Month: June 2010

Florence, Italy

A- Overview:
Florence (Firenze in Italian) is the capital of the region of Tuscany, on Italy’s northwest coast. Florence is a small city, located in the Arno River valley, and surrounded by olive-planted hills on the north and south. It extends west and slightly east along the Arno valley with suburbs and light industry. The centro storico (historic center), where visitors spend most of their time, is a tight tangle of medieval streets and piazze (squares). Most of Florence, and the majority of the tourist sites, lie north of the river, within a vintage artisan’s working-class neighborhood wedged between the Arno and the hills on the south side.

The center is encircled by a traffic ring of wide boulevards, known as the Viali, that were created in the late 1800s by tearing down the city’s medieval walls. Since the 14th century the cultural heart of the city has been the Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio (Town Hall), the Uffizi Gallery and a large number of publicly displayed world famous sculptures.

In the Renaissance period, Florence was one of the most powerful and influential of the city states. The wealthy and powerful de’ Medici family ruled the city almost continuously from 1434 to 1743 and had a great influence on the architecture and arts. They built many palaces and commissioned such artists as Michelangelo to design and decorate them.

In fact, Florence is called the capital of the arts. From the 13th to the 16th century it was a seemingly endless source of creative masterpieces and Italian genius. Both Dante and Michelangelo were born there. Boccaccio wrote his ‘Decameron’ in Florence. The Italian Renaissance (Europe’s richest cultural period ) began in Florence when the artist Brunelleschi finished the Duomo, the cathedral, with the huge dome.

Florence is also a city of incomparable indoor pleasures. Its chapels, galleries and museums are an inexhaustible treasure, capturing the complex, often elusive spirit of the Renaissance more fully than any other place in the country.

Florence is a walking city. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll between the two most often visited sights, the Duomo and the Uffizi, in less than five minutes. The walk from the most northerly point, San Marco with its Fra’ Angelico frescoes and the Accademia with Michelangelo’s David, to the most southerly, the Pitti Palace across the Arno, should take no more than 30 minutes. From Santa Maria Novella rail station across town to Santa Croce is an easy 20 to 30 minute walk.

Most of the streets were designed to handle the moderate pedestrian traffic and occasional horse-drawn cart of a medieval city. Sidewalks, where they exist, are narrow; often less than two feet wide. Though much of the centro storico is supposedly closed to traffic, taxis, residents with parking permits, people without permits who drive there anyway, and the endless stream of noisy motorini (mopeds) still enter, drive and park.

Planning is extremely important when visiting Florence. Most visitors come to the city with a common purpose: to spend hours viewing and absorbing the beauty and wonder of Florentine works of art and architecture. However, trying to pack too much into a single, brief visit can result in cultural overload. Florence is not the choice of those seeking a seaside resort or a holiday with small children. Older children, well disciplined, and well prepared, can benefit from accompanying their parents on a tour of the museums, palaces, and churches, but interest for most youngsters will rapidly wane in the crush of crowds and intense heat of the small city. Adult tempers will fray as well. Boboli Gardens can provide a respite from the heat and activity, but the landscaped grounds of the Pitti Palace are designed to rest the eyes and delight the imagination. It is not primarily a playground.

Festivals, shopping, feasts for the senses along every street, in every square, and in every museum: these are the gifts Florence offers to the visitor.

Tuscany is known for its fine culinary traditions – in particular, its olive oil, meat dishes and classic Chianti. Restaurants of every type, offering bills of fare ranging from fast food to world-class cuisine abound, and there are clusters of little cafés in every neighborhood. Tuscan food is simple and excellent with a variety of bean dishes, soups, pork dishes, grilled meats and vegetables. Fine Tuscan wines accompany the meal.

The Tuscan economy is rooted in craft traditions. The top designers of Milan use the textile factories of Florence for the execution of their designs. Gold working has been perfected over the centuries in workshops near the Ponte Vecchio, where jewelry is produced that is sold throughout Europe. Visitors will find a beautiful assortment of leather goods, including shoes, as well. Marbled paper, handmade perfumes and toiletries, decorative ceramic pieces, and sculpture are also locally produced.

When planning a visit to Tuscany, put its small geographical size and its many opportunities for exploration in perspective, and allow time to savor its infinite possibilities.

B- City Information:
Population:
Approximately 380,000. Visitors: over 3 million annually.

Time Zone:
Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: (plus two hours in summer) Time in Florence is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.

Newspapers & Magazines:
International Herald Tribune and USA Today can be purchased from almost any newsstand . The Wall Street Journal Europe and the London Times, along with Time and Newsweek magazines are available at most larger kiosks. There’s a 24-hour newsstand in the train station.

Passports & Visas:
All U.S., British, and Canadian citizens, even infants, need only a valid passport to enter Italy for stays of up to 90 days. A Visa is not required.

Telephones:
The country code for Italy is 39. The area code for Florence is 055. When calling from abroad, the 0 should be left out. Example: a call from New York City to Florence would be dialed as follows: 011 + 39 + 55 + phone number.

Long Distance:
Hotels tend to charge very high rates for long-distance and international calls. It is best to make such calls from Telefoni offices, where operators will assign you a booth, help you place your call, and collect payment when you have finished, at no extra charge. Telefoni offices are designated “Telecom.” You can make collect calls from any phone by dialing 172-1011, which connects to an English-speaking operator. Rates to the United States are lowest round the clock on Sunday and 11 PM-8 AM, Italian time, on weekdays. When calling from pay telephones, insert a 200-lire coin (which will be returned upon completion of your call).

Operators & Information:
For general information in English, dial 176. To place calls from one European country to another via operator-assisted service, dial 15. To place intercontinental telephone calls via operator-assisted service (or for intercontinental information), dial 170 or long-distance access numbers. When calling from the United States, dial the international access code, 011, then the country code, the “city code,” and the rest of the number.

Telephone Country & City Codes: The country code for Italy is 39. What used to be Florence’s city code of 055- is now an integral part of every phone number. You must always dial it–including the initial zero–even when calling to another number from within Florence itself. Additional numbers are expected to be issued in Florence that start with numerals other than 055-.

Currency:
Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores.

Customs Regulations:
Telephone 055: 06 49711 for information.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
High Low
January – March 55F 32F
April – June 79F 48F
July – September 82F 61F
October – December 63F 36F

When to Go:
The main tourist season runs from April to mid-October. The best months for persons wishing to avoid crowds are from fall to early spring. April, May, June, September, and October, are generally pleasant and not too hot. The hottest months are July and August, when brief afternoon thunderstorms are common. Winters are relatively mild but always include some periods of rain. Tourists crowd Florence at Easter, when Italians flock to resorts and to the country. From March through May, busloads of eager schoolchildren on excursion travel to Florence. If you can avoid it, don’t chose to travel in Italy in August, when many store and restaurant owners close for a vacation., especially around Ferragosto, the August 15 national holiday. (Of course, with residents away on vacation, there are fewer crowds.)

Packing:
The weather is considerably milder in Florence than in the north and central United States or Great Britain. In summer, take clothing that is as light as possible, although a sweater may be necessary in evening. Brief summer afternoon thunderstorms are common, so carry an umbrella. During the winter bring heavy clothes, gloves, hats, and boots. Central heating may not provide consistent warmth, and interiors can be cold and damp. Take wools or flannel rather than sheer fabrics. Bring sturdy shoes for winter, and comfortable walking shoes in any season.

Italians dress neatly and dress well. They do not usually wear shorts in the city. Men aren’t required to wear ties or jackets anywhere, except in some of the more exclusive hotel dining rooms and top-level restaurants, but are expected to look reasonably attired. Formal wear is the exception rather than the rule at the opera, though people in expensive seats usually do get dressed up. Dress codes are strict for visits to churches. Women must cover bare shoulders, but no longer need to cover their heads. Shorts are not acceptable church attire for men or women. Take your own soap if you stay in budget hotels, as many do not provide it or else give guests only one tiny bar per room.

Taxes
IVA Value-added tax (IVA), is 12% on clothing, 19% on luxuries. On most consumer goods, it is already included in the amount shown on the price tag, whereas on services, it may not be.

To get an IVA refund, when you are leaving Italy take the goods and the invoice to the customs office at the airport or other point of departure and have the invoice stamped. (If you return to the United States or Canada directly from Italy, go through the procedure at Italian customs; if your return is, say, via Britain, take the Italian goods and invoice to British customs.) Under Italy’s IVA-refund system, a non-EU resident can obtain a refund of tax paid after spending a total of 300,000 lire in one store (before tax-and note that price tags and prices quoted, unless otherwise stated, include IVA). Shop with your passport and ask the store for an invoice itemizing the article(s), price(s), and the amount of tax. Once back home-and within 90 days of the date of purchase-mail the stamped invoice to the store, which will forward the IVA rebate to you. A growing number of stores in Italy (and Europe) are members of the Tax-Free Shopping System, which expedites things by providing an invoice that is actually a Tax-Free Check in the amount of the refund. Once stamped, it can be cashed at the Tax-Free Cash refund window at major airports and border crossings.

