Where to get a Panoramic view of Rome


Where to get a Panoramic view of Rome

Visit Rome, Italy and you know to climb the Spanish steps, see St. Peter’s dome, throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, tour the Colosseum, and wonder at the architecture of the Pantheon. But what about getting a panoramic view of the entire city at sunset?


Nice Panoramic views of Rome

1 – St. Peter’s Dome – Some people will tell you that climbing to the top of St. Peter’s will give you a wonderful panoramic view, and it will, but that view is mostly of the Vatican. Plus the top of St. Peter’s dome is a minute circle with a mesh fence, crowded, and not somewhere you can sit for a while and admire the views. The hours for the dome climb do not extend past 6pm in the summer (5pm in the winter months) so… you won’t see the sunset from this viewpoint. So this is an option, and I do recommend it, but it isn’t the best spot in the city for a sunset, all around, panoramic view of the city.

TIPS for St. Peter’s dome – visiting St. Peter’s Basilica is free, however climbing up to the top of the dome requires a ticket. There are two options: one to climb all the way up (551 steps) or two to take a lift half way and then climb 320 steps. The lift is small and hot in the summer, but it does save time and is a nice break for your feet after walking all over the city.


2 – Janiculum Terrace – Cross the15th century pedestrian Bridge, Ponte Sisto, and climb up the hill to the Botanical Garden; at the top you will find the terrace where you get a nice view of the city. This is a nice open area, the trees offer shade, the neighborhood is nice and you will see the main downtown of Rome from here.


The Best Panoramic views of Rome

3 – Altare della Patria – This is the main location to go for a spectacular panoramic view of Rome. The Altare della Patria is a gigantic monument in the heart of the city. The building honors the first King of Italy, Victor Emanuele II, and was inaugurated in 1911. You can visit the Institute for the History of the Italian Risorgimento and the Central Museum of the Risorgimento. The tomb of the unknown solider is also found here. The monument stands as an imposing building, dominating the Piazza Venezia, and towering over the neighboring buildings.


And for those amazing views… go around behind the monument and into the museum where you can purchase tickets for the elevator to the top terrace. The only way to access the terrace is by elevator, no stairs; but the price is worth it. Exit the museum and continue to the back of the monument where there is a glass elevator. The terrace at the top of the Altare della Patria brings you up to the statues of the winged victory and horse chariots. The views extend all over Rome, you can see St. Peter’s dome, the Colosseum, the Roman forum, and even the mountains in the distance. The terrace is large enough that you will not feel crowded and it is open until 7pm.

Ticket prices: 7 euros for adults and 3.50 euros for kids/seniors (prices as of June 2018)


So when in Rome, make sure you go to the Altare della Patria terrace for the best panoramic view of the city!

To see more photos of Rome, Italy click here for my travel photography website where you can also purchase prints, framed photos, and canvas prints.


See Paris with the “Paris Museum Pass”


Paris – the city lights, fashion, the baguette, macarons and… art!

Visit Paris and you will inevitably visit the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and more. I recommend getting the “Paris Museum Pass” to avoid the long lines, save money and visit a few extra places just because you can!


WHY get the “Paris Museum Pass”?

1 – It can be used in over 50 locations (museums, churches, main sights and hidden gems!) and yes, it is not possible to visit that many places in one visit, but the card is worth it!

2 – The pass is available in 2, 4, or 6 day options.

3 – Skip the long lines at the entrance and go to the lines for ticket holders or pass holders. There might be a little line, but not as long.

4 – The Pass comes as part of a pocket size pamphlet, maps, and information on ALL locations included plus opening times, address and descriptions.


Things to Keep in Mind:

1 – The pass does not include temporary or special exhibits

2 – If you are a student or under 18, many museums and monuments are already free, so you don’t need the pass!

3 – Most museums and monuments are closed in Europe on Mondays (sometimes Tuesdays as well) – so keep that in mind for when you activate your card


COST of the “Paris Museum Pass”

2 days is 48 Euros

4 days is 62 Euros

6 days is 74 Euros

*Think about it – if you go to the Arc de Triomphe, Pompidou, Louvre, Notre Dame, O’rsay, Rodin Museum, Sainte-Chapelle, and Versailles (the top sights) that equals = over 100 Euros!

