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Julie Carmigniani :: Blog

July 06, 2010

My visit continued with the very famous House of Juliet! I was expecting a lot of people outside of her place to sort of warn me I had reached my destination, and let me tell you that I was not disappointed: there were a lot of people just taking pictures from the outside. The thing is that you can enter the premises of her home and see a lot of things, such as the balcony (without being able to see from the balcony of course), a little staircase that leads to what his called the "Lovers' Terrace", or even write a love note on the wall, without paying for any ticket. And that is what a lot of people do, they just hang outside and take pictures from there, such as the famous picture with the statue of Juliet. Speaking of the statue of Juliet, I was trying to take a picture without someone touching her breasts, and after waiting patiently, I got the right picture (as you can see below), but it also got me wondering: why do people put their hands on her breast like that? What is the deal with that, huh? Well I looked it up and apparently, legend is that it brings luck to touch her right breast... Too bad I did not know it before, because I am not known for my legendary luck and I could have used some of that! Wink
So anyway, I would still advise future visitors to just go in Juliet's house, because the people that simply stay outside are missing quiet a bunch! Especially since the visit is free if you bought the VeronaCard. As Anthony said before me, Juliet's house is in fact a four stories house.. yup I guess she had money! and in there you can see her famous bed, of course stand from the balcony (the only thing is that from there, the only thing you can see is not your Romeo looking up to you, but the massive amount of people snapping pictures of every moving creatures!), and more.
What really got me wondering after visiting this straight-out-of-a-fairytale place is so weren't Romeo and Juliet fictional characters invented by Shakespeare? Well it is not known for sure whether they were real people that inspired Shakespeare or not, but most likely they were just fictional characters. In fact, the legend that Juliet lived in Verona spread around the 19th century since the house was built in the 12th century and belong to a family called Dal Capello (kind of sounds like Capulet, doesn't it? well thats where the name Capulet would come from anyway). By now, if you have read Anthony's blog, you also know that Romeo's house is supposed to be in Verona as well, a couple of streets away from Juliet, but it is not quiet as famous as Juliet's house. So why is that? Well this is because his house is actually a private house, while Juliet's house is the property of the state. The only thing of Romeo's house you can see is a little sign acknowledging that this would be his house. Once again, legend is that the house once belonged to the Montecchi family, which would be correspond to the Montagues' family.
I hope I satisfied your curiosity as much as mine was, below are some pictures of Giuletta's house.
  
  
  
  
  
 
Then, I decided to climb some more stairs to get up to the top of Torrei dei Lamberti, the famous tower that was used for warning the city in case of an invasion. Once again I decided to count the stairs and I must have missed some somewhere because I counted 365 steps to the top instead of the 368 steps, but only missing by 3 steps is pretty good I guess. Anyway, I got up to the top of this 13th century tower and remembered what Anthony had said about it ringing every half hour (in fact I saw that were was a little sign warning visitors) and looked up at my watch to see that it was already 1:52... I only had 8 minutes to enjoy the view, take a few shots and get back down before the bells would make me deaf! I took my shots very fast, anyway I already had some pretty good pictures of the view of Verona and started back down. Of course I also enjoyed looking at the mechanism used to make those huge bells ring every half hour and managed to squeeze myself in the elevator. I had been told at the entrance that to take the elevator I had to pay an extra euro, but it does not seem that anyone is really checking... I personally wanted to enjoy feeling my legs burn by climbing the stairs, but for the way down that I wanted quick to avoid the bells I did not mind the elevator ride! Below are the few pictures I took up there and of the lady pointing to the tower.
 
  
  
 
Final destination before the end of my trip, La Tomba di Giuletta! Juliet's tomb is located in the monastery of San Francesco al Corso, which is first a small museum that houses different religious painting, sculptures and other artifacts. The crypt that contains Juliet's tomb is located after seeing all of these amazing objects. Similar to the legends about Juliet's house, rumors that Juliet and Romeo got married and that the two lovers came to their unfortunate end shortly after the wedding day at the church of San Francesco al Corso started floating around. However, the tomb supposed to be Juliet's only dates back to the 1937... but this doesn't stop people from all other the world to pay their respect to Juliet and this is also apparently a famous place for lovers to get married!
Enjoy these pictures of the artifacts of the museum and La Tomba di Giuletta.
 
