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Sights in Valletta, Malta

Valletta is the capital of Malta and is a city with a rich cultural and military history. It is very religious with several churches and a basilica.

  • Barrakka Ta’ Fuq (Upper Barrakka Gardens)—a lookout point with a troupe of cats, greenery, and views of Grand Harbour and the Three Cities across the water; Castile Square
  • John’s Co-Cathedral—an impressive church designed by the architect Gerolamo Cassar between 1573 and 1578 with an interior renovated in the 17th century in a Maltese Baroque style with a painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio, a long low nave with walls and pillars encrusted with rich ornamentation, marble floors, and a vault with paintings by Mattia Preti that depict events from the life of St. John the Baptist; Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Grand Master’s Palace—the former residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John and until 2015 the seat of Malta’s parliament is now home to a collection of over 5,000 suits of 16th to 18th century armor and weaponry including crossbows, muskets, swords, and pistols and the State Apartments with five rooms usually opened to the public; Pjazza San Gorg
  • National Museum of Archaeology—a museum housed within the Auberge de Provence that features exhibits that include artifacts such as stone tools dating back to 5200 BC, Phoenician amulets, and a temple model from Ta’Hagrat as well as model prehistoric figurines that were found within the area, pottery from the Bronze Age, animal figurines, and jewelry; Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Fort St. Elmo and National War Museum—this fort named after the patron saint of mariners was built in 1552 in only four months to guard the harbors on either side of the Sceberras Peninsula and was restored and reopened in 2015 with the addition of the National War Museum which covers Malta’s wartime history from 1565’s Great Siege when Turkish forces attacked the country to World War II with audiovisual displays and artifacts such as a biplane and the George Cross awarded to the country in 1942
  • City Gate—this city gate designed by Renzo Piano resembles the dimensions of the original 1633 entrance to the city giving visitors the feeling of crossing a real bridge with a frame designed to look like knights’ sabers
  • Parliament Building—this building completed by Renzo Piano in 2014 includes two massive stone volumes that are supported by stilts and photovoltaic panels on the roof which generate much of the energy required to ventilate the building and inside is the northern block which contains the parliament chamber and the southern block containing the offices of the members of parliament
  • Lascaris War Rooms—a mechanically ventilated underground tunnel complex that lies 40 meters below the Upper Barrakka Gardens that housed Great Britain’s secret command in Malta during WWII and remained in use until 1977 with a restoration completed in 2009 with the rooms laid out in their original configuration staffed by wax figures; Lascaris Ditch
  • Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck—a church honoring St. Paul who was shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD and brought Christianity to the country with a 19th century façade and a 16th century interior with treasures such as a gilded statue of St. Paul carved in Rome in the 1650s, a golden reliquary containing bones from his wrist, and part of the column on which he was killed in Rome; Triq San Pawl
  • Carmelite Basilica—a basilica originally built in 1570 and expanded in the mid-19th century that was rebuilt between 1958-1981 after being damaged in World War II with a 42-meter-high dome and an interior with an early 17th century painting of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and red marble columns; Triq I-Arcisqof
  • Valletta Contemporary—a modern art gallery with a rotating roster of exhibitions and installations from local and international artists; 15-17 Triq il-Levant
  • MUZA—the current incarnation of Malta’s Museum of Fine Arts located in the Auberge d’Italie, a 16th-century building that was once home to Italian members of the Knights of St. John, with historic maps and paintings; Auberge d’Italie
  • Casa Rocca Piccola—a 16th century palazzo that is the family home of the 9th Marquis de Piro who currently lives there and allows visitors to see parts of his luxurious home and the family’s WWII air-raid shelters; 74 Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Malta Postal Museum—a small museum with a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the postal system of the Knights of St. John; 135 Triq-I-Arcisqof
  • Malta Contemporary Art—a space dedicated to photography, painting, mixed media, and other art exhibitions; Triq Felix
  • James’ Cavalier—a 16th century fortification transformed into an arts center with galleries, theater, and a cinema; Castille Place
  • Sacra Infermeria—located in the former 16th century hospital run by the Order of St. John, this museum has an exhibition about medieval medicine; Triq-it-Tramuntana
  • Prospettiva—an installation designed by a Maltese architect to celebrate Valletta’s distinction as the 2018 European City of Culture that merges the city’s five gates into a two-dimensional structure disassembled into planes; Glormu Cassar Avenue
  • Siege Bell Memorial—a memorial erected in 1992 that commemorates those who lost their lives during the war convoys between 1940 and 1943; St. Christopher Bastion
  • Toy Museum—a doll-sized museum with a large private collection of model toys such as tin cars from 1950s Japan, tin toys from 1912 Germany, Matchbox cars, farmyard animals, train sets, and dolls; 222 Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Triton Fountain—a grand fountain sculpted by Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap in 1959 restored and reopened early in 2018
  • National Library—a library with a classical façade erected by the Knights of St. John with book-lined shelves and occasional temporary exhibitions
  • Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial—a monument to the 2,298 members of the Commonwealth Air Force who died in World War II with no known graves
  • War Memorial—a monument to the 600 Maltese and almost one million British servicemen who died in World War I
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Sights in Skopje, Macedonia

Skopje is the capital of Macedonia and an old and very historic city with unique museums, churches, art galleries, and interesting neighborhoods to explore.

  • Church of St. Panteleimon—a church with beautiful 12th century frescoes including a Pieta similar to Giotto’s Pieta; Nerezi Village
  • Carsija—the old town neighborhood of Skopje with winding lanes filled with teahouses, mosques, craftsmen’s stores, nightlife, historic structures, and museums
  • Archaeological Museum of Macedonia—a modern museum made of Italianate-styled marble with three floors that display findings from Macedonian archaeological excavations including Byzantine treasures, 3-D reconstructions of early Macedonian faces, a replica of an early Christian basilica showing the phases of mosaic conservation, and a Phoenician royal necropolis; Bul Goce Delcev
  • Tvrdina Kale Fortress—a 6th century Byzantine and Ottoman fortress with an interior that features two miniature museums that house archaeological finds from Neolithic to Ottoman times; Samoilova
  • National Gallery of Macedonia—Skopje’s national art gallery with seven restored rooms from the former Turkish baths featuring modern Macedonian art and sculpture; Krusevska 1a
  • Museum of the Macedonian Struggle for Statehood and Independence—a museum that serves as a memorial to Macedonia’s historic occupation, land struggles, and revolutionary heroes with graphic oil paintings and physical reconstructions; Iljo Vojvodo
  • Memorial House of Mother Teresa—a futuristic-looking memorial to Mother Teresa who was born in Skopje in 1910 that includes memorabilia related to her and on the second floor a chapel with glass walls in filigree with silhouettes of doves carved into the filigree to symbolize peace; ul Makedonija 9
  • Sveti Spas Church—a partially submerged church two meters underground that dates back to the 14th century and is the most historically significant church in Skopje with a bell tower, a restored iconostasis (a wooden screen that separates the nave of the church from the altar area at the back) built in the early 19th century, and tiered carvings; Makarije Frckoski 8
  • Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia—a moving museum with displays that commemorate the Sephardic Jewish culture of Macedonia through photos, English wall texts, maps, and video with an exhibition that documents the Jewish community’s history in the Balkans ending in World War II when 98% of Macedonian Jews died in the Holocaust; Iljo Vojvoda
  • Museum of the City of Skopje—this museum is located in the old train station building where Skopje’s horrific earthquake struck on July 27, 1963, killing 1,070 people and is now an art gallery for rotating exhibitions with one area focused on the events of the earthquake through video footage and photos; St. Kiril and Methodius
  • Museum of Contemporary Art—a museum created in the aftermath of the 1963 earthquake with artists and art collections donating pieces by artists such as Picasso, Hockney, Leger, Meret Oppenheim, and Bridget Riley that is housed in a contemporary building with floor-to-ceiling windows; Samoilova 17

Sights in Luxembourg City

Luxembourg City is the capital of the small country of Luxembourg and has a beautiful old church, several museums, and art galleries to explore.

