I'm sorry it took me so long to do this post. I meant to get it published two weeks ago but life decided otherwise.
For one reasons or another, I hadn’t visited Vicenza, the city where I was born, for many years. I remembered it was beautiful but I was stunned when I saw its monuments and buildings again.
Well, it's not without reason that Unesco has added the City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas to the World Heritage List.
It is a pity that my Italian friends from Folkestone Maria and her daughter Chiara could come to meet me, my daughter and my mum on a Monday, when most sights are closed.
One sight that was open was The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Monte Berico (1428), a church built on the site of two apparitions of the Madonna. It's a tradition for Catholics to walk to the Sanctuary from all over the province on 8th September, patron saint day.
Although my family never did it, I had my chance when I was a teenager. As getting up at 4 am and walking for 20 km didn't appeal to me, I gave it a miss, even if it meant missing out on the hot chocolate served to the pilgrims at the famous bar "Al Pellegrino" near the Basilica.
After a along walk from the hill where the Sanctuary is located down to the town centre in the scorching sun, and with still a few hours before their train was due, we took refuge in the shops. Not our idea of visiting a city but life saving under the circumstances.
Two weeks later I went back with my daughter and two dear friends, Maristella and her daughter Giada, to finish my tour of this wonderful city.
One of the sights I'm most fond of is architect Andrea Palladio's masterpiece, The Olympic Theatre, inaugurated on 3rd March 1585. The scenes, in wood and stucco, meant to represent the streets of the Greek city of Thebes (see photo under the title).
Another sight I really love is The Church of the Holy Thorn (XIII century). Among its masterpieces (paintings by Bellini and Paolo Veronese for example), there is the high altar (1667-1669) by the studio of Corberelli.
With temperature still above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), an excellent idea is to visit the industrial city of Milan for the weekend.
With a special guide, my friend Sonia who has been living and working there for over 20 years, we walked for kilometres in the semi-deserted city, populated mainly by tourists, because the tickets for the public transport were hard to find.
Sonia took us not only to see the usual Duomo, the Scala Theatre and the Sforzesco Castle, but also to new places like the Gae Aulenti Square, where we rested and dipped our tired and hot feet into the cool water. Pure bliss.
Near Gae Aulensi Square stand the impressive Vertical Forest. Milan is a surprising green city.
And last but not least, the Needle, Thread and Knot at Cadorna Square, that represents the hard work and talent for fashion of this city.
Next year I would like to visit other places, like Turin. Possibly with lower temperatures!