  
  
  
  
  
 
After this last visit, my camera gave up on me and the battery went dead, and my legs told me that I better be heading for the train station otherwise my arms would have to do the rest of the walk, so I headed back to Verona Porta Nueva to catch the first train back to Treviglio and then Crema, very satisfied of this last weekend trip!
 

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July 05, 2010

My visit of this wonderful city continued on with visiting the Complesso del Duomo. This Cathedral was dedicated to S. Maria Assunta and is the central structure of an amazing amount of architectural buildings, which mostly means that it includes a lot of smaller chapels to form a big Cathedral. As you can tell from the pictures below, all these smaller chapels are amazing creating a wonderful site!
Based on the brochure from the Duomo, the construction of the Cathedral started out in 362-380 A.D. and was consecrated by the bishop of Verona, but it soon turned out that it was too small and had to be replaced by a larger basilica a few decades later. The second construction, however, collapsed during the 7th century A.D. due to a strong fire or an earthquake (yea i know they can't know for sure). Finally, the reconstruction of the church was done in the 8th and 9th century, and led to the present Cathedral. So as you can see, this is a very ancient monument!
I also have to warn future visitors: prior to entering the Cathedral, I was asked to wear a shawl over my shoulders because I was apparently showing too much skin... Indeed, it was rather hot outside (33 Celsius), so I left in the morning wearing a short and a tank top, but forgot upon entering the Cathedral that this type of outfit, although perfect for the blazing hot weather, is completely inappropriate for entering this sacred place!
 
  
  
   
 
Following the visit of the Duomo, I set upon finding the Teatro Romano and its archeological museum. To do so, I knew I had to cross a bridge and that the place would be right there. Once the bridge crossed, I saw this amazing place, elevated high. I automatically set upon climbing those stairs to get to the museum. Well I should have read Anthony's guide-blog more carefully before I did such thing... I ended up climbing some 256 stairs (yes I counted, but give plus or minus 5 stairs for error) to arrive on top and discover that the entrance to the museum is downstairs... By the way, I need to warn future visitors here as well that most of these stairs are made out of marble. So of course, it is very pretty and all, but be careful, I slid a couple times because of my flip flops... After that I got scared and held on to the ramp so that I would not go downstairs much faster than I hoped for!
The positive thing from going up those crazy stairs is that I took in some great pictures of what is probable one of the best view of Verona! Take a look below. 
 
  
  
  
 
I reluctantly went back down the stairs to enter the museum and discovered there that I had to go back up some different stairs (still same amount of stairs tho!) to enter the museum. The place was worth it tho! I considered not going up the stairs to see the wonders in the museum thinking that just the outside was already amazing enough, but now I am glad that I went up once again, because I would have surely missed something!
This site is composed of the Roman Theater, which is one of the best preserved roman theaters in Northern Italy, and the archeological museum, which preserves and exhibits the riches of the city and surrounding area. Mythological scenes, fragments from roman villas dating back to the 3rd century A.D., portraits, roman glass and ceramic works, sculptures, and even more wonders can all be found in this place where history melts in the present. Enjoy below, some of my favorite art and views of this place of historical wonders.
 
  
  
  
 
This museum also possesses a collection of approximately 270 impressions of Greek and Roman engraved gems. Gems were used as stamps back in the days, they were used as official seals to prove that it was from them, kind of like the signature is considered our official seal nowadays. Based on the little guide that was given to me before entering the museum, the purpose of this exhibition of gems is to increase awareness of these items, which were very popular prior to the 20th century. They provide scholars and connoisseurs with an opportunity to see the reproduction of well-known or unusual subjects that feature epic, mythological and animal themes. The impressions I was able to see are dedicated to Venus, the goddess of Love, and Bacchus, the god of wine, and below are two pictures of some of them. Unfortunately, you can't really see much because of the reflection... so I guess that whoever is interested will just have to go visit Verona's Archeological museum, but do not forget to enter the museum before climbing the stairs Wink
 
