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I am pleased to suggests three places to taste the best Pizza in Naples.Naples is a sunny,creative and friendly city city of the impressive Vesuvius dominating one of the best Gulf of the world,city of music and theatre,city of many contrasts but one of the best city to discover and to love and the Pizza,this gastronomical speciality born here is part of the Neapolitan culture and also International culture,all we love pizza and if you are planning to visit Naples,Capri,Sorrento,Positano,Praiano and Costa Amalfitana,authentic paradises of our globe I suggest you some places where you will enjoy a divine and sublime pizza you will never forget in your life.


This iconic symbol of the real "Pizza Napoletana" is located in one of the historical and emblematic area of Naples in the heart of "Spaccanapoli" in Via dei Tribunali,94,a short walk from the Cathedral of San Gennaro and "Monastero Santa Chiara,the area where Greeks and Romans found the centre of this beautiful city called Naples.The Pizzeria di Matteo,was  founded in 1936 by Salvatore Di Matteo.The secret and the success of this Pizzeria is that the pizza here is art and the "pizzaioli"Antonio, Raffaele, Vincenzo, Nunzio e Paolo are authentic masters,the pizza is perfect cooked and Pizzeria di Matteo uses ingredients of high quality,real "mozzarella di bufala campana"fresh "pummarola" the fresh tomato ideal for real Pizze and Calzoni and here all people is really surprised of the great pizza Di Matteo prepares..It is not a case prominent people as Jack Lemmon but also Bill Clinton enjoyed the great pizza of Di Matteo and also important Neapolitan artists are clients of Di Matteo such as Edoardo Bennato,Massimo Ranieri and Luciano De Crescenzo among others and also some Napoli Football team do not miss the opportunity to go to taste in Via dei Tribunali one of the best in the World !


This is another symbol of the real Pizza in Naples,if you want to taste quality,flavour,fragrance and fresh ingredients do not miss to go in this historical Pizzeria in Via Santa Brigida,historical centre of the city close to Via Toledo and a walk from Piazza Trento rieste and Piazza del Plebiscito,over 70 years of experience satisfying Neapolitans,Italians and foreign tourists and visitors,the Pizza at Ciro a Santa Brigida is the secret of Masters,they will serve you a pizza that simply smell is something divine using fresh ingredients, the "pummarola" is fresh,all the spices from oregano,basil and herbs too.Tasty and true mozzarella you can not find everywhere  even people like Sofia Loren,Ingrid Bergman,the Neapolitans 100% Antonio De Curtis alias "Totó"and Eduardo De Filippo,the Sicilian writer Pirandello can not resists to eat a pizza at Ciro a Santa Brigida.


This emblematic Pizzeria is in the area of Piazza Dante another historical place so loved by Neapolitans and not only..Located in the square the Neapolitans call "Porta Sciusciella"from the name of the beans because nearby there was a flourishing tree of that type or "Porta Mercatello" because was the former place of an ancient small market this Pizzeria is a historic monument of the real "Pizza Napoletana"some of  best dynasties of Pizza Masters worked or works in this temple of the Pizza founded in 1738,the secret is the choose of the best ingredients "a muzzarella verace"the true mozzarella di bufala the best olive oil,the herbs and the "pummarola tomato" here you can taste a divine pizza just like Gabriele D´Annunzio the famous Italian writer tasted in his visits in Naples.

Francesco Mari

Rabat-Morocco | Secret Charm of an Imperial City.

Rabat the Capital of Morocco is a destination which shows the visitor a little bit of everything with a sort of secret charm,an Imperial city,with several attractions,less shining of Marrakech or Fez but it also has a long and important history,it has not the glamour of Tangier,but it is today a modern city offering many venues,a lively nightlife and luxury Hotels,it is not a huge metropolis as Casablanca but it has the aspect of a very busy and big centre with its stylish boulevards and modern districts.

Founded in thee year 1150 by the important Almohad Dynasty,Rabat is wrapped by an ancient history and it is also a relevant centre of Berber and Arab culture.It is a traditional city which offers an important historic past,rich in art,culture,beautiful coastal  landscapes,elegant squares with lush vegetation and harmonious gardens.

The modern avenues packed of several shops,impressive Moorish monuments and a charming Medina with its traditional and colourful Kasbah and the presence small souks all together complete the image of that Maghreb centre.

 Surrounded by hills and mountains,Rabat it is embraced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Bou Regreg river which divides the city from the ancient town of Salé which faces the local harbour.The historic importance of the port of Salé and its long history for some centuries has a little bit overshadowed  the name of Rabat when the city was nicknamed or known as New Salé.

Capital of the Kingdom of Morocco since the year 1912,after its foundation in the mid 12th century, the Almohads who were also called Al-Muwahhidun or Berber Unitarians,a population affirming the oneness of God,that important local civilisation emerged with a strong influence as a result of a movement of Religious reforms and who ruled the Maghreb and Muslim Spain in particular Andalusia where they settled leaving important marks in several important cities such as Cordoba,Granada and Seville  particular from 1147 to 1269.

That Dynasty was always against another one the Almoravids  who also ruled in Spain,Morocco and Marrakech.The Almohads started to built in the area of the current city a Mosque,some houses and a former Kasbah the current Oudayas Kasbah and in particular a Ribat in Arabian language means fortress and from that word came the current name Rabat.

Founded  by the Sultan Abd Al-Mumin and baptised Ribat Al Fath meaning fort of the victory to commemorate the Almohads victories in memory of Al Mahdi Muhammad Ibn Tumart, founder of the Almohad movement and dynasty.The citadel was a strong fortified building which was in that period one of the most impenetrable and well organised in all the Maghreb and soon started to be so famous all around the entire Northern Africa.The grandson of Abd Al Mumin  Yaqub Al-Mansurbegan decided to develop a city next to the citadel,establishing a wide agglomeration developed along a vast area of  over 400 hectares with gates and impressive walls.

The powerful Almohad Dynasty created around Rabat for a period a sort of  big Empire including all the territory of Morocco,major part of Algeria,Tunisia,a big part of Spain with Andalusia, Extremadura, Comunidad de Murcia,Comunidad Valenciana,Mallorca and Balearic Islands,part of the current Castilla,many territories in Portugal and coming until Lybia.

That great Realm needed majestic monuments to celebrate its prestige,every conquest,generally in that times  the splendour of a city with such domains was honoured with the construction of monumental buildings and then were built a majestic Mosque with the famous Tour de Hassan (Hassan tower) emblematic symbol of the city,the iconic image reflecting power and wealthy but due to a earthquake it was not totally finished according to the original project.That captivating history is of course one great incentive generating a desire to discover those magnificent and numerous charming secrets that city has.

In the 13th century the King Alfonso of Spain attacked and conquered Rabat.It was the historic period of the new Dinasty Merinids with the decision to move the capital to another place and they choose the city of Fez,for its historical past and importance as centre but also because Fez was less vulnerable in terms of geographical position,located in the interior of Morocco and it could not be attacked so easy by sea as in the case of Rabat.

Due that the city suffered a sad decline,sparsely populated and with a low value at the level of state regulations and political order.The fate of the current capital changed in the early 17th century,exactly in the year 1609 during the decree and laws by King Felipe III of Spain,when the Spanish Monarch expelled from Iberian Peninsula over 17,000 Moorish.

That people leaving Spain found residence in the current Rabat and in the nearest Salé For several decades they formed a Bipolar Republic with political and trade services in common and they were like two cities in one.After a period of relative peace and development,the new influential Dynasty Alawites took possession of the territory and from there restarted the renaissance of the city.

In 1912, under the French protectorate,the General Lyautey decided to move the capital from Fez to Rabat because of the strong Berber unrest who reigned there and the Sultan Moulay Youssef moved there a few months later.In the year 1913,the French officer commissioned to  Henri Prost to organise and draw a big part of the city with the project and creation of a Nouvelle Ville de Rabat,the new city of Rabat.In the year 1956, the independence of Morocco from France proclaimed Rabat with the title of official Capital of the Kingdom.

Rabat is today a modern,dynamic and traditional centre with a mixture of old and new.The colourful surrounding hillsides and mountains as part of its frame,an elegant city with its reminiscent French avenues and boulevards with many important buildings and its old centre is surrounded by ramparts and with a presence of several  souks in which you will find a big variety of products.Outside the city walls,there is Chella which was an ancient Roman settlement,transformed in a cemetery in the 14th century.