  • Casemates de la Petrusse (Military Tunnels)—a former fortress that was hollowed out to form a maze of passages running for almost 15 miles below the town with ten gates controlling admittance to the walls, this was also a storage facility and place of refuge that now has two sections of the passages containing former barracks, slaughterhouses, bakeries, and a deep well open for visitors; Pl. de la Constitution
  • Cathedrale Notre-Dame—a late Gothic style cathedral with a portal sculpted by Daniel Muller of Freiburg and a beautiful Baroque organ gallery as well as a crypt that contains the tomb of the 14th century King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg, John the Blind, and the tombs of the grand-ducal dynasty; Rue Notre-Dame
  • Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumunster (Neumunster Abbey Cultural Center)—the former place of worship for the Benedictines of Neumunster Abbey who were expelled when the French Revolution hit Luxembourg that served for most of the 20th century as a men’s prison but is now a major cultural center with temporary exhibitions and a Baroque church that has treasures such as a Black Madonna; 28 Rue Munster
  • Le Bock—a cliff that served as the main approach to the town dating back to Celtic and Roman times until bridges were erected with great views of the Plateau du Rham across the way, Duke Wencelas’s fortifications, barracks that are now used as a hospice for the elderly, Neumunster Abbey, and the Casemates du Bock; Montee de Clausen
  • Monument National de la Solidarite (National Monument of Unity)—this memorial to Luxembourg’s soldiers who died in World War II and those who died in the Holocaust is a stern granite and steel monument with the walls of the small chapel containing a symbolic tombstone made entirely of stained glass; Bd. FD Roosevelt at Citadelle du St-Esprit
  • Musee National D’ Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History)—this museum situated within a former women’s prison has interactive exhibits and dioramas that convey an environmental message; Rue Munster 23
  • Musee National D’ Histoire Et D’Art (National Museum of History and Art)—an art museum with great paintings by expressionist Joseph Kutter, Luxembourg’s most famous artist, and an art gallery with pieces by Cranach and Turner as well as a wonderful collection of 15th to 19th century art by artists such as Bruegel, Rembrandt, and Canaletto; Marche-aux-Poissons
  • Musee D’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean—an architectural landmark designed by I.M. Pei with an edifice made of limestone and glass with the glass shaped into pyramids, the interior has changing exhibitions by contemporary artists; Park Drai Eechelen 3
  • Musee D’ Histoire De la Ville De Luxembourg (Luxembourg City Historical Museum)—a multimedia interactive museum opened in 1996 that illustrates the development of Luxembourg City over the course of 1,000 years; Rue du St-Esprit
  • Palais Grand-Ducal (Grand-Ducal Palace)—the finest building in the city that dates back to the 16th century and has a façade inspired by the Spanish and Moorish while inside business and entertainment functions occur and a large art collection is displayed; Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes
  • Porte des Trois Tour (Gate of the Three Towers)—three turrets that are remains of the fortress with the oldest of the towers built around 1050 and during the French Revolution was the site of the guillotine; Rue Wiltheim at bd. J. Ulveling
  • Vallee de la Petrusse (Petrusse Valley)—a broad park located in the canyon of the Petrusse river with the Chapelle Saint-Quirin built into the rocks and a cave said to have been carved by Celts; between Rue de la Semois and rue St-Quirin
  • Villa Vauban—also known as the City of Luxembourg Art Gallery, this mansion is surrounded by well-tended gardens and is the home of Luxembourg City’s collection of old master paintings by artists such as Canaletto and Van Dyck; Avenue Emile Reuter 18

 

Sights in Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Vaduz is the capital city of the small principality of Liechtenstein. It seems to be a pretty place to explore with some museums, a privately owned castle, a winery, and a history of visitors admiring Liechtenstein’s beautifully designed postal stamps.

  • Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (Liechtenstein Museum of Art)—a modern art museum with regularly rotating exhibitions of modern art by artists such as Peter Fischli, David Weiss, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Bill Bollinger, and Gunter Fruhtrunk as well as a café and bookshop; Stadtle 32
  • Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum (National Museum)—situated within a former tavern and customshouse, this museum has a collection that describes the geology, history, and folklore of Liechtenstein; Stadtle 43
  • Postmuseum—a small postal museum that depicts the principality’s history as a creator of well-designed limited-edition postage stamps; Stadtle 37
  • Cathedral of St. Florin—a picturesque cathedral with stained glass, statues, and gargoyles
  • Hofkellerei (Wine Cellars) of the Prince of Liechtenstein—a winery with high-quality wines to sample and a wine trail where 12 signs describe the wine’s age through words and illustrations; Furstliche Domane

Shopping in Rome

Rome is not one of the most affordable cities to shop in but could be fun just to browse at designer ateliers and fashion houses and see if anything strikes your fancy. Here is just a sampling of the many stores you can check out during your trip to Rome:

  • A. Testoni—named after the brand’s founder and original designer, this shoe store sells his artistic and comfortable footwear for men and women as well as color-coordinated messenger bags; Via del Babuino 152
  • Ai Monasteri—a shop selling traditional items made by Italian friars and monks including liqueurs, herbal decoctions, toiletries, colognes for children, and jams; Corso del Rinascimento 72a
  • Al Sogno—a high-quality toy store with an emphasis on artistic and multisensory toys such as puppets, dolls, masks, stuffed animals, and illustrated books; Piazza Navona 53
  • Almost Corner Bookshop—a tiny bookshop with a great selection of books from best sellers to translated Italian classics; Via del Moro 45
  • Anglo-American Book Co.—an inviting English-language bookstore with over 45,000 books that has a varied selection including textbooks, fiction, and nonfiction; Via della Vite 102
  • Anteprima—a clothing store with African and Roma inspired clothing such as day and evening dresses and separates; Via delle Quattro Fontane 38-40
  • Antica Caciara Trasteverina—a deli with ham, salami, Sicilian anchovies, burrata cheese, and local wines; Via San Francesco a Ripa 140 a/b
  • Antica Erboristeria Romana—the oldest apothecary in Rome dating back to 1752 with teas and herbal infusions as well as essential oils, bud derivatives, and powdered extracts; Via Torre Argentina 15
  • Arsenale—run by designer Patrizia Pieroni, this high-end clothing store sells stylish overcoats, bustiers, and flowy dresses; Via del Pellegrino 172
  • Art Prive—a small jewelry shop run by designer Tiziana Salzano makes chunky multistrand torsade necklaces; Via Leonina 8
  • Bartolucci—a toy store with handmade items made from pine by a family that has been designing its products for over 60 years which include items such as cuckoo clocks, bookends, bedside lamps, wall hangings, and a child-size wooden vintage car; Via del Pastini 98
  • Berte—one of the oldest toy stores in Rome that carries a large selection of dolls, stuffed animals, Legos, and other collectibles; Piazza Navona 108
  • Borsalino Boutique—a haberdasher with distinguished fedoras that have been worn by movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper; Piazza del Popolo 20
  • Braccialini—this family-run handbag shop sells uniquely shaped bags such as little gold taxis, Santa Fe stagecoaches, appliqued leather beach bags, and themed creature bags; Via Mario De’Fiori 73
  • Brighenti—a sumptuous Italian clothing store with a marble floor and huge crystal chandelier suspended overhead and items such as silk nightgowns, pajamas, and vintage-inspired swimsuits; Via Frattina 7/8
  • Brioni—founded in 1945, this internationally renowned menswear designer is known for its custom-made suits worn by clients such as Clark Gable and Barack Obama; Via del Babuino 38/40
  • Buccone—a wine shop located in the former coach house of a Marquis that has 10 layers of shelves packed with wines and rare vintage wines as well as sweets, biscuits, and packaged candy; Via di Ripetta 19/20
  • Bulgari—a world-renowned jeweler that designs jewelry that is colorful, playful, and well-crafted; Via dei Condotti 10
  • Cartoleria Pantheon Dal 1910—a stationery shop with fine handmade paper, stock paper, artisanal sheets of handcrafted Amalfi paper, and hand-bound leather journals; Via della Rotonda 15
  • Castelli Profumerie—an Italian perfume shop with labels such as Acqua di Parma, Bois 1920, Bond No.9, and Comme de Garcons and a knowledgeable staff who really knows the store’s products; Via Frattina 18 and 54
  • Castroni—an international food shop with delicacies from around the world such as Twinings teas and exotic Spanish spices as well as a large variety of coffees, teas, and candies; Via Cola di Rienzo 196
  • Ceramiche Musa—a ceramic accent and tile store with tiles made in Vietri, a region known for its high-quality clays and traditional ceramics; Via di Campo Marzio 39
  • Cesari—a bridal clothing and home store with fabrics such as velvets, silks, cottons, damasks, and taffeta and a personalized line of bedspreads, tablecloths, lingerie, and embroidered linens; Via del Babuino 193
  • Coin—a department store with upscale designs including accessories, handbags, cosmetics, and clothes for men, women, and children as well as cookware items; Via Cola di Rienzo 173
  • Davide Cenci—a major Italian fashion designer known for impeccably tailored and custom-designed clothing that sells men’s and women’s clothing for a variety of occasions with items such as sailing sportswear and trench coats; Via Campo Marzio 1-7
  • Delfina Delettrez—a Roman designer who creates edgy accessories that are inspired by the human body that blend skulls, wild animals, and botanical elements in her jewelry; Via del Governo Vecchio 67
  • Eddy Monetti—an upscale men’s store that sells jackets, sweaters, slacks, and ties made of wool, cotton, and cashmere; Via Borgognona 36
  • Elena Miro—a high-end women’s plus clothing store that sells sophisticated clothing for women sizes 12 and up; Via Frattina 11-12
  • Enoteca Al Parlamento Achilli—located close to Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament building, this wine shop, restaurant, and food shop is popular with journalists and political figures; Via dei Prefetti 15
  • Ermenegildo Zegna—an internationally recognized men’s clothing designer of well-made suits; Via dei Condotti 58
  • Ex Libris—one of the oldest rare bookstores in Rome that is known for its selection of scholarly and collectible books from the 16th to 21st centuries including editions on art and architecture, music and theater, literature and humanities, maps, and prints; Via dell’Umilta 77/a
  • Fendi—an Italian fashion powerhouse since 1925 now owned by the Louis Vuitton group and once run by Karl Lagerfeld that is known for its collections mixing textures and fabrics; Largo Carlo Goldoni 419-421
  • Fratelli Rossetti—a shoe store known for its classically styled men’s and women’s leather shoes, loafers, and pumps; Via Borgognona 5/a
  • Frette—a bedding store that has been a major supplier of linens and towels for homes and hotels since 1860; Piazza di Spagna 11
  • Furla—a high-quality handbag store known for its affordable prices; Piazza di Spagna 22
  • Galassia—a women’s designer clothing store with stylish clothing by designers such as Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Issey Miyake, and Yamamoto; Via Frattina 20
  • Galleria Alberto Sordi—a beautiful covered shopping arcade opened in 1922 with sophisticated shops and cafes; Via del Corso 79
  • Giorgio Armani—a world renowned designer known for his silhouettes and deeply cut dresses and stylish menswear; Via dei Condotti 77-79
  • Gucci—one of the most glamorous labels in the world known for its classic styles and trendy clothing regularly worn by celebrities; Via dei Condotti 8
  • Hydra 2—a popular store for Italian teens and college students known for its statement pieces; Via Urbana 139
  • Ibiz-Artigianato In Cuoio—a father-daughter team that creates stylish leather handbags, belts, and sandals; Via dei Chiavari 39
  • Il Forum Termini—a shopping center located inside Rome’s largest train station, Stazione Termini, that has over 100 shops including Benetton, Nike, Mango, L’Occitane, Sephora, and bookstores with decent selections of English language classics and best sellers; Stazione Termini
  • Il Papiro—a paper shop that sells writing materials and hand-decorated papers made using a 17th century marbleized technique; Via del Pantheon 50
  • Il Sellaio Serafini Pelletteria—a family business known for its handmade leather bags, shoes, and belts; Via Caio Mario 14
  • Krizia—run by designer Mariuccia Mandelli, this clothing store has been run by many stylists over the years and is now back to its original style of clothing; Piazza di Spagna 87
  • L’ Anatra All’Arancia—a stylish clothing store that sells designer clothing by Marina Spadafora, Antik Batik, See by Chloe, and the store’s owner (Donatella Baroni) as well as perfumes and jewelry; Via Tiburtina 105
  • La Bottega del Cioccolata—a chocolatier that makes chocolate candies and treats; Via Leonina 82
  • La Citta del Sole—a toy store with fair-trade and eco-friendly toys along with classic and vintage toys arranged by age group such as puzzles, gadgets, books, and child-friendly toys; Via della Scrofa 65
  • La Feltrinelli—a major Italian bookstore with three floors of books including some in English, music, postcards, holiday items, and small gifts; Piazza Colonna 31/35
  • La Perla—a lingerie store with beautiful lingerie and underwear that is stylish and romantic; Via Bocce di Leone 28
  • La Rinascente—Italy’s most well-known department store that sells cosmetics, designer sportswear, handbags, and accessories; Galleria Alberto Sordi, Piazza Colonna
  • Laura Biagotti—a prominent Italian designer of cashmere pullovers, cardigans, and dresses as well as men’s and women’s perfumes; Via Mario de’Fiori 26
  • Le Gallinelle—a small boutique that sells classy retro-inspired clothing; Via Panisperna 61
  • Le IV Stagioni—a ceramics store with traditional Italian pottery, glazed pots, vases, and ceramic flower wall ornaments; Via dell’Umilta 30/b
  • Le Tartarughe—designer Susanna Liso’s clothing store that sells haute couture and ready to wear lines that mix fabrics such as raw silks or cashmeres and fine merino wool together; Via Pie di Marmo 17
  • Libreria IBS—a bookstore/café that is known for its discounted secondhand books and also sells a small selection of English paperbacks and DVDs; Via Nazionale 254-255
  • Libreria del Viaggiatore—a small bookstore that sells guidebooks, maps, travel journals, and poetry from around the world in English, French, and Italian; Via del Pellegrino 165
  • MMM-Massimo Maria Melis—a jeweler who is known for incorporating ancient Roman and Etruscan designs into his jewelry and frequently using antique coins in his bracelets and necklaces; Via dell’Orso 57
  • Mado—a top vintage designer of eccentric and unique dresses, gowns, and other clothing pieces; Via del Governo Vecchio 89/a
  • Marisa Padovan—a destination for custom lingerie and bathing suits; Via delle Carrozze 81-82
  • Mikiway—an eclectic clothing, jewelry, and accessories store with designs by up-and-coming Italian fashion designers; Via del Boschetto 40b
  • Mimmo Siviglia—a tailor known for his custom-made dress shirts and attentive customer service; Via Urbana 14a
  • Missoni—a family-run internationally recognized label that has bohemian knit designs with patterns such as zigzags, waves, and stripes, elegant evening attire, and swimsuits; Piazza di Spagna 78
  • Moriondo E Gariglio—a family business recognized for its chocolate delicacies made from family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation; Via Pie di Marmo 21
  • Murano Piu—a shop famous for its handblown Venetian glass pieces including Murano jewelry, tableware, vases, and chandeliers; Corso Rinascimento 53/55
  • Patrizia Pepe—a clothing store that sells trendy fashions such as jeans, jackets with oversize lapels, and high heels; Via Frattina 44
  • Pifebo—a popular vintage clothing store with a great selection of clothing from the 70s, 80s, and 90s; Via dei Serpenti 141
  • Pinco Pallino—a children’s clothing store with nice clothing for boys and girls as well as a cute line for babies and toddlers; Via Vittoria 35
  • Pineider—an exclusive stationery store opened in 1774 that uses fine Florentine leather for its wallets, briefcases, and desk accessories; Via di Fontanella Borghese 22
  • Prada—a clothing, handbags, lingerie, and accessories label renowned for its blend of European luxury with modern finesse; Via dei Condotti 88/90 (men’s) and 92/95 (women’s)
  • Pure Sermoneta—a designer clothing store for children ages newborn to 12 with labels such as Fendi, Diesel, Dior, Juicy Couture, Nolita, and Miss Blumarine; Via Frattina 111
  • Quattrocolo—an historic shop opened in 1938 that showcases micro-mosaic jewelry crafted in the style perfected by artisans at the Vatican mosaic studio as well as 18th and 19th century cameo and engraved stones; Via della Scrofa 48
  • Rachele—a small children’s clothing store run by a Swedish designer who makes only two of each item for toddlers up to age 12; Vicolo del Bollo 6-7
  • Renard—a leather boutique that creates its leather blazers, trench coats, and skirts from leathers tanned with natural extracts; Via dei Due Macelli 53
  • Replay—a casual-chic clothing store for young adults with jeans and T-shirts with American sports teams emblazoned on them; Via della Rotonda 24
  • SBU—a menswear fashion label popular with celebrities and members of the A-list that sells jeans, casual apparel, shoes, and sportswear; Via di San Pantaleo 68-69
  • Saddlers Union—a pricey Italian handbag store known for their leather handbags made on-site supervised by one of the shop’s original artisans; Via Margutta 11
  • Salvatore Ferragamo—a major fashion label internationally recognized for its footwear that also sells handbags, leather goods, men’s and women’s clothing, scarves, and ties; Via dei Condotti 65 (men’s) and 73/74 (women’s)
  • Save the Queen—a beautiful clothing store with exotic and creative clothing for women with frills, cutouts, and textures; Via del Babuino 49
  • Savelle Arte E Tradizione—a family business that sells religious gifts and trinkets and specializes in rosaries, crosses, religious artwork, statues, and papal memorabilia; Via Paolo VI 27
  • Schostal—a clothing store that sells fine-quality shirts, underwear, and handkerchiefs made of wool and cashmere; Via Fontanella Borghese 29
  • Society—the flagship store for Limonta, one of the most famous and historic Italian textile brands that uses rare and desirable fabrics to give their designs a vintage appearance; Piazza di Pasquino 4
  • Spazio IF—run by designers Irene and Carlo Ferrara, this clothing store works with unique designers and artists with an emphasis on Sicilian designs such as hand-cut handbags, swimsuits, designer textiles, jewelry, and sportswear; Via dei Coronari 44a
  • Superga—a shoe store known for its classic sneakers in a variety of colors and a popular model worn by celebrities such as Katie Holmes and Kelly Brook; Via delle Vite 86
  • Taro—a clothing store that sells handmade knitwear made from rare yarns and bold colors such as tunics, sleeveless jackets, shawls, and pants; Via di Ripetta 144
  • Tebro—a classic Roman department store that specializes in household linens and sleepwear; Via dei Prefetti 48
  • Tod’s—a global shoe powerhouse known for its simple and classic designs; Via Fontanella di Borghese 56a-57
  • Trimani Vinai a Roma Dal 1821—a wine and spirits store with one of Rome’s largest selections of Italian wines as well as champagne, spumante, grappa, and liqueurs; Via Goito 20
  • Valentino—an Italian fashion powerhouse known for its shoes, gowns, and accessories; Via dei Condotti 15
  • Versace—the flagship store of the international label with Byzantine-inspired mosaic floors and futuristic interiors as well as its clothing, apparel, jewelry, watches, fragrances, cosmetics, and home furnishings; Piazza di Spagna 12
  • Vestiti Usati Cinzia—a vintage clothing store with fun 60s and 70s apparel, sunglasses, shoes, and accessories; Via del Governo Vecchio 45

Sights in Rome–sorry for the delay in posts!