National and Local Holidays:
Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan. 6 – Epiphany
Good Friday and Easter Monday dates vary each year – Mar. or April
April 25 – (Liberation Day);
1st Mon. of May – Labor Day
Many businesses and shops in Florence may be closed on June 24, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint.
June 29 – SS. Peter and Paul’s Day
August 15 – Feast of the Assumption; also known as Ferragosto
November 1 – All Saints’ Day
December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Dec. 25 – Christmas Day
Dec. 26 – St. Stephen’s Day, Boxing Day

Electricity: To use U.S.-purchased electric-powered equipment, bring a converter and an adapter. The electrical current in Italy is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take plugs with two round prongs.

Police:
For emergencies, dial 112 for the Carabinieri (police). To report lost property or passport problems, call the questura urban police headquarters at 055–49-771.

Emergencies: Dial 113 for an emergency of any kind, dial an ambulance at 118, and report a fire at 115. All these calls are free from any 055. For car breakdowns, call ACI at 116.

Hospitals:
Tourist Medical Service, Via Lorenzo il Magnifico 59, north of the city center between the Fortezza del Basso and Piazza della Libert` 055–475-411, is open 24 hours; take bus no. 8 or 80 to Viale Lavagnini or bus no. 12 or night bus no. 91 to Via Poliziano. Socialized medicine enables a person with an illness that is not an emergency to receive care at most Italian hospitals, speedily with no insurance questions asked, no forms to fill out, and no fee charged. A prescription is dispensed by medical personnel. The most central are the Arcispedale di Santa Maria Nuova 055–27-581, a block northeast of the Duomo on Piazza Santa Maria Nuova, and the Misericordia Ambulance Service 055–212-222 for ambulance on Piazza del Duomo across from Giotto’s bell tower.

For a free translator to help you describe your symptoms, explain the doctor’s instructions, and aid in medical issues in general, call the Associazione Volontari Ospedalieri (AVO) at 055–425-0126 or 055–234-4567 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 4 to 6pm and Tuesday and Thursday 10am to noon.

Pharmacies:
For pharmacy information, dial 110. There are 24-hour pharmacies also open Sundays and state holidays in Santa Maria Novella train station 055–216-761; ring the bell between 1 and 4am; at Piazza San Giovanni 20r, just behind the Baptistry at the corner of Borgo San Lorenzo 055–211-343; and at Via Cazzaiuoli 7r, just off Piazza della Signoria 055–289-490.

Luggage Storage/Lockers:
Travelers can leave bags at Santa Maria Novella train station for a fee per bag for each 12-hour period; deposit payable up front. It’s open daily 4:30am to 1:30am.

Getting Around:

By air
The city is served by two airports: Amerigo Vespucci is a few miles northwest of the city center, and Galileo Galilei (for international flights) in Pisa is about 46mi west of the city. Galilei has regular connections to London, Paris, Munich and major Italian cities.

Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci
Via del Termine, 11 – 055. 373.498
www.safnet.it

Aeroporto Galileo Galilei
Pisa 050-500707
www.pisa-airport.com

A city bus runs every 20 minutes from the main train station to Amerigo Vespucci airport. There is frequent train service between the main station and Galileo Galilei airport.

By Train
Trains from all over Italy arrive and depart from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Station. The pendolino (rapid intercity trains) uses Florence’s Rifredi Statiion. There are many passes that can be purchased to effect great savings on rail travel. Always buy a ticket before you board the train, as there is a surcharge for purchasing on the train. Telephone reservations are not accepted, but many trains require advance booking. There are often long lines at the ticket window. The solution is to have the reservation booked by a travel agent. There are Eurail and InterRail cards that can be purchased before you depart the United States. These may still require a supplemental fee. Tickets for local rail travel can be purchased at news stands. Italy’s State Railway (FS) has a train for every type of journey. Florence is connected by train to Rome, Milan, Venice, Trieste, Verona, Bologna and Pisa.

By Bus
There are also two bus stations. For international services, which go all over Europe, you need the Lazzi station – buses to Rome also go from this station. For domestic services to Siena, Arezzo, Castellina and all over Tuscany, go to the SITA station. Buses (autobus) are useful only to reach outlying destinations or to get to your hotel with luggage. Florence is a walkable city, and many first-timers coming from Rome or Milan misjudge distance and hop on a bus only to find themselves in the suburbs or hills within minutes.

The train station is the city’s bus hub, and many buses pass through Piazza San Marco as well, but the pedestrian zone historic center isn’t well serviced, though the new electric minibuses A, B, C, and D do go into it. A single ticket is good for 60 minutes. There are also a 3-hour ticket, a 24-hour ticket, and a 3-day pass. You can ride unlimited buses within the time limits: just stamp one end in the orange box on the first bus you board. Tickets are available at newsstands and tabacchi tobacconists shops, marked by a white “T” against brown.

Ask the tourist office for a bus map. Regular buses run daily between 5:30 and 8am to between 7 and 9pm. Night buses include nos. 67, 68, and 71 running 9pm to 1am and no. 70 running 12:30 to 6am from the main train station through the center to the suburban Campo Marte station where some express and night trains stop. For more information, contact the ATAF at Piazza della Stazione and Piazza del Duomo 57 055–565-0222; www.comune.firenze.it/ataf

By Bicycle
Though traffic can be heavy on the narrow streets, the city is mainly flat and not bad for biking.

By Car
Trying to drive in the centro storico is a frustrating, useless exercise. Florence is a maze of one-way streets and pedestrian zones, and it takes experience to know which laws to break in order to get where you need to go. You need a permit to do anything beyond dropping off and picking up bags at your hotel. Again, Florence is a walking town, so park your vehicle in one of the huge underground lots on the center’s periphery and pound the pavement. If you’re traveling by car, you can take the A1 to Bologna and Milan in the north or Rome and Naples in the south.

By Motorcycle & Moped:
Motorini mopeds are the Italian way to get around and can be especially useful for exploring the hills

By Taxi:
Taxis aren’t cheap, and with the city so small and the one-way system forcing drivers to take convoluted routes, they aren’t an economical way to get about town. Taxis are most useful to get you and your bags between the train station and your hotel in the centro storico. There’s a taxi stand outside the train station; otherwise you have to call for one a Radio Taxi at 4242, 4798, or 4390.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Enjoy Florence
Via del Canneto 7
167-274-819 or 800-274-819
Runs 3-hour walking tours of the centro storico Monday to Saturday leaving at 10am from the Thomas Cook office off the Ponte Vecchio.

I Bike Italy
055–234-2371
Offers leisurely 1-day bike tours of the Tuscan countryside one up to Fiesole pausing for a picnic, the other into the Chianti wine region and a 2-day bike trip from Florence to Siena.

The Accidental Tourist
Tel 055–699-376 or 0348-659-0040;
Fax 055–699-048
Offers either a bike ride through the hills around Florence with a countryside meal or a cooking course and lunch in the Chianti by bus.

Some Areas Outside Florence that are of Interest:

Fiesole
In the hilly valleys between the Arno and Mugnone rivers, Fiesole offers spectacular views of nearby Florence and a welcome retreat from the city’s crowded streets. This is a place to study the area’s Etruscan, Roman and Renaissance past in comfort and quiet. Fiesole has an impressive art museum and an archaeological site featuring an Etruscan temple and the remains of a Roman theatre and baths. Fiesole is especially popular as a picnic spot, and its fascinating winding streets invite exploration and walking.

Medici Villas
The Medicis built several opulent villas throughout the countryside around Florence during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Villa della Petraia, about 3.5km north of the city, is one of the finest. It was commissioned by Cardinal Ferdinand de’ Medici in 1576, and features magnificent gardens.

Mugello Region
Northeast of Florence, the Mugello features some of the most original villages in Tuscany. The Sieve River which winds through the grape-filled valley is popular with canoeists.

Prato
Prato was founded by the Ligurians but was taken over by the Etruscans and the Romans. In the 11th century it was an important wool production center, and today it is still one of Italy’s major textile producers. The old, walled city contains palaces, a municipal art gallery and a magnificent cathedral, with a façade by della Robbia and frescoes by Filippo Lippi, Uccello and Gaddi.. The center also features an imperial castle, built during the 13th century.

Areas of Florence:

The Duomo
The area surrounding Florence’s cathedral is central to the rest of the city. The Duomo is halfway between the two great churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce and as at the midpoint between the Uffizi Galleries and the Ponte Vecchio to the south and San Marco and the Accademia Gallery with Michelangelo’s David to the north. The streets north of the Duomo are long and often clogged with traffic, and those to the south are a tangle of alleys and tiny squares leading toward Piazza della Signoria.

This is one of the most historic parts of town, and the streets still vaguely follow the grid laid down when the city began as a Roman colony. Via degli Strozzi/Via dei Speziali/Via del Corso was the decumanus maximus, the main east-west axis; Via Roma/Via Calimala was the key north-south cardo maximus. The site of the Roman city forum is today’s Piazza della Repubblica.

Currently thesquare is lined with cafés. It was laid out by demolishing the Jewish Ghetto during Italian unification in the late 19th century. With the discovery of the lighting properties of neon gas, it bloomed with unattractive signs. Fortunately, these have all been removed. The area surrounding it is one of Florence’s main shopping zones. The Duomo neighborhood offers a range of hotels from five-star luxury inns to student hostels.