One of its most emblematic monuments is undoubtedly the huge Esplanade Yacoub al-Mansour where are situated the Mohamed V Mosque.The Sultan Al Mansour decided to enlarge that building to transform it in the largest Mosque in the Western World but his death left it unfinished.

North to that Muslim temple you can admire an impressive high minaret,the famous Tour Hassan (Hassan Tower), also unfinished,it is the greatest monument of that Maghreb metropolis, 40 m high  poly-lobed arches decorated with large tiles,with different faces and crowned with a tracery of arches.

The founder of that construction was Yaqub Al-Mansur who was a descendant of the Almohad Dynasty. The tower, according to the tradition,was designed by an architect named Al Jabir who used a similar design plan for Hassan's sister tower,the famous Giralda of Seville in Spain. Both the towers were modelled following the minaret of another one of Jabir's designs,the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech.

The history of that building is pretty curious.The tower was in reality going to be a Mosque.Its construction began in the year 1195 but the Sultan Yacoub al-Mansour died in the year 1199 and due that event the works were interrupted. That construction was developed until a height of 44 metres,more than half of what was initially expected ; 86 metres.Also the rest of the project remained incomplete with only the beginning of walls and 200 columns in construction.Very atypical is the access to the tower,instead of stairs,the tower provides ramps.The minaret's ramps would have allowed the Muezzin riding a horse to the top of that imposing building to issue the call to prayer.Made by red sand along with the remains of the Mosque and the modern Mausoleum of Mohammed V, form the historical and tourist complex in Rabat really very important and a mandatory visit when you are visiting that city.

The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is the place where is situated the tomb of the grandfather and the father of the current King Hassan,Hassan II and the Prince Abdallah who are buried in that great monument.

Located on opposite side of the Tour Hassan on the esplanade of Yacoub al-Mansour,that building is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture Alaoutie Dynasty and it was completed in the year 1971.In 1999, the King Hassan II was buried in that place and it is one of the few religious buildings to visit in Morocco by non-Muslims.

The majestic construction shows a magnificent white silhouette topped by green tiles and embellished by typical kufi decorations.The interior is a large burial chamber decorated with marble walls and with a gallery at the top.Built with the finest materials by the best craftsmen of its time,the dome room is made by a sumptuous mahogany and cedar covered in gold leaf and curiosity  it was designed by a Vietnamese architect.

From the Mausoleum crossing Bab Al Mellah an ancient city gate starts the Rabat Medina the old city and core of the Rabat which was developed in the 17th century to accommodate the Moorish refugees from Spain and it is also known today for its Mellah, the Jewish district and there do not miss to visit in the street Al Souika the covered Souk.

That site  is a very colourful place with many small shops,where merchandise is piled to the ceiling and the souk began to be covered to protect the shops from the sun of very hot summers.There are a few streets and in general they are organised by speciality shops,such as slippers,clothing, tailors,spices and food and it is a place where you can use the classical bargain,but remember always with the maximum respect.

In general, if the vendor announce a price of 120 dirham for an article you can bargain the price which can reach (depending of the style how you develop the conversation) 70 or 60 dirham,never saying at the beginning numbers as 30,40 it is very offencive and it is the end before to start..Or never saying I saw the same article and cheaper in Tangier or Fez that is another mistake.

The vendor wants to do business with you, with its goods,no comparison with other souks,in business there is a sort of code and furthermore be always kind.That souk is also a place of social life and it is very interesting to discover Moroccan lifestyle in its total essence.The urban aspect and atmosphere is completely different than the Monumental complex visited before.

Around the Oukassa which is is a typical street in the Medina with shops dedicated to sell everyday traditional products,on the right of the street you can come in in the old Mellah,the ancient Jewish  District, abandoned by the Jews during the famous exodus to Israel and after that event it started to be populated by very humble people.

At a cross you can take the street Rue de Consuls that name is because along that street  were mainly concentrated the European consulates and residences bourgeois which occupied that stretch formed by antique shops traders selling carpets and spices interesting auction prices to find something of interesting, a place ideal to enjoy shopping with good products for all tastes.

Next to Rue des Consuls is situated the Ensemble Artisanal, or handmade set is in front of the entrance to the Fortress of Oudayas.That place is undoubtedly a must and worth a visit,there is a varied assortment,the handicrafts come from every corner of the country,not just from the Sahara and the interior areas,there are objects from the coast,and a great selection of carpets and textile objects coming from the Northern Morocco.

You can admire there objects made by wood, silver, gold, tables,chairs, jewelry and wide variety of accessories and it is interesting,  because there is no bargain and you can directly purchase excellent products with a very good price.

From Rue des Consuls turning on the left in Souk es-Sebas,that is also another great point to cross the entire Medina reaching the Andalusian Wall.

That wall is in memory of those Moorish Andalusian who repopulated Rabat,today those descendants have surnames who remember the Spanish surnames of their ancenstral born in the Iberian Peninsula such as Karrakchou (Carrasco),Mouline (Molina), Bargach (Vargas), Balafrej (Palafres), Tamourroi (Chamorro), and that people is still considered  Rabatis built that wall and the neighbourhood.

That area is packed by many narrow streets,alleys with white houses,stalls,cafes and street artisans.From that place you can have access to the Grand Souk the Central Market,which is located in a wide square where it is possible to find several products such as fresh food,fruit and vegetables.

On the right side you can come in in another corner of the Medina,a peaceful area with several buildings decorated with splendid portals and attractive architectonic details.Many of them were converted in Riad those typical and charming guest houses to spend a very comfortable stay in Morocco in a traditional place.(I wrote a post about them in thee case you are interested).

Sidi Fatah is another highlight of the Medina,it is a street named in honour of a holy man coming from Andalusia,leaving the central market to get the Alou Boulevard not far the cemetery of Oudayas.It is a place which has many jewelry stores and gift shops and where wealthy local families had their residences.

There you can see there an arch and  the Mosque Al Moulay Mekki  which has a magnificent doorway and a painted wooden ceiling.It is one of the most beautiful Mosques in the country with its octagonal minaret, the only one in Morocco,furthermore it is also a Marabout, which is like a shrine dedicated to a sort of Saint in that case to the Holy Man ,Sidi Mohamed Ben.In addition the area it is also famous for its artisans who are great artists making authentic wooden masterpieces

Leaving the Medina you can enter in the Kasbah of Oudaias crossing Bab Oudayas the main Kasbah gate,a masterpiece carved in red stone,consisting in a kind of small fortress comprising three rooms housing temporary exhibitions.

That gate was more than just a huge door,it also has served in the function of official building and it has been both a courthouse and staterooms.The entrance with a large pointed horseshoe arch, surrounded by an arch decorated with festoons and tracery,the rest of the surface is decorated with a frieze of palmettes and other details.

The Kasbah was developed during the reign of the Almohads and practically abandoned.With the the arrival of the new Andalusian Moorish from Al-Andalus,that place had a a new artistic and social revival and it is part of the secret charm of that imperial city,all the Kasbah was restored and strengthened and the Alawite dynasty began in turn work for the site between 1757 and 1789 and much more between 1790 and 1792.

Its style is of great simplicity and effective contrasts,the gate expands through three levels,before the circular shape is broken and the squareness of the gate takes control.The site is visible through the monuments which make up the Kasbah Oudayas and its famous monumental gate Bab Al Kebir, a symbol of the Almohad architecture,the Mosque Jamaa Al Atiq,the royal house erected on the western side and the military building the Fort Borj Sqala.

The Fort of the Oudayas is one of the most beautiful constructions of Rabat.Pretty renovated  in its exterior,it is a small fortified complex built by the Almoravids and it was a sheltered place where also many people prayed.Abandoned with the arrival of the Moorish Andalusian,in the 18th century it was restored,redeveloped and arranged as inhabited centre where many people started to live there.From there you can reach the Sqala port and beach.

The Sqala of Rabat,is very similar to the platforms view you can see in Tangier and Casablanca too.It was a construction overlooking the sea and to defend the old city,a sort of prolongation of the fort of the Oudayas.Sqala named  ladder or "step",where the boats stop on their way before to restart their trips.It was originally a fortified stronghold which had a artillery battery and guns and below you can see the beach of Rabat,where you can enjoy several cafes and bars.