**Prices as of June 2018


WHERE to buy the ““Paris Museum Pass”

1 – You can order online

2 – Purchase the at the Paris Tourist Office at 25 rue des Pyramides, Paris 1st (open 10 to 7)

3 – Buy it at your first museum

4 – Some hotels do sell the card, but often there is an extra fee involved


*For more information visit the official site here: http://en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-t-presentation-and-advantages-2.ht

To see more photos of Paris click here for my travel photography website.

OR for travel prints on my Etsy store, Print Shop By Monica, click here.


Bird Shows in Europe – Locarno, Switzerland


Bird Shows in Europe – Locarno, Switzerland

Looking to see birds of prey on your next European trip? Do you want a child-friendly activity that is educational and fun?

Visit the Locarno Bird Show in Locarno, Switzerland. Locarno is at the northern end of Lake Maggiore and is home to a spectacular bird show!


The Locarno Bird Show, or Falconeria Locarno, is an impressive one-hour show (performed twice a day). For the show, the audience sits in a large outdoor theater (which sits up to 600 people!). The audience will see an array of birds flying before them and over them. The show is in Italian and German, but even if you do not speak the language, the privilege of seeing these birds of prey is awe-inspiring.

The Locarno Falconry show has an unusual collection of birds that are not in the typical roster of bird shows. I saw birds that I have not seen before, including: the impressive bearded vulture, the adorable spectacled owl, and the powerful Steller’s sea eagle (one of the largest eagles in the world!).

If you are in the Locarno area, make a point of see the bird show!

*For more photos of the birds, Locarno, and Lake Maggiore click here for my travel photography website where you can also purchase photos, prints and canvas prints.



1 – WALK – The Falconeria Locarno is not far from the main downtown. You can reach the Falconeria by walking to the Castle in Locarno, past the castle through the Piazza Castello and up the Via A. Nessi street where you will see signs to the Falconeria

2 – BUS – You can also take the 311 bus from the train station in downtown Locarno and get off at the “Palazzo FEVI” then walk a few minutes to the Falconeria (follow the signs).

3 – For more information, see the website for a map and tips on how to reach them by clicking here: http://falconeria.ch/?page_id=5696&lang=en



Hours – Open 10am to 5pm (4pm in the winter)

Show Times – 11am and 3pm

Closed – Mondays

Prices – 25 Swiss francs for adults, 18 for children (ages 4-16), special prices for groups (*prices listed as of Summer 2017)

Website – For the official website click here.


To read more about what to see and do in Locarno, click here for how to get a spectacular view of Lake Maggiore.

To read about other locations to visit on Lake Maggiore, click here.


Hidden Mosaics in Italy – Aquileia


Hidden Mosaics in Italy

I have written this many times, Italy is my favorite place to visit and every time I do, I discover a new place!

The other summer, I visited the lovely city of Trieste which sits on the Adriatic Sea at the top of Italy. To read more about what to see in Trieste, click here for part one of the three-part travel series.

On the way to Trieste, I stopped at Aquileia, a small area that has an abundance of Roman ruins and a basilica with a recently revealed mosaic floor!


What is the Story?

The Basilica of Aquileia sits in the center of this ancient Roman city which once held a population of one-hundred-thousand and was one of the largest cities in the 2nd century! Now you see Roman ruins that evoke that once grandiose city with remnants of streets, houses, walls, an amphitheater and more. The town and Patriarch is a UNESCO site and listed as one of the “greatest archaeological reserve[s] of its kind.”

The Basilica of Aquileia is the jewel of this city. The site of the church dates back to 313 AD while the current structure is a Romanesque-Gothic style, the real treasure is the floor! The entire floor of the Basilica is a 4th century mosaic, one of the largest Paleo-Christian mosaics in the western world!

The mosaic was covered for years and only recently discovered and unearthed between 1909 and 1912. The scenes on the floor are rich in color and charming in their depictions of man and animal. You will see a fishing scene, portraits of benefactors of the basilica, biblical stories and more. There is also a crypt, entered from the side of the main entrance, that surrounds the bell tower. The crypt has three levels of mosaics from the 1st, 3rd, and 4th centuries!

