second world war. The bridge nowadays was restored in 1959 based on previous design. It was also a testimony of the city’s history.
I took this picture on the stone bridge. The sight of the city from the bridge has brought my memory to the time of reading Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet. Shakespear has never gone to Verona in his life but he could write such a good story and whelm so many readers in the world. For me I was lucky enough to visit this wonderful land under the pens of Shakespear. My life is always full of imagination and travel is like a way to convert rich imagination to reality.