Piazza Della Signoria
This is the city’s civic heart and very popular with museum goers. It is the location of the Uffizi Galleries, Bargello sculpture collection, and the Ponte Vecchio which leads toward the Pitti Palace. Its clean, but narrow medieval streets are those where Dante grew up.. The few blocks just north of the Ponte Vecchio are known for the good shopping that is to be found there. Much of the area was destroyed during World War II and rubble was replaced with nondescript, modern buildings. Crowds press in during the warm weather months, yet it remains the romantic heart of pre-Renaissance Florence.

San Lorenzo & the Mercato Centrale
This small wedge of streets between the train station and the Duomo, centered around the Medici’s old church of San Lorenzo with its Michelangelo-designed tombs, is filled with markets. The vast indoor food market is here, and most of the streets are filled daily with hundreds of stalls where vendors loudly proclaim the attributes of leather jackets and other wares. It’s a colorful neighborhood, and definitely not the quietest.

Piazza Santa Trinita
This piazza is just off the river at the end of Florence’s shopping district, Via de’ Tornabuoni, home to Gucci, Armani, Ferragamo, Versace, to name a few. The ancient narrow streets running out either side of the square are lined with the top names in high fashion. It’s very pleasant, well-to-do, but still medieval. If you are in Florence to shop, there is no better place to be.

Santa Maria Novella
This neighborhood, bounding the western edge of the centro storico, has a rundown zone around Santa Maria Novella train station and a more attractive tourist area south of it between the church of Santa Maria Novella and the river. In general, the train station area is the least attractive part of town. Piazza Santa Maria Novella and its tributary streets contain a somewhat bohemian nightlife scene. Two of Florence’s premier inns, the Excelsior and the Grand, are on the Arno at Piazza Ognissanti, just south of the train station

San Marco & Santissima Annunziata
These two churches are fronted by Piazza San Marco, now a busy traffic center, and Piazza Santissima Annunziata. Together they define the northern limits of the centro storico. The neighborhood is home to the University, Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, the San Marco monastery, and long quiet streets.

Santa Croce
This eastern edge of the centro storico runs along the Arno. The Santa Croce church contains many fine examples of Florentine art. The area’s western edge abuts the medieval district around Piazza della Signoria. Via Bentacordi/Via Torta actually trace the outline of the old Roman amphitheater. Much of the district was rebuilt after World War II in long blocks of yellow plaster buildings with residential shops and homes. This neighborhood also contains some of the best restaurants in the city.

The Oltrarno
“Across the Arno” is the artisans’ neighborhood, packed with workshops with craftspeople hand-carving furniture and hand-stitching leather gloves. It began as a working-class neighborhood to catch the overflow from the expanding medieval city on the Arno’s opposite bank, but it also became center for the building of palaces at the edge of the countryside. The largest of these, the Pitti Palace, later became the home of the grand dukes and today houses a group of museums second only to the Uffizi. Behind it visitors can enjoy the baroque fantasies of the Boboli Gardens, Florence’s best known park. Masaccio’s frescoes in Santa Maria della Carmine were some of the most influential of the early Renaissance.

The Brownings lived at Oltrarno from just after their secret marriage in 1847 until Elizabeth died in 1861. The Oltrarno’s lively tree-shaded center, Piazza Santo Spirito, is a lined with bars and restaurants, and good nightlife. Its Brunelleschi-designed church, Santo Spirito, is stunning in its sinmplicity.

In the Hills
From just about anywhere in the center of Florence, it is apparent that the city ends abruptly to the north and south, replaced by green hills spotted with villas, small farms, and the expensive modern homes of the upper-middle class. To the north rises Monte Ceceri, mined for the soft gray pietra serena that accented so much of Renaissance architecture and home to the village of Settignango, where Michelangelo began his life. The Etruscan village of Fiesole, was here long before the Romans built Florence in the valley below. Across the Arno, the hills surrounding the Oltrarno are dotted with little patches of fields and farms. The hills offer some of the best walks around the city.

There is little or no public transportation available in the hill country. This can be an advantage in terms of serenity and privacy, but it does curtail visits to the city for those who have come to sightsee.

Notable Florentine Sculpture in the Plazza della Signoria:
The plaza is an outdoor sculpture gallery, which, with the Palazzo Vecchio, has been at the center of Florentine politics since the 14th century. Citizens gathered there when called to a public meeting (parlamento) by the Palazzo’s great bell. Some of the statues are originals, others are copies. All commemorate the city’s historical events. Many are linked to the rise and fall of the Florentine Republic. during which the religious leader, Savonarola, was burned at the stake.

Fontana dei Neptuno Neptune Fountain:
1560-75, created by Bartolomeo Ammannati as a tribute to Cosimo I’s naval ambitions but nicknamed by the Florentines Il Biancone, “Big Whitey.” The highly Mannerist bronzes surrounding the basin are much finer pieces of sculpture, probably because a young Giambologna participated in their creation.

At the piazza’s south end, beyond the long U that opens down the Uffizi, is one of the square’s earliest embellishments: the 1376-82 Loggia dei Lanzi, named after the Swiss guard of lancers lanzi Cosimo de’ Medici stationed here. The airy loggia was probably built on a design by Andrea Orcagna another is the Loggia della Signoria. The three huge arches of its simple harmonious form were way ahead of the times, an architectural style that really belongs to the Renaissance.

Perseus for many years stood in the arcade holding out the severed Medusa’s head before him. The open arcade of the Uffizi is filled with statuary. The front left corner was the former prize position of Benvenuto Cellini’s masterpiece in bronze. In 1996, Perseus was removed from the place it had occupied since Cellini finished it in 1545 and taken to the Uffizi labs for cleaning.. A copy will take its place in the outdoor area.

Rape of the Sabines:
On the far right of the loggia is Giambologna’s the last great piece of original statuary left on the piazza. This marble group is one of the most successful Mannerist sculptures in existence. A walk around the piece provides a chance to appreciate its action and artistry from different angles.

Caffe Rivoire:
And, finally, a resting place at which to enjoy a cup of coffee or an ice cream and observe and absorb the wonders of the Piazza della Signoria.

Archeological Museum:
Villa della Colonna 36
055-23575
Tues-Sat 9-2 Sun. 9-8

The Museum garden:
The Museum is situated in Palazzo della Crocetta (with its unusual design in the shape of the cross), which was built by Giulio Parigi for the Archduchess Maria Maddalena d’Austria (1620). Entrance is from Via della Colonna near piazza SS.Anunziata, where there is also a railed-off garden containing several Etruscan tombs that have been reconstructed using as much of the original material as possible. It is one of the most important museums in the world in terms of displaying the art and civilization of the Etruscan. It contains many fine examples of Greek art as well.

The Egyptian Museum is on the first floor; the collection was formed by merging the Nizzoli and Schiapparelli collections. Additionally, a series of excavations carried out between 1828-29 by Ippolito Rossellini with François Champollion, the scholar who decoded hieroglyphics provided material for the collection. A victim of the 1966 flood, the museum has since been carefully restored and is now able to exhibit all of its treasures to the public.

Badia Fiorentina:
Via Dante Alighieri and Via del Proconsolo
055-287-389
Admission Free. Open for Mass only.
The slender pointed bell tower of this Benedictine abbey founded in A.D. 978 is one of the landmarks of the Florentine skyline. Arnolfo di Cambio was responsible for a late Romanesque overhaul of the church in 1284-1310, but Matteo Segaloni completely reconstructed the interior in the Baroque style in the 17th century.

It was here, some say, that Dante first saw his beloved Beatrice, and where Boccaccio used to lecture on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The church’s best known work is a 1485 Filippino Lippi painting of the Madonna Appearing to St. Bernard. An unmarked door on the right side of the sanctuary leads to the stairs to the upper loggia of the Chiostro degli Aranci. Bernardo Rossellino designed these cloisters 1432-38, and they contain an anonymous 15th-century fresco cycle on the Life of St. Benedict.

Baptistry San Giovanni:
Piazza del Duomo
055-230-2885
Mon-Sat 12:30-6:30; Sun: 8:30-1:30, on Sunday 9-12.30.
The city’s oldest monument, built in the 4th or 5th century. Once it was even believed to date from the Roman times. The round arched Romanesque decoration on the exterior dates from between 1059 and 1150. It was encased with marble in the 11th or 12th century. The dome has an inside diameter of 25 meters (82ft) and is decorated with 13th century mosaics.

The Bardini Museum:
Piazza de’ Mozzi
055-234-2427
9-2; Sun. 8-1
A short walk from Piazza Poggi along Lungarno Serristori or Via San Niccolò in the direction of the city center. Built in the 19th century, the palace itself is unusual because all the doors, windows, architraves and wooden ceilings used for its construction came from destroyed churches or villas. The Museum, which was opened in 1925, contains many interesting works of art, among them the marble Charity by Tino da Camaino (1329 c.), the Archangel St. Michael by Antonio del Pollaiolo and a recently restored Crucifixion, dating from the 13th century: painted several decades before Cimabue and a Madonna attributed to Donatello. The museum was originally the house and warehouse of antiquarian and art collector Stefano Bardini (1836-1922) who left it and all its contents to the people of Florence.

Brancacci Chapel:
Piazza del Carmine
(Not accessible for disabled)
055- 2382195
10-5; Holidays 1-5
Closed Tuesdays
The Church of St. Mary of Carmine is famous for The Life of St. peter frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, which were commissioned around 1424. The scenes placed the artist, Masaccio at the forefront of Renaissance painting. Many great artists, including Leonardo and Michelangelo later visited the chapel to study his work.

Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels):
Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini
055- 2388602
8.30-5
Holidays 8.30-1:30
Admission charged.

San Lorenzo:
The church of St Lawrence is probably Florence’s oldest church, consecrated by St Ambrosia in 393. Rebuilt in the 11th century and built in its present shape 1442-1446 to a harmonious design by Brunelleschi, as a mausoleum for the Medici family.

Cardinal Giulio de’Medici, who later became Pope Clement VII, commissioned Michelangelo to build a new burial chapel for the Pope’s father, Giuliano; his father’s brother, and two deceased cousins. The result is the new Sacristy: a cascade of cut marble and semiprecious stones–jasper, alabaster, mother-of-pearl, agate. The work on the chapel, sacristy, and mausoleum kept marble workers employed for several hundred years.

Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana:
Through the San Lorenzo cloistered garden (by Brunelleschi) you can enter the library that was founded by Cosimo il Vecchio. It has a rich collection of medieval manuscripts and Renaissance editions of classic works . One of Michelangelo’s most important designs, (1524-1578).

Casa Buonarroti:
Via Ghibellina 70
055–241-698
www.casabuonarroti.it
Though Michelangelo Buonarroti never actually lived in this palazzo, he did own the property and left it to his nephew Lionardo. Lionardo named his own son after his famous uncle, and this younger Michelangelo became very devoted to the memory of his namesake, converting the house into a museum and hiring artists to fill it with frescoes honoring his uncle.

Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella:
Plaza di Santa Maria Novella
055-210113
Church hours: 7-11:30am and 3:30-6pm Mon-Sat. Check for weekend hours
Museum hours: 9-2 Mon-Thurs. Check for weekend hours.
The Church of St. Mary Novella was founded by the Dominicans in the 13th century. Alberti built the white and green marble facade in the 15th century. The frescoes depict the Dominicans as the slender, fast running breed of hunting dogs known as “whippets.” The idea was to illustrate their virtues as “hounds of God rounding up the ‘stray sheep.'”

The Spanish chapel has dramatic frescoes following the theme of salvation and damnation. Dante’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy inspired the 14th century frescoes in the Strozzi Chapel. The Tornabuoni Chapel contains frescoes depicting The Life of John the Baptist. As was commonly done, the artists inserted Florentine notables and contemporary costume into their work. This is where the young noblemen and women in the beginning part of Boccaccio’s masterpiece ‘Decameron’ locked themselves in, to avoid contact with the 14th century plague, and told each other stories.

Church of Saint Mark:
Piazza di San Marco
055-287628
Church: 7-12:30 and 4-8pm
Museum: 9-2 Tues-Sun.
The original structure dates from 1100. It became the Church and Monastery of St. Mark in 1299, later passing under the protection of the Medici family in the early 15th century when Cosimo the Elder started using it regularly for his spiritual retreats. The church had been taken over by the Dominican friars a few years earlier and Cosimo gave Michelozzo the commission of restoring it (1436-43).

Fra Angelico, a friar and artist who, like Giotto, came from the Mugello, lived at the monastery during this period (

The Church of San Minias al Monte:
Via del Monte alle Croci
8-noon and 2-7: summer
8-noon and 2:30-6: winter
Built in 1018 and continued until 1207, over the shrine of the early Christian martyr, St. Minias, the church is one of the finest examples of pure Florentine Romanesque architecture. The facade was fashioned out of white Carrara and green Prato marble (12th-13th centuries) and divided into two sections linked together by inlaid geometric patterning, in the same system used during the Roman Empire for building walls. Palazzo dei Vescovi or the Bishops’ Palace stands on the right. It can be visited by ringing at the door inside the church and is staffed by Olivetan monks, who also take care of the basilica.

Church of SS.Annunziata:
Piazza della SS. Annunziata
055-239-8034
7-12:30 and 4-6:30 Mon-Sat
4-5:30 Sun.
The church stands on the site of the oratory of the Servi di Maria (1235) which was built around the image of Our Lady of the Annunciation by seven young noblemen who decided to take monastic vows and give up worldly pleasures. As a further sacrifice, they later founded the Monastery of Monte Senario, above Fiesole. Michelozzo built the First Cloister in the mid 15th century. The main body of the Church, started in 1440 by Michelozzo and Pagno Portigiani, was later altered by Alberti.

Collezione della Ragione (Modern Art Collection):
Piazza Signoria, 5 (above the Casa di Risparmio bank)
(Not accessible for disabled)
055- 283078
9-2 and on Holidays 8-1l; Closed Tuesdays
Still lifes by DePisis, landscapes by Carlo Carra, Tuscan landscapes by Mario Mafai, Antonio Donghi an d Ottone Rosai, paintings by Renato Guttuso, and Emilio Vedova.

Convento di San Marco:
Dominican convent and church, built for Cosimo il Vecchio and his son Lorenzo il Magnifico, by Michelozzo, in early Renaissance style, 1437-1452. The convent walls are decorated by one of its friars, Fra Angelico, in late Gothic style, 1400-1455 (Museo di San Marco). The Baroque church facade dates from 1780, the church interior was constructed in the 16th and 17th century.

Frescoes:
Frescoes were made by painting onto a thin layer of damp, freshly laid plaster. (Fresco means “fresh”). Pigments were drawn into the plaster by surface tension, and the color became fixed as the plaster dried. The pigments reacted with the lime in the plaster to produce strong, vivid colors. Because the colors do not lie close to the surface, restorers are able to clean the plaster and remove soot and grime to reveal the original, embedded colors. Artists used rare, costly minerals to create the bright pigments. The base coat of plaster was made of clay, hair , sand and lime and called “arriccio.” The top or finish coat of plaster was lime based and of a fine quality. It was called “intonaco.”

Galleria dell’Accademia:
Via Ricasoli, 60
9-2 closed on Monday.
The Accademia di Belle Arti was founded in 1563 and was Europe’s first school of drawing. The Academy Gallery houses works of Italian sculptors like Michelangelo (main gallery), including the original David. After an attempted hammer attack by a disturbed visitor in 1991, the masterpiece was relegated to a protective position behind a fence of Plexiglas. It is a little harder to view the statue under the present circumstances, but it is still possible to study its perfect form and fluid movement.

History of Photography Museum:
Via della Vigna Nuova, 16
055- 218975
10-19.30 daily; Fri./Sat. 10-23.30
Closed Wednesdays
This museum is devoted to the history of photography. Exhibits come from the archives of the Alinari brothers who founded the world’s first photography society in 1852.

Loggia del Bigallo:
In the 15th century homeless or lost children were publicly displayed under this portico. When no parents claimed them for three days, they were taken to a foster family. built between 1352 and 1358 by Alberto Arnoldi. The paintings that used to be on the facade are now exhibited in a museum inside. They show the life of St Peter Martyr, who founded the Compagnia Maggiore di St-Maria del Bigallo to fight heresy.

Marino Marini Museum:
Piazza S. Pancrazio
(Disabled access)
055- 219432
10-1 and 3-6 (summer)
Closed on Tues. and for 2 weeks in August
The former church of San Pancrazio has been turned into a museum devoted to the work of Italy’s best known abstract artist, Marino Marini (1901-1980). Marini studied art in Florence before moving on to teach in Monza and at the prestigious Berea Academy in Milan. He is noted for his bronzes, many on the theme of horse and rider.

Mercato Nuovo:
Built 1547-1551 by Giovanni Battista del Tasso. The market is locally known as the ‘Porcellino’ (swine) because of the fountain by Pietro Tacca, 1612. It is said that everyone who rubs the well polished snout of Il Porcellino, is certain to return to the city. Coins dropped in the trough below are distributed to city charities.

The Monumental Cemetery:
The Monumental Cemetery (known as “of the Holy Gates”) outside the Basilica was established inside the fortified enclosure created by Michelangelo in 1529. Designed by architect Nicolò Matas during the period in which he was working on the facade of Santa Croce, it contains the remains of many celebrities like Papini, Montale, Stibbert, Villari and Lorenzini (known as “il Collodi”, the creator of Pinocchio). The various family chapels belonging to the Florentine bourgeoisie can be said to represent a repertoire of city architecture of the time.

Museum of Florence As It Was and Oblate Garden:
Via Oriuolo, 4
(Disabled access)
055- 2616545
9-2 – Holidays 8-1
Closed Thursdays
The museum is small, and contains a series of watercolors and also paintings by Ottone Rosai, a local artist who died in 1957. The main feature is a room sized painting of Florence at the height of the Renaissance.

Santa Croce:
Piazza Santa Croce
055–244-619
Building of this Franciscan church started probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Duomo, in 1294. The marble facade and the bell tower were built between 1853 and 1863. The church contains frescos by Giotto, many tombstones and commemorative monuments, including those of Galileo, Rossini, Macchiavelli’s tomb, and Vasari’s monument to Michelangelo, who died in Rome but was brought to Florence to be buried here, by Cosimo I. The collection of art in this church complex is by far the most important of any church in Florence.

Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce:
Piazza Santa Croce 16
055–244-619
Mon-Sat 9:30-12:15 and 3:30-5:30 Sun.: 3-5:30.
Part of Santa Croce’s convent has been set up as a museum for artistic treasures that were damaged in the 1966 Arno flood, which buried the church under tons of mud and water. The entrance through a door to the right of the church facade, spills into an open-air courtyard planted with cypress. On the grass are a seated Baccio Bandinelli God in marble and a Henry Moore bronze.