For archeology enthusiasts, those interested in Roman ruins and art history lovers, this is an ideal site. The range of history and art represented in the church covers one-thousand years! Don’t miss it on your next trip to Italy!


Where is Aquileia & How to Get There

Aquileia is a main archeological site in Northern Italy, about 10 kilmoeters from the Adriatic. The town does not have a train station, so it is best reached by car. From Trieste it is about 40-45 minutes by car. The closest train station is in the town of Cervignano which is 35 minutes from Trieste or 1.5 hours from Venice. From Cervignano you could reach Aquileia by car, taxi or bus.


To see more photos, click here for my travel photography of Trieste and Aquileia.

Read about what to see and do in Trieste, Italy (which is less than an hour from Aquileia) by clicking here for part one of my travel blog on Trieste.

To read more about the official UNESCO site, click here.



PART TWO – Visit the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM

Museum of International Folk Art Multiple Visions Gallery, details of exhibit cases 11‐20, 11‐29, 13‐14 and 17‐3. Photos by Monica Goslin.

PART TWO – Visit the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM

I had the opportunity to speak with: Amy Groleau, Curator of Latin American Collections. Amy Groleau spoke with me on the phone about her work at the museum. Please note that the answers are not direct quotes.


1.) What brought you to the Museum of International Folk Art? Have you always been interested in folk art?

Amy Groleau has been with the museum for 3 years now and came from academics with a background in anthropology and archeology. Groleau sees folk art as a culture’s heritage, but not just about the past but also the living culture. ‘Culture is a living thing, it’s a verb’ Groleau emphasizes. Folk art builds on the past and can be used as a ‘spring board for solutions and a meeting place for arts/culture.’ With her academic background, Groleau brings a fresh perspective to her studies at the museum and upcoming exhibits.


2.) Does your expertise in American Folk Art include both North and South America? Are you involved in the upcoming exhibit: Crafting Memory?

Yes! This upcoming exhibition (“Crafting Memory: The Art of Community in Peru” on display from December 3, 2017 to March 8, 2019) was conceptualized by Amy Groleau. In fact, exhibitions at the museum are driven by curators and their interests; for example, if they see a gap in the collection they can develop the research and develop an exhibition. The idea for the exhibit came from previous research and the concept of ‘culture as a living thing, building from the past.’ Groleau aims to show how a culture can ‘use artwork to heal, create solidarity and hope.’ The exhibit will show the traditional folk art beside the new generation‘s adaptation of that tradition. For example, the Peruvian retablos were originally made to show religious scenes, and today artists still create those scenes while also making new retablos in memory of events during the 1980-2000 civil war or current events. Another example is the Shipibo tribe, making themselves visible by bringing their traditional art into cities with public works and murals.


3.)  Do you get to travel for work, finding new items to add to the museum collection?

Amy Groleau has traveled to Peru for the purpose of the upcoming exhibition “Crafting Memory: The Art if Community in Peru.” The exhibit will be made up of artwork from the museum, about 40%, and newly acquired works from these trips.

a. What has been your favorite travel destination for museum collection pieces?

Peru has been the main focus for the upcoming exhibition. A new discovery for Groleau on her travels has been some Shipibo tribes people living in Lima. This rain forest tribe is preserving their arts and traditions even while in the country‘s capital with murals and public works.


4.)  My favorite part of the museum is the Girard Collection, 10% of which is on display at the museum. Where is that other 90%?

Amy Groleau offices are downstairs and by the storage. Groleau has an interesting take on the other 90% of the collection: there is a world going on below the feet of visitors; where research is being done, conservationists are hard at work and an army of people are working behind the scenes.


5.) Do you have any background information on the photos above (photos of the Girard Collection)?

The toy shop (bottom right image) of toys shopping for toys will make you smile. In fact, in the toy shop scene, Curator Amy Groleau, shares that the framed poster in the background of the shop is an image by the famous Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.


6.) Do you have any input into what is in the gift shop based on an exhibit?

