The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , December 11th, 2017

Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Here are photos of my leisurely walk at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. For most tourists, they directly go to the hill where they see the bird’s eye view of the ancient ruins of the city that brought us the legend of Remus and Romulus. Some tour companies won’t include this attraction because it’s vast – and it would take time to go around.

At first, I wasn’t really impressed of the ruins I saw – until I sat down and googled its history. After 20 minutes of reading online, I walked around the lower ground and appreciated its significance to the city’s history. I see those relics with a new eye.

This archaeological site was once the residence of aristocrats and emperors. By the look of it, you’ll see that this was the centre of political and social movements at its heydays. Legend has it that Remus and Romulus were found in a cave here by the she-wolf. Romulus is believed to be the founder of the city of Rome (now you know where the city’s name come from). Caligula, that lunatic of an emperor, was killed here on a tunnel under the palaces.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Rome Gay Travel Resources

Inside the Vatican Museum – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , December 4th, 2017

Vatican Museum in Rome - Kep Calm and Wander

My jaw dropped inside the spectacular Vatican Museum. I can’t even find the exact words on how I felt while slowly going around. It is the best museum I’ve been to and every piece seems to be priceless. Even the minutest thing of all would cost more than my life!

I reckon that no visitors at the vatican Museum left unimpressed or shocked by its grandeur. It took me time to sink in that I was in the worlds greatest museum where art and religion is its main centrepiece.

Works of Great Artists. It seems like every Renaissance artist had left a masterpiece at Vatican Museum. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s frescoes are a must-see. Don’t miss gazing at the works of Titian, Caravaggio, Bernini, Filippo Lippi, Giotto di Bondone, Bellini, and many more.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Rome Gay Travel Resources

No Romance at the Spanish Steps – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , December 1st, 2017

Spanish Steps - Keep Calm and Wander

First of all, I didn’t find romance at the Spanish Steps in Rome. Not even a wisp breath of ardour. And that’s because the place is infested with tourists, like me.

I can only imagine at night when lovers would smooch on the stairs and whisper promises only to be broken later. But surely, you’ve seen this place from the movie, “Roman Holiday” or that TV show, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” And oh, if you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you might have heard this place in his song, “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

Why it’s called Spanish Steps? There used to be a Spanish Embassy in the area and at the bottom of the steps, you’ll find Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Plaza). Naturally its name is extended into the steps – thus, it became Spanish Steps.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Rome Gay Travel Resources

Wishing for Peace at Trevi Fountain – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , November 26th, 2017

Trevi Fountain - Alain

This is no bull – but I really wished for world peace at the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Though my life isn’t perfect, I’m already grateful for what I now have. I didn’t even think about that wish because every time I find a wishing well or fountain in my travels, I always have the same wish – and you guess it right – world peace!

The World’s Most Beautiful Fountain? Well, the locals named it as the world’s most beautiful. While Rome has a lot of fountains, Trevi Fountain is the largest fountain in the city that is of Baroque style.

Nearby Attraction. The Spanish Steps is a walking distance from here.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

Rome Skyline From the Vatican – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , November 18th, 2017

Rome Skyline - Keep Calm and Wander

If you’re like me who like to see city skylines, then we could travel together. The view of the Vatican from the top of St Peter Basilica is surreal. You won’t just be able to see the city-state itself but it goes farther beyond Rome. You won’t be able to see skyscrapers like the ones in Dubai, Chicago or New York. But you’ll see a city that’s a work of many great artists who combined their creative forces to build a beautiful place that’s classic and timeless.

From the Top. You’ll be able to see the building where the Pope lives. The gardens of the Vatican, the building where the Sistine Chapel is, bridges and other magnificent architectural work. You’ll also be in close encounter with the Michelangelo’s Dome that towers all over Rome. The statues of Christ and his disciples on the facade roof are within your reach, too. And oh, I’ve never seen a city with so many domes but Rome.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Sixtythree B&B – Rome Gay Friendly Guesthouse

Author: , November 17th, 2017

Sixtythree B&B - Rome Gay Friendly Guesthouse

Sixtythree guesthouse offers its guests comfortable, clean and centrally located rooms at extremely convenient price since 2005. We are located in the lively and multicucltural district of Esquilino Hill, just 150 meters away from the main entrance of Termini station and within walking distance from the most part of Roman museums and monuments.

Are you willing to skip the public transport and enjoy the best of Rome walking the whole day through history? Or maybe you prefer to book a place in the best connected district of Rome to take advantage of the public transport at best?

In both cases Sixtythree guesthouse is the right place for you. Book on our website the best available rates or contact us to get more information: we hope to make our place your home during your Roman days!

About the rooms: private bathroom, daily cleaning, free wifi (ultra broad band), airconditioning, sat tv.

An Italian breakfast is included in the rate.

See the Sixtythree B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Rome Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Florence Skyline from Torre de Arnolfo – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , November 17th, 2017

Florence Skyline from Torre de Arnolfo - Alain

Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance. The city, wherever you go, is full of incredible art from the middle ages. You’ll find works of Dante, Michelangelo, Giotto, Boticelli and other Italian masters in one city. Stunning frescoes? Check. Incredible sculptures? Check. Amazing architecture? Check. Great literature? Check. My dilemma was: Where do I start?

The narrow, cobblestone streets had me feeling that I was truly in ancient Italy. The city was once tagged as the “Athens of the Middle Ages.” Much of the things to do and see here are concentrated in the Historical Centre, a UNESCO-World Heritage Site. In the middle of it, you’ll find the stunning Florence Cathedral which the locals refer to as “Duomo.” From here, it’s an easy walk to the Academia where you’ll find Michelangelo’s original statue of “David.” You can also walk to Uffizi Gallery and marvel at its colossal statues outside the building. Nearby, Ponte Vecchio has been there for centuries and you might find something to splurge your money on.