 The cemetery of the Oudayas is practically between the fortress and the beach,not far from the estuary of the river Bou Reggreg.Most of the tombs in that place are painted in blue,yellow,green and white,there is a large concentration of them and it looks like a garden with several ordinary tombs and mausoleums surrounded by a splendid vegetation.In that area a palace and a Mosque were added later and named Al Mahdiyya,in Honor of the prominent ancestor Al Mahdi Ibn Tumart. 

After the death of Yaqub al-Mansur in the year 1199,that Kasbah was practically depopulated and desolated.It is anyway an intriguing place,isolated from the rest of the city walls,very charming with its whitewashed houses,ancient cobbled streets and the blue frame of the doors of the houses with painted windows.Oudayas Kasbah has a special charm,which never lost its old captivating and picturesque charm despite currently it is is mainly a residential area and place of administrative offices and embassies.

Next to the Kasbah of Oudaias is situated the Al Alou neighbourhood.That district is organised around the boulevard of the same name and surrounding the cemetery of the Oudayas.Historically it is very famous because it is the place where the French installed at the beginning of the protectorate in the year 1912 with their headquarters and currently along that important avenue there are many hotels,concert halls,a big post office, and administration offices.

In the period under French rule the avenue and the district were often used for military parades and sporting events in the city and also in that place was opened the first Hotel of Rabat opened by the French,the Hotel Maroc.Today it is considered the new modern city centre with new buildings and an important residential area.

Not far you you can see is the oldest source of the city called Saquia Mejlija and dated 19th century. Bab Alou  is one of the four monumental gates of the old Almohads walls erected in the 12th century currently it is not well preserved and decorated as other Babs of the city but it is always an important access to the Medina.

The Mosque Moulay Slimane is a little bit outside of the historic Medina walls.Recently restored and renovated,it is dated the year 1822 and built for desire of the Sultan Moulay Slimane Alaouite, shortly before his death.Moroccan Mosques are generally closed to non-Muslims,is not like Turkey in many cases you can enter in the sacred precinct.Thanks to some renovations,you can see a bit more the structure of the Mosque which is organised with an outdoor patio,which is the place where people washes themselves before to come in the sacred space to pray and from there there are two entrances one for men and another for women.

Next to the Mosque you can see Nouzhat Hassan which  is the largest and oldest park of Rabat.That huge green area is dated the period of the French Protectorate,wanted by French General Lyautey,mentioned before who was the coordinator in charge of the French Divisions in Morocco and he decided to develop  that splendid over 4 hectares park with old trees to give the city a big lung,to enjoy fresh and pleasant walks.

Crossing that green space,walking on a pedestrian promenade you can reach another park called Kahira which is situated on a street with the same name at the corner of the famous and busy Avenue Mohamed V.It  consists in a big square,an open place,with a couple of cafes and two nearest Hotels,one of them is the famous Hotel Balima Central.

Very close there is another Mosque called Al Jamaa which  is the oldest Mosque erected in Rabat.Around that Religious construction there are several streets with many shops,cafes and some art galleries and in its proximity there is also a splendid view point from which you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic overlooking the Bou Regreb estuary river,the city of Salé and the Muslim cemetery.

From the street Oulad Mataa Bazzo,a very stylish and captivating artery with white houses charming balconies and beautiful wooden doors you can see the famous and emblematic Cafe Maure and the beautiful Jardines de Oudayas.

Those gardens were designed by the French during the colonial era,in typical Andalusian-Moorish style and they are also called for that  Jardines Andalous (Andalusian Gardens).They contains several species of plants and at the top of the garden at the foot of a tower rises an ancient palace belonging to Mulai Ismail, transformed in a Medersa a Muslim School,later changed in a exhibition.Today it hosts a museum of jewelry,furthermore that complex contains another attraction,the Museum of Moroccan Arts in the case you are interested yo know more about local culture.

Boulevard Hassan II is undoubtedly the most modern and important avenue of the Moroccan Capital with strong French influence,it is situated parallel to the walls of the Medina.Crossing Bab Al Had you are on the outskirts of the old Almohads stood weekly market the Souk El-Had,moreover,between the enclosure and the Alawite wall located in the south in the area of Agdal, linked to the Palais Royal and at north of the orange gardens.

The area close to the Boulevard the Fountains Publiques is very common as  in the other poorest neighbourhoods of the Moroccan cities as Casablanca,Marrakech  seeing people going to get water to public sources and you see that also there in Rabat.

In Avenue An Nasr you can admire the wonderful and splendid Bab Er Rouah the Gate of the Wind which is of course one of the most important of all the Almohads fortified gates of the city.It is an authentic masterpiece,a stoned monumental construction which deploys as the gates of the Kasbah a decorative tracery around the opening in the arch inscribed in a rectangular frame.

As in the famous Bab Agnou in Marrakech, large arches resume,by expanding the movement of the arch of the door, surrounding the winding with sharp points,topped by a wide frieze with Kufic inscription and flanked by two bastions.

 Across the door reaching Avenue Moulay Hassan about  500 metres away there is a small street named Al Brihili, where you can visit the famous Rabat Archaeological Museum.That exhibition was opened around the year 1920.It is a place in which the visitor can admire different archaeological items through the traces the great history of Morocco,starting from prehistoric times and ending in the Islamic period.

Of relevant note is the room containing bronze statuettes and Roman objects of Volubilis, Lixus and Chella,the head of Juba II and the bust of Cato the Younger,both from Volubilis furthermore prehistoric tools with authentic pieces of flint carved by Neanderthals and a wide variety of Neolithic items.

Dar Ar Makhzen is a beautiful complex of buildings among which are the Royal Palace erected in Art Nouveau style, a Mosque and government buildings.The lavish and impressive Royal Palace,Dar Al Mahkzen Palais is the royal palace and seat of government,a recent building erected in the year 1864 on the ruins of an old palace.

It has its entrance through the splendid gardens of Mechouar carefully cared between large avenues where you can admire the military buildings of the city.Unfortunately the palace can not be visited, but is allowed to approach to the entrance and taking pictures.At the door of the palace extends Place Méchouar, a square in which the main festivals are celebrated in honour of the Monarch.

Walking along Avenue Yacoub Al Mansour after leaving the city walls it is a must to visit the area of Chellah.The Necróplis of Chellah is so famous because the Sultans decided to build it at the top of  the former Roman site surrounded by towers and walls.Chellah is an ancient complex medieval ruins extending outside of Rabat and it is the oldest human settlement exists at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river.

That important historic site contains ruins of a Roman city known as Sala Colonia,it was abandoned in the year 1154 to concentrate all the most important activities in Salé.Subsequently,the Almohad dynasty used that place as a cemetery in the 14th century and the Sultan Abu  Hasan I built several monuments and a gate in the year 1339.

The late additions included a Mosque,a Zaouia,royal tombs, including that of Abu Hasan I.Many of the structures in Chellah were damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, so that place has been converted into a garden and used as tourist destination.

The monuments complex  is composed by two Mosques,a Medersa,a library and funeral chapels,all them surrounded by a wall,it has a beautiful gateway,a trail, fig and orange trees,olive groves and a lookout platform.

A path through the ruins of the triumphal arch entrance leads to where originally there was once the Temple of Jupiter close to Roman Forum.The visitor can enjoy the remains of the Islamic complex with its minaret, near the tomb of Abu Al Hassan, near the small Medersa.

After leaving the Mosque,the road passes through the graves to the right and left into the pool of eels,Roman baths subsequently used for ablutions.Worth also a visit the beautiful Jardin de Chella a garden where there are a lot of migratory birds,including storks,which are on their way to Senegal,Mauritania and other coasts of West Africa.

La Nouvelle Ville,the new city of Rabat is the urban work during the French occupation when the  General Lyautey covering his duties of Governor in the French Morocco came just about in time to stop the ongoing demolition of the Medina.Instead he ordered the construction of new quarters in the south area because the north was already taken by the Oued Bou Regreg river.

The result of the new Rabat was of course highly successful and those old French quarters were and are still beautiful and lively with well cared gardens,cosy cafes and restaurants,through the new quarters runs Avenue Mohamed V another important artery of the Moroccan Capital almost parallel to the Almohad wall.

 Avenue Mohamed V as many important avenues in Morocco bears the name of a  King of the country. country.The avenue is not far from the Central Railway Station,it has a pleasant and lovely central pedestrian promenade and at the end of the avenue is situated the Mosque Jamaa Al  Ace Sounna and on the other side the Medina.

In that majestic boulevard there is also the Moroccan Parliament, a modern red-white building with an exterior garden.It is the House of Representatives,the Chambre des Représentants,place of Morocco's first constitution which was signed in the year 1962,only a few  years after the independence from France and when King Mohammed V wanted to modernise the kingdom's political life.

 St. Peter's Cathedral is one of the few Catholic places of worship in Morocco and it is situated next to the headquarters of the Moroccan police.The Cathedral is still operating and there is a mass every Sunday.

It is a great architectonic work developed using white stone with two towers added in 1930.It was begun in 1919 and opened two years later in 1921 in presence of the General Lyautey who was also the person who developed the city of Casablanca to become the country's economic capital.(I wrote a post about that splendid city too)

Rabat Post Office is a beautiful tall white building with a huge clock on its facade and several arches in the upper and inferiors sections of its walls.Inside you can visit the interesting Museum dedicated to post and telecommunications.Opened in the year 1970,it displays a great collections of stamps,envelopes, telephones and telegraph machines.A curiosity displayed there is an instrument serving long-distance photos just like the ancestor of the fax and the visitor can also see there the first stamp of Morocco representing the Mosque Jamaa Aisaoua of Tangier.

At the outskirts of the city there are beautiful beaches such as Sables d'Or, Temara,Skhirat and Plage des Nations once in the glamorous period under French rule,they were a destination of the Jet Set and aristocracy,today they are still very popular and loved by surfers and also highlighted by the presence of several cafes and bars in their vicinity.Those sandy lines are very suggestive in particular at sunset is Skhirat a very wide sandy beach all to enjoy.

Another attraction for tourists who visit the Moroccan capital is the Rabat Zoo,which occupies an area of 50  hectares and it is located approximately 6,0 kilometres from the city centre.The zoo hosts different kind of animals and it is a good place to escape from the city doing something different and alternative.

The Moroccan capital hosts annually several events,Théatre Mohammed V is a place for Opera shows every month.Jazz au Chellah is a festival organised each year in June by the Ministry of Culture,the city and the European delegation and Mawazine is a festival of world music which takes place annually and famed artists such as as Stevie Wonder,Carlos Santana, Elton John or B.B. King have performed there.

If you love to play golf,The Golf Dar Es Salam Club,a place internationally known and popular spread over 440 hectares of trees and often hosting international competitions.

The city offers the visitor opportunities to spend an excellent nightlife.Le Bistrot Pietri in Place Pietri is a chic restaurant and bar,there are live jazz and rock performances,Upstairs in 8 Avenue Michlifen is a typical  Irish -English theme pub in Agdal with good music and a wide range of ale and stout beers.Amnesia in Rue Monastir,18 is a trendy club to enjoy a night with good music and cocktails.

Moroccan cuisine is very tastefully offering a wide variety of typical plates.The famous Couscous in Rabat  is a semolina cream coloured steamed over an aromatic broth made of meat and vegetables and served with a sauce created from the same broth.Olives preserved in lemon juice and salt is an essential ingredient in many Moroccan plates.

All types of olives are used for different recipes,they are of different sizes,colours and are used on different occasions.The lamb is cooked on hot coals, known as Mechoui is traditionally served during the Aid al Kebir festival which takes place at the end of Ramadan while the Tajines are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures,resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce.Typical in Rabat as in all Morocco is drinking the traditional Atay the Mint Tea.

Rabat International Airport is located in the nearby area of Salé. The city has limited international traffic and  with most flights with arrivals to the nearby Casablanca and then continuing to Rabat by train or coach or renting a car. There are anyway flights every day between Rabat and Paris.

If you are planning a trip to Morocco,Rabat is a must,the Moroccan Capital offers you a wide range of things to do,cultural visits,wide sunny beaches and the opportunity to discover that part of the world called Maghreb with its magnificent historical patrimony.

Rabat is a great destination,with all its secret charm of outstanding imperial city all to discover and it will be something very exciting and absolutely great to know something which will
surprise you.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in Rabat

Hotel Sofitel Jardin Des Roses
Hotel Villa Mandarine
Le Pietri Urban Hotel
Le Diwan Rabat Hotel 
Hotel La Tour Hassan
Riad Kalaa

Lahti-Finland-The Picturesque Lake Vesijärvi,the Beautiful Forests and Landscapes of the Region Päijänne Tavastia,the Splendid Pikku-Vesijärvi Park and its Captivating Musical Fountain,the Imposing Sibeliustalo with its Several Concerts,Discover and Enjoy Lahti,Beautiful Queen of Winter Sports in Finland.

Lahti is a beautiful city in the Päijänne Tavastia region,located on the shores of the picturesque Lake Vesijärvi,it is a famous destination for the beautiful landscapes which offers,with huge forests,a myriad of charming small lakes and uncontaminated beautiful forests in  fairytale scenario.

 With its 102,000 inhabitants,Lahti  is the seventh largest city in Finland,originally in the region of Häme it is located in a verdant valley and an important place of transit thanks to the development of the Finnish railway system linking Helsinki to the beautiful Russian city of St Petersburg.The city grew rapidly after the 2nd World War when several people evacuated from the occupied Karelia mostly from Vyborg moved in large numbers to Lahti. The city continued to grow rapidly during the 60s and 70s.

Lahti is very busy in winter season for its important winter sport tradition and in particular Nordic Ski Lathi is a temple of ski country where champions of this kind of sport wrote important and legendary pages.Lahti became famous in 1978 when the city organised the World Championships of Nordic Ski and eleven years later in 1989 it hosted the event for the second time becoming the iconic and emblematic capital of Nordic ski in Finland and one of the best place in Scandinavia and in the World about this kind of sport.

Thanks to its magnificent Athletes Village and Sport Centre of Asemantausta,the prestige and the excellent structures hosted the World Championship once again in 2001,although the competitions in this Edition 2001 were dominated and won by Swedish and Norwegian athletes,six athletes of the Finland team were banned for doping,among them one legend of Finnish Nordic ski Harri Kirvesniemi,a big scandal and a sad moment for Finnish Sport because those 6 athletes were considered idols in the country.

 Winning competition in Lathi in World Cup is an important goal for every athlete in this kind of Sport,it is like a for a cyclist to win the Paris-Roubaix or Liege-Bastogne-Liege or for a Tennis player winning at Wimbledon,Flushing Meadows or Roland Garros.Apart those important international sport events Lathi Since 1923 held the famous Lahti Ski Games where cross country skiing and ski jumping are the highlights.

Lathi is also very famous because two great Finnish architects of International fame worked in the city Eliel Saarinen and Aalvar Aalto.The first built the Lathi Town Hall while Aalvar Aalto a Church.

Originally Lathi was part of the city of Hollola, the city has grown and its development was so fast that it  left the former municipality to become an indipendent The city's symbol is a wheel of a train on fire and Lathi has always been an important railway junction during its history while its name "Lahti" means bay.

According to some excavations made in the Lahti region,the current city was inhabited 9000 years ago, making Lahti one of the oldest places in Finland.The name is mentioned for the first time in the 1445 when Lahti was a small village part of Hollola  until the Riihimäki-St. Petersburg  rail line was opened in 1870 when the village became a relevant transport hub.Lahti received the town rights in 1878 by the Finnish Grand Duke Alexander I of Russia,despite the Lahti wanted full city rights.

Tsar Nicholas I of Russia granted Lahti loaded Rights on 1st March 1905, but due to the unrest in Russia was bid up until March 16th,which is considered the day when Lahti was officially a city.In the year 1918 during the war were captured some Red Guards and many were executed in Hennala barracks area and In 1978, a monument was erected in the park  Fellmanin Puisto of those executed.Through the construction of the railway from Helsinki to St Petersburg in 1870 and used as settlement of refugees in the Winter War of 1940 the city grew in the 20th Century rapidly.

The marketplace and the Town Hall which are the centre and core of the city were designed by the famous architect Eli Saarinen and another important highlight Kirkkokatu (The Church of the Cross) is a Lutheran Religious Temple,it is a work by Alvar Aalto dated 1969 but completed in 1979.

 In the Lakeside Pikku Vesijärvi in the northwest of the city there is a small artificial lake,which where take place twice daily water games with classical music.Lahti is considered Sports capital of Finland and in the west side of the city there is a comprehensive sports complex,where there are,among other things,the three large hill Salpausselkä ski jumps,the importance that skiing has in this Finnish city is also given by the Ski Museum which is located in the Sports Centre of Lahti.The Ski Museum is located at the foot of the three impressive ski jumps and it displays everything about Nordic Ski,material,skis and historical documents,furthermore it is home of several simulators which allow the visitor who can understand the jump from a hill, a slalom race, cross-country or even shooting in another Nordic sport speciality called biathlon.