Yes, Groleau is actually putting the shop in touch with current artists that will be in the upcoming “Crafting Memory: The Art if Community in Peru” exhibition. This is a wonderful way for the museum to represent folk art as a living and contemporary art form as well as supporting living artists.


7.)  Do you have a favorite item in the museum?

Currently for Groleau it is a Peruvian skirt collected by the museum founder, Florence Dibell Bartlett. The skirt is a bright yellow wool with a colorful hem of flowers. But for Amy Groleau, that favorite item changes from day to day, which is understandable considering how many items the museum has!


8.) Is there anything about the museum that people don’t know that you find very interesting and would want to share?

Every year there is a folk art market with about 125 booths with art from all over the world. The museum does try to purchase from the market but even more interesting is when the museum invites these artists in to see the collections and even the storage items. From this invitation artists can see art from their countries and on some occasions have even recognized work from their own families.

Also the museum is working on their online catalog where you can see items grouped by collections or exhibitions. This is a continuing project!


*Thank you to Amy Groleau for taking the time to answer questions and provide more information about the museum! Also thank you to Ruth LaNore, Registrar at the Museum for contacts and photo permissions!


So on your next visit to Santa Fe, make sure to visit the Museum of International Folk Art. There is so much to see, it’s kid friendly, and now you have an insider curatorial understanding!

*For more photos of Santa Fe, New Mexico visit my travel photography website by clicking here. You can purchase prints and canvas prints from the site!



Visit the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM

Admissions and Hours: Open 10 to 5 (except Mondays and major holidays)

Tickets are $12 for adults/seniors, $11 for kids, free for kids under 16

  • First Sundays of the month – free for New Mexico residents



PART ONE – Visit the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM

Museum of International Folk Art Multiple Visions Gallery, detail of exhibit case 13‐6. Photo by Monica Goslin.

PART ONE – Visit the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM

I grew up going to Santa Fe, New Mexico every other summer to visit my grandparents, and one thing we always did was going to the Museum of International Folk Art. We took an afternoon to visit the Girard Collection, which is still my favorite. You walk through the collection and see displays of villages of dolls, a band of musicians made up of wooden dolls, an entire marketplace, street scenes, and a river with colorful boats. It is a fantastical exhibit that delights all ages.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with two curators at the museum. Below is my interview with: Laura Addison – Curator of European & American Folk Art Collections.


1.) What brought you to the Museum of International Folk Art? Have you always been interested in folk art?

Prior to coming to the folk art museum, I worked as the contemporary art curator at the NM Museum of Art. One of my abiding interests is to bridge the hi art/lo art divide and I was always interested in the conversation between contemporary art practitioners and craft, vernacular arts, etc. The folk art museum was my way to broaden my understanding of American art history by being inclusive of all manner of material objects. I have come to believe that folk art inserts itself into many facets of artistic practice and this dialogue, and the margins and gray areas of folk art, are what interest me the most.


2.) Does your expertise in American Folk Art include both North and South America? Are you involved in the upcoming exhibit: Crafting Memory?

Our curatorial areas are divided geographically, so I cover North America and Europe. My colleague Amy Groleau does Latin America, and the Crafting Memory exhibition is hers.

(See part two for the interview with Amy Groleau!).


3.)  Do you get to travel for work, finding new items to add to the museum collection?

Yes, we do have the opportunity to travel for research for upcoming projects. We are fortunate to have the support of a foundation established by the museum’s founder, Florence Dibell Bartlett, for travel grants for field work and exhibition and collection research. A lot happens during these research trips, including making acquisitions for the collection. Much of our collecting happens in conjunction with preparations for exhibitions, so exhibition research and acquisitions dovetail nicely during these work trips.

a.  What has been your favorite travel destination for museum collection pieces?

This past January I had the opportunity to make a quick, preliminary trip to the region of Switzerland, a mountainous region known for, among other things, cheese, skiing, and the traditional cut-paper art form known as scherenschnitt (in German) or decoupage (in French). We have a large collection of paper cuts from around the world–for example, papel picado from Mexico or wycinanki from Poland or jianzhi from China. But we have no paper-cuts from Switzerland, and yet it’s such a rich and active tradition there. When I went to Pays-d’Enhaut, I met with a half dozen artists and saw two tremendous collections. I have in mind to do an exhibition on this material in the future, so this was my first foray into planning this project and collecting in this area. I didn’t make any acquisitions this trip, but down the road I will.


b.  How fast is the collection growing and is it mostly dolls, textiles, or a mix?