 
 

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July 04, 2010

Yesterday, following Anthony's advice and  using his blog as a guide, I went to Verona, city of Romeo and Juliette and home of the famous Arena of Verona, little sister of Rome's Coliseum.
I left bright and early and caught the 7:21 train in direction of Verona to arrive around 9:30. I immediately bought a VeronaCard following Anthony's blog advice in order to have access to all the museum as well as the bus. Following is a picture of the card and its back. As you can see, I did not have enough time to visit everything, although I visited everything I wanted to. My advice would be to come to this wonderful city for a whole weekend and purchase the VeronaCard for 3 days (there is no card for 2 days only) and enjoying every wonders of this city!
 
 
 
My first goal was to visit the Arena, so I boarded a train supposed to take me there and anxiously glanced outside at every stop. After a while, not recognizing any of the stop from the pictures taken by Anthony and seeing that everyone had exited the bus, but me, I went to the driver to ask him for advice. I pointed at the picture of the Arena for him to understand where I wanted to go, and he told me that he was going there and that he would let me know when to exit, which was extremely nice of him! So I went and sat next to where he could see me and I could jump out of the bus at his first sign. And the bus took me back all the way to the train station... So I wondered how I could have missed the big Arena as if we were back to the train station it surely meant that I had missed it since we had gone back to the starting point, no? Well, this time I decided to pay more attention to the way the bus was going using the card Anthony had giving me before leaving and I realized that the bus was not taking the same turns and finally led me to the Arena in Piazza Bra. As promised, the bus driver gave me an OK sign to get out when it was the most opportune time and I thanked him before exiting the bus and starting my journey!
So, as was decided beforehand, I would start off with visiting the Arena, followed by the Museo di Castelvecchio, then the Complesso del Duomo, the Teatro Romano, La Casa di Giuletta (house of Juliette), Torrei dei Lamberti, and finished with Tomba di Giuletta (or tomb of Juliette). I knew beforehand I would not have time to see everything but if I organized myself well I could see all the things I wanted.
Let me tell you that the Arena was breathtaking and I now wish I could see the Coliseum in Rome because this place was so big and unbelievable as you can judge from the picture below! As you can also see, it seems that they are preparing the Arena for some sort of Egyptian spectacle and I wish I could see it. After I exited the Arena, I noticed this men wearing Roman's outfit and went ahead and took a picture of them, one of them offered to take a picture with the other Roman and I thought "How nice!" of course, after the pictures were taken, he shook a little bag and motioned to me that they wanted money... and then I thought "How dumb of me!", but oh well, everyone needs to make a living in some way, so why not?
 
  
  
  
 
I then set upon finding the Museo di Castelvecchio. As promised, the castle contained an enormous amount of artwork, from which you can only see my favorites below (there is just not enough space or time to put all the wonderful work here). From the Ponte, I took a few pictures by stepping on the ramparts (yes they let you do that, but of course it is rather secure) and now you can see a splendid view of Verona!
 
  
  
  
 
I will post two other blogs on Verona in the days to come, so if you are interested keep checking! Part 2 will be about the Complesso Duomo and the Teatro Romano, including some amazing views of the city, and part 3 will discuss La Casa di Giuletta, Torrei dei Lamberdi, and La Tomba di Giuletta! 

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June 25, 2010

 So it's been yet another week in Italy, and of course here the most important thing going is the soccer world cup! Unfortunately, Italy followed shortly after France in going home as both those countries, which I should remind you are Champion and Vice Champion, respectively, did not make it pass the group games! Both actually ended up last of their groups. One of my new Italian friends did, however, admit to me that to him at least it did not feel so "shameful" since France did just as bad, and I admitted to him, that although I did want Italy to make it further so that I could feel the Italian excitement (since I cannot feel the French excitement), it was also the way many French people were going to feel! We will all of course keep watching the games, but, with less pressure I guess!
 
