The ancient ruins of Rome are again full of opposites, they tell the story of a time when democracy was born and people gathered to be heard at Forums, but also a time when people visited the Colosseum to see shows of people fighting other people and animals and dying in brutal deaths- all for fun. Being there makes you realize the past never stayed in the past, it just kept repeating itself in different forms to this day.
The site where the Papal Conclave meets in order to elect the Pope, this 15th Century Chapel is probably the most popular attraction in Vatican City. Home to Michelangelo's masterpiece 'The Last Judgement' and several ceiling frescoes, you get into this house of wonder after a long walk through the galleries of the museums and a dozen security guards will work hard to keep you from clicking any pictures. The nine frescoes depict God's Creation, the tale of Adam and Eve, the Fall and the plight of Noah. The Last Judgement (Giudizio Universale) on the west wall illustrating Christ passing his sentence over dead souls stands out in every way possible. And no, Michelangelo did not paint the ceiling while lying on his back. That is merely a myth. Interestingly, there are stories about how Michelangelo was an artist who refused to conform to the norms of his time. When the Papal officials complained about the existence of nudity in the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo painted the Gates of Hell behind the pulpit where the Pope delivers his Mass and portrayed several saints as foolish and in compromising positions. Now that's some form of revenge. Getting there: The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums and the entry comes for about 16 Euros. They are open from 9am to 6pm with 4pm being the last admission. Additionally, entry is free on the last Sunday of the month. The queues can be long so book your tickets online if you are in a bit of a hurry. There are several galleries to see in the museums with the Chapel being the final stop, after which you proceed to St. Peter's Basilica. Photography, as mentioned above, is prohibited, but nobody can stop you from gazing at the ceiling in amazement for as long as you like, although the crowd could be a bit of a deterrent. You could take the Metro to 'Ottaviano-San Pietro' which is on the A Line of the Rome Metropolitan and your journey to the Vatican and back should cost you 3 Euros. Beware of pickpockets. The museums are located 900 metres from the station and noon is the best time to visit.
Fiera Milano Rho
If you love art, culture and home design you must vivid Salone del Milano. The exhibition showcases the latest in furniture and design around the globe. Salone is held annually in April and so far I have been twice and every year my mind is completely blown away by the creativity and the variety of style.
A major portion of ancient Rome lies in deep slumber about 9 and 15 meters underground. With less scope of excavation in the deeper sections we have to rely on the catacombs, scavi, and crypts on religious sites to decipher the life in classical times. The famous Catacombs of Rome are the ancient burial places which are made of underground passages. The original Roman custom was cremation, after which the burnt remains were kept in a pot. But around the 2nd century AD, burial of unbound was being practiced. Christians also preferred burials. Wall graves were dug and were usually laid out vertically as it could contain one or more bodies. Another way was to have burial rooms containing graves all for one family. It gives you a chill when you descend into the realm of those dead and still dwelling here. Capuchin Crypt behind Piazza Barberini is where you can see the bones of thousand Capuchin monks. You’ll find skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order. There are six total rooms in the crypt. These would be the spooky highlights of your tour. The interesting history of the Basilica of Saint Clement makes it a key point to visit. Travel Trip- The Catacombs of St. Callixtus are closed on Wednesdays.
In Siena, head to the Pinacoteca Nazionale to see late Medieval and Renaissance paintings in its gallery. Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti brothers were among the most important Sienese painters and their works were less naturalistic than Florentine art. See Duccio's Madonna dei Francescani which is a masterpiece as it shows different styles.For more information, get in touch here. Timings: Sun–Mon 9am–1pm; Tues–Sat 8:15am–7:15pm Entry fee: €4
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna
To see some of the most well preserved Baroque styles, don't miss heading to the National gallery. The collections started in 1796 and has kept growing. Artwork by the Carracci brothers, who were instrumental in bringing forth the Baroque style, are on display along with paintings by high-Baroque artist Guido Reni. The gallery covers a whole range of artwork, starting from the 13th century to upto the 18th century.For more information, get in touch here. Timings: Tuesday-Wednesday 9:00-13:30;Thursday-Sunday 14:00-19:00 Entry fee: €6Where to stay in Bologna?The best option is the city centre because of the tourist sites and restaurants nearby. Rooms in a good hotel start from approx Rs 5500 (78 euros).Where to eat in Bologna?Food in Bologna is special with so much on offer. When in Bologna, eat like the locals and indulge in fresh hand cut pasta, ragu, a ton of Mortadella and of course, copious amounts of gelato!