The collection is growing very quickly, currently at a pace of 500-1,000 objects per year. In the past number of years, we’ve seen that as collectors are downsizing, and their children may not share their love of the objects they’ve spent a lifetime collecting, we are being offered large collections of folk and traditional arts. When these are of particularly high quality, when there is great depth and documentation of their collections, and when it fills a gap in our collection, it’s a great benefit to the overall scope of the collection. Dolls and textiles are just part of the collection. We have a wide array of objects, from masks, paintings, and sculptures to furniture and functional objects in a variety of materials such as ceramic, wood, tin, glass, etc.


4.)  The Girard Collection has over 100,000 items but only about 10% is on display! Are items rotated in the permanent collection?

Ten percent of the Girard Collection is on display in the permanent exhibition Multiple Visions, which was curated, designed and installed by Alexander Girard. The objects in The objects in Multiple Visions don’t get rotated out. Multiple Visions is really a great example of Girard’s design work, one of the few remaining as he envisioned it, so you have to think of it as a discrete environment or installation. Rather, other collections objects get exhibited in our changing exhibitions. The permanent collection is typically the launching pad for the exhibitions we develop here. The collection is so strong, there’s a lot to work with.

a. This may be a silly question but how often are the display dusted? That must be quite the undertaking especially with the clay figurines.

Yes, cleaning the Girard Wing is quite an undertaking. Our preparator does regularly check on the displays and clean as needed, change lights as needed, look for other issues that need attention. We did undertake a massive cleaning most recently in 2010.As we prepare for bringing the traveling Girard retrospective organized by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, which will be here in 2019, we will be doing another cleaning on that same scale.


b.  Are the displays based on the culture and country the dolls come from? Is there a story within the display? (See my photo above in regards to the answer below!).

Girard sometimes created displays that were country- or culture-specific, such as the Peruvian village or the Pueblo village, but other times he put objects from different cultures together that may share something else in common–for example, beadwork from various cultures are on display side by side in two parts of Multiple Visions. Alexander Girard was definitely telling stories with his displays, simply by the fact of creating scenes as if they were theaters on display. One of my favorites is the Mexican baptism scene that features ceramic figures by the Aguilar family of Ocotlan de Morelos in Oaxaca, Mexico. Girard created a display almost like a stage set, with a foreground, center stage and background, with the family of the baby being baptized standing at the front and a crowd of others receding toward the back. Where you see the narrative unfold most in Girard’s displays are his village scenes, where he placed buildings and landscape elements and grouped figures standing within this miniature environment and interacting with each other. Girard’s displays really lend themselves to the visitor crafting a narrative to describe what they see.


c.  Do items from the collection travel to other museums?

Yes, we often lend objects from our collection to other museums. However what is on view in the Girard Wing is permanently displayed, so the works that travel are not those on display but others from the collection.


5.) Do you have any input into what is in the gift shop based on an exhibit?

We always provide the shop with suggestions of books we’ve found helpful in our preparations for shows, or put them in contact with the living artists we’ve worked with. But ultimately, they make those decisions based on what they know about buying trends.


6.)  Who designs the new exhibitions and how much input do you get in that?

We work with exhibit designers who are either in the museum system or outside contractors whom we hire. (The museum system includes the 4 state museums in Santa Fe: us, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, New Mexico History Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Art. We share the exhibits department, which includes the exhibition and graphic designers, as well as preparators, fabricators, and conservators.) A curator works very closely with the exhibit designer and graphic designer to arrive at the look, feel, layout, and installation of the exhibition. We operate as a team. Curators provide the content, context, the guiding principles and groupings necessary to tell the story; the designers make the works shine and best tell this story.

a.  Do you work with the design department on exhibition books and brochures?

Yes, for brochures, we work with our graphic designers. For our publications/books, we work with whatever publisher is publishing and distributing the book. Curators are closely involved with the entire book process, including text, images, and design.