Where to see the spectacular view of Florence skyline. The best view of Florence would be on the top of Torre de Arnolfo. It’s got the best view of the city’s skyline. Most of the postcards you see and buy were taken from here.

A Day in Florence. Yes, it is possible if your purpose is just to see the usual tourist attractions in the Historical Center. You can do these sights: Academia, Duomo and Baptistry, Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio. I have to warn you though that the queue at the Academia is brutal. So you better start there. Be the first in the queue in the morning. And oh, I find the gelato here in Florence better than the gelatos in any city I’ve been in Italy. Don’t be shy to get a large scoop!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Florence Gay Travel Resources

The Stunning Facade of Florence’s Duomo – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , November 15th, 2017

Florence's Duomo - Keep Calm and Wander

The stunning facade of Florence’s Duomo is one of its kind. It’s a great example of the Renaissance style which was born in Florence, Italy. Duomo, as the locals call it, has a longer name: Catedral Santa Maria del Fiore. In English, it is translated as, “Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers.” For lazy tourists who have problems remembering places, it would be known as Florence Cathedral.

The Stunning Facade of Florence Duomo. The whole facade of the church isn’t your typical church you see all over Italy or Spain. Its polychrome marble panels are bordered with hues of pink and green. The exterior is plastered with so many sculptures and frescoes of various sizes. Incredible patterns and amazing craftsmanships are ubiquitous wherever you stand. They can be dizzying if you’re fixated on them.

Gothic or Renaissance? Well, I was told that in its early construction, the church was designed as Gothic. But as it progressed, its Renaissance style became evident, too. Both styles were blended and resulted in a classical masterpiece which Florence is so proud of.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Florence Gay Travel Resources

Our Last Day in Florence – Dolly Travels

Author: , November 13th, 2017

Florence - Dolly Travels

Buon amiche,

Yes, I have to leave Florence again. This is always a sad day for me, for I love Florence, but, alas, I have to go away from my fairy tale world, and go back home again, and live my real life.

So, in parting, I thought I would leave here by giving you some pictures and commentary about my favorite city.

The other day, I just had to get out and walk all over the city. Frank is such an understanding, compassionate soul. He told me to go and enjoy myself.

I set out from the apartment, down our street toward the Duomo. I did not go into the mob of tourists, but turned to the right, found my way to the Arno by going through side streets and little alleys.

I just had to walk down via Tornabuoni, which has some of the most expensive stores in the the city. I don’t even own clothes fine enough to go into those stores, but I wouldn’t go into them, anyway; with their black-suited doormen, and the elegant men and women who are shopping there, I would definitely be a fish out of water.

I continued on my way, and crossed the Ponte Santa Trinità into the Oltrano area, the more bohemian neighborhoods of Florence.

I stopped on the bridge to take a picture of the Arno River, flowing underneath. It was such a lovely morning, I lingered a few moments to enjoy the serenity of that view, then I turned eastward, and followed the river for awhile.

I truly enjoyed being on the less crowded side of the Arno. Eventually, I turned south, walking through the Oltrano neighborhoods to get to the staircase that led up to the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Finally, at the top of the square is the bronze statue of David. He was worth the climb.

As I got to the railing, I could see so much of the beautiful city of Florence, with the Duomo in the background, the Church of Santa Croce behind the white buildings , the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza Signoria, at the left. As I took in the view, church bells all over the city started chiming the noon hour. All those bells, resounding over the city and up the hill to me, sent a delightful shiver up my spine.

On my way down the east side of the Piazzale, I came to the grotto. It used to have turtles in it, but they are not there any longer.

Soon I came to the river again, and followed to eastward to one more bridge, the Ponte S. Nicollo and crossed back to the main part of Florence.

In the early afternoon, I arrived back at our apartment building, but the day was still so beautiful, I had to go into the piazza just beyond, the Piazza S. Annunziata, and take a picture of Duke Ferdinando on his horse.

I had enjoyed a delightful walk, seeing so many of the places that I love. I knew that soon I would return to the city of Florence, for it indeed has become my second home, and one that keeps calling me back.

Fortunately, Frank was waiting for me, and we ventured out for an afternoon aperitif, while I told him of my day.

I will say, “Arrivederci ” now, for I have to pack and get ready to leave. Tomorrow morning we go to Rome, and stay near the airport there, and fly home on Wednesday.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk through Florence with me. I also hope that, if you have not been to Florence, you will see it some day, for it is a magical place.

Ciao for now,

Inside the Sistine Chapel – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , November 11th, 2017

Sistine Chapel

Inside Sistine Chapel are the well-known frescoes of Michelangelo. For many, seeing these stunning art preserved in a chapel is an experience of a lifetime. Gazing at the incredible masterpiece from the floor to the wall and unto the ceiling is an experience that would never go away. I felt like this is one of those experiences I’d consider and describe as, “You’ve got to see it to believe!”

I spent a full 45 minutes minutes here, in amble walk – from corner to corner. I had goosebumps while listening to the audio guide, describing in details some of the symbolisms behind the characters in the painting. When you’re under a phenomenal art like this, you won’t just be speechless but feel pain in your neck.

Before You Go Inside. I’d recommend you to watch this really informative, educational and inspiring TEDTalk detailing the incredible treasure of Michelangelo. After watching the video, I’d still want you to take an audio guide to make the experience more meaningful. You’ll have an incredible journey of finding one character to another, while looking back and forth; or up and down.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander