San Georgio Cloister Gardens

San Georgio AGTB © Alice Joyce

Visiting San Giorgio Maggiore .. Venice .. affords an opportunity to take in fantastic vistas of Venice’s Doges Palace and the lagoon from the church tower. San Giorgio is also the name of the magnificent basilica’s island location. Looking away from Venice from the top of the campanile – the neo-classical bell tower, you’ll feast your eyes on the island of Giudecca, where we stopped to have a mid-day meal in an inviting restaurant facing the Giudecca Canal. One of the most compelling sights I encountered in Venice: Atop the Campanile, I gazed down upon the serene cloisters of the San Giorgio Monastery founded by the Benedictines. The long history of the site includes a massive earthquake in 1223 that leveled the original buildings. Today, the church’s glistening facade – designed by Andrea Palladio in 1566 – is paid homage to by all who appreciate art and architecture.

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The Romance of Sirmione

Villa of Catullus Sirmione Photo © Alice Joyce

Sirmione is a must-see when touring the beguiling array of towns on Lake Garda, although you may want to avoid the weekend crowds during high season especially. An inviting destination that you might include in a tour of Northern Italy, even if spending time on Lake Garda is not in your plan, Sirmione is situated at the tip of a narrow peninsula at the southern end of Lago di Garda, where the cities of Desenzano and Peschiera anchor the lake’s edge to the west and to the east.

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The Magic of Venice: The Tour Begins

Torcello Statuary Photo © Alice Joyce

Cruising by on a vaporetto, sights such as a palazzo’s lavishly adorned facade could make me catch my breath despite being surrounded by activity. And no, I wasn’t tempted to take part in an overpriced gondola ride. Except, that is, when crossing the Few destinations boast the magical atmosphere of Venice. Grand Canal on a gondola traghetto ferry. For E. ,50 – half a Euro. It’s a cool way to be shuttled across, feeling one with the saavvy Venetians who employ this mode of transport as a shortcut. In upcoming features I’ll be touring the great gardens and villas of the Veneto region, the beguiling towns of Lago di Garda, travel tips, and more.

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