I apologize for the delay in a new post here, do not worry, this one was worth the wait! Below is just a sampling of the many remarkable sights in Rome and Vatican City. Enjoy!

  • Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)—a monument of the Roman Imperial age that is located within a modern architectural landmark that is a rectangular glass and travertine structure designed by Richard Meier and dates back to 13 BC and was commissioned to celebrate the Pax Romana; Lungotevere in Augusta
  • Arco di Costantino (Arch of Constantine)—a grand arch erected in AD 315 to commemorate Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge with rich marble decorations salvaged from earlier monuments; Piazza del Colosseo

 

  • Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus)—a triumphal arch erected in AD 81 to celebrate the sacking of Jerusalem ten years earlier after the first Jewish-Roman War with a great view of the Colosseum from the arch; east end of Via Sacra

 

  • Basilica di Massenzio (Basilica of Maxentius)—a basilica with only 1/3 of the original structure remaining with great arched vaults that was once a center of judicial and commercial activity; Via Sacra
  • Basilica di San Pietro—the world’s largest church built over the tomb of St. Peter that is the grandest Renaissance achievement covering 18,000 square yards and running 212 yards in length surrounded by a dome rising 435 feet and measuring 138 feet across its base; work was done on the basilica by five major Italian artists: Bramante, Raphael, Peruzzi, Antonio Sangallo the Younger, and Michelangelo and it was fully consecrated and completed in 1626; it includes the balcony where newly elected popes are announced and where popes stand to give their apostolic blessing on feast days and beautiful architectural design inside the basilica; located at Piazza di San Pietro
  • Bioparco—a remodeled eco-friendly zoo with plenty of room for the animals that mostly came from other zoos or were born from animals already in captivity with animals such as big cats, elephants, chimpanzees, and brown bears, a Reptile house, a picnic area, and a farm; Piazzale del Giardino Zoologico 1
  • Sistine Chapel—the renowned chapel originally commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV that Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to fresco the more than 10,000 square feet ceiling for and its lower walls were decorated by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Signorelli, and Pinturicchio with scenes from the life of Moses on one wall and scenes from the life of Jesus on one wall; over 20 years later Michelangelo was asked by Farnese Pope Paul III to paint the Last Judgment on the wall over the altar whose depiction was considered controversial at the time because of its use of nudity; located at Vatican Palace, enter through the Musei Vaticani
  • Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore—one of seven pilgrimage basilicas in the world founded in 432 AD and the site where Bernini, the famous architect, was buried; Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore 42
  • Pantheon—a temple dedicated to the seven planetary divinities and featuring a beautiful marble interior that is considered to be one of the most impressive Augustan Rome monuments; Piazza della Rotonda
  • Colosseum—one of the best-preserved monuments of ancient Rome that was built to house the more than 50,000 spectators who watched violent gladiator battles; Piazza del Colosseo
  • Galleria Borghese—a museum set in Villa Borghese which has sculptures, reliefs, and ancient mosaics and paintings and sculptures from the 15th to the 18th century with masterpieces by Antonello da Messina, Giovanni Bellini, Raffaello, Tiziano, and Caravaggio among others; Piazzale del Museo Borghese
  • Palatine Hill—the commercial, political, and religious center of ancient Rome which features the Arch of Septimus Severus, Temple of Saturn, Arch of Titus, and House of the Vestals; Piazza Santa Maria Nova
  • Trevi Fountain—one of the most visited sites in Rome that has a story that whoever throws a coin into the fountain will someday return to Rome; Piazza di Trevi
  • Piazza Navona—a Baroque square that features Bernini’s Fountain of Rivers at its Center that faces Borromini’s church, Sant’ Agnese in Agone
  • Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo—a museum divided into four sections that depicts the history of Castel Sant’Angelo through vintage prints and scenic views; Lungotevere Castello 50
  • Welcome to Rome—a multimedia experience that takes visitors through the history of Rome by way of video projections on the walls, ceilings, and floor accompanied by a narrator and four exhibitions that immerse visitors in the history of Rome; Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 203
  • Estasi di Santa Teresa—a church known for its frescoes and Bernini’s sculptures and artwork; Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria
  • Centro Storico—a section of Rome with narrow streets that provide great examples of Roman classical and Baroque architecture
  • Palazzo Colonna-Galleria Colonna—a Baroque palace with an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and furniture from the 14th to 18th centuries; Via della Pilotta 17
  • Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori le Mura—a basilica built under the edict of Constantine consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324 AD and continually restored and enlarged between 384 and 395 AD with Pietro Cavallini’s mosaics in the façade, the Vassalleto family’s cloister, Arnolfo di Cambio’s Gothic baldachin, and the candeladrum for the Paschal candle attributed to Nicola d’Angelo and Pietro Vassaletto and unfortunately was destroyed in a fire in 1823 but reconstructed with the elements that had survived the fire; Via Ostiense 186
  • Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano—the first Christian church that belongs to the Vatican with beautiful artwork inside; Piazza di Porta San Giovanni 4
  • Mausoleo di Santa Costanza—a church that was originally built as a mausoleum in the 4th century for Costanza, son of Constantine, and eventually became first a baptistery and then a church; Via Nomentana 349
  • Museo Nazionale Romano-Palazzo Massimo alle Terme—a palazzo built on the ruins of the Domitian theater with beautiful mosaics and Roman statuary; Largo di Villa Peretti 67
  • Spanish Steps—an elegant square surrounded by 18th century buildings and flowers that adorn the steps by Francesco de Sanctis consisting of 12 flights of varying width which descend to the Franciscan Church of Trinita dei Monti; Piazza di Spagna
  • Palazzo Doria Pamphilj—a beautiful palace owned by the Doria family that has paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, and Velasquez; Via del Corso 305
  • Domus Aurea—the former imperial estate of Nero built in 64 AD that has a series of pavilions and is set within a spacious garden with an artificial lake in the center; Via della Domus Aurea
  • Vatican Necropolis—an ancient Roman necropolis with chambers 10-15 feet wide that have frescoes and mosaics; Piazza San Pietro, beneath St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia—a 16th century palace that is home to ancient Roman and Etruscan sculpture and artifacts; Piazza di Villa Giulia
  • Chiesa di Santa Maria del Popolo—a Renaissance church that has Baroque decorations and 18th and 19th century monuments; Piazza del Popolo 12
  • Colle del Gianicolo—a beautiful hill known for its great views of the city; Via Garibaldi, Salita di Sant’Onofrio
  • Case Romane del Celio—an ancient Roman apartment block converted into a museum in 2002 featuring an underground series of rooms that include painted figures, the confession altar of St. John and St. Paul who were executed under the edict of Julian the Apostate, and the antiquarium which has amphorae, pots, and ancient Roman bricks; Clivio di Scauro
  • Castel Sant’Angelo—one of Rome’s most prominent landmarks that was originally built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian and was completed around AD 140 initially consisting of a large square base topped by a marble cylinder upon which a ring of cypress trees was planted before it became a fortress for popes to take refuge during wars and sieges; it now includes a chamber where Hadrian’s ashes were kept, a courtyard that is the resting place of stone cannonballs, and the marble angel that stood above the castle; Lungotevere Castello 50
  • Catacombe di San Sebastiano (Catacombs of St. Sebastian)—a 4th century church named after the saint who was buried in the catacomb that burrows underground on four different levels and was the only early Christian cemetery to remain accessible during the Middle Ages as well as a site where well preserved pagan mausoleums were found in the early 20th century; Via Appia Antica 136
  • Centrale Montemartini—Rome’s first electricity plant that was reopened as a museum in 2005 and is home to Roman sculptures and mosaics set against machinery and pipes that are organized by the area where the pieces were found with a highlight of the collection being the 4th century AD mosaic of a hunting scene with a horseman driving his sword into a boar; Via Ostiense 106
  • Crypta Balbi—the fourth portion of the collections of the Museo Nazionale Romano that depicts several periods of Roman history with well-lit exhibits and written explanations; Via delle Botteghe Oscure 31
  • Fontana Della Barcaccia (Leaky Boat Fountain)—a half-sunken boat powered by Rome’s only surviving ancient aqueduct that was designed as a solution to low water pressure by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his father, Pietro, under the commission of Barberini Pope Urban VIII; Piazza di Spagna
  • Fontana delle Tartarughe—a 16th century fountain designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1581 and sculpted by Taddeo Landini featuring four bronze boys holding onto a dolphin spouting water into a shell and turtles in their hands drinking from the upper basin; Piazza Mattei
  • Gagosian Gallery—a contemporary art gallery that opened in a former bank in 2007 that has been home to temporary exhibitions by major artists such as Cy Twombly, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons; Via Francesco Crispi 16
