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Area: Castello Travel Guides

We're a holiday rental company and passionate about off the beaten path travel. These are our insider tips for the destinations where we offer holiday accommodation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!!

A Short History of the Venice Biennale Art Festival

Travel Tips for Area: Castello
A Short History of the Venice Biennale Art Festival

Long considered a quintessential contemporary art exhibition, the Venice Biennale Art Festival draws in hundreds of artists and hundreds of thousands visitors to its shoreline every other (odd) year. Should you be planning a holiday in Venice, keep in mind that the next Biennale will be held in the spring of 2013, however, various ‘parts’ of the exhibition are actually presented every few months (of every year); so research a particular artistic discipline you’re interested in, and then book that perfect vacation rental accordingly. What started as a simple showcase of local Italian artists in 1894 has morphed into the most prestigious exhibition the world has ever seen. International interest in the Biennale was sparked soon after the exhibitions began, with curators showing preference for increasingly new, and innovative, art representations. Whilst this show may have relied almost entirely on decorative arts at the start, its transition into modern art, and all that is visually appealing was quite swift. By the early 1900s there were already several countries represented, yet the exhibition gained its premium momentum in the years between the two World Wars. By the mid-30s art disciplines like music, cinema and theatre were included, which saw the inception of the world-famous ...

Further attractions in the Vatican area, Rome

Travel Tips for Area: Vatican
Further attractions in the Vatican area, Rome

Rome, the Italian capital, ranks as one of the most visited cities in the world. The tourist attractions here are almost endless, and filling your much-anticipated vacation days with sightseeing, eating, museum-hopping, more eating and Rome shopping will certainly make for an unforgettable holiday. When looking for Rome apartments, look no further than the area around the Vatican City. The attractions here are excellent, but finding something to see or do which isn’t restricted by Papal walls may be a little more challenging. To this end, we’ve compiled a short list of the very best things to see and do around the Vatican area, just to help you keep your vacation varied. So put on some comfy shoes, grab a map and have yourself a bellissima vacanza! Castel Sant’Angelo Originally built by Emperor Hadryan as a mausoleum for his family, Castel Sant’Angelo is an ancient Roman ruin and an absolutely gorgeous place to retire to for an afternoon of peace and quiet. Located merely 500m east of Piazza Pio XII, this amazing castle lies on the shores of the Tiber River and served as a Papal fortress from the beginning of the first millennia. Various remains of succeeding Roman emperors were buried here, ...

A short history of the Rialto Bridge, Venice

Travel Tips for Area: Rialto
A short history of the Rialto Bridge, Venice

Venice, the famous Italian merchant city, has enjoyed a long and illustrious history and continues to inspire all who visit with its majestic architecture, mysterious atmosphere and awe-inspiring beauty. Venice’s bridges are possibly the most iconic sites in the floating city, and none have received more praise than the Rialto Bridge. Choose your Venice holiday apartment here to discover first-hand its amazing history. The Rialto Bridge is an epitome symbol of all that is so wonderfully Italian: stunning, inspiring and utterly romantic It is the oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal and stands today as testament that a little vision and risk-taking can go a long way into creating history. Indeed, the bridge was initially considered by most to be ugly and unstable; yet 500 years later it still reigns supreme and is, alongside St Mark’s Square, the most visited tourist attraction in Venice. A gondola ride under the Rialto Bridge is the stuff of dreams, and an activity not to be missed while on a Venice holiday. The first bridge of Venice was built on this site in 1180, and its construction greatly facilitated trade between the two major fractions of the municipality: San Polo and San Marco. That is, of ...

Shopping in Positano, Amalfi Coast

Travel Tips for Area: Positano
Shopping in Positano, Amalfi Coast

I once remember vowing never to travel to the same place twice; the world too big and inviting to ever double up on holiday destinations. That was, of course, until I visited Positano for the first time. Now, after at least a dozen visits, my only resolution is to go back as many times as possible. This is where I'd be happy spending the last moments of my life...it's really that beautiful. For sure there's no better way to stay in this area then renting a Positano villa! Precariously perched on one of the most stunning coastlines in the world (Italy's Amalfi Coast), the small town of Positano is a true feast for all the sense. The sea is cobalt blue, the blooming flowers fluorescent, the food delectable and the shopping?? Oh my...don't even get me started on the shopping! If factory produced run-of-the-mill souvenirs are what you're after you may be bitterly disappointed! In Positano, it's all about one-of-a-kind wares you'll find nowhere else. From the world renowned hand-painted ceramics, to hand-made leather sandals, embroidered cloths and wooden carvings, the town prides itself on its artisans' talents and proudly shows off masterpieces on every corner.The best thing about Positano is that ...

Guide to the Vatican Museums, Rome

Travel Tips for Area: Vatican
Guide to the Vatican Museums, Rome

The city of Rome has many attractions and sites that individual would justify a trip to the Italian capital. There is so much to see and do in Rome, that the choice of how best to spend your time in the city, can actually be hard. With attractions which include the stunning Coliseum, the Spanish Steps and the market in Piazza Navona, what are the must see places in Rome? One place I would always highly recommend is the Vatican and its museums. The museums within Vatican City are a collection of some of the finest art displays and collections in the world, with works of art built up throughout the centuries by the Catholic Church. Founded in the early 16th century as a collection of sculptures gathered by Pope Julius II, the pope opened the collections of art and the palaces to the public, promoting an understanding and knowledge of the history and culture. Today the Vatican Museums are a collection of various museums and galleries, visited by more than 4 million people from all over the world. They began as an entity under the Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI between 1769 and 1799, with the Pio-Clementine ...

