Visit the Castle in Trento, Italy – part two

Trento-Italy-visit-part2-Castle-BLOG-MGoslin

 

Visit the Castle in Trento, Italy – part two

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THE CASTLE

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

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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.

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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.

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What to see in Trento, Italy – part one

Trento-Italy-visit-part1-piazza-BLOG-MGoslin

What to see in Trento, Italy – part one

Trento is located in the Tyrol Valley which is located above Verona. The valley is dotted with castles, apple orchards and vineyards. There is a lot to see in this valley, some of which I covered in previous blog posts, see below and click to read more:

Castles and Birds of Prey in Italy – highlighting the Gufyland Bird Sanctuary

See Otzi the Iceman

Castles to See Near Bolzano, Italy

And now this blog post brings us a little south of Bolzano to the lovely small city of Trento. Trento has a small historical center, in some areas you can still see the city wall, with a gorgeous plaza, grand cathedral and a most impressive castle!

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Piazza Duomo is an atypical shape, surrounded by colorful buildings including the 16th century Casa Rella which displays faded frescoes on the façade. In the center of the piazza is the Fountain of Neptune, with a dazzling mountain of statues. The Cathedral behind the fountain stretches out to dominate the scene. The Cathedral has a stark interior with interesting views of the older walls, a staircase, and a crypt where you can see the late-Roman Basilica. Beside the Cathedral is the Palazzo Pretorio which looks like a castle with a large bell tower (13th century bell tower). The Palaazo Pretorio dates back to the 12th century and acted as the Bishops’ residence but is now a museum; which is nice to see for Baroque paintings and views of the city from the windows and towers.

From the main piazza I suggest you simply wander through the streets to appreciate the architecture and the historical city center. Make sure to walk down Via Rodolfo Belenzani (right across from the Fountain of Neptune) as it is lined with impressive palaces, many of which are covered in frescoes like the 15th century Alberti Colico Palace. The city center reminds one of Verona, with many a romantic balcony to be seen where one can imagine Juliet standing.

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NEXT – the next blog post will be about the Castle of Trento!

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.

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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.

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Ferrara, Italy – what to see – part 4

Ferrara Italy

What to see in Ferrara, Italy (part 4)

Okay so by now you have seen the castle, the cathedral, a few museums and the main shopping street. Now it is time to visit a few more sights. In front of the castle is a road called Corso Ercole l d’Este which is lined with grand buildings, a handful of which you can visit.

 

1-Museo del Risorgimento e della Resistenza – Museum of the Italian Resistance and Unification

For history/war buffs this is a very interesting museum that is brimming with documents, posters, photos, and artefacts. The museum feels more like someone’s personal library and collection of news clippings, photographs, uniforms, satirical cartoons and more from 1919 to 1945. It is rather a sobering museum, which is why I recommend visiting this museum before the next one.

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 9:30 to 1pm and again 3 to 6pm

-Closed Mondays

4 Euros for adults, 2 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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2-Pinacoteca Nazionale | Palazzo dei Diamanti – National Gallery and Diamanti Palace

Next to the Museum of Italian Resistance is the Diamanti Palace which houses the National Gallery. The building is stunning as it is covered in marble diamonds (similar to a building you can see in Segovia, Spain). There are 8500 diamond shaped stones on the building façade which catch the sunlight all day long. The palace was built in 1493 and designed by Biagio Rossetti, the court architecture who was also in charge of enlarging the city of Ferrara. Inside you will find a collection of 18 and 19th century artwork, so large dark paintings of religious scenes.

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 9 to 2pm Tuesday to Sunday

-Open 9 to 7pm on Thursday

-Closed Mondays

4 Euros for adults, 2 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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If you have time, a few more things to see and visit:

-Past the Diamanti Palace is a rather pleasant park, Parco Massari.

-Further past the park is the Museum of Religious Art, San Cristoforo alla Certosa which is also part of the cemetery.

Natural History Museum – I did not get to this museum but believe it holds an extensive collection of mammals, reptiles, insects, fossils, minerals, and more! Open 9 to 6pm except Mondays.

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Ferrara is full of amazing collections of art and history.

For more photos of Ferrara, Italy that are available as prints, click here for Monica Goslin Photography.

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Visiting Ferrara, Italy – part 3 – frescoes

 

Ferrara Italy

What to see in Ferrara, Italy past Via Mazzini (part 3)

The previous blog post covered the castle and main piazza. Now we move past the piazza, down the main shopping street and on to some key museums.

A quick Insider Tip: You will notice that for museum and even church hours, there is a 3 hour window when things close… those 3 hours are for lunch and rest. Ferrara is full of amazing Italian cuisine and you can’t go wrong when picking a place to eat. Take advantage of those 3 hours and have lunch, dessert, coffee and put your feet up!