8.)  What is an exhibit you would love to organize and curate for the museum?

I am working on a long-term project called Mining Folk: Troubling Taxonomies of Art and Design, which will include the work of a dozen contemporary artists all of whom reference folk art in their work in such a way that they change the conversation and disrupt closed notions of “art,” “folk art,” “craft,” et cetera. By “changing the conversation,” I mean their use of folk art brings new awareness or understanding to the folk art source material as well as its use in a contemporary context. Maybe this is social commentary, or perhaps it is a different way of understanding a political situation.

*Thank you to Laura Addison for taking the time to answer questions and provide more information about the museum! Also thank you to Ruth LaNore, Registrar at the Museum for contacts and photo permissions!


So on your next visit to Santa Fe, make sure to visit the Museum of International Folk Art. There is so much to see, it’s kid friendly, and now you have an insider curatorial understanding!

*For more photos of Santa Fe, New Mexico visit my travel photography website by clicking here. You can purchase prints and canvas prints from the site!


Visit the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM

Admissions and Hours: Open 10 to 5 (except Mondays and major holidays)

Tickets are $12 for adults/seniors, $11 for kids, free for kids under 16

  • First Sundays of the month – free for New Mexico residents



Visiting Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy

Trieste Italy Miramare Castle

Visiting Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy

When visiting Trieste, I recommend taking an afternoon to see the Miramare Castle (Castello Miramare). The Castello di Miramare was built from 1856 to 1860 for the Austrian Archduke Maximilian. The castle is picturesque, sitting on a rocky peninsula with sea views and extensive gardens.


THE GARDENS – You can see the gardens for free. The garden paths will take you down to the water and out onto a stone pier where you can get a great view of the castle and sea. You can also walk around the entire perimeter wall of the castle, again with stunning sea views. The gardens go further back into the hills and one exit leads you down to a lovely marina.


THE CASTLE – You can visit the interior of the castle, two floors, without a guided tour. The inside is elaborate with richly decorated rooms. There are some historical artifacts and photographs as well.


THE STORYMaximilian and his wife Princess Marie Charlotte moved to Trieste in 1859. The couple lived in the castle while it was still being built, moving in in 1860. In 1864 the couple went to Mexico but Charlotte left in 1866 after civil unrest. Maximilian was actually taken prisoner in Mexico in 1867 and killed. Charlotte returned to Miramare Castle and became ill, perhaps suffering a breakdown. She was taken to Belgium in 1867 and never returned to the Trieste or the castle. The castle was then used by various nobleman and women for weddings and ceremonies. It was inhabited by Duke Amedeo of Savory-Aosta from 1931 to 1937. During World War II, the castle was used by troops from New Zealand, Britain and America. Then the castle underwent restoration and became a public museum in 1955.



– Visiting the Miramare Castle gardens is free.

– Visiting the inside of the castle is 8 Euros for adults, 5 Euros for children (as of summer 2017)



BUS – From downtown Trieste, take the bus from the Railway Station. Bus Number 6 or 36 will take you to Miramare Castle. *Because the castle is on a peninsula, you can take the bus to the stop before the castle or after the castle. Either way you have to walk about 15 or 20 minutes from the bus to the castle.

—If you get off at a stop called Grignano, that is the after the castle and by the marina. From the bus stop, walk along the marina and towards the trees. You will see a path and steps up towards the castle gardens. This is a shady walk through trees and garden paths.

—If you get off the bus at one of the stops along the beach/water front like Viale Miramare, you will have a sunny walk with sea views. From there you walk along the path that is right above the beach and up a slight incline, through the castle gate and on to the main entrance and gardens. It is a sunny walk so wear sunscreen and don’t forget your sunglasses.

When I went to Miramare Castle, I got off along the beach, walked to the castle and saw the inside and the gardens. Then I walked through the gardens, down to the marina and got the bus back into the city. I recommend doing this as you will see the castle from both directions and see some very picturesque views of the beach, sea, and gardens in both directions.


See more photography of Trieste, Italy and Miramare Castle here on my website where you can also by prints!


For the official Miramare Castle website click here.