  • Galleria d’ Arte Moderna—Rome’s modern art gallery situated within the 18th century Convent of the Discalced Carmelites and featuring Roman 19th and 20th century paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures including pieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Gino Severini, Scipione, Antonio Donghi, and Giacomo Manzu as well as rotating exhibits; Via Francesco Crispi 24
  • Giardini Vaticani (Vatican Gardens)—a 40-acre garden landscape on the Vatican hill with a formal Italian garden, a French flower garden, an English garden, and a small forest as well as a museum of coins and stamps made in the Vatican
  • Il Gesu—the mother church of the Jesuits that is considered to be the first fully Baroque church with a beautiful interior that was not decorated until 1684 with gold, lapis lazuli, gold and precious marbles, and a ceiling painted by Baciccia; Piazza del Ges, off Via del Plebiscito
  • Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini—an excavated ruin of two upscale urban homes that have well-preserved mosaics, inlaid marble floors, and staircases with multimedia displays and a guided voice that narrates visitors through the rooms pointing out interesting sights such as the heating system for the private baths, statue fragments, and porcelain; Via Foro Traiano 85
  • MAXXI—Museo Nazionale Delle Arti del XXI Secolo (National Museum of 21st Century Arts)—Italy’s first national museum devoted to contemporary art and architecture with glass ceilings and steel staircases and a rotating permanent collection including pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente, and Gerhard Richter; Via Guido Reni 4
  • Musei Capitolini—the world’s first public museum that features Roman art from ancient times to the Baroque period with a bronze sculpture of Marcus Aurelius, the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter, a painting gallery with Baroque masterpieces by Caravaggio and other artists, and busts of Roman emperors among other pieces; Piazza del Campidoglio
  • Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums)—one of the largest museums in the world situated in Vatican City with highlights of the collection including an ancient sculpture collection which includes selections from Pope Julius II’s private art collection; statuary fragments; the Raphael Rooms where Pope Julius II moved into in 1507 that feature Raphael’s frescoes; and the picture gallery with primarily religious paintings arranged in chronological order; Viale Vaticano near intersection with Via Leone IV
  • Museo Napoleonico—a small museum in the Palazzo Primoli with a collection of Napoleon memorabilia including a bust by Canova of the general’s sister, Pauline Borghese; Palazzo Primoli, Piazza di Ponte Umberto I
  • Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia—the world’s most renowned collection of Etruscan art and artifacts housed in Villa Giulia which was built around 1551 for Pope Julius III and has a sunken sculpture garden, terra cotta statues such as the Apollo of Veio and the Sarcophagus of the Wedded Couple, and beautiful Etruscan jewelry; Piazzale Villa Giulia 9
  • Museo Palatino—a museum that depicts the history of Palatine Hill from Archaic times with models of early villages to Roman times with a video reconstruction of the hill on the ground floor, a collection of colored stones used in the decorations of the palace, terra-cotta moldings and sculptural decorations from various temples, and a selection of imperial portraits including one of Nero; northwest crest of Palatine Hill
  • Palazzo Altemps—part of the Museo Nazionale Romano, this palazzo contains some of the finest ancient Roman statues in the world with a restored interior that showcases the collection of the Ludovisi family and exhibits that explain in English how and where Renaissance sculptors added missing pieces to classical works; Piazza Sant’Apollinare 46
  • Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Nazionale D’Arte Antica—one of Rome’s most magnificent Roman Baroque landmarks with a façade designed by Carlo Maderno and Gianlorenzo Bernini with a staircase leading up to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica whose collection includes Raphael’s La Fornarina, Guido Reni’s Beatrice Cenci beheaded in Rome for patricide in 1599, and Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes; the palace’s Gran Salone, a large ballroom with a ceiling painted in 1630 by Roman Baroque master Pietro da Cortona depicting the Glorification of Urban VIII’s Reign; Via Barberini 18
  • Palazzo Colonna—a palazzo that is considered to be Rome’s grandest private palazzo built by one of the richest families in Rome that is still home to some members of the Colonna family and features a family picture gallery which has the Sala Grande, an ancient red marble column, and a ceiling fresco of the Battle of Lepanto painted by Giovanni Coli and Filippo Gherardi in 1675; Via della Pilotta 17
  • Palazzo Doria Pamphilj—a family palace that has a graceful façade and galleries containing works by Velasquez and Caravaggio including John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and Rest on the Flight to Egypt, and Velasquez’s Pope Innocent X considered by some historians to be one of the greatest portraits ever painted, and a Bernini bust of the pope; Via del Corso 305
  • Palazzo Farnese—the most spectacular Renaissance palace in Rome that is known for its Galleria Carracci whose ceiling epitomizes the essence of the Baroque age and contains works by Michelangelo in the frieze decorations and main window overlooking the piazza; French Embassy, Servizio Culturale, Piazza Farnese 67
  • Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme—part of the Museo Nazionale Romano, this museum houses the ancient treasures of the archaeological collection and the coin collection with highlights such as the Dying Niobid and the Discobolus Lancelloti and ancient frescoes on display on the top floor to recreate the appearances of the houses they once decorated; Largo Villa Peretti 1
  • Palazzo Mattei di Glove—an opulent palazzo decorated in a turn of the 17th century style and designed by Carlo Maderno with a collection of sculpted busts, heroic statues, sculpted reliefs, and Paleo-Christian epigrams collected by Marchese Asdrubale Mattei; Via Michelangelo Caetani 32
  • Piazza del Popolo—a Roman landmark with an obelisk and twin churches that marks what was for centuries the northern entrance to the city and is named after the 15th century church of Santa Maria del Popolo which is located on the right side of the Porta del Popolo, the city gate, and is now a popular pedestrian area that has been the site of political rallies and a major New Year’s Eve alfresco party
  • Piazza di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square)—one of Bernini’s grandest masterpieces where the pope makes his public appearances and is surrounded by a pair of quadruple colonnades topped with 140 statues of saints and martyrs and an 85-foot-high Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Caligula in AD 37 and moved to its current location by Pope Sixtus V in 1586; west end of Via della Conciliazione
  • Pincio—a beautiful garden with off-white marble busts of Italian Risorgimento heroes and artists along the pathway; Piazzale Napoleone 1
  • Portico d’Ottavia—situated over the Jewish Ghetto, this portico enclosure with few surviving columns is picturesque with the old church of Sant’Angelo in Pescheria built into its ruins; Via Tribuna di Campitelli 6
  • San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane—a church designed by Borromini that is situated within a space no larger than the base of one of the piers of St. Peter’s Basilica with a coffered dome, a double-S curved façade, and subdued white stucco interior with a Baroque cloister; Via del Quirinale 23
  • San Clemente—an archaeological site that is the home of a 12th century church built over a 2nd century pagan temple to the god Mithras and 1st century Roman apartments; the upper church has an apse with a 12th century mosaic depicting Jesus on a cross that turns into a living tree and early Christian symbols decorating the 4th century marble choir screens; the 4th century church was used until 1084 when it was damaged beyond repair during a siege of the area by Norman prince Robert Guiscard but still has 11th century frescoes that show scenes from the life of St. Clement; Via San Giovanni in Laterano 108
  • San Giovanni in Laterano—the main cathedral in Rome that was built by Emperor Constantine 10 years before he built the church dedicated to Peter and is the ecclesiastical seat of the Pope with the current incarnation designed in the 16th and 17th century in a Baroque style by Borromini; Piazza di Porta San Giovanni
  • San Pietro in Vincoli—Michelangelo’s Moses was carved for this church that was designed to be the tomb of Pope Julius II but only three of the dozens of commissioned statues had been completed when Julius died and his successor abandoned the project; the church has the set of chains that bound St. Peter during his imprisonment by the Romans in Jerusalem and Rome in a bronze and crystal urn under the main altar; Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli
  • The Campidoglio—this plaza was transformed from an unkempt hill into a third palace with Renaissance style facades and a grand paved piazza that features newly excavated ancient sculptures installed in the palaces; Piazza di Campidoglio
  • Villa Borghese—Rome’s Central Park that was designed in its current form at the end of the 18th century in an 18th century English style by Scottish painter Jacob More with highlights including an amphitheater, Piazza di Siena, a botanical garden, the Temple of Aesculapius, Bioparco zoo, and the Villa Giulia museum as well as bikes, in-line skating, electric scooter rental concessions, and a children’s movie theater

 

 

Sights in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and has a rich seafaring history and several historic sites that recount its long history in addition to fun museums for families to enjoy.