Restaurant Suggestion: Ristorante Cusina e Butega

-Located on Corso Porta Reno, #28 – walk past the clock tower at the end of the Piazza della Cattedrale to reach the restaurant

-Local cuisine with great options for kids and adults

-Open until 3pm for lunch

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What to see in Ferrara continued.

After the castle, cathedral and main squares… continue down Via Mazzini to:

 

1-Museo di Casa Romei

This is a charming museum with a lovely courtyard, frescoes, art work and stone work. The building was originally the home of a banker in the 15th century! A quiet, nice museum with an interesting history.

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 8:30 to 2pm Sunday to Wednesday

-Open 2 to 7:30 Thursday to  Saturday

3 Euros for adults, 1.50 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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2-Museo Riminaldi – Palazzo Bonacossi

Further down the same road where you will visit the Casa Romei, is the Museum of Ancient Art in the Palazzo Bonacossi. The museum is the collection of Cardinal Riminaldi, collected while he was in Rome in the 18th century and donated to Ferrara – his hometown. Honestly I visited this museum as it was included on the MyFe city card. It is pleasant but not terribly exciting, with stuffy paintings, some 17 and 18th century furnishings and sculptures. If you have time, and you have the MyFe card, pop in and take half an hour to look.

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3-Palazzo Schifanoia

This is a magnificent palace that was built for the Este Family as a place to entertain. The name, Schifanoia, means to “banish boredom.” The main attraction is the frescoes painted by various artists on the 1st floor (upstairs) of the “Cycle of Months.” The room is dark but not crowded so you can get close to the walls and see the astounding details, the expressions, and the colors. The seasons are depicted as pageants with Olympian gods presiding over the pageants while being carried on fanciful floats drawn by animals like giant swans. The frescoes were meant to show the order of mankind and nature under the rule of the Duke. It is most interesting, from the creatures, the zodiac symbols, to the elaborate scenes and the quality of the frescos.

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 9:30 to 6pm

-Closed Mondays

3 Euros for adults, 2 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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4-Museo Archeologico Nazionale

This Archeology museum is certainly a gem and a must-see for historical and archeology enthusiasts. The museum is very extensive and you need to allow for a few hours if you plan to study each room. Devoted to the Etruscan city of Spina, the museum exhibits log boats, pottery, bronzes and much more. There is also a lovely garden in the back and the prize room for Renaissance art enthusiasts is the “Treasure Hall.” The last room you will see, separate from the main museum and by the garden, is the Treasure Hall which was probably built as a music room or library. The treasure is the ceiling, a fresco painted by Garofalo. Look up and you will see an amazing feat of perspective for it is as if you are looking up to a balcony where Renaissance faces peer down at you, garlands hang by red ribbons, and a monkey or two play on the railings. It is reminiscent of the Camera degli Sposi by Mantegna in Mantua – which you can read about on another blog post by clicking here.

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 9:30 to 5pm

-Closed Mondays

5 Euros for adults, 3 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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Ferrara is full of amazing collections of art and history.

The next post will feature info on the next spectacular sights to see. Don’t miss a blog post, sign up for a weekly travel blog!

For more photos of Ferrara, Italy that are available as prints, click here for Monica Goslin Photography.

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Ferrara Italy – Part 2 – castle and more

Ferrara Italy

What to see in Ferrara, Italy (part 2)

1 – Castle Estense

Start at the city center and visit Ferrara’s castle. The castle sits in the center, surrounded by a moat, and yes there are draw bridges. You will find yourself standing on the city block, staring up at the castle while cars, bikes, and motorcycles whiz by – a castle that has been absorbed into the modern world.

The red bricks, red shutters, and towers stand tall and dominate the main downtown. The castle dates back to the late 14th century and was home to the Este Court. Your visit will take you through stately rooms with painted ceilings, artwork, maps, and the charming Garden of Oranges (a balcony filled with potted orange trees, sitting high above the busy city streets).

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 9:30 to 5:30pm

-Open until 7pm from June to August with a 2 hour lunch break (1 to 3pm)

-Open every day – March to September!

8 Euros for Adults, 6 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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2 – Piazza and Cathedral

From the Castle you should walk to the Romanesque Cathedral in the Piazza Trento e Trieste. Along the way, notice the Theater building with a circular courtyard. The Municipal Theater and Ferrara Musica house performances and concerts. From October to May you can buy tickets for the special performances or for the resident orchestra throughout the year.

The Piazza is a long rectangle with the Romanesque Cathedral along one edge. The Cathedral façade was being worked on when I was there, so I had to be content with admiring the side which is decorated with stone columns along the top, all of which vary in pattern and size. The Cathedral dates back to 1135 – that is 800 years old! Always impressive to see the work of those masonry and craftsman still standing! The interior of the Cathedral is dark but when the sunlight shines in you see gold painted angels and the marble floors that look like a giant chess board.