 
 
 In other news, this week the group gave a presentation in Milano for the PhD students of Milano as well as our local advisors to see what our focus was in research. The presentation was all day Friday, and each of us had the occasion to present our work that was greatly appreciated by our hosts during the morning session of this little workshop!
I presented part of the survey I am currently conducting on Augmented Reality. I mostly discussed current augmented reality applications and the challenges augmented reality is facing for going from the laboratories to the industry, as well as the future applications that are possible with augmented reality and the challenges they might be facing.
I unfortunately did not have time to discuss my ideas about which type of applications I would be developing in the second part of my research nor did I have time to discuss all the things I have achieved in my survey so far as the presentation was not suppose to exceed 15 minutes.
 
After all the presentations were given (around 5:30), I went on a little "hike" through Milano back the the Castello Sforzesco to pick some water painting as souvenirs. Here they are. i know they are a little special, but that was the whole point! Tongue out
 
  

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June 18, 2010

I have been a swimmer my whole life, so when our hosts asked me what I liked to do during my free time, I told them I swam or surfed. Naturally, they told me that surfing would be hard in Crema as it is nowhere near the water; however, they informed me that there was quiet a big swimming complex close to the university. They explained to me that the complex was actually opening its outside pools as they remained closed during the rest of the year since it is too cold to swim outside.
 
Last weekend, I decided that it was time for me to visit the swimming pool complex of Crema. The entry was sold for five euros and fifty cents, which at first seemed like a very expensive price, but as soon as I walked in, I realized that the price was not too much. Indeed, the outside complex of Crema's swimming pool includes an Olympic sized pool (50m), a 25m pool, a pool with slides made especially for kids, a wave pool, and tons of layout places including grass and sand on which was set up a beach volleyball court and a small soccer field! I first decided to swim in the Olympian pool to workout a little bit. So of course, I put on a one piece swim suit, a swim cap and goggles and asked one of the lifeguards if they had equipments I could use (of course, I was practicing my sign languages as I had no clue how to ask for it in Italian!). They were nice enough to bring me some equipment and I went on with a practice. Once I was done, I decided to put on a more appropriate suit for tanning and that's when I realized that everyone around me that was in the water was wearing a swim cap! I had forgotten that in Europe, at public pools, people were required to wear a swimming cap in the water! It was natural for me to wear one for swimming as my hair is too long not to, but I have never been used to wearing a cap in a bikini. So if you ever come by Crema and decide to go to the pool, do not forget to bring a swim cap as without one you will not be allowed in the water!
 
Below are some pictures if this very nice complex:
 
      

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June 11, 2010

Following our visit to the Duomo, the group visited Castello Sforzesco a fortress built in the fifteenth century by Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, on the ruins of a citadel built in the same place by Galeazzo Visconti. This place is now a museum. I did a little research of the background of this impressive citadel using Wikipedia.

The fortress is a quadrangle surrounded by moats and flanked on the city side by two rounded towers, which based on Wikipedia, housed the water tanks, and two square towers (as can be seen in the pictures below). The castle is separated by a ditch, called the fosso morto.

At the death of Francesco II Sforza in 1535, Milan came under Spanish rule and a line of star-shaped fortification was built around the castle. It was destroyed during the Napoleonic occupation in the beginning 1800's. In 1815, Castello Sforzesco served as barracks for Austrian troops.

Finally, in 1893, the demolition of Castello Sforzesco was considered but rejected. A restoration began with the intention of make the castle into a museum and a cultural institution. 

Unfortunately, since we went on a Sunday, we were not able to  get into the museum, but were able to walk through the castle. Pictures can be seen below.

   

   

   

 

Behind the castle, there was a medieval troupe organizing a show. We did not get in, but here are the few pictures I was able to take.

     

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June 04, 2010

As I said in my previous blog, last Sunday, the group visited Milano. We got up around 6AM and took the train at 7:30AM to arrive in Milano around 8:45AM! Bright and early to enjoy the city as much as possible!

The train station Milano Centrale is very big and the architecture beautiful. Pictures of the Milano Centrale can be seen below.

