Ten Things to Do in Venice – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , August 10th, 2018

Venice - Keep Calm and Wander

Lying on 117 small islands, Venice is an Italian haven for tourists, cradling 250,000 residents. I had the pleasure of visiting it last summer. Here’s my list.

1. San Marco Cathedral and Square

A perfect place to people-watch, San Marco square has three famous tourist sites, namely Doge’s Palace, San Marco Cathedral, and Torre dell’Orologio.

2. Doge Palace / Palazzo Ducale

Next to the San Marco Cathedral is a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Doge Palace or the Palazzo Ducale has served as the seat of the Venetian government in the past. All the remains of that and the gothic past of the palace are all too mesmerizing.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Venice Gay Travel Resources

Inside the Pisa Cathedral – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , August 4th, 2018

Inside the Pisa Cathedral - Keep Calm and Wander

The Pisa Cathedral marks the zenith of the architectural power of Pisa at the time of its creation by having bits from the Islamic, Byzantine, Lombard-Emilian, and classical architecture. Lying peacefully in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square), it gleams in multi-colors, courtesy of the different types of marbles that it is adorned with, especially cosmatesque marble.

Unlike the exterior, the cathedral’s interior depicts much more decorations and ornamentations.

The Romanesque façade of the cathedral is made of pastel-colored marble that is designed divinely by the students of Giambolongna.

While the three doors leading inside were constructed or cast after the deadly fire of 1595, an original door “The Door of San Ranieri” designed by Bonnano Pisano still stands and provides a way in from the southern transept.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Pisa Gay Travel Resources

Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , August 2nd, 2018

Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice - Keep Calm and Wander

Standing at the mouth of the Grand Canal, Basilica Santa Maria della Salute ‘s imposing Baroque structure looks like it guards the beautiful city of Venice. Its impressive dome was put in by the survivors of the plague. For their salvation, the city built the church as a dedication to Our Lady of Health/Deliverance (Salute).

One of the survivors of the plague was Titian who died at age 94. Inside, you’ll find 12 of his original paintings hanging at the sacristy.

Unfortunately for me, despite running as fast as I could, the basilica was already closed when I went there. Well, I arrived there at 4:45 PM but they told me that they won’t sell me tickets anymore because they’d be closing soon. And it was my last day in the city, so no more time to go back the next day.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Venice Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Salamanca – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 30th, 2018

Salamanca Spain - Keep Calm and Wander

One day in Salamanca may not be enough to explore this medieval town. Up to this day, the community is still known as a university town. The town’s premier university – University of Salamanca – is Spain’s oldest university and the world’s 3rd oldest that’s still operating until today.

Salamanca is definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Spain. Because of its place in the historical culture and art of Spain, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

This city is loaded with attractions and seeing all of them in a day can be too overwhelming, but the following popular attractions can be visited in a day.

The Old and the New Cathedral are built side by side, one in the 4th and the other one in the 15th century, respectively. The former shows a Romanesque architecture and the latter has touches of Renaissance, but they collectively make a spectacle to be amazed at.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Spain Gay Travel Resources

Dante’s Tomb – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 28th, 2018

Dante's Tomb - Keep Calm and Wander

You can’t talk about Italian literature without mentioning Dante Alighieri who peacefully rests in Ravenna. I’d say that his Divine Comedy (Divina Comedia) is, perhaps, the greatest Italian literary work the world has ever known. It’s a classic that must be read whether you’re a believer of hell, purgatory and paradise or not.

Is Dante’s Tomb in Florence Real?

If you were told by one of your guides or a local in Florence that Dante is buried in their city – ignore it. There’s no truth in that. That “tomb” you see in Florence is nothing but air inside. Empty – that is. It’s nothing but a memorial to Dante who was born in Florence.