At the end of the path is the Cappella de’ Pazzi, one of Filippo Brunelleschi’s architectural masterpieces. Giuliano di Maiano probably designed the porch that leads to the chapel, which is set with glazed terra cottas by Luca della Robbia. The rectangular chapel is one of Brunelleschi’s signature pieces and a defining example of early Renaissance architecture. Light gray pietra serena is used to accent the architectural lines against smooth white plaster walls. The the only decorations are della Robbia roundels of the Apostles (1442-52). The Evangelists surrounding the dome may have been designed by Donatello or Brunelleschi himself before being produced by the della Robbia workshop.

On the right as you enter the chapel is the painting that became the representative of all the artworks damaged during the 1966 flood: Cimabue’s Crucifix, one of the masterpieces of the artist who began bridging the gap between Byzantine tradition and Renaissance innovation.

Horne Museum:
Via de’ Benci, 6
055- 244661
9-13 Sum. Tuesdays also 20.30-23
Closed Holidays and Sun.
Of the city’s several small once-private collections, the one formed by Englishman Herbert Percy Horne and left to Florence in his will has several excellent pieces.

D-Family Fun Attractions:
An excursion to Lucca:
Lucca, the medieval City of Silk, is an 80 minute train ride from Florence, and an excellent area to explore when traveling with the family. Lucca is in the northern part of the province of Tuscany. it became a colony of ancient Rome in 180 BC, and still contains much architecture in the Romanesque style. I has an outstanding cathedral which was constructed in the 11th century. Lucca is enclosed by massive red brick walls, which seem to shut out the modern world. A promenade runs along the top of these city walls and features a double row of stately trees along a broad avenue. Other attractions include:

Pinocchio Park
Collodi (outside Lucca) (Tour available from Lucca)
0572-42-93-42
Open daily
Admission charged
Theme park consisting of gardens featuring mosaics and sculptures based on the Adventures of Pinocchio. there is also a maze; a playground, an exhibition center and children’s restaurant.

Excursion to Poppi:
The town of Poppi in eastern Tuscany can be reached from Florence by taking a train to Arezzo, and then either renting a car or taking a train to Poppi. There is irregular bus service, as well. Poppi is readily accessible by car , and is only a short distance from Arezzo. The older part of Poppi is located high above the bus and train terminal. Eastern Tuscany is an area of huge forests and tiny mountain pastures. It is the region of Pierro della Francesca. His frescoes in Arezzo are outstanding.
The village of Poppi is the site of an imposing castle:

Castello di Poppi
05752-02-94
April-Sept. daily
Oct.-March: Sat and Sun, or by appointment
Admission charged.

Castello di Romena
0575-586-33
open daily.
This is the castle where Dante stayed as a guest of the local rulers in the 14th century. The village church connected with the castle dates back to 1152.

Zoo Fauna Europa
0575-52-90-79
Open daily
This zoo specializes in the conservation of wildlife and protects endangered species. Among its current subjects for protection are the Apennine wolf and the lynx.

E- Events & Entertainment:
For upcoming events, shows, theater, exhibitions, and other entertainment, look for one of the events magazines, like Events in Florence and Tuscany bimonthly and very good, sometimes at newsstands and Vista. Another free magazine is Concierge Information, full of good bilingual hints and tips. At the Via Cavour tourist office you can also pick up the free Firenze Avventimenti events brochure, giving facts about each major event for the year, including contact 055 numbers. Also the free “Informacittà” monthly pamphlet.

Jan. 5-6:
Epiphany Celebrations. Roman Catholic Epiphany celebrations and decorations are evident throughout the area.

Easter:
The Easter Sunday Scoppio del Carro, or “Explosion of the Cart,” is the eruption of a cartful of fireworks in the Cathedral Square, set off by a mechanical dove released from the altar during High Mass.

Late April.-Early July:
The Florence May Music Festival is the oldest and most prestigious Italian festival of the performing arts.

Late June:
Soccer Games in 16th Century Costume, commemorate a match played in 1530. Festivities include fireworks displays.

Rome, Italy

A-Overview:
Rome is more than a fascinating European capital city; it is a spectacular encyclopedia of living history. Rome is halfway down Italy’s western coast, about 12 miles inland. It has been said that every road in Rome leads to eternity. The city is vast, though the historic center is quite small. The whole experience of Rome is so powerful as to be almost overwhelming at times. The best way to prepare for a visit is to study a little of the history of the region, to be as well rested as possible, and to arrange an itinerary that allows time to explore, rest, and reflect on the magnificence of it all.

There is a steady stream of spectacular festivals, exhibits and events for the whole family. Guided walking tours and bus tours for every energy level and budget provide great assistance in becoming acquainted with the past and present of this amazing city. Rome is a city in which it is recommended that driving and walking anywhere near areas of traffic be avoided if possible. The streets are extremely congested, and drivers are not considered to be responsible for watching out for pedestrians. The public transportation is excellent and offers the convenience of buses and subways at a nominal cost.

Whether the visitor is seeking a quiet, romantic café on the Campo de’ Fiori; a fast food McDonald’s with air conditioning on the Piazza della Repubblica or a cozy and intimate family operated restaurant with one or two exquisitely prepared selections of the day on the Piazza Santa Maria, there is great food for every taste.

The city boasts a wide variety of shopping opportunities. Spanish Square presents high fashion selections while the more modestly priced clothing is to be found on the Via del Corso and Via Tritone. North of Spanish Square are areas famous for their antique shops and art galleries. Porta Portese hosts a huge flea market every Sunday morning.

Rome does not go to sleep at sunset. Open air symphonic concerts, ballet and opera performances, live rock and jazz are all available.

Rome lays claim to two pro football teams, Roma and Lazio. Rivalry is fierce between them. Basketball is gaining in popularity. It is played in the Palazzo dello Sport designed for the 1960 Olympics.

The city’s 300 fountains, its sculpture, its glorious panorama of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, baroque and modern art, music and architecture are all part of the reason that Pope Gregory XIVs remark in the 16th century is still true today. Pope Gregory said of the joys of exploring and discovering the city, “a lifetime is not enough.”

B- City Information:
Facts

Population: approximately 2,778,000. Estimated visitors annually: 15 million.

Area: 577 square miles (within this area is Vatican City, the world’s smallest independent sovereign state, comprising 100 acres and 200 residents)

Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: Time in Rome is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.(7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.)

International Dialing Code: Rome’s city code is 06. The country code is 39. Calling cards can be purchased at tobacco stores, post offices and some bars in Rome to use in placing calls from public or private phones. To call the operator: dial 10.

Emergency: police: 113(local) 112 (national); fire: 115; ambulance: 113 Emergency calls are free from phone booths.

Currency : Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent.

The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores.

Customs Regulations: Telephone (in Rome): 06 49711 for information.

Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
52F
40F

February
55F
42F

March
59F
45F

April
66F
50F

May
74F
56F

June
82F
63F

July
87F
67F

August
86F
67F

September
79F
62F

October
71F
55F

November
61F
49F

December
55F
44F

Rome is at its best weather wise in April and May and again from September – mid October. The heat can be intense in July and August. Winters are rainy and cool, rather than cold. Many businesses close in August.

National Holidays:

Jan. 1 New Year’s Day

Jan. 6 Epiphany

Good Friday and Easter Monday (dates vary each year – Mar. or April)

1st Mon. of May Labor Day

June 29 SS. Peter and Paul’s Day

August 15 Feast of the Assumption

November 1 All Saints’ Day

December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day)

Public rest rooms: In short supply except in museums, restaurants and large department stores

Smoking: Smoking is not allowed in museums, churches, and art galleries. It is discouraged, but allowed, in restaurants. Trains have separate non- smoking compartments.

Electricity: 220volt A/C). Most hotels have 110V shaver outlets. Plugs have 2 round pins or sometimes 3 pins in a vertical row. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a transformer if they do not have a dual voltage capability.

Visitors with disabilities: The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s are wheelchair accessible. Many of the ancient historic sites require climbing of innumerable steps and are unsuitable for anyone not in prime physical condition. There are toilets for the disabled at the two Rome airports, at Stazione Termini and at St. Peter’s Square.

Children: Children under 4 not occupying a seat travel free on Italian railways. Traveling with children requires a different, more relaxed itinerary, but there are many possibilities for family enjoyment available (see Attractions for Children section).

Churches: There are four Irish Catholic churches in Rome and two others for English speakers. There are also Anglican, Scottish Presbyterian, Methodist, Jewish and Muslim worship centers.

How to get around: Buses are the main form of public transportation. Orange buses run by ATAC have low cost, frequent service around the city. Blue COTRAL buses cover the region and the suburbs of Rome. Driving and walking in Rome are both hazardous. As a result, the buses are crowded and traffic is slow. Bus operates Mon-Sat 5:30 AM – 11:30 PM Night buses on key routes run less frequently from midnight – 5:30AM. Late night buses have a conductor who sells tickets. During the regular daytime and evening hours tickets must be purchased in advance from automatic machines, shops and news stands.

Information:167 431784.

Metro is a subway system with two main lines: A and Bit is primarily a commuter service and does not travel close to the city center attractions.