   

 

 The Milanese seem to have a bike system to get around: people can rent bikes in the same way they would take the bus (the bikes are located at specific locations) and they can get to wherever they need to go and leave the bikes at specific places where they can rent them to make their way back. This is a very healthy way to get around town while enjoying the weather. 

We also noticed some touristic buses, which offered guided tours of Milano in many languages! 

 

Then, the group decided to stop for some breakfast before heading towards the very famous Duomo of Milano! We decided to walk as the weather was cool and not very sunny, thus perfect for "hiking" through the city! On our way to the  Duomo, we went through a park where the Milanese seem to enjoy some walks, runs and most likely some sunny afternoons (it was still too early for that, but the place was so enchanting that the opposite would be surprising!). Enjoy the pictures below.

     

 

We finally arrived at the Duomo and the pictures taken on our way there of the different interesting monuments as well as the pictures of the Duomo can be seen below. As you can see, it is a very impressive monument and it was very hard to be able to catch the whole thing in one shot as it is enormous! The Italians can be proud!

      

Duomo: 

     

More to come  about Milano in future blogs Laughing 

 

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June 01, 2010

For this first weekend, the group decided to stay in Crema on Saturday and to go visit Milano on Sunday.

Consequently, a thorough visit of Crema was planned done on Saturday and here is a summary of the wonders of Crema:

 Crema is a town in the province of Cremona in the region of Londardy in northern Italy. Based on Wikipedia, it is also the seat of a Catholic Bishop who gave it the title of city. Crema's main economic activities realte to agriculture and cattle breeding, but its manufacture now include cheese, iron products and cotton and wool textiles. Inhabitants are called cremashi.

A number of conferences are held in Crema, notably IEEE workshops such as Environmental, Energy, and Structural Monitoring Systems (http://eesms2009.dti.unimi.it/cfp.php) and organized by our host university Universita degli Studi de Milano, department of Information Technology. The building where the department is settled also happens to be Olivetti's old factory, so as seen in the pictures below, there are a number of museum-like old computers presented under glass. Unfortunately, due to renovation, we were unable to have access to that part of the university and could only guess at the wonders hidden throughout the department. 

  

 

  This is the little restaurant where we were advised to eat for lunch. The food is as most italian food delicious. Below are some pictures of a few of the meals I had there, as expected, I mostly ate pizza and pasta; however, the menu is much greater than that and changes everyday! 

 

 

 

 Here is a picture of the outside of the building we stay at. It is located right next to one of Crema's churches and we get to hear the bells almost every hour (I do not know if they ring at night, but usually I do not hear them until about 5 or 6 in the morning when I am close to waking up) and sometimes, it is some sort of elaborated chorus played by the bells. Below are some pictures of the building and the bells.

 

 

Although there are a lot of serious congresses and conferences taking place in  Crema, it remains a very simple town with many charms where most people bike and walk around. Below many pictures of the different wonders of Crema can be seen. Note that one of the wonders is a gelato (ice cream) machine, this is because gelato here is delicious and I really wish I could bring some back for my friends back home because it is a shame to go through a lifetime without having the chance to try it! 

       

 

This last picture is a picture of the Barcelona Cafe, the little bar in which we found some wireless internet; it is a lovely place where we hang out when we feel the need to stay connected! 

 

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May 28, 2010

On Thursday our host had organized a nice little press conference to introduce us to the local newspaper and present the PIRE program. One of the first article we saw this morning was an online article from Crema on line: http://www.cremaonline.it/articolo.asp?ID=11039 (to translate the page simply use google translate!). We are still very eager to see the newspaper; if only we knew what it will say Laughing (can't use google translate on a newspaper..). 

 

Press Conference Room

Another Conference Room in the Municipaliti 

After the press conference, we had a very nice lunch with our main host advisor, Professor Damiani. The food was as expected delicious and I really wish I had a picture to brag about it!

 Next, we went on a little touristic visit of the city and found another very beautiful side of Crema. The picture on the side is a picture of the cathedral located in the center of Crema right next to our appartment

     

Here are also some pictures of my room and the appartment:

    

 

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We are now famous in Crema Laughing:

http://www.cremaonline.it/articolo.asp?ID=11039 

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