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France and Italy, 2004


Sirmione is (again) a walled medieval town, at the end of a peninsula jutting into the southern end of Lake Garda. Although the old town is mainly given over to tourism, there is a thermal bath complex offering various expensive therapeutic treatments, and the tip of the peninsula has the remains of a very large Roman villa. Our hotel was inside the town necessitating careful and slow driving to avoid mowing down the pedestrians.

The outstanding visual feature is the Venetian (and earlier and later) castle that protects the entry to the town from the mainland.



Travelling from Sirmione to Venice, we stopped in Vicenza where there is this magnificent arcaded building with shops at ground level and an exhibition hall above. It is said to date from the 15th century, but in fact has been mostly rebuilt after it was demolished by an Allied bomb in March 1945.

We also stopped in Padova (Padua), where the cathedral (the Basilica di Sant'Antonio) has this magnificent collection of domed roofs. and the less magnificent tomb of the saint. Nick was not impressed with the reliquary which contained his tongue. Seems bits of saints got distributed around.

Padova has another large church, Basilica Santa Giustina, which claims to have the remains of St Luke (or most of them, some bits having been redistributed elsewhere) with a large illuminated sign drawing attention to them. This cheerful griffin stands guard outside the entrance.

Click here to go on to Venice


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This page last modified Sunday, 30 December, 2012 4:12 PM
All photographs copyright © 2004 by Lynn or Nick Booth. No reproduction without written permission.