Visiting Trieste, Italy – part two – the tram

Trieste Italy Tram

When you visit Trieste, Italy I highly recommend you ride the Opicina Tram!

The Opicina Tram has been in operation since 1902 and connects Trieste to Opicina on a 5.2km long route. The tram starts downtown and quickly ascends the hill and then follows a weaving track through trees, over roads, and with spectacular views of the city and sea!

The tram starts downtown and quickly goes up a steep hill where you pass grand houses. The tram goes from 3 meters above sea level to 348 meters (over 1,140 feet) above sea level! I rode the tram the entire length of the route. At the last stop you can see where the tram cars live and some of the historical cars.



-You can buy tickets at the Tabacchi shop at the tram stop, it’s just a few Euros.

-The tram leaves every 20 minutes

-To get to the tram stop downtown: From the end of Canal Grande where the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo is, walk 5 blocks (away from the old city center). Turn right on Via del Lavatoio and you will come to the tram stop in one block to Piazza Oberdan. There is a bus stop across the way as well.


Don’t miss the tram ride. It is actually a tram car taken mostly by locals who live above the city center. What a wonderful way to commute to work or just for an afternoon downtown!


See more photography of Trieste, Italy here on my website where you can also by prints!


Further reading:

For the official website about the Opicina Tram where you can read about the history, technical information, and see photos and drawings of the tram and route over history, click here.


Visit Trieste, Italy – part one – main sights

Trieste ItalyVisit Trieste, Italy – part one – main sights

If you are looking for a city to visit in Italy that is not over run with tourists, Trieste is it! Located on the top fold of the Italian boot and near the Slovenian border, Trieste is nestled in a curve with views of the Gulf of Trieste and the Adriatic Sea beyond. Low hills surround the city, large cargo ships dot the horizon, sail boats line the coast, and the city sparkles with a curious Austrian-Italian charm.

Trieste is an atypical Italian city as it was part of Austria for over 500 years, from 1382 to 1918 to be exact. The Austrian Quarter, which is in the main historical downtown by the water, makes you feel like you’re in Austria. Plus coffee is a hugely important to Trieste and you will see many coffee houses just like those in Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck. The architecture is reminiscent of Vienna with grand buildings, Baroque facades, Neoclassical structures and some Art Nouveau details. But the Italian-isms come out in the details, a line of laundry, overhearing a burst of rapid Italian conversation and the friendly Italian locals.


What to see in Trieste

1 – The Seafront and Piazza Unita d’Italia

You can’t visit a port city and miss seeing the seafront. Right in the heart of downtown is the Piazza Unita d’Italia. This piazza is also atypical as it has buildings on three sides and the sea on the fourth side. City Hall sits at one end with a grand building to the left that used to be the Austrian Lloyd merchant shipping headquarters. The elegant building across from the Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino is the Palazzo del Governo. Notice the mosaic details and borders at the top of the Palazzo del Governo. If you want to sample the Austrian-like café, pastry, and coffee of Trieste, Italy you can sit at the elegant Caffe degli Specchi right on the Piazza! Make sure to walk through the piazza with City Hall at one end and the sea at the other end!

Walk along the water and make your way out onto the stone pier. Molo Audace pier was built from 1743-1751, and named in honor of the first ship of the Italian Navy to arrive in Trieste. The pier is a gathering place for locals and a wonderful spot to watch the sunset!


2 – Canal Grande with Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo at the far end

This short canal is lined with shops, cafes, and colorful boats. It is a picturesque location.


3 – Castle of San Giusto and Trieste Cathedral

On the hill above the city center is the Castle of San Giusto. The hill top actually has a few things to see, once of which includes great views of the city and a lovely park. There are Roman ruins with a few rows of columns and walls. The Castle has a small museum which is a separate fee than the castle. Although seeing the castle means you can climb on the walls, see the views, and wander through the main courtyard. Next to the castle is the Trieste Cathedral which is an interesting as you can see the span of different centuries outside and within. Note the old stones on the façade, perhaps dating back to the 6th century. Mosaic floors weave into newer floors inside and Gothic rose window decorates the façade. And my favorite, are the 12th-13th century mosaics in the apse.

