Monday May 20, 2013
The 13th century Duomo of Siena is one of Italy's top cathedrals. Inside are beautiful frescoes, important art works, and the stunning inlaid marble floor mosaics, only uncovered for a couple months each year. Recently the Gate of Heaven, a series of rooms in the "heavens" of the cathedral, opened to the public and can be visited on a guided tour by reservation only - see Gate of Heaven for details.
Siena: Travel Guide | Top-rated Hotels
Cathedral Interior Photos
Siena Italy Picture © James Martin, Europe Travel
Wednesday May 15, 2013
Fall is a fantastic season to travel in Italy when crowds are thinning and the heat of summer is gone. Here are three unique tours and workshops in Italy scheduled in fall 2013:
More: Why Visit Italy in Fall?
Monday May 13, 2013
The southern Italian seaside town of Otranto, on the Salento Peninsula of Puglia, has an unusual sight in its 11th century cathedral. In 1480, 813 martyrs were beheaded in a Turkish invasion for refusing to give up Christianity and many of their skulls and bones are on display behind the cathedral's altar. On May 12, Pope Francis granted sainthood to the Martyrs of Otranto, whose sainthood had already been approved by Benedict XVI, according to this CBS News article.
Otranto's Cathedral is also worth visiting for its stunning 12th century floor mosaics. The town's charming historic center, still mostly enclosed by its medieval walls, is reminiscent of Greek towns and the castle is said to have been the inspiration for the first Gothic novel ever written. You can see Otranto's location on our Puglia map.
Saturday May 11, 2013
The Festa della Sensa, or Ascension Festival, is one of Venice's most important events. Held on the Sunday after Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, a colorful boat parade goes from Saint Mark's Square to the Lido where a Wedding with the Sea ceremony is held at Saint Nicolo' Church. A gold ring is thrown into the water to symbolize Venice's marriage to the sea. Afterwards a big market is held on the Lido and there are other events including a concert and traditional Venetian rowing races. In 2013 Festa della Sensa takes place on May 12. See program.
The following Sunday is the Vogalonga, an exciting rowing event along the Grand Canal with many different boats and several thousand participants from Venice, elsewhere in Italy, and even outside Italy. In 2012, more than seven thousand rowers in 1800 boats participated in the race. See a video and find out more on the Vogalonga web site.
More May Festivals in Italy