  • Botanic Gardens—a beautiful attraction with grass, trees, flowers, curving paths, and wrought-iron benches that was laid out in 1827 on land that slopes down to the Lagan River and includes the curved-iron and glass Palm House that is a conservatory designed in 1839 which has exotic plants such as the bird of paradise flower and the scented frangipani; the Tropical Ravine House; an arboretum; a tree trail that leads visitors around 20 trees such as the Tree-of-Heaven and Japanese red cedar; located on Stranmillis Road
  • City Hall—built between 1898 and 1906 and modeled on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, this building was designed by Brumwell Thomas and is in the midst of Donegall Square which has statues of Queen Victoria and a column that honors the US Expeditionary Force, the first contingent of the US Army to arrive in Europe during World War II; inside is the 173-foot-high Great Dome with a magnificent view upwards from the entrance hall, beautiful stained-glass windows and arches, a café, an exhibition that describes the history of Belfast’s industrial development, and a photographic exhibition that celebrates 68 inspirational people of the past 100 years; Donegall Square
  • Crumlin Road Gaol—a major tourist attraction that formerly was a prison that opened in 1846 and had over 500 prisoners at its peak and held some of Northern Ireland’s most infamous murderers between 1969 and 1996 when the prison closed; tours of the jail are 75 minutes long and show the holding, punishment, and condemned prisoner cells as well as the execution chamber which is behind a moving bookcase and a museum with exhibits such as handcuffs, uniforms, a flogging rack, photographs, and maps; 53-55 Crumlin Road
  • Custom House—a creation of the 19th century architect Charles Lanyon that is not open to the public but features a pediment of Britannia, Mercury, and Neptune on the front and a blue plaque recording the fact that the 19th century novelist Anthony Trollope worked in the building as a post-office surveyor as well as a life-size bronze statue with arms raised commemorating the orator Jim Larkin who addressed crowds during the Dockers’ Strike of 1907 from the steps of the Custom House; Donegall Quay
  • Grand Opera House—Belfast’s opera house that is Victorian in design with ornamentation, opulent gilt moldings, and intricate plasterwork and was designed by the well-known theater architect Frank Matcham in 1894 featuring bars on all floors, a café on the ground floor, a party room, and an angel-and-cherub fresco over the auditorium ceiling; 2 Great Victoria Street
  • Knockbreda Parish Church—the oldest house of worship in Belfast that is dark and has large 18th century tombs in the churchyard; Church Road off A24
  • Lagan Boat Company N.I. Ltd.—a boat company that takes passengers on a 75-minute Titanic harbor tour of the shipyard where the liner was built; 66 Donegall Quay
  • Linen Hall Library—a distinctive gray-yellow brick library that is the oldest subscription library in Ireland with a huge collection of 80,000 documents and books relating to the Troubles regarded as the most definitive archive that attracts scholars from around the world and the original document recording the first ever acts passed by the American Congress in New York on March 4, 1789; 17 Donegall Square North
  • Metropolitan Arts Centre—Northern Ireland’s flagship home for the arts and an energetic fixture of the Cathedral Quarter’s creative scene that is six stories tall with two theaters, three art galleries, and artists’ studios along with a café, bar, and restaurant and galleries presenting current Northern Irish artists; St. Anne’s Square, Exchange Street
  • Northern Ireland War Memorial—a memorial building that has an interactive exhibition about World War II as the area was bombed by the Luftwaffe in April 1941 resulting in more than a thousand deaths and features the American Wall of Friendship that contains a copper frieze expressing the wartime bonds created between Northern Ireland and the United States; 21 Talbot Street
  • Queen’s University Belfast—a historic university with its main buildings modeled on Oxford University’s Magdalen College and designed by Charles Lanyon in 1849 in the Tudor Revival style with a redbrick and sandstone façade for the main building; the Seamus Heaney Library named after the Ulster-born 1997 Nobel Prize-winning poet who died in 2013; the McClay library in College Park with a multi-story open atrium, 1.5 million volumes, and the Brian Friel Theatre named in honor of one of Ireland’s most famous playwrights; and the C.S. Lewis reading room on the first floor that has a replica of the wardrobe door used in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; University Road
  • Sinclair Seamen’s Church—another Charles Lanyon building that has served seafarers since 1857 with a pulpit shaped like a ship’s prow, the bell from the HMS Hood sunk in 1916, and collection plates shaped like lifeboats; Corporation Square off Donegall Quay
  • Titanic Belfast Visitor Centre—a major attraction that is the headliner for the “Titanic Experience” exhibition with nine linked interpretive galleries that illustrate the Titanic’s history as well as Belfast’s seafaring and industrial heritage; a bow-shaped façade for the six-story building reflecting the lines of the Titanic; a ride through the reconstruction of the shipyard with the sounds and sensations of the past century; and a current view of the Titanic’s story with the discovery of its wreckage and live links to contemporary undersea exploration; Olympic Way, 6 Queen’s Road, Titanic Quarter
  • Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House Tour—one of the top attractions in Northern Ireland that has been accessible to visitors since 2012 and allows visitors to take steps down to the floor of the Titanic’s dock otherwise known as the Thompson Dry Dock which is a relic of the ship’s legacy and its physical footprint and taking a guided walk will allow visitors to reflect on the ship’s history and the importance of shipbuilding to Belfast’s history; Queen’s Road
  • Ulster Museum—a renovated museum that is popular with visitors for its light-filled atrium and polished steel and inside features exhibitions that trace the rise of Belfast’s crafts, trade, and industry and offers a photographic archive of the Troubles as well as a large natural history section with a famous skeleton of the extinct Irish giant deer, jewelry and gold ornaments recovered from the Spanish Armada vessel Girona; a great collection of 19th and 20th century art from Europe, Britain, and America; a modern history gallery which tells the story of Ulster from 1500 to 1968; and art, history, and nature discovery zones with hands-on activities for children; Stranmillis Road
  • W5: whowhatwherewhenwhy: a science discovery center with a high-tech focus that interprets science and creativity for adults and children with video displays and flashing lights that add to the futuristic atmosphere, Discovery exhibits for children under eight covering subjects such as spying and forensics, and a huge multistory climbing structure in the atrium which provides a great view of the city and beyond from the top; 2 Queen’s Quay

Sights in Dublin

Dublin is a lively capital with many noteworthy sights such as Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, and Merrion Square. It is an old city that is certainly worth taking a trip to although you may need a week to see everything the city has to offer its visitors.