Well known for the Lahti Ski Games,a championship celebrated in late February and early March with a marathon and cross-country skiing,Lahti is a paradise for Nordic Ski and many other winter sports, from ski rides bikes, downhill skiing, fishing in snow holes,climb on scooters and chair sled rides and dog sledding.The World Cup event and Salpausselän Kisat Lahti Ski Games naturally increased furthermore the prestige of Lathi as destination to watch those important competitions.The curriculum of the City about events hosted it is really impressive.The city hosted six editions of Nordic World Ski Championships in 1926, 1938, 1958 , 1978, 1989, 2001 and Lathi  was also involved as candidate to organise several times the Winter Olympics of 1964, 1968, 1972.

In the centre of Lahti you can also visit the Historic Museum, which displays antiques and illustrates the history of the city and the Art museum, which houses works of great value and interest about Finnish,International modern and ancient art.

The city is also an important and among the major cultural centres in Finland in particular hosting concerts and congresses at the imposing Sibeliustalo.That construction has divided the local population in the past, since a large proportion felt that the money could have been better spent in the areas of health and education,where Finland is generally very sensitive.

Designed by the young Finnish architects Hannu Tikka and Kimmo Lintula in 2000,the Sibelius Hall opened and is due to the excellent acoustics as one of the best concert halls in Europe.The building is the seat of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra is one of the major orchestras in Finland and Scandinavia,it focuses on the music by Sibelius and mainly because the charismatic Director OsmoVänskä is an ardent fan of the works of the great Finnish composer, considered as a National Hero.

Lahti is also famous in Finland because it was was until 1993 place of a large radio transmitter for long-wave and short-wave times with an impressive antenna with a high reaching 150 m.Currently that is a place part of a large Museum linked to that devoted to the radio.

Among the most interesting sights of the city, visited and photographed by thousands of people there is a musical fountain built in 1997 in Vesiurut Pikku-Vesijärvi Park next to a large and picturesque pond.The water jets which move to the rhythm of classical music,international or typical Finnish, are framed by light very suggestive.The word Vesiurut in Finnish language means water organs. Every day at 01.00 p.m and 06.00 p.m, at the park is protagonist of a small concert which endures approximately 15 minute.

Another relevant place is Family Launeen Perhepuisto Park opened in 1989 and it is a famous tourist destination and highlight of Lathi.It is estimated that over 100,000 people visits the park a year.It is a wonderful green area,ideal place to spend pleasant time in contact with the nature.

The new playground SmartUs moves the idea of the game to new forms of the future, promoting, for example, the combination of sport and learning.The entrance to the grounds of the park is free and to enjoy something different a must is Puksu a ride on the train which takes the visitors around the city showing its most important places.

The Hill of the Statues is one of the few hills surrounding Lahti,only during the summer,as the winter snow overhangs a series of statues designed specifically thinking of the hill and integrating with the forest,the work was made by a local sculptor,undoubtedly a place very enjoyable to watch.

Not far from the city you can visit Rantatie Hollola,a Medieval Grey stoned Church in Hollola,it is completed around 1480 it represents the best middle ages Finnish architecture and famous for the well preserved wooden carvings,some of which are from the 15th century.

Apart Ski,the sports facilities in the city allow the visitors to have fun and enjoying other several activities such as horse riding, fishing and golf. In summer there are many open pools and among the most attractive trips you can do in the surrounding area of the city a highlight is of course the cruise on the lake Vesijari and another one in the Lake Paijame.One of the most practised sport in this corner of Finland is fishing.Paijannetalo and the Museum of Sport fishing is a social-historic exposition of fishing in the lake of the city,the oldest evidence today.The "

The Molkky is a very popular game in Finland where there are many associations and it is played every year with a World Championship in the city and this game is also extended to the north and centre of Europe,USA,Canada and Japan.This kind of sport is a shooter played with cylindrical wooden pieces.It is a modern version of the traditional Finnish bowling also called Kyykkä and it is played individually or in teams, admitting many players.

Lahti is also known as a very important commercial and industrial centre of the region known worldwide for its fine furniture,clothing,electronic items and heavy machinery and nationally for beer,soft drinks,bakery products and many others.The Factory Avonius Asko is an emblematic symbol of Finnish Industry producing furniture in Lahti since 1918.The former town was since many years ago as a place having the best carpenters and furniture factories and the city with other major furniture houses Isku and Sotka.Also the metal industry was represented by Upo which manufactured stoves and Raute which manufactured machinery for the wood processing industry.Also Mallasjuomas Brewery became known as the beer products Lahden Erikoinen and Lahden Sininen.

Finnish gastronomy is very healthy and excellent.Finnish people generally starts with the Aamupala,the Finnish breakfast generally consisting of sweet foods such as yogurt and fruit but also salty foods such as rye bread and the Kinkku,a kind of ham.The Puuro is a kind of porridge with its variants Marjapuuro and Suklaapuuro.Very traditional are the" Marjakiisseli soups of berries and very popular in all the country is also the Maitokiisseli ,boiled milk with flour,sugar and vanilla to make it more dense and aromatic.

Finnish food tradition also has multiple types of bread, most of which consist of rye flour such as the Ruisreikäleipä flour or other cereals.As regards the meat,commonly Finns consume predominantly beef. In Finland there are excellent sausages,very similar to hot dogs and as tradition the Finns often let them cook on hot stones wrapped in silver paper and consumed in the sauna.Ither kind of meats very present in Finnish gastronomy are reindeer,pork and moose meat.

Among the traditional Finnish recipes based on fish almost always accompanied by a variety of sauces, there are mainly the Lohi salmon, fresh or smoked,the Silli marinated herring and the Muikku, fried fish from the lake.The Karjalanpiirakka is a rice cake and potatoes and the famous Kalakukko is a fish pie pork crust,while the Rosolli is a mixed salad made with potatoes,carrots and pickles. Among the sweets the traditional Pulla is a sweet loaf sweet with cinnamon or cardamom and granulated sugar,often people eats it accompanied with coffee.    

Lahti has a good system of public transport.You can move from one part of the city to another with a single ticket. Kauppatori is the centre of Lahti public transport system,but be aware that many bus lines go in both directions from Kauppatori.You can use interactive route planner to find bus routes.Travelling from Helsinki to Lahti by train takes about 1 hour.The train service is provided by the network VR, the national train company.Trains are also preferred by locals,because they' are fast and comfortable. There are several kind of trains such as the local train called Lähiliikennejuna stopping in different stations,the InterCity-Juna a very comfortable trains,usually with 6 wagons while the famous Allegro is the train travelling from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in Russia and with stop in Lahti.

Lathi is attractive destination to enjoy beautiful landscapes,an uncontaminated area,the territory is hilly with the presence of lakes and rivers,and if you are fond about ski and in particular Nordic ski or visiting Scandinavian countries,Lathi is one of the top place to visit and enjoy those sports.Its proximity to Helsinki is a fantastic option and from the Finnish Capital you can can have thee opportunity to visit Lathi the beautiful capital of Nordic Ski in Finland,a great destination to discover a fantastic corner of a beautiful country
called Finland.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Hotels in Lathi

Hotel Grand Kauppahotelli
Hotel Scandic Lathi
Hotel Sokos Lahden Seurahone
Hotel Cumulus Lathi

Windsor-England | Iconic House of a Distinguished Monarchy.

Windsor is definitely an emblematic symbol of England, a notorious site well known to be the iconic house of a distinguished Monarchy extremely famed worldwide, a very distinctive place erected in the 11th century immediately south of the river Thames in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, a splendid verdant territory part of Berkshire County.

Located just 42, 0 kilometres from central London where the incomparable English countryside bordered by scenic forests are great protagonists in the boundaries of that southern municipality of the United Kingdom, that site is undoubtedly one of the main highlights of many British historic chapters which took place within the walls of that  majestic, noble residence.

Thanks to its renowned popularity closely related to a relevant past that emblematic place  is since a long time ago a magnificent destination, something you can not miss if you are planning to visit Great Britain.