The Flea Market in Rome, Trastevere

Travel Tips for Area: Trastevere
The Flea Market in Rome, Trastevere

As the sun rises on Sunday, vendors from all over the local area set up stall in Porta Portese Flea Market, which is in the Trastevere area of Rome. It is a place where bargains can be found and when visiting Rome this is an excellent way to sample the local culture first hand. This flea market sells everything you can possibly imagine. It has a beautiful antique section, selling brash brass and noisy clocks. You can find 18th century paintings, capturing local imagery from times that have long gone by. There is something distinctly Italian about the whole experience. You can see the passion and determination in the eyes of the vendors. Clothes are for sale everywhere. The smell of Italian leather washes over you as you make your way through alleys of colourful bargains. This is an ideal place to buy gifts for loved ones whilst staying in Rome. A word of warning here. Whilst the The Porta Portese Flea Market is generally a safe place to be, pick pockets work on Sunday’s too, so it is our recommendation that you keep your valuable possessions in a safe place at all times. So hold on tightly to your wallet and ...

Toy stores near Piazza Navona, Rome

Travel Tips for Area: Piazza Navona
Toy stores near Piazza Navona, Rome

The Piazza Navona is a very popular area for families to visit, especially if you are travelling with children as there are several toy stores in this area. You will be able to find all sorts of toys from stuffed animals to miniature Italian sports cars and unique wind up toys. The kids will surely appreciate coming home to your Rome holiday rental and playing with their new toys! 1. Al Sogno (Piazza Navona, 53) – The name Al Sogno literally means “In a Dream” and this cosy little store definitely lives up to its name. Although the store is a bit small, people seldom notice this because of the large number of interesting toys that line its shelves. 2. Città del Sole (Via Della Scrofa, 65) – This shop is one of the most popular toy stores in all of Rome and is known to sell both toys and children’s books. Città del Sole’s extensive selection of European toys is sure to be particularly appealing to young children; the store is also popular with older children and even adults, as it has a good collection of puzzles, gadgets, games and educational toys. 3. Bertè (Piazza Navona 108) – This toy store is ...

Why I would return to Rome by Kirsty Fraser

Travel Tips for Why I would return to Rome
Why I would return to Rome by Kirsty Fraser

Should I could return to Rome tomorrow, I hope I would do all the things I glimpsed the first time round but was to busy being a ‘tourist’ to appreciate, or experience. Sure, I can say I’ve marvelled at the Coliseum. I’ve stared up into the oculus of the Pantheon, posed on the Spanish Steps and got sunburnt standing in a queue for the Vatican. I have got the pictures. But I have not really got Rome. For starters, I would have to slow myself down by a margin of about 50%. For all the hustle and bustle of Roman streets, no one is really hurrying. The Italians are adept at a certain type of contained energy that looks like a lot’s happening when really all that’s being discussed is where the next ristretto is coming from. If I am to learn to enjoy laid back Rome, I’m going to have to go native. To which end, after an early start wondering at the sights and smells of the Campo Fiori, buying string bags heavy with luscious lemons and oranges, their skin still dusty with that morning’s bloom, I would have coffee at Sant’Eustachio and fight my way to the counter to ...

Why I would return to Venice by Sara Nolan

Travel Tips for Why I would return to Venice
Why I would return to Venice by Sara Nolan

To my young and naive self, Venice epitomised romance. Gondoliers singing romantic songs in the sunset, candlelit dinners at the side of the sparkling canals, bohemian artists, musicians and writers, pretty little streets; so much to delight the senses. I could barely contain my excitement when my husband announced that we were off to Venice.The day finally dawned, visions of the romantic time ahead of us swimming around my head, my newly practised Italian rolling off my tongue – well I could ask for a table for two, order a drink and say please and thank you at least. We crammed on to the vaporetto (Venetian water bus), the cool air of the water providing a welcome breeze in the hot sun, and headed straight for St Marks Square. Venice suddenly just hit me. No other way to describe it. My senses, instantly aroused with the hustle and bustle, street musicians, throngs of people, heat and most of all the smell. This wasn’t the romantic notion I had nurtured all these years. In my romantic dreams the canals were sparkling blue and not at all smelly, there weren’t hordes of tourists, there weren't pigeons everywhere and the associated mess that goes ...

The Perfect Weekend for Couples in Florence

Travel Tips for Florence
The Perfect Weekend for Couples in Florence

My husband and I spent the last two days of our honeymoon in Florence. It’s such a short time to explore a world-class city, yet I knew I couldn’t face a frantic rush from museum to museum after our quiet week in the small Tuscan town of Volterra. “Let’s see the cathedral,” I said. “And then let’s just…explore.”Without the pressure to cram all of Florence’s cultural experiences into a weekend, we were able to simply walk around and get a feel (but mostly a taste) for the city. We came across a street market and sampled Parmesan cheese. We found Florence’s only kosher vegetarian restaurant and had falafels with beer for lunch. We drank house wine that tasted like should have cost more and ate pizzas that could have fed an entire family. We sipped steaming hot espressos and licked melty gelato. “I’m married now,” I said to my new husband as I finished the cone. “So I figure I can let myself go.”Art is everywhere in Florence. We didn’t go to the famous Uffizi Gallery, but we did wander through the Piazza della Signoria, an open-air museum full of marble sculptures. It was buzzing with eager tourists, so we only stayed ...

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We're a holiday rental company and passionate about off the beaten path travel. These are our insider tips for the destinations where we offer holiday accommodation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!!

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