But what’s this myth about Dante’s tomb lies in Florence? Well, in 1519, Pope Leo X directed that Dante’s bones be moved to Florence but the Franciscan monks at the nearby monastery stole them away and hid them for more than 300 years. It was re-discovered in 1865 – by chance!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Rialto Bridge Views – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 27th, 2018

Realto Bridge Views in Venice - Keep Calm and Wander

Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge in Venice that connects San Marco and San Polo areas. It was first but in the 12th century and has been rebuilt so many times since then. There’s no doubt that Rialto Bridge is the most famous bridge and most photogenic of all 4 bridges in the Grand Canal. You can’t speak of Venice without mentioning the Realto Bridge.

Today, no tourists would miss crossing the bridge and leave his footprints without standing on it. It has become one of the city’s most-visited tourist attractions.

As you can see, Rialto Bridge is a covered bridge, which is a good thing, especially under the summer heat.

However, due to constant foot traffic and camwhoring tourists, you might not be able to litter here for a long time. Don’t be selfish. Give others a chance to take their own photos.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Venice Gay Travel Resources

The Magnificent Barcelona Cathedral – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 23rd, 2018

Barcelona Cathedral - Keep Calm and Wander

Better than Santa Maria Cathedral, the Barcelona Cathedral is the epitome of religious devotion, and most importantly, of Gothic architecture. Its high-rise pillars, the overall size of the cathedral, and the atmosphere inside awakened my spirit and encouraged me to stay there for more than an hour.

Before I could feed you in on what I saw there, I’d like to mention its fascinating history first.

The Barcelona Cathedral was not erected in a few years, instead, its architectural history spans over six centuries as it has seen many renovations, additions, and degradations at the hand of the sands of time.

The main patrons of this building were the guilds and the brotherhoods of that era who donated their funds to construct a cathedral that could serve as an awe-inspiring medieval architectural and a victory icon.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Barcelona’s Palau Guell Mansion – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 21st, 2018

Barcelona's Palau Guell Mansion - Keep Calm and Wander

The Palau Guell in Barcelona may look ordinary outside but wait until you step on inside. It’s splendid! Truly magnifique!

Barcelona is love not because of its 24/7 party scenes, but also because it has some of the most architecturally and artistically revered ancient buildings such as the Paul Guell Mansion.

I was in the city only for a few days and boy, there’s so much art around. And there’s no doubt that Gaudi rules above all other artists. In fact, Barcelona is also called “The City of Gaudi.” That’s how famous he is Catalan. His works are visible everywhere. Art was merely an excuse, I wanted to see Palau Guell – I wanted to see how how the wealthy aristocrats of the past resided in their designer mansions and how those very designers managed to create the residence of their dreams.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Toledo, Spain – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 18th, 2018

Toledo - Keep Calm and Wander

Just like the rest of the cities of Spain, Toledo also presents a conundrum of Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim architecture, which actually tells the stories of the confluence of these cultures resulting from the respective conquests. The entire day I spent in the city had me gawking at the magnificence of the ancient structures standing tall in the myriads of small buildings along cobblestoned alleys.

Here’s where I managed to take my art-thirsty self.

1. The Alcazar

Alcazar means a fortress. Like other Alcazars in nearly every city of the country, this one, too, speaks (rather cry) of its mixed history. This is the highest point of the city; and therefore, it provides a view that simply stays in the eyes forever.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castille La Mancia Gay Travel Resources

Pisa Views from the Leaning Tower – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 14th, 2018

Pisa Views

Yes, it is possible to climb to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. You just don’t pose like you’re saving the leaning tower from falling with your tiny hands but you have to climb and see what’s up there. The views aren’t really impressive but climbing a leaning tower is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You don’t get to experience that anywhere else, right? Perhaps, this might be the only leaning tower you’d ever climbed on.

Before Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa

First, you have to buy a ticket. The ticket booth is on the left side, across the green lawn. When buying, choose a time that’s convenient for you. They limit the number of people going up there for security reasons. When you’ve paid, go to the room next door and leave your things in a locked safe. They won’t allow backpacks or bags. Just bring your camera, phone or valuable things, like your wallet. Be sure to line up 10-15 minutes before your time.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Pisa Gay Travel Resources