Simply mentioning that word "Windsor" is highlighting the story of important Royal Houses which in different historic periods has written indelible pages of a Nation, including reaching with its name other places worldwide giving its denomination to other towns such as Windsor-Ontario-Canada, Windsor-Connecticut and Windsor-Vermont, U.S.A among others. 

Apart that also several Hotels, luxury accommodations in the globe took that prestigious name to elevate furthermore their images and brands adding something of special, attractive transmitting with an extreme resonance the memories of an icon to increase in many cases the appeal of establishments devoted to hospitality evoking that very distinctive site.

The silhouette of that impressive castle immediately viewed from the Long Walk in that incomparable area has always represented a landmark of the country characterised by that stunning large, high, front side facing a triumphal entrance established as a glitzy hallway part of that unique environment.

Highlighted by stunning, imposing scenic, circular high crenellated towers often depicted in tourism brochures, magazines, post cards, pictures and posters, immortalised by landscape artists, another attraction of that emblem of Britain is the presence of Alexandra park with all around a beautiful, picturesque woodland forming together a very appealing frame encircling that monumental attraction. 

Certainly also that is another special feature able to capture the attention of a visitor in a while extremely delighted with those wonderful views of a stupendous green setting greatly preserved where also nature is a true, absolute protagonist.

The iconic Tudor, Stuart, Georgian and Victorian periods highlighted its development as Royal seat architecturally and artistically when in the course of centuries with several mutations it started step by step to acquire the majestic image you can admire nowadays.

Including in its interior in which a superb layout composed by a huge courtyard representing an imposing access to the halls some of them visitable show an indisputable, glitzy charm highlighting the aesthetical grandeur of that big construction .

The centre of that famed British town is developed on the southern banks of the Thames around Windsor & Eton Central Railway Station in a magnificent, verdant area very appropriate to establish the official seat of a Royal Crown.

The most famed arteries of the historic core are the famous Peascod Street consisting in the most important hallway leading to Castle Hill and Windsor Castle entering in the Royal Complex flanking St. George Chapel crossing High Street while Arthur Road on the western side of the Station is another strategic axis close to the motorway not far from the central heart of Windsor.

That magnificent Castle erected in the Middle Ages by King William I, despite its medieval establishment had a relevant development over three century ago creating around it apart the former municipality a more contemporary urban setting called New Windsor giving that area a defined profile and identity of true town and not just an isolated superb Royal site  encircled by the immense countryside of the Berkshire County as in the past.

That territory due to its fame nowadays provides excellent accommodations and it also became a relevant centre of amusement thanks to the presence of Legoland. 

 It boasts furthermore beautiful gardens, wide green spaces fantastically cared while on the other side of Windsor Bridge you can reach in a while another cultural, historic symbol of the country consisting in the famous University of Eton.

 Windsor also has in its municipal heart a pretty cosmopolitan aspect with different ethnic restaurants, a prestigious theatre but also two important railway stations which permit to connect to several destinations making that place simply great to plan several itineraries during a trip enjoying it in a stay as base for stupendous radial excursions.

Certainly Windsor is a great idea if  inserted in an exciting Fly & Drive as significant, cultural historic stage or also as destination in a full day visit if you are spending a short break in London downtown.

For the joy of sport and outdoor activities lovers that great environment also provides many facilities because it is located on the National Cycle Route 4 leading to many important centres such as Bath, Newport, Reading, Swansea, Llanelli and St. David´s.

That well known trail is a branch of the notorious Celtic Trail Cycle Route ending at Fishguard, a splendid, southwestern, coastal town of Wales facing a beautiful bay with the same name with the chance from there to take a ferry with destination another wonderful country as Ireland. 

Other cycle paths are present all around the municipality and at Home Park not far from the Castle there is also the opportunity to practise Archery, Hockey with the presence in addition of Cricket Clubs.

The old history of Windsor according to historic documentations started when the Saxons invaded between the 5th and 7th centuries the British Islands after the decline of the Roman Empire since the times of Emperor Honorius.

They largely replaced the Britons who moved to Armorican Peninsula occupying the present Normandy and Britanny in French territory despite they won a clash in the late 6th century corresponding to the famous Battle of Badon in Wales against those Germanic enemies, an event which partially stopped the expansions of the Saxons Kingdoms in the old Anglia.

Despite that since the times of Octa of Kent and much more during the times of his son and  successor Eormenric, the Saxons settled that land in large scale establishing very big camps starting year by year to occupy more territories giving origin to the development of different Reigns around Britain leaving relevant, historic imprints and marks still visible today.

In the 11th century the former centre was called Windlesora or Windles-ore a denomination mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles under the entry for Clever, the neighbouring manor of Windsor, recorded in that notorious manuscript created in the 9th century in Wessex during the Reign of King Albert the Great.

That  famed archive starting to collect all the historic information of sites of relevance, it was furthermore updated in 1154 with a vast list of historic places which was in its kind a sort of old encyclopedia with also detailed geographic information which included the former Windsor.

The Royal Residence was originally a wooden fortress situated at approximately 6,0 kilometres from the current centre and the Thames erected during the times of King William I usually known as William the Conqueror

That character was the first Norman Monarch of England former Duke of Normandy since 1035 very famous for his military operations with the conquest of Great Britain in 1066, a controversial figure with constant desires of expansion in a life highlighted to keep his influence in the British islands but also in the Continental Europe at the same time.
The same construction had not modifications also during the times of King Henry I, son and successor of that Sovereign who privileged other issues as the improvements of tense relationships between the Saxon and Norman descendants than an enlargement or an aesthetic mutation of the structure which remained practically unchanged.

One century later many things mutated when the old Windsor embraced the new thanks to the development of new spaces, the centre started a brilliant cycle focused on trade with  the construction of new bridges along the Thames, different accesses consisting in new roads which transformed that Royal borough in a pretty prosperous centre.

In addition to all that the former Windlesora became an important market place, in its boundaries was elevated a first hospital acquiring a more marked identity of active centre highlighted by a process of operations which included the innovation of the old stronghold in decline.

That timber fort started its transformation with the establishment of a stone fortress taking year by year an image of castle.

In the Middle Ages the current municipality gained much more relevance when it was ranked in the best 70 towns of England awarded in addition with the rights of free city becoming Capital of the county in the 13th century

It obtained the official title of City under King Edward I rule also known as Edward Longshanks famous Royal figure who led the conquest of Wales, nicknamed later Hammer of the Scots because he was able to keep the Scottish territories under English influence.

As former seat of the Crown Windsor was highly favoured since the beginning of its more significant historic boom because it had not to pay taxes as other cities. 

All that generated notable trade busy operations including better than those already previously reached with relevant peaks thanks to the Royal patronage.

That King had an important interest to give that centre an economic advanced level when  many new towns in England failed also due to that famous episode consisting in the Second Barons' War with a rebellion of aristocrats led by Simon de Montfort between 1264 and 1267.

That event caused an atmosphere of political instability with consequent obstacles of economical progress for many centres which had a pretty grey future disapperaring by the most relevant scene but it was not the case of Windsor.

The construction of the castle generated flourishing golden ages, that wealthy site started to be populated by active merchants next to skilled artisans who contributed to a further growth. 

Next to that some years later the presence of talented artists, prominent architects during the times of King Edward III produced a notable embellishment, enlargement and restoration of the former manor.

That Monarch who reigned England for 50 years was well known to transform Britain in one of the most  important military powers in Europe in that time despite eternal conflicts with France highlighted by the Breton war of succession due to the desire to conquer Normandy times in which Windsor became also reinforced with a considerable military presence for its defence.

Apart that he was a sensitive King aimed to increase the developments in government and legislation managing an evolution of the English Parliament generating prosperous times with protagonist also a refurbishment and re-valuation of the national architectural patrimony symbol of a country which also aesthetically wanted to show its grandeur.

In those tiimes all the operations made in Windsor were considered more important than other projects as the restoration and partially reconstruction of Westminster Abbey or the Royal properties in the capital London.  

That aspect in its kind is highly interesting to know how that place was extremely loved, highly rooted in the sentiments and feelings of the Royalty privileging its embellishment than that of the major centre of the country which was becoming year by year an international power.

Unfortunately in the 14th century as in other parts of Europe a sad event corresponding to the black death reduced the local population but despite that Windsor did not suffer an intense decline continuing to be one of the most important, vital English hubs.

That famous Castle was in a short time protagonist of an impressive modification and in a fast step by step was greatly decorated with new stylish architectural elements and details. 