The Bell Tower

You can also climb the bell tower for more wonderful views of the city and the sea. I highly recommend climbing the bell tower. As you climb, you’ll see be climbing steps that are on the outside of an older tower and you’ll see that the stones that are hundreds of years old. It is quite a unique bell tower climb!


How to reach the Castle?

1-Climb up via the stairs and narrow streets – using the paths behind the Roman Theater ruins (about 7 blocks from Piazza d’Italia).

2-INSIDER TIP – Elevator! Next to the Roman Theater is a parking garage, Park San Giusto, with an elevator that goes to the top of the hill. The parking garage is actually very clean with beautiful murals (pictured above) and is quite the engineering feat – see further reading below if you are interested in learning more.

3-There is also a giant staircase up to the park below the castle and church. If you find the main road, Corso Italia, and when it intersects with Via Della Ginnastica – you will see the stairs that will take you up the hill.


4 – Wonder through the Old Town

I always say the best way to see a place is by walking. Meander through the old town, admire the architecture and see the neighborhoods that locals live in. Duck into a few churches which always tell so much about this history of a place through the architecture and art. The Serbian Orthodox Saint Spryridon Church built in the 19th century and a block away from the Canal Grande, is spectacular inside! And while in Trieste make sure to sample the coffee as it is said that it is the “coffee capital of Italy”!

On my visit I did not have time to visit the museums, but there are some in the city center. There is a natural history museum, a botanical garden, a war museum and galleries.


See more photography of Trieste, Italy here on my website where you can also by prints!


Further reading:


Visit the Castle in Trento, Italy – part two



Visit the Castle in Trento, Italy – part two



From the old city center, you can walk to the Castle, Buonconsiglio Castle which dates back to the 13th century and is now a museum. The Castle is a perfect fairytale castle with towering crenelated walls, courtyards and impressive towers. The castle housed Bishops from the 13th century until the end of the 18th century. Later the castle was used by the Austrians as a military barrack and jail. Trento was actually part of Austria and annexed to Italy in the 1920’s. Since then the castle has been a museum and art gallery.

You can visit almost every room in the castle, so allow for at least an entire afternoon for your visit. You will pass through rooms with ornate ceilings, walk on a bridge that connects two buildings (really!) and see paintings and sculptures. There is also an inner courtyard which is a lovely secluded spot with a fountain and pleasant landscaping. From the courtyard you will wait for your allotted time slot for the tour of the “Eagle Tower” or Torre Aquila.


——— What is Eagle Tower? Why see the Eagle Tower?

It is actually the main reason to visit the castle, even the main reason to visit Trento! In order to visit the Eagle Tower you have to go on a tour (for this portion of the castle only, otherwise meander at your own will). The tour is really just a guide that takes a small group down a long narrow corridor to the tower. The tours have audio guides for many languages. So.. the reason for seeing the tower… The dark tower houses the International Gothic frescoes of the “Cycle of the Months.” These 15th century frescoes are perhaps so well preserved because of the lack of sunlight. You will stand in awe as the audio guide explains each month, pointing out the details of fashion, crops, and more. It is a charming room with scenes like a 15th century snow ball fight! The artist is unknown, but does not go unappreciated.

For more information including detailed information about each section of the castle, click here for the official website.


——— Castle ticket prices and hours:

Tickets: 10 Euros, 8 Euros for senior, 6 Euros for students

Eagle Tower: Additional 2 Euros (guided visits are every 45 minutes

Summer hours 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday)

Fall/Winter/Spring hours: 9:30am to 5pm


How to get to Trento:

-By TRAIN: from Verona it is about an hour train ride. Trains leave about every hour from Verona.

-By TRAIN from Bolzano it is about an hour train ride as well. Trains leave about every hour from Bolzano.

-By CAR: this is an option if you are coming from Lake Garda or any of the surrounding mountains and all I can say is use GPS.


Those are the main highlights of Trento. The castle is the main attraction and does take a good portion of your day to see. If you are in Trento more than one night or two days, there are also a multitude of hiking trails.

To see more photographs of Trento, click here for my travel photos which are also available for sale as prints.

For the official tourist website of Trento click here.