Taxis Licensed taxis are yellow and white with a “taxi” sign on the roof. Be sure to use only these. When hailing a cab, be sure the meter is set at zero. Drivers are not supposed to stop on the street to pick up fares. They are supposed to wait at taxi stands. Stands can be found at Termini, Piazza Venezia, Largo Argentina, Piazza S. Sonnino, Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza San Silvestro.

Air Travel: Flights arrive at Leonardo da Vinci Airport, also known as Fiumicino. Shuttle trains link the airport with Stazione Termini in the city center. Taxis are expensive from the airport. A prepaid “car with driver” is available at the SOCAT desk in the International arrivals hall.

Rail Service: Most trains arrive and depart from Stazione Terminal, which is conveniently located for most of the central city. Train information: 147 88 8088 (toll free)

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Ara Pacis Augustae

Via di Repetta

06-710-3569

Tues-Sat. 9-1:30 Sunday 9-1 (April-Sept. also open Tues and Sat. 4-7). Admission charged.

Altar of peace – one of the great works of Roman sculpture – was commissioned in 13 BC by the emperor Augustus to celebrate his victories in Spain and Gaul. It was reconstructed here in 1938.www.chch.school.nz/mbc/arapacis.htm

Arch of Constantine

Piazza del Collesseo

Triumphal arch decorated with fragments from older Roman monuments, erected in AD 315 in honor of Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge. At this battle in the year 312 Constantine is said to have seen a cross in the sky, bringing about his conversion to Christianity. The relief work on the inside of the arch depicts the emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians in the 2nd century.

Baths of Caracalla

52 Viale di Terme di Caracalla

06575-8626

Bus 90,93

Tues.-Sat. 9-6(Oct.-Mar.until 3); Sunday and Monday 9-1. Admission charged.

The baths were begun in the year 206 and completed by Caracalla in 217. The vast expanse of ruins of the massive bath complex contained large numbers of masterpieces of sculpture. The baths must have been exceptionally luxurious. They were in use into the early middle ages. The remains were unearthed in the Middle Ages.

Baths of Diocletian

Piazza della Repubblica

Bus 57,65,75,170,492. Metro: Repubblica, Termini

A visit to the museum on the site will give an idea of the interior of the Roman baths. The Terme Di Diocleziano (Baths of Diocletian) were constructed in the 4th century and were the largest of the ancient Roman baths. Originally the baths could accommodate over 3000 people. The shape of an attached stadium can still be made out in the curve of the two 19th century buildings built on the site that now form the southwestern perimeter of the Piazza della Repubblica. Sections of the former baths now house the Museum Nazionale Romano and the church of Sta Maria degli Angeli which was designed by Michelangelo.

Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth)

Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin

Piazza Bocca della Verità

In the porch of this church on the south side is a weather beaten stone face used as a drain cover in ancient Rome. According to legend, the mouth was believed to close on the hand of anyone bearing false witness, particularly women accused of adultery. The offender’s hand would be withdrawn with severed fingers according to the legend (Viewers of the film Roman Holiday will remember the scene in which Gregory Peck alarmed Audrey Hepburn by inserting his arm in the mouth and quickly withdrawing it with his hand concealed in his sleeve.)

Borghese Gallery

Villa Borghese

06-854-8577

Bus 52,53,910 (to Via Pinciana),3,4,57 (to Via Po)

Tues.-Sat. 9-7 (Oct.-April 9-2) Sunday 9-1.

Due to the large number of visitors it is advisable to make a reservation: call 39- 063-2810 (Mon-Fri; 9.30am-6pm).

Reservations can also be made directly at the ticket office one day in advance by going to the Galleria Borghese early in the morning (around 8.30-9am) to try to buy a ticket. If they are all sold, ask to be placed on the waiting list for the day. Try also to be there one hour before entrance times (which are: 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm). It may be possible to be among the first in the waiting list of the hour. Admission charged.

The Borghese Gallery hosts one of the most important collections in the world, particularly of art of the classical and baroque periods. The opulent lower floor contains the sculpture. The paintings are on the upper floor (galleria).

Villa Borghese Botanical Gardens

(Adjacent to the museum )

Open daily 9am-dusk

Large gardens on the slopes of the Janiculum, famous for its palms and yuccas and collection of orchids. Public gardens and park, including the Lake Garden, where boats may be rented and the Zoo. There is also an aviary and an enormous racetrack. The park was altered in the 18th century to resemble English parkland and given to the public in 1902.

Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)

By the Lateran Pact of 1929, Vatican City was established as the smallest independent sovereign state in the world. It has its own government, its own statutes and its own head of state – the Pope. It covers just a few acres of land, but it holds within its boundaries the residence of the Pope; the site of St Peter’s Basilica; the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. www.christusrex.org

Saint Peter’s Basilica

Piazza San Pietro

Basilica open daily 7am-7pm. (From within the Basilica it is possible to visit the following sites:

1) Treasury – open 9-6 (Oct.-March 9-5). Admission charged.

2) The Vatican grottoes 1-6 (Oct.-March 7-5)

3) The Dome 8-6 (Oct.-March 8-4:30) Admission charged. Bus 64

The largest Basilica in the world was begun in 1506 when Pope Julius II commissioned Bramante to build a new St. Peter’s to replace the basilica of Constantine which had been consecrated in 326. The plan of the building was based by Bramante on the design of the ancient Roman baths which were laid out in the form of a Greek cross. Bramante died in 1514, and it was not until 1547 that Michelangelo took over the project. He simplified Bramante’s plan and increased the scale. He introduced giant Corinthian pilasters around the exterior. When Michelangelo died in 1564 much of the apse, the transepts and nave had been completed. His student, Giacomo della Porta, erected the dome in 1590 following Michelangelo’s design. The dome soars over the tomb of St. Peter. Beneath the dome and forming the focus of the nave is Bernini’s Baldacchino whose columns were cast from bronze stripped from the roof of the Pantheon.

Michelangelo’s Pieta stands in the first chapel to the right of the entrance. The sculptor was only 24 years of age when he completed it.

Vatican Museums

Entrance: Viale Vaticano

06-6988-3332

Mon-Fri. 9-5 Sat. 9-2 (Oct.-June Mon-Sat. 9-2) Last Sun.of the month 9-5 (Oct-June 9-2)

Ticket office closes 1 hour before closing time.

If you hope to visit the Sistine Chapel and/or the Stanze di Raffello, plan to arrive early as they are very crowded. Both are a 20-30 minute walk from the museum entrance.

Admission charged except for last Sunday of the month.

Bus 64 to Piazza San Pietro 28,81,492 to Piazza del Risorgimento. Metro: Ottaviano

The Vatican museums are famous for their collections of Greek and Roman sculpture. The museum complex is housed in the papal palace built during the Renaissance for Pope Sixtus IV, Innocent VII and Julius II.

The following are the museums housed in the Vatican complex:

1) Museo Gregoriano Egizio featuring the Egyptian collection.

2) Museo Chiaramonti and Museo Pioclemintino contain the Vatican’s collection of classical sculpture.

3) Museo Gregoriano – Etrusco which contains 18 rooms of Etruscan artifacts and Greek sculptu

4) Salla della Biga contains the remains of a 1st century BC two horsed chariot.

5) Galleria del Candelabri is the first of three galleries built by Bramante to link different areas of the palace. It contains marble statuary and a pair of marble candlesticks from the imperial era of ancient Rome.

6) Galleria Gegli Arazzi takes its name from the tapestries displayed there. Ten 16th century Belgian tapestries illustrate stories from the life of Christ.

7) Galleria Delle Carte Geografiche or Map Gallery has 40 painted wall panels depicting regions of Italy in the 16th century.

8) Galleria di Pio V. Pope Pius V’s gallery contains tapestries from Tournai illustrating the Baptism and Passion of Christ.

9) Sala della Concezione is a room decorated with frescoes related to Pope Pius IX’s proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. It also contains Michelangelo’s model for the dome of St. Peter’s.

10) Stanze di Raffaello are the rooms which Pope Julius II commissioned Raphael to redecorate for his private use in 1509. Rafael died before the decoration was completed. The frescoes were completed by other Renaissance masters.

11) Apartmento Borgia recalls some dark days of the papacy , yet is beautifully decorated.

12) Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana contains a small part of the acclaimed Vatican library. Among manuscripts displayed are some written by St. Thomas Aquinas and Michelangelo.

13) Collezione di Arte Religiosa Moderna is composed of 55 rooms in which are contained some 800 works of recent religious art.

14) Capella Sistina (Sistine Chapel) The chapel was named for Pope Sixtus IV and was built in 1475-1480. Frescoes adorn the walls and make the visit to it an unforgettable experience. It also contains an amazing collection of Renaissance paintings. The ceiling which Michelangelo painted while lying flat on his back on a scaffold over a period of four years has been called a “wonder of the world.” The ceiling was cleaned and restored recently.

15) Pinacoteca is the Vatican’s picture gallery containing 18 rooms. Rafael, Leonardo da Vinci, Bellini, Caravaggio, Thomas Lawrence, Poussin, Guilio Romano, Van Dyck and Veronese are among the artists whose works are presented.

16) Museo Gregoriano Profano contains profane or pagan art mainly in the form of sculpture, both Greek and Roman. There are also Roman copies of Greek originals.