Its aspect was furthermore improved adding new spaces modelling its original layout taking a profile more appropriate for the exigences of the Royalty with also the establishment of a large courtyard able to contain military parades and events as speeches or relevant meetings.

For all that were called  the best architects of England including there was a relevant, artistic revival when in that period of the Middle Ages the Royal Family started to host in its residence also  important figures of literature as the writer and poet Geoffrey Chaucer who lived within those walls for a while.

In the 15th century Windsor after the death of King Henry VI became a very important focal point of pilgrimage with many people flocking from many counties of England visiting that place to touch the tomb of that murdered Monarch, to see the fragments of the True Cross placed in the Chapel of St. George, in the meantime taking the occasion to visit the College of Eaton dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

In the mid 15th century probably that thriving centre was with Canterbury place of the shrine of St. Thomas Becket the most visited pilgrimage destination of the entire country, the high value of Windsor was already elevated as a national emblem for the entire population which saw in that site a sort of patriotic icon  highly regarded.

Also King Henry VIII, famous was buried in the Chapel of St. George with Jane Seymour mother of his only legitimate son Edward VI and all that increased furthermore the notoriety of that place.

That event was generated a further notable affluence by a multitude of pilgrims to visit the place in which were preserved the rests of a character who in his kind changed the history of the entire Nation as protagonist of the advent of the Anglican Church.  

That significant event increased the image of Windsor as a venerated site preserving the tomb of a Royal figure who gave the English population a more marked identity, when that Monarch led the notorious separation from the Roman Catholic Church despite the dissolution of the monasteries.

In addition Henry VIII was also well known for a radical change of the English Constitution something that for many British citizens was a symbol of progress.

Despite that Windsor after the Religious Protestant Reformation suffered a decline, not linked to political collapses but much more artistic.

That period corresponded to the boom of the Renaissance with new, architectural ideas linked to magnificent, innovative, artistic concepts coming from other parts of Europe especially from Italy with Florence as epicentre when that marvellous city capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany  ruled by the House of Medici became cradle of a movement unique in its kind.

That centre  influenced with trendy and magnificent constructions several schools all around the continent and it was an incomparable headquarter of the most eminent architects.

Also due to that the beautiful castle was considered less interesting than other new buildings elevated after it, for many people also considered an old fashioned structure, others including declared it pretty retro in comparison with emergent, stunning, architectural masterpieces  which immediately after their elevation bewitched anyone at first sight.

To re-gain interest Windsor needed something of innovative, surprising with hopes to return to its magnificent splendour and the immense talent of William Shakespeare played an important role re-taking that place at the levels of its glorious past and golden ages.

That magnificent English writer created The Merry Wives of Windsor, a literary work with that Royal site as protagonist, mentioning several times in that comedy probably written in 1597 but published in 1602 the county, the borough, the life in that centre highlighting the court of the Monarchy with different characters as protagonists during the reign of King Henry IV.

Thanks to that superb Master and father of the British Literature that emblematic Royal site iconic House of a distinguished Monarchy started to re-acquire all what it was losing during its decay also because that masterpiece was later adapted in Theatre by King's Company in 1660 after the Interregnum, an event which marked the start of the restoration and later in opera.

The work by Shakespeare was written in the Garter Inn currently part of the Garter Hotel located opposite the Castle also known because it was the former house of the high military rankings commanded by Colonel Venn.

A new development of the Royal building and the construction of two railroads in 1849 and the residence of Queen Victoria in the 19th century totally changed the image of that place which from a charming medieval centre started to have an Imperial profile also in terms of  urbanisation and architectural environment

Some Georgian and Victorian palaces next to elegant mansions of the same style were erected changing that old air which distinguished Windsor as an artistic emblem of the Middle Ages which became part of the past, obscured by a stage which opened a new, historic chapter.

The excessive growth of Windsor caused the demolition of part of its historic core created in medieval times including the distinctive Church of St. John Baptist dated the early 12th century was dismantled. 

Today the major part of the architectural setting in the centre is dated the 19th century and also the famous main street Peascoe Street of Roman origin has had several mutations.

That famed artery and Windsor run during the course of history together but it is very curious that the origin of the former town before the construction of the castle was pretty unknown; most historians wrongly contend that the site had no history before 1086 while curiously that street was already well known in many places as a transit point of extreme relevance.

The Castle is one of the official residences of the British Royal House and the largest inhabited Castle of the World.

Despite the emblematic Buckingham Palace is the major spot and image in the globe of the Royalty of Great Britain, Windsor was for many centuries the residence of that distinguished Monarchy. 

In addition it was the birthplace of the National Library welcoming  funds very valuable as drawings of the genius Leonardo Da Vinci something which increased furthermore its notoriety.

Undoubtedly also that detail certifies the extreme relevance as focal point of the cultural life and history of that site with that presence, memorabilia of an artist who enchanted with his works and inventions Duchies, Courts and a myriad of ordinary people.

Highly interesting is also to know the reasons why arose the project with the idea to build an important stronghold which became the iconic house of that Kingdom developed in that land of the county of Berkshire boasting a magnificent, natural frame but pretty isolated, for someone located in a remote geographic point some kilometres away from the capital.

The answer is closely related to the  11th century after the Norman conquest of England when King William I who was well known to have talented intuitions about miltary strategies once recognised that territory selected it to protect London with walls and fortifications not in its immediate outskirts of the city.

That choice was made to avoid with the risk of an immediate siege which could cause severe problems to the population in the case of a fall of the last bastion with an immediate invasion of the urban boundaries.

Since then he decided to elevate that place to be main protagonist of a studied, defencive system starting the operations with the construction of that fortress  along the Thames just like a shield completely defending  the western side of that big centre.

The former Manor was restored several times for different reasons but never lost its splendid appearance in addition of some important structures increased its charm in terms of pure aesthetic with more refined lines with a perfect choice of exterior decorations combined with new much more marked outlines.

A total modification of the layout with facades which took a diverse profile also in their smallest details were also other features which converted that construction in that you can admire nowadays.

You can visit the castle admiring the majestic walls surrounding the fortress and depending of the official events taking place in its interior you will also have the great opportunity to have access to a big part of the Royal Residence.

One of the main highlights is certainly the Religious complex subdivided in three sections.

 At the entrance is situated the famous, beautiful Chapel of St. George, a magnificent Gothic structure founded by King Henry III, dedicated to that Saint, the Virgin Mary and another famed Monarch, St. Edward the Confessor.
Erected between 1475 and 1528 it represents one of the most relevant, architectural masterpieces established in that period in the entire Great Britain simply for its majestic aspect next to the value of the materials used during its construction.

That iconic Chapel is linked to the distinctive Order of the Garter established in medieval times, concretely in the 14th century. 

Since 1548 that iconic Institution was the highest Order of the British Chivalry devoted to the Saint Patron, in addition it is the oldest of the United Kingdom and only the King could select the members who were originally a total of 24 people.

In June is celebrated the Garter Service, an event calling the official members  who after a lunch in the banqueting Hall reach the Chapel and as tradition they wear the old costumes loyal to the traditions of centuries ago.

That Religious building is simply stunning boasting a superb ceiling decorated with impressive vaults next to a nave which shows all its beauty highlighted by series of  wonderful, perpendicular Gothic columns.

The fan vaulted overhead in the ceiling is another unique marvel considered among the most charming medieval masterpieces existing in the country.

The quire contains magnificent heraldic displays as the banners of the Knights of Garter and also that is another great attractions that magnificent site boasts.

In that place you can see the tombs of important Sovereigns such as George V, Queen Victoria but also those of  Charles I, George VI, Edward IV, George VI and furthermore the famous one containing the remains of Henry VIII and his wife Jane Seymour.

During the visit it is also possible to admire the impressive Round Tower next to the Royal Apartments where Queen Elizabeth II spends her relaxing times. 

Naturally it is not possible to visit all the halls and rooms but it is permitted the access to the State Apartment, Dining Room, in addition you will have the brilliant chance to see a splendid miniature consisting in a replica of the residence of the 20th century.

Approximately at 200, 0 metres from Castle Hill in High Street, you can see the Town Hall also known as Windsor Guildhall.

The construction of the original building started in the late 17th century by Sir Thomas Fitz, after long works that fine structure was completed by Christopher Wren with an impressive series of columns around its perimeter to provide a covered space with the aim to hold a former corn market.