  • Baily Lighthouse—a lighthouse built in 1814 that provides great views across the Irish Sea and the parking lot above the lighthouse looks out over the bay and Dublin; Howth Summit
  • Bank of Ireland—located across the street from the west façade of Trinity College is this striking building that was formerly the home of the Irish Parliament and has a pedimented portico; inside is the original House of Lords with an oak-panel nave, a 1,233 drop Waterford glass chandelier, and tapestries that depict the battle of the Boyne and the Siege of Derry; 2 College Green
  • Chester Beatty Library—deemed a library but actually more like a museum, this collection assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty is considered to be one of the most significant collections of Islamic, Early Christian, and Far Eastern art in the Western world with exhibits including clay tablets from Babylon that date back to 2700 BC, Japanese wood-block prints, Chinese jade books, early papyrus bibles, and Turkish and Persian paintings with a second floor dedicated to the major world religions that includes 250 manuscripts of the Koran from across the Muslim world and an early Gospel; Castle Street
  • Christ Church Cathedral—a Dublin landmark that was first built in 1172 by Strongbow, a Norman baron and conqueror of Dublin from England and finished constructed in 1222; major reconstruction occurred in the late 19th century due to the deterioration of the church and added a bridge that connected the cathedral to the old Synod Hall which is now home to a Viking multimedia exhibition called Dublinia; the crypt has 12th and 13th century vaults and is Dublin’s oldest surviving structure and the most noteworthy feature of the cathedral with an exhibition called “The Treasures of Christ Church” that has manuscripts, various historic artifacts, and a tabernacle used when King James II was a worshipper; Christ Church Place and Winetavern Street
  • City Hall—this building that was once the Royal Exchange is at the southwestern corner of Temple Bar and is now the seat of Dublin Corporation, the governing body of the city, that was designed by Thomas Cooley with 12 columns that encircle a central rotunda and 12 frescoes that show Dublin legends and ancient Irish historical scenes and inside is a multimedia exhibition that features artifacts, kiosks, graphics, and audiovisual presentations that trace the evolution of Dublin; Dame Street
  • Custom House—a beautiful Georgian building that was built by James Gandon, an English architect, between 1781 and 1791 with a statue of Commerce atop the copper dome and statues based on allegories on the main façade and a visitor center that recounts the history of the building and the life of Gandon; Custom House Quay
  • Dublin Castle—the seat and symbol of British rule of Ireland for over 700 years and is used today for Irish and European Union governmental purposes with a large Great Courtyard that allegedly is the site of the Black Pool (Dubh Linn) from which Dublin got its name; the Record Tower which is the largest remaining relic of the original Norman buildings built by King John between 1208 and 1220; the clock tower building that houses the Chester Beatty Library; and the State Apartments which are now used by the president of Ireland to host visiting heads of state and EU ministers; Castle Street
  • Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane—Francis Bacon’s studio that was reconstructed exactly as the artist left it upon his death and has a beautiful façade with two half-moon arcades and was built as a town house for the Earl of Charlemont in 1762 and is now an art gallery named after sir Hugh Lane, a nephew of Lady Gregory, W.B Yeats’s aristocratic patron, who collected impressionist and 19th century Irish and Anglo-Irish works; Parnell Square North
  • Dublin Writers Museum—a museum situated within a restored 18th century town house on the north side of Parnell Square that features the Gallery of Writers which includes rare manuscripts, diaries, posters, letters, limited and first editions, photographs, and other mementos and a room dedicated to children’s literature; 18 Parnell Square North
  • Dublin Zoo—founded in 1830 and the third-oldest public zoo in the world that went through a major renovation completed in 2007 and is home to animals from tropical climates, Arctic species that swim in lakes near the Reptile House, lions, an African Plains section, a safari, and a primate area; Phoenix Park
  • Farmleigh—a 78-acre Edwardian estate located northwest of Phoenix Park that includes Farmleigh House which has antique furnishings and historic art and accommodates visiting dignitaries; a working farm; walled and sunken gardens; picnic grounds; an organic food market; and a restaurant in the boathouse; Castleknock
  • GAA Museum—the main stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association as well as a museum that explains the four Gaelic games (hurling, football, camogie, and handball) and has high-tech displays that allow visitors to learn about the history and highlights of the games; St. Joseph’s Avenue, Croke Park Stadium
  • Gallery of Photography—the premier photography gallery in Dublin with a permanent collection of early 20th century Irish photography and monthly exhibitions of works by modern Irish and international photographers; Meeting House Square South
  • Garden of Remembrance—a garden in Parnell Square that honors those who died fighting for Ireland’s freedom and at the entrance has a large plaza with steps that lead down to the fountain area where there is a swan sculpture; Parnell Square
  • General Post Office—a rebuilt post office building with a long history that dates back to the early 19th century when it was built by the British as a communications center and was used by Irish rebels in 1916 during the Easter Rising when Irish Republican forces stormed the building and issued the Proclamation of the Irish Republic; it was rebuilt and reopened in 1929 becoming a working post office in 1929; O’Connell Street
  • Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum—the most well-known burial ground in Dublin that is the site of the graves of many Irish leaders including Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins as well as the late 19th century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and Daniel O’Connell who helped fight for Catholic emancipation which was achieved in 1829 and also includes a museum with a “City of the Dead” permanent exhibition that delves into the burial practices and religious beliefs of the 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin and a gallery with exhibits on significant historical figures buried there; Glasnevin
  • Guinness Storehouse—Ireland’s top brewery founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759 and once the largest stout-producing brewery in the world that covers a 60-acre area west of Christ Church Cathedral and is the most popular tourist destination in Dublin with a museum housed in a 1904 cast-iron and brick warehouse spread out over six floors built around a central glass atrium shaped like a giant pint glass; under the glass floor of the lobby is Arthur Guinness’s original lease for the site for 9,000 years and the exhibition in the museum explains the brewing process and its history with antique presses and vats; a glimpse into bottle and can design over the years; a history of the Guinness family; an archive of Guinness advertisements; and a chance to pull a perfect pint with the main attraction being the top-floor Gravity Bar with 360-degree floor to ceiling glass walls that provide a great view out over the city; St. James’ Gate
  • Irish Jewish Museum—a museum opened in 1985 by Israeli president Chaim Herzog and dedicated to the European Jews who fled pogroms of Eastern Europe to Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that features a restored synagogue and a display of photographs, letters, and personal memorabilia from Dublin’s most prominent Jewish families as well as exhibits that explore the Jewish presence in Ireland dating back to 1067 and references to Jews in Ulysses; 3-4 Walworth Road
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art—situated within the Royal Hospital Kilmainham this art museum focuses on the work of modern Irish artists, has international exhibitions, displays works by non-Irish artists such as Picasso and Miro in addition to more current artists like Damian Hirst, and hosts touring shows from major European museums; Kilmainham La
  • Iveagh Gardens—a garden designed in 1865 by Ninian Niven in an “English landscape” style that has a rustic grotto and cascade, sunken lawns with fountains, a blooming rosarium, and wooded areas as well as a waterfall with rocks from each of Ireland’s 32 counties; Clonmel Street
  • James Joyce Centre—a center devoted to James Joyce housed in a restored 18th century Georgian townhouse that was once the dancing academy of Professor Denis J. Maginni (a figure in Ulysses, just one of Joyce’s celebrated novels), and features an extensive library and archives, exhibition rooms, a bookstore, and a café with the collection including letters from Beckett, Joyce’s guitar and cane, and an edition of Ulysses illustrated by Matisse; 35 North Great George’s Street
  • Little Museum of Dublin—an eclectic museum with a singular purpose to tell the history of Dublin in the last hundred years through objects and stories from residents with a collection including art, photography, ads, letters, objects, and other items relating to life in Dublin since 1900; 15 Stephen’s Green
  • Malahide Castle—a castle that was occupied by the Talbot family from 1185 to 1976 when it was sold to the County Council and has a large expanse of parkland around the castle with over 5,000 different species of trees and shrubs clearly labeled, a three-story tower house dating back to the 12th century, walled gardens, and the only medieval great hall in Ireland kept in its original form; an addition includes a visitor center, Avoca restaurant, and a shop; 6 miles north of Howth on Coast Road, Malahide
  • Marino Casino—an architectural landmark built between 1762 and 1771 from a plan by Sir William Chambers that has a china-closet boudoir, a huge golden sunset in the ceiling of the main drawing room, and the signs of the zodiac in the ceiling of the bijou library, and a mysterious amount of rooms; Malahide Road, Marino
  • Marsh’s Library—Ireland’s first public library with a collection of 250 manuscripts and 25,000 books from the 15th to the 18th centuries that has been restored with attention to its original architectural details; St. Patrick’s Close off Patrick Street
  • Merrion Square—a beautiful square lined on three sides by well-preserved Georgian townhouses and on the west side are Leinster House, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery; also, in the square are flower gardens, evergreen grounds with sculptures and winding paths, and the south side which has the Church of Ireland St. Stephen’s Church
  • National Botanic Gardens—this botanic garden dates back to 1795 and has more than 20,000 varieties of plants, a rose garden, and a vegetable garden as well as the Curvilinear Range that are 400-foot-long greenhouses designed and built by a Dublin ironmaster, Richard Turner, between 1843 and 1869; Glasnevin Road
  • National Gallery of Ireland—an art museum that has over 2,500 paintings and 10,000 other works including pieces by Caravaggio, Van Gogh, and Vermeer with highlights that include a major collection of paintings by Irish artists from the 17th to 20th centuries with works by Roderic O’Conor, Sir William Orpen, and William Leech and a Yeats Museum section with works by members of the Yeats family including pieces by Jack B. Yeats, brother of W.B. Yeats, and the most well-known Irish painter of the 20th century; Merrion Square West
  • National Library—a library that includes works by W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney and features first editions of every major Irish writer including works by Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, and James Joyce, and almost every book ever published in Ireland housed within the library along with a great selection of old maps and a large collection of Irish newspapers and magazines; Kildare Street
  • National Library Photographic Archive—a significant photographic resource with regular exhibitions and a collection that has 600,000 photographs many of which are Irish and provide a visual history of Ireland; Meeting House Square
  • National Museum of Archaeology—this museum which is one of four branches of the National Museum of Ireland has a vast collection of Irish artifacts dating from 7000 BC to the present with the largest collection of Celtic antiquities in the world including gold jewelry, carved stones, bronze tools, and weapons; the Treasury permanent collection with the 8th century Ardagh Chalice, a two-handled silver cup with gold filigree decoration, the bronze St. Patrick’s Bell, the oldest surviving example of Irish metalwork (5th-8th century), the 8th century Tara Brooch made of white bronze, amber, and glass, and the 12th century jewel-encrusted Cross of Cong; an exhibit on Vikings with a life-size Viking skeleton, swords, leather works recovered in Dublin and surrounding areas, and a replica Viking boat; location: Kildare St. Annex 7-9, Merrion Row
  • National Museum of Decorative Arts and History—the National Museum’s large collection of glass, silver, furniture, and other decorative arts located within the Collins Barracks named after the assassinated Irish Republican leader, Michael Collins, and featuring one of the best collections of Irish silver in the world and Irish period furniture; Benburb Street
  • National Museum of Natural History—one of the four branches of the National Museum that is Victorian in nature with an Irish room that features skeletons of the extinct giant Irish elk; the International Animals collection with a 65-foot whale skeleton suspended from the roof; and the Blaschka Collection with detailed glass models of marine creatures; Merrion Street
  • National Transport Museum of Ireland—a museum that houses a tram that once traveled from the railway station in Howth over Howth Summit and back to the station and other vehicles such as horse-drawn bakery vans; Heritage Depot, Howth Demense
  • National Wax Museum—an engaging museum with famous figures from Irish history and literature in wax form, figures from children’s cartoons, and movie characters as well as a green-screen room where music videos can be recorded; The Amoury, Foster Place
  • Newbridge House and Farm—a stately Irish home built between 1740 and 1760 for Charles Cobbe, archbishop of Dublin, that is still home to the Cobbe family although the municipal government took over the house in 1985 and features the Red Drawing Room which is Ireland’s most luxurious 18th-century salon with Old Master paintings, Corinthian columns, and a rococo-style plaster ceiling and 366 acres of parkland, a restored 18th century animal farm, and a well-regarded coffee shop; Donabate, 5 miles north of Malahide, signposted from N1
  • 29—a refurbished home dating back to 1794 that is in line with the lifestyle of the middle class in Dublin between 1790 and 1820 with period furniture, paintings, carpets, curtains, paint, wallpapers, and bell pulls; 29 Fitzwilliam Street
  • Phoenix Park—Europe’s largest public park that extends about 3 miles along the Liffey’s north bank and has 1,752 acres of green lawns, woods, lakes, and playing fields with old-fashioned gas lamps lining both sides of Chesterfield Avenue, the main artery of the park, Victorian-era tea rooms, a flower garden, a visitor center, a café, and a walled garden
  • Royal Hospital Kilmainham—the most important 17th century building in Ireland that was commissioned as a hospice for disabled and veteran soldiers and completed in 1684 surviving into the 1920s as a hospital but then falling into disrepair until its renovation and includes a beautiful Baroque chapel with unique plasterwork ceiling and wood carvings and the Irish Museum of Modern Art; Kilmainham Lane
  • Science Gallery—a family-friendly museum/gallery with rotating exhibitions that allow art and science to interact with hands-on experiments and a sister shop on a neighboring street with a walk-in area where visitors can join in workshops on a variety of topics from robotics to clockmaking; Pearse Street
  • Patrick’s Cathedral—the largest cathedral in Dublin and the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland which was built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint and dedicated in 1192 in an early English Gothic style; it is the longest church in the country at 305 feet and has the Choir of St. Patrick’s with medieval banners and the tomb of Jonathan Swift, the most famous of St. Patrick’s deans, who held office from 1713 to 1745, the 17th century Boyle Monument with many painted figures of family members, and the monument to Turlough O’Carolan, one of the country’s finest harpists; located on Patrick Street
  • Stephen’s Green—a year-round 27-acre square that was once a private park and renovated in 1880 under the patronage of Sir Arthur Guinness and includes flower gardens; formal lawns; a Victorian bandstand; an ornamental lake with waterfowl; and winding paths with many statues throughout the park including a memorial to W.B. Yeats and another to James Joyce
  • The Ark—a children’s cultural center with creative activities such as music, poetry readings, film, dance, painting, interactive exhibitions, and other activities; 11a Eustace Street
  • The Old Library and the Book of Kells—home to Ireland’s largest collection of books and manuscripts with its most treasured work, the Book of Kells, which is considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of early Christian art dating back to the 9th century and bound in four volumes in 1953; other treasures in the library are the Long Room which is the main room of the library with 200,000 of the 3 million volumes in Trinity College’s collection, a series of marble busts including one of Jonathan Swift, and the carved Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth I (the only surviving relic of the original college buildings; Front Square, Trinity College
  • Trinity College—Ireland’s oldest and most well-known college founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I that has had a host of famous alumni including Jonathan Swift; Oscar Wilde; Bram Stoker; and Samuel Beckett and is spread out over 40 acres with many of the buildings built in the 18th and early 19th centuries including the West Front which has a classical pedimented portico in the Corinthian style, faces College Green, and is across from the Bank of Ireland; a cobblestone quadrangle called Parliament Square usually referred to as Front Square; Examination Hall which dates back to the mid-1780s and has an interior designed by Michael Stapleton and an organ recovered from an 18th century Spanish ship and an oak chandelier from the old House of Commons; and a bell tower erected in 1853 that is at the center of the square
  • Wall of Fame—the front wall of the Button Factory music venue that has a huge mural dedicated to major Irish rock musicians such as U2, Sinead O’Connor, and Shane McGowan; Curved Street