17) Museo Pio Cristano traces the history of Christianity through sarcophagi and excavations from the catacombs.

18) Museo Missionario Etnologico is in the basement and contains a huge collection of artifacts from other religions and cults. It also holds examples of Christian art from countries with Christian missions.

19) Museo Storico contains papal carriages, flags, banners, etc.

Protestante Cimitero (Protestant Cemetery)

6 Via Caio Cestio

06-574-1141 Summer: 8-noon and 3:30-5:30 closed Wednesdays Winter: 8-noon and 2:30-4:30 closed Wednesdays Bus: 11,23,27,57,94,95. Metro: Piramide

Famous graves include those of the Romantic poets Keats and Shelley, as well as that of Antonio Gramsci, the founder of the Italian Communist Party and 4000 other non- Catholic Italians. From the cemetery one has a good view of the Pyramid of Caius Cestius, a vast stone tomb constructed in 12BC for an otherwise unknown Roman.

Piazza delCampidoglio

Bus 44,46,56,60,64,65,70,75

This square is the focus of the Capitolino (Capitoline Hill) and is the symbolic heart of the city. The site was in a total state of decay when Pope Paul III commissioned Michelangelo to rebuild it in the 1500’s as Rome needed an impressive space in which to receive Emperor Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who was due to visit in 1536.

Musei Capitolini (Capitolino Museum) and Picture Gallery

Piazza del Campidoglio

06-6710-2071

Tues.-Sat. 9-1:30 and 5-8 Sunday 9-1 (April to Sept.: Sat. 8am-11pm)

Oct.-March: Saturday 5-8.Closed Monday year round. Admission charged.One ticket covers both parts of the museum.

Free on the last Sunday of the month. Bus 44,94,710,718, 719.

Classical sculpture and busts, many excavated from the emperor Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli. Famous works include the Etruscan she-wolf in bronze. The figures of Romulus and Remus were added to it in 1498. The wolf statue has been in the same location for centuries. It was damaged by lightening in 65 BC.

EUR

Bus: 93,97,197,293,493,765. Metro: EUR Fermi; EUR Palasport

This vast complex was built in the 1930’s as part of Mussolini’s grand design that was to greatly enlarge Rome and create in it predominately modern skylines of skyscrapers and large buildings. Most of this strange plan which featured a stark type of Fascist architecture was fortunately never carried out. After World War II damage to the complex caused by occupying armies and refugees was repaired. Later, in 1960, the complex was used for the 1960 Olympics.

Museo della Civiltà Romana (Museum of Roman Culture)

Piazza G Agnelli, EUR

Tues.-Sat. 9-1 Sunday: 9-1 also Tues. and Thurs. 4-7pm. Admission charged. Bus: 93,97,197,293,493,765. Metro: EUR Fermi; EUR Palasport

The museum is housed in the Palazzo della Civilta del Lavoro at EUR. It traces the history of the city its beginnings to the age of Justinian using models including a scale model of Rome at the time of Constantine. The latter includes every detail of all that was contained within the walls of Rome at that time.

Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari (Museum of Folklore)

10 Piazza Marconi, EUR

06-592-6148 Mon.-Sat. 9-2 Sunday 9-1

Admission charged. Bus 93, 97, 197, 293, 493, 765 Metro: EUR Fermi; EUR Palasport

Featuring scenes of daily Roman life down the centuries, the museum also displays costumes, folk art, agriculture and old musical instruments.

Keats and Shelley Memorial House

Piazza di Spagna

06-678-4235

Mon.-Fri. 9-1 and 3-6 (Oct. to March: 2:30-5:30) Admission charged. Bus: 119. Metro: Spagna

Established in 1909, this small museum contains many mementos, drawings, photos, prints and other documents related to Keats and Shelley. Upstairs is the small room where Keats died in 1821 at age 25.

Museum of the Walls

18 Via di Porta San Sebastino

06-7047-5284

Tues.-Sat. 9-1:30 Sunday 9-1 (April – Sept. Tues.-Thurs.,-Sat. 4-7pm) Admission charged Bus118.

The museum is located “on the spot” within the medieval towers of the Porta San Sebastiano. Contains prints and models of the Roman fortifications, that give the history of then Aurelian walls and the Via Appia Antica. There are prints and models and an actual view of what is described.

Musem of the Palace of Venice (Palazzo Venezia)

118 Via del Plebiscito

06-679-8865

Mon.-Sat. 9-7:30 (summer) Sun. 9-1 Tues.-Sat. 9-2 (winter) Sun. 9-1. Admission charged. Bus 56,60,64,70,75

Museum of medieval art, early paintings from the Renaissance era, tapestries, weapons, bronzes, jewelry, silver and Neopolitan crib figures. Sculpture by Bernini is featured as well.

The Palace of Venice was the headquarters of Benito Mussolini, and his speeches to the gathered crowds were delivered from the first floor balcony. The palace had originally been built in 1467 for Cardinal Pietro Barbo (who later became Pope Paul II), and was the first great Renaissance palace in Rome. Pope Paul II was a patron of scholars and a collector of works of art, so it is fitting that this museum should be located in his former residence.

Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia (Etruscan Museum)

9 Pizzale di Villa Giulia

06-320-1951

Tues. and Thurs.-Sat. 9-7 (Oct.-March until 2) Wednesday 9-7 Sunday 9-1 Admission charged. Bus: 52,926,95,490

The best collection of Etruscan art and artifacts in Italy is exhibited in the suburban villa built in the mid 1500’s for pope Julius III as a summer retreat. The beautiful villa and grounds were designed by Vignola, Vasari and others. Archeological finds from excavations in Lazio and Tuscany are displayed.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Lungotevere Castello

06-687-5036

9-1 daily (winter 9-7 daily (summer) Sunday: 9-1 all year. Admission charged. Bus: 23,34,64,87,280 Metro: Lepanto

The building contains the ancient mausoleum of the emperor Hadrian (c.AD 130). The castle was converted into a papal fortress in the 6th century, and is linked by underground passages to the Vatican palaces. Several popes have felt the need to take advantage of the secret routes in times of threat.

Museo di Castel Sant’Angelo houses a collection of arms and armor from the ancient times to the Renaissance. There are four levels to explore after entering through Hadrian’s tomb.

The Catacombs

There are 67 known Catacombs in Rome. These are underground cemeteries – the Christian (and some pagan) burial grounds for the first four centuries. The dead were placed on shelves cut into the walls of rock. The Roman authorities disapproved of the Christians, but their respect and fear of the dead was such that they would not disturb the catacombs, so much has survived. The catacombs contain some of the only surviving examples of early Christian art. In the 1840’s Pope Gregory XVI took steps to preserve the catacombs and their treasures. Mass is celebrated in the catacombs and can be a poignant reminder of the early days when Christians hid in the catacombs to worship out of fear of retaliation by the Roman authorities.

Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps

Bus 119 Metro: Spagna

This busy meeting place of Romans and visitors was once a popular work site for artists and their models. The flight of 137 steps was built in the 18th century to connect the piazza with the church of Trinità dei Monti and the Pincio hill. They were paid for by the French ambassador in 1723. The Church of Trinita del Monti stands at the top of the steps, and the Piazza di Spagna is at the foot.

Circus Maximus

This grass covered chariot race track built by Julius Caesar had room in stands around it for 300,000 spectators. In its final days, the races took on a brutal and reckless character, as charioteers tried to cause each others chariots to crash. The Circus Maximus is now the center of a traffic circle.

Column of Marcus Aurelius (Colonna di Marco Aurelio)

This column was erected as a monument to Marcus Aurelius around the year 180 by his wife Faustina in honor of the emperor’s victories in the Danube region.

Colosseum (Colosseo)

Piazza del Colosseo Bus: 11,27,81,85,87. Metro: Colosseo

06-700-4261

Mon.,Tues.,Thurs.-Sat. 9-7 (summer) to 3pm in winter. Wed. and Sun. 9-1 year round. Admisison for upper tier only.

This magnificent structure was originally lined with travertine, a local Roman limestone and could hold 55,000 spectators. The original had 80 arched entrances/exits. One of these was used for the return of the triumphant gladiators from the arena. Another was named for the goddess of death and was used for the removal of corpses of defeated gladiators. Inside were three main areas: the pit, the arena and the auditorium. The pit was originally covered by the floor of the arena. In it were kept the prisoners and the wild animals with whom they would compete.
The arena was built by Emperor Vespasian in the year 72, on the site of a drained lake in the grounds of Nero’s Golden palace. The tiers of seats were coordinated and designed by social class ranging from private box seats on the lowest level, to marble and finally to wood benches for the women and poor on the top gallery. In very wet or hot weather an awning was pulled over the auditorium and anchored.

Palatine Hill

During the Republic the Palatine Hill was a deluxe residential area, conveniently close to the Forum. Many important figures had houses here, including Cicero, Mark Antony and the emperor Augustus.

Farnesiani Gardens (Orti Farnesiani)

In the Palatine area

06-699-0110

Mon.-Sat. 9-5 Sunday 9-Noon Admission charged. Bus: 11,27,81,85,87

Originally the site of the emperor Tiberius’s palace, the Renaissance gardens preserve much of their original design. They were laid out c.1550 by Vignola for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (1520-1589) grandson of Pope Paul III. Set with exotic plants, a maze, two aviaries and a casino, this was one of the first botanical gardens in Europe.