Notable is the symmetry of large, rectangular windows on the second floor above stylish arcades on the ground floor flanking arched doors with another scenic highlight represented by a huge brick pediment completing a beautiful, refined front side.

In 1829 the building was restored and enlarged, during the period of the  Second World War it was used as as office to supply food and after further refurbishments it was reopened in occasion of the Festival of Great Britain.

That place is also famous because it is the site in which was celebrated the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles hosting in addition a museum.

Some years ago the municipality also became notorious for the establishment of another kind of attraction: Legoland. 

It was the second Legoland Park to open its doors in the world after that of Billund, Denmark pioneer of that kind of complexes attracting many young for their amusement and educational environments.

The idea to develop that new park in England came from that Scandinavian country which from 1989 to 1992 studied the project in collaboration with the British Institutions to replace the former Windsor Safari Park.

The very positive cooperation between those two countries was highlighted by the notable interest of the United Kingdom to host an Institution of a prestigious brand as Lego developing something of attractive close to a historic place as Windsor Castle, not far from London able to attract more visitors

It was also a message especially launched to family with children who in a day could enjoy a fabulous piece of history of Great Britain combined with something extremely enjoyable for the young, the construction started in 1993 while the inauguration took place three years later in 1996.

 The entrance of the park is one of its highlights with a Creation Centre opened in 2001, once there you can find many attraction as The Imagination Centre consisting in an Educational area related to diverse Lego constructions, a Space Tower and another area hosting the Imagination Theatre Film.
Legoland Windsor also provides a big surface area containing Miniland, a miniature park made by Lego pieces displaying several tiny replicas of cities of the world with some important attractions of the city of London such as the Big Ben, Tower Bridge, London Eye and St. Paul Cathedral . 

Also some tiny representations of other iconic British places are present such as Stonehenge, Loch Ness, Brighton Pier and Edinburgh Castle among others.

Miniland also dedicated relevance to some other European countries with small replicas in which are represented France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark and Italy and furthermore that lovely place provides a mini-golf area and an aquatic playground.

The Boating School is another section of that site devoted to teach the children the technique of sailing and to drive small boats, very appreciated because in its kind it is a very educational instrument explaining little secrets aboard of a tiny vessel with the children living that experience with enthusiasm and joy.

Another attraction pretty loved by many visitors is the Explorer's Institute within which models are some Lego-themed over the ancient Egypt with the Kingdom of the Pharaons enjoying an interactive tour across Egyptian tombs but also other environments such as the North Pole, the African Jungle and including the Land of the Vikings.

That amusement park is open from mid March to early November also hosting several shows, such as laser effects, pyrotechnics and light on the waters, fireworks so if you are interested it is a great occasion for families to visit that site enjoying a special and alternative day of tourism.

Royal Windsor Wheel is another local highlight, a more recent addition to the town's tourist attractions providing an overhead view of the surrounding area, including the Castle, Eton and the Thames Valley.

Located in  Alexandra Gardens near the River Thames, it is assembled in summer and dismantled in autumn. 

It started to operate in in 2006, in 2009 it operated from April to October and as relevant statistic detail in that year it carried over 200,000 passengers.

In Windsor you can enjoy a beautiful mini-cruise, a boat trip on the Thames, a brilliant fluvial journey of approximately 45 minutes representing in its kind, a different, attractive experience to see that place and other attractions from a diverse, captivating perspective.

There are also cruises of two hours or one full day with regular services operate daily from February to November with departures from the Promenade Barry Avenue.

That centre is linked to the town of Eton situated on the opposite bank of the river connected by Windsor Bridge and obviously an iconic site like that worth certainly a visit.

Eton College is a superb landmark of the county, a prestigious Institution which was originally founded by King Henry VI in 1440 focused to provide free education to 70 poor students.

Since its inception in over five centuries of history that emblematic Institute has trained and educated a large number of artists, celebrities, writers, politicians, including members of the Royal family too.

Among the most distinguished students worth a mention the Duke of Wellington, Statesmen as William Pitt and Robert Walpole, Horace Walpole, the writer George Orwell, the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, the economist John Maynard Keynes and Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.

Eton College was created with the aim to educate students with the opportunity to continue to study in the prestigious Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and King Henry VI in 1441 founded the King's College Cambridge to create a perfect continuity between important Colleges and that prestigious site.

The Monarchy also dedicated time about the Religious topic with the establishment of that emblematic Institution called College Chapel enriched by relevant works of art and iconic relics.

Among the rests contained in that site there were the remains of what were supposed to be the Cross of Christ and the Crown of Thorns

That Royal character obtained from the Pope that great privilege to host them in that place  which became a venerated destination for pilgrims and penitents who flocked numerous there on the day of the Assumption of Mary on 15th August obtaining the indulgence.

The history of the College is also highlighted by its students who were known as Oppidans,  a denomination deriving from the Latin word Oppidum, meaning those who lived in the village and not in the school when most pupils spent time at home.

Each house is named after the initials or the name of Householder, the teacher who lives at home supervising the education of the pupils furing their studies.

That notorious Institute is in addition well known for other students called Old Etonians maintaining distinctive  traditions including that to wear iconic black morning coat, vest, striped pants, detachable collar and a white tie.

The subjects of study are pretty varied, ranging from the humanities to scientific, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, Latin, Greek, history, geography, history of art, economics, modern and foreign languages among others.

The College is also sensitive to other themes organising extra activities such as  music, theatre performances time devoted to sports and as relevant detail it is considered the most expensive and exclusive  private school in the world.

The Film Industry is also linked to that prestigious site, many movies were partially filmed there among them them Shakespeare in Love but also The Secret Garden, Mansfield Park and The Madness of King George.

Several fictional characters have been described as Old Etonians as the hacker known by the pseudonym Captain Hook, Mr. Barrie, the detective Lord Peter Wimsey hero of the novels by Dorothy Sayers, Lord Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead revisited by Evelyn Waugh also James Bond, the most famous British spy attended Eton but he was fired for misconduct with one of the maids.

Windsor apart Queen Elizabeth II and all the members linked to the Royal House hosted during its history the most distinguished Sovereigns of Great Britain was former or current residence of many important figures such as George Harrison former Beatles singer, the guitarist Jimmy Page, legendary member the rock band Led Zeppelin and the Australian, pop singer Nathalie Imbruglia.

Also the actors Michael Caine, Anna Friel, Alex Pettyfer and  Kris Marshall decided to live in that municipality and all that explains the prestige of that place selected as favourite haven by many VIPs or famed characters. 

That English municipality has two railway stations, Windsor and Eton Central stations with also a bus service to Slough.

The trains stop to London Paddington or west to Maidenhead and Bristol while Windsor & Eton Riverside railway station delivers the service to London Waterloo Station & Tube.

Both stations were built in the same period, in the 19th century that railroad line had wanted to draw Queen Victoria to Windsor, the first inaugurated line would get the privilege of transporting the Sovereign and from 1883 to 1885, the London Underground's District Line's westbound service ran as far as Windsor.

Windsor has in its boundaries excellent accommodations, comfortable Hotels which can be an excellent incentive in the case you are planning a tailor made tour around Great Britain enjoying a significant Fly & Drive with different stages and a stop there is to take in high consideration without hesitations.

A great idea in that case could be the last overnight in that emblematic place due to the proximity of London  Heathrow International Airport which is just 19,0 kilometres away and in approximately 20/25 minutes driving by M4 Highway you can have a very comfortable drop off of the vehicle. 

That is certainly an ideal solution to reach your terminal of departure in a very easy way in terms of basic time. Below I added some links can be useful for your plans and I included some suggested accommodations, if you need more information, a pleasure to help you.

Visiting Windsor is always a great idea all year, not far from London, the charm of that centre with its magnificent Castle next to the Thames Valley characterised by its romantic, scenic landscapes are for every tourist a full immersion in the rich and prestigious historic, natural patrimony of England, a superb destination in the United Kingdom which is mandatory.

That iconic house, stronghold of a distinguished Monarchy of a country with a secular history is absolutely a must if you are planning a tour to the United Kingdom, something you will remember with immense pleasure for its notable cultural value but also for the fabulous atmosphere surrounding that more than distinctive site.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in Windsor  

 Castle Hotel Windsor MGallery by Sofitel
Hotel MacDonald Windsor 
Hotel & SPA Sir Christopher Wren 
Hotel Clarence 
Hotel Oakley Court 
Hotel Harte & Gartner

Useful links 

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