Shopping in Reykjavik

Reykjavik does not have a wealth of shops to explore but the ones that the city does have  seem interesting and unique.

  • 12 Tonar—both a record shop and an independent record label that has a café and sells music by popular Icelandic artists such as Bjork, Agent Fresco, FM Belfast, and Dikta; Skolavoraustigur 15
  • Anna Maria Design—a workshop and store that sells a variety of jewelry for men and women made from materials that include silver, gold, and Icelandic stones; Skolavoraustigur 3
  • Gallery Fold—an art gallery that has a large selection of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures by modern Icelandic artists and older Icelandic art; Rauaararstigur 12-14
  • Handprjonassambandid—the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s outlet selling hand-knit items of various kinds; Skolavoraustigur 19
  • Islandia—a store that sells woolen items, gifts, and souvenirs; Kringlan Mall
  • JS Watch Co—the official watch of the Icelandic Coast Guard and a celebrity favorite and a watchmaker that sells nicely crafted timepieces; Laugavegur 62
  • Kormakur and Skjoldur—a men’s store that sells men’s clothing and hair accessories with brands such as Bertie and Wooster’s of London which sells threads, cuff links, and designer clothing; Harris Tweed; and Ben Sherman; Laugavegur 59
  • Kringlan Mall—a mall with a variety of decent clothing stores, a movie theater, and souvenir shops; Kringlun 4-12
  • Kronkron—owned by an Icelandic couple who are known for their designer footwear in all sorts of colors and silk clothing; Laugavegur 63b
  • Lucky Records—a record store that has the largest collection of vintage and contemporary vinyl in Iceland and also has performances by underground and new alternative bands; Rauaararstigur 10
  • Smaralind—one of Iceland’s two major shopping malls located in Kopavogur, a neighboring community, that has the British-based Debenhams and Iceland’s hypermarket chain store, Hagkaup; Hagasmara 1

Sights in Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is a city with interesting attractions, museums, historic buildings, and landmarks such as Mt. Esja. My cousin and her husband went to Iceland and loved it and I think I could see  myself liking it as well.

  • Alpingishus (Parliament House)—one of the country’s oldest stone buildings built from 1880-1881 and home to the oldest representative parliament in the world with its first session in AD 930 with a visitor’s gallery to view parliamentary proceedings; Austurovollur Square
  • Aurora Reykjavik—a local attraction with technological simulations of the intensity and color spectrum of the auroras, a high-definition movie of the northern lights in action, and a practice booth with detailed instructions on how to successfully photograph the northern lights; Grandagaur 2
  • Fjolskyldugardurinn Family Park (Family Park)—located next to Laugardalur Park, this amusement park has rides and games such as Crazy Bikes, a driving school with miniature traffic lights, and a scale model of a Viking ship; Fjolskyldugardurinn
  • Grasagardur Botanic Garden—a botanic garden in Laugardalur Park with a large collection of native and exotic plants; Laugardalur
  • Guido Van Helten Mural—the works of Australian-born artist, Guido Van Helten, can be seen throughout Iceland but his most noteworthy are those painted on the walls of an old theater building in the Grandi Harbor area of the city featuring characters from a 1961 production of Sartre’s play No Exit; Seljavegur 2
  • Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrimur’s Church)—a church built over the course of forty years and completed in 1986 that was named after the 17th century hymn writer, Hallgrimur Petursson, and has a concrete façade that reminds viewers of organ pipes and basalt formations seen throughout Iceland and in front has a statue of Leifur Eiriksson (Leif Erikson) who discovered Iceland; at top of Skolavoraustigur
  • Kjarvalsstadir—a modern building that has a large permanent collection dedicated to the life and works of Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval, a well-regarded Icelandic landscape painter, and rotating temporary exhibitions with works by local and international artists; Flokagata
  • Listasafn—the Reykjavik Art Museum—a former warehouse of the Port of Reykjavik that is now the city’s art museum with six galleries on two floors with a permanent collection with a large number of pieces donated by modern Icelandic artist Erro and regular temporary exhibitions; Tryggvagata 17
  • Esja—one of the most recognizable landmarks in Reykjavik with a network of winding trails and a great view from the top of the mountain
  • Reykjavik Maritime Museum—housed in an old fish factory, this museum has an exhibition on Icelandic fisheries, trading vessels, and a Coastal Guard vessel to explore; Grandargarai 8
  • Whales of Iceland—an exhibition opened in spring 2015 that features 23 different species of whales in a great pod of life-size models including blue whales, fin whales, humpbacks, and belugas and provides information on supporting whale tourism instead of whale hunting; Fiskisloa 23-25
  • Arbaejarsafn—an outdoor municipal museum that includes 19th and 20th century houses furnished with old-fashioned furnishings and displayed inside are authentic household utensils and tools for cottage industries and farming; Artunsblettur, Kistuhyl 4
  • Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum—a gallery, studio, and garden that has the original sculptures of Asmundur Sveinsson that depict working people, myths, and folktale episodes; Sigtun 105
  • Pjodminjasafn (National Museum)—a museum with Viking artifacts, silverwork, wood carvings, whalebone carvings, maritime objects, historic textiles, jewelry, and crafts; Suaurgata 41

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