Cathedral Hours: Open 7:30 to Noon and 3:30 to 6:30pm

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3 – Across from the Cathedral (side) is the Cathedral Museum housed in another church. This is a lovely little museum with two parts. Part one is the upstairs floor of the side building where you can see some sculptures and a large collection of illuminated manuscripts. Part two is in the actual church. There you will find tapestries from the 1550’s that depict the stories of Saint George and Maurlius. In addition, there are the 13th century stone panels that depict the months with great detail in the clothes, faces, and tools. And perhaps the most interesting, is the Madonna of the Pomegranate statue, a 15th century stone sculpture.

 

Hours and Ticket prices:

-Open 9:30 to 1pm and 3 to 6pm

-Closed Mondays

6 Euros for adults, 3 Euros for seniors/kids/groups (prices as of 2016)

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4 – From the Piazza continue down Via Mazzini where you will find a pleasant pedestrian walk by shops and red brick buildings. When I was visiting Ferrara I was looking up at colorful umbrellas, an open art installation over Via Mazzini.

Insider Tip: Ferrara is a city of bikes which means watch out! Be mindful of bikes whooshing by as you back up to look at a building, darting around corners as you wait to cross the street, and remember that little “ding” is the warning sound of a bike rider coming up behind you.

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Continue reading the next post for on what to see past Via Mazzini! — Sign up for the blog so you don’t miss a post – usually once a week so your inbox will not be flooded with emails, I promise.

*For more photographs of Ferrara, Italy visit my photography website where photos are available as prints! Click here!

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What to see in Ferrara, Italy – Part 1

 Ferrara Italy

What to see in Ferrara, Italy (part 1)

Looking for a city that is off the main trail, not over run with crowds of tourists, full of hidden sights, has excellent local food and that colorful Italian charm? For every popular and well-known city in Italy, there are a dozen obscure towns to discover and Ferrara, Italy is one of them.

Just over 30 miles North of Bologna, you can visit the tranquil city of Ferrara. The old city center is enclosed by a Renaissance wall and has a fairytale castle in the center of town – moat and all. The city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which in itself is a testament to the amount of heritage, cultural importance, and wealth of history that there is to appreciate.

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How to get to Ferrara, Italy

By Train from Milan: From Milan you have to go to Bologna (on the high-speed train “Frecciarossa” it takes one hour) – then change and go to Ferrara –just a 30 minute ride).

Side note and TIP: If you take the slow train from Milan to Bologna, the price is cut in half but your travel time doubles – the slow train takes almost 3 hours and you still need to switch to get to Ferrara (it’s still 30 minutes away). So spend a little more, take the high speed train, and spend more time exploring rather than sitting on the sluggish train at half price.

If you are already in Bologna – trains run pretty frequently and Ferrara is just a 30-minute train ride north.

By Car: best advice is to use GPS and follow directions. Road signs can be confusing but with the oh-so-useful round-abouts in Europe, you can keep circling until you figure out which exit to take!

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Even as an off-the-main-trail city, Ferrara has a city card! With options of a 2 day, 3 day or 6 day card you can see 16 sites with the “MyFE – Ferrara Tourist Card.” I highly recommend city cards as they do save you money and actually you end up seeing more museums/sights/churches because you want to get the most out of your money.

See the next blog post that describes what you can see while in Ferrara! — Sign up for the blog so you don’t miss a post – usually once a week so your inbox will not be flooded with emails, I promise.

*For more photographs of Ferrara, Italy visit my photography website where photos are available as prints! Click here!

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Visiting Hellbrunn Palace

Salzburg Austria

What to see outside of Salzburg, Austria

Okay so you have seen the sights of Salzburg (and if not, please see previous blog post for info on what to see!). Now… it is time to go outside the city and visit:

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Hellbrunn – Palace and Trick Fountains

This is a most amusing outing to make, and yes you did read that correctly, “trick fountains.”

The Palace was built as a summer palace by the Archbishop Markus Sittikus, 400 years ago. However, this is not just palace, it is a palace built for the amusement of the archbishop who invited guests and then played tricks on them! During the tour (yes you have to take a tour, but the guides have a great time and you will see why) you will see what looks like an outdoor dining area surrounded by fountains only to find that if you were a guest seated at that table you were bound to get soaked while your host laughed at the head of the table – dry and amused. The trick fountains continue on with caves full of surprises, jumping water, a carnival of water and more. Enjoy the house, see the gardens, and you might want to wear a bathing suit.

The Hellbrunn Palace also includes a visit up the hill to the Volksundemuseum – Folklore Museum. This is a charming gem of a museum with examples of traditional costumes, hats, dresses, shoes, toys, art and more. It is a little museum but oh so fun!

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Hellbrunn Palace also houses the “Sound of Music” Pavillion where the song “I am 16 going on 17” was performed. If you walk all the way to the entrance of the gardens, not far from the road you will find the Pavillion.

To read more about the Hellbrunn Palace and the trick fountains, click here.

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**For photographs of Salzburg click here and find photos, prints, and canvas prints of Salzburg.

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