Roman Forum (Foro Romano)

06-06699-0110

Tues.-Sat. 9- one hour before dusk. Sun., Mon. 9-2 Bus 11, 27,81,85,87,186 Metro: Colesseo

The area known as the Forum is, in fact, only one of a number of imperial fora, or meeting places, to be found in Rome. Corresponding to the modern piazza or marketplace square, it was the center of the ancient city. Here every aspect of daily business was conducted from religious ceremonies to the buying and selling of vegetables. It was also from here that the Roman Empire was governed.

Sacred Way (Via Sacra)

The oldest street in Rome and the most important road in the Forum. It was lined with sanctuaries and was used for state processions, such as imperial triumphs when a victorious general would ride along it to offer sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol. The paving dates back to the time of Augustus.

Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina (On the Via Sacra)

Built by the emperor Antoninus Pius in memory of his wife Faustina who died in AD 141. An inscription records rededication by the Senate of the building to him on his death in AD 161. The temple owes its fine state of preservation to the fact that in the 11th century the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda was built within the ancient temple.

Arch of Titus

(Located in the Forum Square)

Erected in AD 81 by the emperor Domitian in honor of his brother, Titus, this is Rome’s oldest triumphal arch. It celebrates the victories of the emperors Vespasian and Titus in the Judaean War during which the Temple in Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed (AD 70).

House of the Vestals

(Located in the forum area)

It was the task of the six Vestal Virgins to maintain a perpetual fire burning in the Temple. Should the Vestals ever allow this fire to become extinguished they would suffer dire punishments. The Vestal Virgins finally disbanded in AD 394.

Trevi Fountain

Piazza Fontana di Trevi Bus: 52,53,58,60,61,62,71.

The sea god Neptune and his tritons are shown in stormy and calm seas. A coin thrown over one’s shoulder into the waters is believed to guarantee a return visit to Rome; a second coin is tossed to make a wish come true. The proceeds are collected daily and donated to charity.

Gallery of Modern Art

131 Viale delle Belle Arti Tram: 19,19b

06-322-4152

Tues.-Sat. 9-7 Sunday and holidays 9-1 (Summer) Tues.-Sat. 9-2 Sunday 9-1 (Rest of year) Admission charged.

Italian masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries, are displayed, including works of Balla, Boccioni, De Chirico, Modigliani and Severini. Works by foreign artists include Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh, Klee, Kandinsky., Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst amd Henry Moore.

Jewish Ghetto

Via Arenula – Teatro di Marcello

Synagogue at Lungotevere dei Cenci

06-687-5051

Mon.-Thurs. 9:30-2 and 3-5 Friday: 9-2 Sunday: 9-12:30 closed Sat. Bus: 23,44,56,60,65,75

In the Middle Ages there were as many as 50,000 people of the Jewish faith in Rome. The ghetto was established in 1555 for the shameful purpose of confining Jewish people to one restricted area. Pope Paul IV ordered that a high wall be erected around the area and that the residents be locked in at night. On Sundays, until 1848, the Jews were forced to go into Sant’Angelo Church with the thought that they would convert to Christianity. When the Nazis occupied Rome in 1943, 2000 Jews were sent to concentration camps. Only 15 of them survived.

Pantheon

Piazza della Rotunda

06-6830-0230 April-Sept.: Mon.-Sat. 9-6:30 Sun. 9-1

Oct.-March: Mon.-Sat. 9-5 Sun. 9-1 Free.. Bus: 119 to Piazza della Rotunda or 64,70,75 to Largo di Torre Argentina

Marcus Agrippa’s Pantheon is one of the world’s most perfect architectural creations: a perfectly proportioned floating dome resting on an elegant drum of columns and pediments. The interior is breathtaking. The center oculus is 29 feet in diameter. It lets light and rain fall onto the marble pavement as one gazes heavenward through it.

The circular temple dedicated to “all the gods” was built in 27 BC, and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian in 120 AD. In the Middle Ages it was transformed into the Christian Church of Sta. Maria and Martyres (the bones of the martyrs were brought there from the catacombs). .The temple has been consistently plundered and damaged over the years. It lost its beautiful gilded bronze roof tiles in Pope Gregory III’s time. It contains the tombs of Raphael and Victor Emmanuel I I.

Dublin, Ireland

A-Overview:
Dublin is unique among the capital cities of Europe. It is on the sea with a bay of harbors and swimming areas; it lies nestled among hills and mountains; and it contains Phoenix Park, the largest park on the European continent. Dublin’s streets have been described as bustling and lively. They have also been called congested. As all of these descriptions are accurate, the excitement of the city can best be enjoyed by moving from point to point via the comfort and convenience of local bus and rail service.

Within half an hour of Dublin’s city center there are mountain walks, historic homes and gardens, sandy beaches and fishing villages. Within Dublin are countless places of interest to explore. It is a city steeped in history and tradition, but it is also youthful. Of the one and a half million people in greater Dublin, about half are under 25. It is a city that welcomes visitors of all ages. Activities for the family include enjoyment of the nature preserve, the grazing deer, the 700 animal zoo, and the well tended, formal gardens of Phoenix Park. There is a hands-on center where children can design and produce pottery pieces. Other family possibilities are horseback riding, sailing and the thrill of the interactive Dublin Viking adventure that recreates the sights, sounds and smells of Dublin as it was 1000 years ago.

Dublin began as a Viking trading post called Dubh Linn (Dark Pool), which soon merged with a Celtic settlement called Baile Átha Cliath (Town of the Hurdle Ford) – still the Gaelic name for the city. Because most of the early city was built of wood, only the two cathedrals, part of the castle and several churches have survived from before the seventeenth century. Much of the “newer” construction is from the Georgian period of the eighteenth century. Recent modernization has worked in harmony with the beauty and grandeur of the past.

Fine museums and art galleries recall Dublin’s long and colorful history, while the pubs and cafes buzz with traditional Irish entertainment. Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral are all at the top of almost every visitor’s list. Dublin’s many other attractions range from sea world, museums and art galleries to the prestigious Guiness Brewery and the Temple Bar, which is the center of restaurants and nightlife.

Dublin is Europe’s leading center for computer software, with more than 100 international companies and a growing home market. It is also a thriving center for culture and is home to the great literary tradition of Shaw, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett. It is the source of musical talent in groups ranging from the Dubliners and the Chieftains to U2. Street-side cafes and pubs are alive with animated conversations, and visitors can easily find themselves included in the discussions of sports, music, politics, and literature.

Dublin’s economy is the fastest growing in Europe with 40,000 businesses employing over 525,000 people. Recent years have brought an upsurge in the growth of the city’s population and an air of excitement as renovations and improvements to the city’s housing and service sector have taken place. Dublin provides the visitor with countless opportunities for learning, for remembering and for relaxation which appeal to every taste and age group.

B-City Information:
Population : Metropolitan Area: 1,000,000+

Greater Dublin Area: 1.4 million.

Area: 44 square miles

Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time: 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.(6 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.)

International Dialing Code: to place telephone calls outside Dublin but within Ireland, add ‘01’ to the front of the number. From outside Ireland, use Ireland’s international code as a prefix: 353. Dublin’s city code is 01. Calling cards can be purchased at news stands and post offices in Ireland to use in placing calls from public or private phones. To call the operator: dial 1190.

Emergency ( police; fire; ambulance): 999.

Currency: euro (EUR). Credit cards are accepted at larger restaurants, but cash is still the preference in Dublin. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks.

Customs Regulations: Telephone: 1 855 4045 in Dublin for information.

Average Annual Temperatures

Temperature Range
High
Low

January
46
34

February
47
35

March
51
37

April
55
39

May
60
43

June
65
48

July
67
52

August
67
51

September
63
48

October
57
43

November
51
39

December
47
37

Weather forecast: 1 550 123 854

National Holidays:

Jan. 1 New Year’s Day

Mar. 17 St. Patrick’s Day

Good Friday and Easter Monday (dates vary each year – Mar. or April)

1st Mon. of May May Day holiday

Whit Monday (late May or early June)

1st Mon. of August August holiday

Last Mon. of Oct. October holiday

Dec. 25 Christmas day

Dec. 26 St. Stephen’s day

Electricity: 220 volt A/C. Most hotels have 110V shaver outlets. Plugs have 3 square pins.

Visitors with disabilities: Disability Federation of Ireland will assist with suggestions and publications: 295 9344.

How to get around: Buses are the main form of public transportation. Dublin Bus operates Mon-Sat 6 AM – 11 PM and Sun. 10 AM – 11:30 PM. (exact fare needed) 873-4222. Schedules and prepaid tickets are available at Dublin Bus office and some news stands.

Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is a light rail service running from Howth in the north to Bray in the south. Trains run every 15 minutes – every 5 minutes during rush hour.

Taxi stands can be found outside hotels, train and bus stations.

Air Travel: Dublin Airport is 7 miles north of the city. There are taxis and an Airlink express bus service to the city center that operates 6 AM -11:30 PM with departures every 20-30 minutes. The cost is minimal.

Rail Service: There are two mainline rail stations in Dublin. For rail information call Irish Rail at 836 6222.

Ferries from the United Kingdom sail into the ports of Dublin and Dan Langhaire (9 miles south of the city)

Note: Traffic drives on the left side of the road in Ireland.

C-